The three State Senators who represent all of McHenry County reported to constituents at the Crystal Lake City Council Chambers Tuesday night.
State Senators Craig Wilcox, Dan McConchie and Don DeWitte addressed an almost full room.
If opponents were in the room, they made no impact.
There were women wearing what looked like red habits with white hats holding pro-abortion signs across from the parking lot.
The most vocal group represented supporters of the Second Amendment.
One woman on the front row said she was tired of making phone calls and writing letters to defend her gun owner rights.
Another complained, “Where we’re headed is somewhere we haven’t been before.”
Fear was expressed of the “Chicago-city state” in control of state government.
Trained in physics and astronomy, Dawn Mueller from Coral Township, an area she described as “the Texas of McHenry County,” offered up her personal records to demonstrate inefficiencies in Illinois’ social service and Medicaid assistance.
“I can save you millions,” she said.
A female cancer survivor identifying herself as a full-blooded American Indian, asked for legislation to prevent others from ending up in her situation, homeless and without car because of the expenses.
A Veteran pointed out those in the Armed Forces Reserves could delay paying mortgages until their deployments were completed.
A slide show started the evening with State Senator Wilcox talking of the minimum wage increases enacted.
The Democrats would consider no regional modifications.
The head of Pioneer Center later told of his agency’s paying $12,50 per hour.
He pointed out that money to support services his agency provided were not increasing as fast as expenses.
McConchie told of being approached on the issue by spokespersons for nonprofits with similar complaints.
None were willing to go public, however, fearing retribution from the Pritzker Administration.
Wilcox also covered legalization of recreational marijuana.
New information is that people will not be able to smoke weed “out in public.”
Wilcox said he had entered the legislature open on the subject.
“Obviously, prohibition isn’t working.”
But he concluded that the expected revenue ($50 million a year) would not overcome the social costs.
A man in the audience related how his college roommate’ mind had severely deteriorated after a year’s use.
He called it “the dumbing down of everybody.”
McConchie told of taking a group of teens to Lake County Drug Court.
The Judge said most in front of her first used drugs at age 11.
Their first drug?
McConchie also pointed out that Colorado spends $32 per student on education, while Illinois will be spending fifty cents per student.
McConchie also addressed the abortion legislation.
“It makes abortion a fundamental right,” he said, pointing out that abortion could occur “all nine months [of pregnancy] for essentially any reason.”
DeWitte, Republican Spokesman on the infrastructure committee, explained that the gas tax increase would, when adjusted for inflation, would be about the same as the 19 cent per gallon rate set in 1990 [by State Rep. Bob Churchill’s legislation].
He expressed some confidence that the new Lockbox Constitutional Amendment would prevent Springfield politicians from repeating the $7.8 billion diversion of road money to other uses.
That $7.8 billion take in from 2003-15 represents four years of road construction money.
The second half of the infrastructure legislation was for what was called “vertical” construction.
This was mainly for universities and will financed by increased gambling, a parking tax and a dollar a pack tax hike on cigarettes.
“It’s very easy to sit and vote “No,” DeWitte said…”but you run the risk of walking away with nothing.”
He suggested joining in on the negotiations helped kill ideas for a one cent a bottle of water, plus tax increases on alcohol, streaming and cable TV.
“Is this a great case of tax increases?
“I voted my conscience, my district and my caucus.”
Referring to his district, DeWitte told of money he got to stop an unnamed sewage treatment plant in the southern part of his territory that was leaching sewage into the Fox River.
As to representing his caucus, he pointed out that many Downstate GOP Senators have universities in their districts.
“I view it as bringing your tax dollars back to the district.”
He also revealed that Democratic Party Senators were allocated $6 millioni in “member initiatives” [aka, pork], while Republican Senators got half that much.
McConchie pointed out that by 2024, Illinois would not be able to proide the 20% match needed for Federal grants.