If you drive around Illinois, you will see lots of state parks.
They are as common in many non-Chicago metropolitan counties as forest preserves and conservation district sites.
The difference is that state taxpayers (disproportionately from the Chicago metropolitan area, especially the suburbs) pay for the upkeep of state parks while local taxpayers foot the bill for forest preserves and conservation district sites.
So, it was with more than a little interest that I saw on the back of my license plate renewal post card (no return envelopes anymore) that $2 had been tacked on “for state parks.”
Senate Bill 1566 is the culprit. You can see how folks voted below:
Kent Gaffney, who resigned a bit early from his position as State Represented had moved over to McGuireWoods Consulting as a Vice President of State Government Relations.
Based in Chicago, Gaffney will “assist clients with legislative, appropriations and regulatory needs,” according to the company web site.
McGuireWoods Consulting is a subsidiary of the McGuireWoods law firm.
Prior to joining MWC, he served as the 52nd District State Representative in the House of Representatives of the Illinois General Assembly. In that capacity, Kent served on the Revenue & Finance, Insurance, Armed Forces and Military Affairs, Small Business Empowerment & Workforce, and General Services Appropriations committees.
Before becoming a legislator, he was the Director of Appropriations for the Illinois House Republican Caucus from 2001-2011. Kent has also served as the Deputy Director of Appropriations and as a Research Analyst for utility and healthcare committees.
Kent is a Governor-appointed Commissioner on the Budgeting for Results Commission, which is a statutorily created Commission charged with reforming the Illinois budget making process. Kent was also chosen to be a member of the inaugural class of the Edgar Fellows Program
Gaffney graduated from Purdue University in Political Science in 1990.
He was appointed to fill the unexpired term of State Rep. Mark Beaubien. He lost the Republican primary election to David McSweeney.
I missed the press release below about Dave McSweeney’s having been appointed to succeed appointed State Rep. Kent Gaffney, who replaced State Rep. Mark Beaubien.
Apparently, Gaffney decided to give McSweeney something of a head start. Seniority doesn’t mean as much in Springfield as it does in Washington, but it will probably get him the lowest license plate number of those elected in November, 2012, a better parking space and, if Tom Scott has broken with the assigned seating practice of his predecessor, Lee Daniels, the seat of his choice after all senior to him have made their selections.
The press release quotes McSweeney saying this:
“Fiscal responsibility with each tax dollar is my priority from day one.”
This is his “day one.”
David McSweeney Appointed to State House
Barrington Hills, IL – Representative elect David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) was appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives today to serve the remainder of the term of retiring State Rep. Kent Gaffney (R-Wauconda). McSweeney is set to be officially sworn in on January 6th and will represent the current 52nd district during the 97th General Assembly lame-duck session scheduled from January 6th – 8th.
“I am honored to receive this appointment and now it’s time to get to work and tackle the state’s major fiscal challenges,” said McSweeney.
“The 52nd district has a tradition of honest and responsive leadership in government.
“I will continue that strong tradition and I thank and commend Rep. Gaffney for his service and commitment.
“Kent has served our state well and I’m confident that he will continue to be a leading voice in helping to solve the major issues that we face.
“I also want to acknowledge the longtime service of Mark Beaubien to our community.”
McSweeney has a successful business background in which he has worked as an investment banker, financial consultant and currently as an investment specialist.
McSweeney will lean on that experience and ‘know-how’ and has pledged to take a common sense business approach when drafting and supporting legislation.
“We have a responsibility to act now on key legislation that will significantly impact our state’s fiscal future,” added McSweeney.
“Fiscal responsibility with each tax dollar is my priority from day one.”
The 98th General Assembly will convene on January 9th. McSweeney will then represent the newly mapped 52nd District, which will include parts of Algonquin, Barrington, Carpentersville, Cary, Fox River Grove, Island Lake, Lake in the Hills and Wauconda.
Tryon, the House Sponsor of Senate Bill 3442, didn’t get a mention in the article.
Environmentalists opposed the bill because it prohibited local municipalities from imposing stricter rules than those set forth in the bill.
