Session Update: In one nine-hour stretch last Thursday, the House debated and passed 142 bills!

Caulkins Bill to Offer Scholarship Opportunity to Educators Clears House

Last Thursday in the Illinois House of Representatives, State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur), passed HB 1213. The bill amends the Higher Education Student Assistance Act so that scholarships can be awarded under the Teach Illinois Scholarship Program to teachers who agree to pursue a master’s degree in order to teach dual credit courses.

In an interview after the bill’s passage, Representative Caulkins said:

“I appreciate the bipartisan support my bill was given in the House. This will help encourage and support teachers who need a master’s degree in order to teach dual credit classes. Improving the education opportunities for our students and upgrading the subject matter expertise of our teachers is a win – win for all of us. I look forward to getting the bill passed in the Senate and sent to the Governor in the next few weeks.”

 State Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason) has agreed to carry the bill in the Senate.

Honored to #MarchForLife with a few of my fellow state representatives in Springfield last week.   Each life is a gift from God, and must be cherished as such!

Caulkins Debates Giving Illegal Immigrants Standard Drivers Licenses

This week was the deadline for all House bills to receive final passage in the House.  Legislation that made it through will then move to the Senate for consideration.  In one nine-hour stretch on Thursday, the House debated and passed 142 bills.  In case you are wondering that is an average of less than four minutes per bill.

None of the bills on the docket that were considered and passed addressed our most pressing issues.  Here is just three of those bills.

HB2789 – Disallows state grants to public libraries that ban books. This bill is to ensure that parents and community members cannot influence what books are in their library such as controversial books like Gender Queer which are already in public school libraries

HB2773 – Phonics Education.  The bill is one line long and simply says that school shall teach reading using Phonics.  Could this simple bill be the cause for reading scores going up exponentially over the next few years?  I will watch and be hopeful.

HB3882 – This bill gives illegal immigrants a standard driver’s license instead of a temporary valid driver’s license (TVLD). On January 8, 2013 the legislature passed the TVLD during lame duck session,  Read the ABC News article at the time of passage. The legislation was very controversial as the people receiving an official government document were here illegally.  The reason for issuing this document to undocumented people was to provide them a legal way to drive and obtain car insurance.  The entire argument for issuing the TVLD was simply for driving purposes.  To ensure that the license would not be used for other purposes or confused by voter registrars as documentation for registering to vote the TVDL was, importantly, visually different with a purple line running through the license itself.  

Now the argument is that because the current TVDL looks different, illegal immigrants are being discriminated against when they present the card to pick up prescriptions needing an ID or to purchase alcohol.  The sponsor, Rep. Barbara Hernandez, in debate emotionally described how her own parents for 21 years were discriminated against for being here illegally.  Rep. Guerrero-Cuellar stated that she was the one in the household that had to pick up prescriptions and alcohol for their family because her husband was discriminated against for having a TVDL.  No one seemed concerned that these folks are/were here illegally for years or that we are giving standard drivers licenses to not just non-citizens with legal status like a green card holder, but to people residing here illegally.  

None Of This Makes Sense!!

Illinois’ education system in a nutshell:

Spending up, student outcomes down.

Property taxes up, home values down.

Look at the select school districts around the state including Central Illinois school districts of Marshall, McClean and Springfield.

This recent analysis from Wirepoints lays out the dismal student outcomes in the state’s largest school districts and a select few others. Meanwhile, spending and tax burdens continue to grow while Illinois home values continue to suffer.

Illinois ranks 8th in per student spending and has the highest property tax burden in the nation. Yet despite that spending, just 30% of Illinois students are reading at grade level and only 26% are proficient in math.

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Illinois Pension Money Should be Invested for Maximum Returns, Not Social Causes

Leave it to Democrats to find yet another way to cripple our state.

Their recently introduced senate bill (SB2152) which would strip pension trustees of control over how to vote shareholder matters and vest the power in the state treasurer, currently, Michael Frerichs. And this horrible idea is gaining traction.

Still worse, the treasurer would then be bound to comply with the Illinois Sustainable Investing Act on how he votes on behalf of stocks owned by the pensions. That law requires officials like the treasurer to include “sustainability” considerations in how public money is invested. It’s basically a progressive policy agenda also known as ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance). It’s often ridiculed as “woke capitalism,” and includes the goals of zero fossil fuels, “equity,” gender and identity politics, and pretty much any other social justice fad du jour.

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‘Only Whistleblowers On Our Side Can Play’

Attorney General Kwame Raoul is pushing a whistleblower bill for illegal immigrants.

The bill would give the attorney general’s office the power to investigate and fine employers that threaten to check someone’s citizenship status or ask an employee to produce immigration documents. He told reporters, “For immigrants, threats of deportation or repealing immigration status can influence a worker’s willingness to voice concerns about their workplace.”

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Illinois State Law Makes It Difficult For Landlords To Evict Squatters

 Even when somebody breaks into a property, the owner still has to go through the eviction process which can take months. It’s a lengthy process that can cost owners thousands of dollars in attorney fees, court fees, and paying sheriff’s officers to evict. In addition to those costs, owners are burdened with lost rent and repair costs.

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 Illinois LAST In The Nation For Opportunity Zones

Should This Be On The New Illinois Flag? 

Even though Illinois state lawmakers have far more pressing issues at hand, the effort to change the Illinois state flag still pushes on. The idea is gaining momentum, but this column illustrates why the goal is totally unnecessary. 

We have more important things to discuss.

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Illinois Trout Fishing Begins Soon!

The House passed a bill allowing for a 3-year sport fishing license this week. 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout each year in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season. The 2023 Illinois spring trout fishing season will open on April 1 at 58 lakes, ponds and streams throughout the state, including 20 locations in Central Illinois

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As your State Representative, my office is available to assist you with any issues you may have when interacting with a state agency.

Please call our office at 217.876.1968 to get help or schedule an appointment to see me. The office is located at 715 W Imboden Dr, Decatur.