Lake County Democratic Party Chairman Terry Link was the Senate sponsor.
Locally, State Senator Pam Althoff voted for the bill. Colleague Dan Duffy did not. State Representatives Tryon and Kent Gaffney supported the measure, while Jack Franks voted “No.”
The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County sent out the following information from the Illinois Environmental Council on the bill:
This bill would have banned the municipal regulation of plastic bags, including community plastic bag bans, fees, and takeback programs. This bill also would have created a statewide program for the recycling of plastic bags. Read more about our concerns here.
As the Governor explained in his veto message, “Local authorities and the environmental community strongly oppose this program because the metrics are simply not aggressive enough and home rule preemption prevents more stringent local regulation.”
Veto session is scheduled to begin November 27, 2012. We will keep you updated to let you know whether the sponsor of this legislation moves to override the Governor’s veto. Check out how your House and Senate members voted on this bill.
Special Session: No Comprehensive Pension Reform, House Votes to Expel Smith
Springfield, IL… On Friday the Governor called a Special Session for lawmakers to consider pension reform to save the State’s growing pension crisis, however, no true reform was enacted.
State Representative Kent Gaffney (R-Wauconda) was disappointed with the legislation presented and voted against Senate Bill 3168 because it lacked the needed reform.
“Illinois has the worst public pension system in the nation. We need comprehensive reform that includes all of the pension systems.
“Upon becoming a lawmaker, I chose to reject a legislative pension and support reforming the pension system for all lawmakers, but a piecemeal approach to this problem is not the answer we need,” said Gaffney.
“I am calling on the Governor and Speaker Madigan to step up and show some leadership on this issue and quit playing political games.”
The bill offered Friday would have only have only reduced the state’s $83 billion unfunded pension liability by $42 to $45 million.
“I truly believe we’ve got one shot at meaningful pension reform. The bill that was dropped upon us Friday – while symbolic – would have done very little to solve our pension crisis.
‘I believe the Governor should have kept us in Springfield until we reached a compromise on real reform that would stabilize our public pension systems and protect Illinois taxpayers.”
Because the Governor called a special session rather than a regular session of the House, lawmakers were eligible to receive per idem for the day.
In an effort to save taxpayer dollars, Rep. Gaffney sent a letter to the Clerk rejecting the per diem.
In addition to pension reform, the Illinois House of Representatives voted in favor 100-6 to expel indicted State Representative Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) from the Illinois House.
Rep. Smith was arrested March 13, following an undercover investigation by the FBI; Smith now faces federal bribery charges for allegedly accepting a $7,000 cash bribe.
Rep. Gaffney voted in favor of expelling indicted State Representatives Derrick Smith.
The State is in a fiscal pit brought on, I would argue, by far too many people not willing to vote, “No.”
Perhaps someone other than I voted “No” more often in the Illinois General Assembly, but I doubt it.
I know that when the Illinois Conservative Union was keeping track of budget votes in the 1970′s I voted to appropriated less money than anyone else. (Ask John Curry, who did the tallies.)
And I didn’t vote for Governor George Ryan’s Illinois FIRST bonding program for which my 14-year son will still be paying off, if he doesn’t leave Illinois to avoid that and other burdens, when he is in his late 20′s. A lot of that money went to pay for asphalt, a road surface that needs replacement about every five years and most assuredly should not be financed with 25-year bonds.
But in the fairly large vote to cut welfare’s medical benefits last week, State Rep. Jack Franks cast a vote against reform by voting “No.”
Voting in favor in the House, as explained in this press release, was State Rep. Mike Tryon.
Kent Gaffney did not vote.
State Senator Pam Althoff and Dan Duffy also supported the changes.
Five days suspension (April 2-6) and six months’ probation, plus conversion of all sick time from September 1 through November 15, 21011, into vacation time. And reassignment from his position in Research and Appropriations staff “to another position.”
Read the report for yourself below:
And here is Tom Cross’ response, dated March 8, 2012:
One might note that today is almost two months after the election.