• The MIG Journal

House Committees Debate Morals of Gambling, Tobacco and Firearms Regulations


Springfield, IL- Heated debates on the morals of legalizing college sports gambling, the imposition of more taxes on the sale of tobacco, and regulations over firearm possession began at the House Committee sessions, which were held before the floor sessions at the Model of Illinois Government.


The debate in the Education, Labor and Commerce Committee was driven primarily by the Democrats since they hold the majority. The issue of an amendment to HB0849, or the Sports Wagering Act, which would allow college sports gambling brought discussions about the economic convenience for both athletes and the public to allow betting on sports.


Joel Lemmert, Head Delegate of University of Illinois at Springfield and Democratic Spokesperson, said that college sports gambling “will bring money in to cover budget deficits”.


Aimable Ngabo (D), from Millikin University, added that the law “gives students opportunities to earn income, pay for school, and will provide students with real job opportunities.”


But Cassidy Proctor (R), from Principia College, and Clayton Barttlet (R), from Millikin University, argued that this law just added to the moral decadence of Illinois’ Democratic party. They presented data that showed 1.8 million Americans already addicted to gambling.


At the end, the law passed on party lines.


The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Committee argued about Firearms Owner Identification, or FOID, Cards. The debate was special because Republicans hold the majority in the committee and they were supported in some of their measures by Democrats that appeared to steer towards more conservative policies.


State Representative Cedric Birgans (R), from the University of Illinois at Springfield, brought up how restrictions and fees on gun possession had been historically perjudicial for poor citizens. He said that “the Constitution says that the right to bear arms should not be infringed and making people pay money and go through a long licensing process does infringe their right and their openness to be able to partake in their right.”


Representative Birgans also detailed the unfairness of allowing concealed possession of guns in cars, but not in public transportation when discussing a bill that will allow citizens to carry a concealed weapon in public transportation.


HB3827, which amends the Prevention of Tobacco Use by Persons under 21 Years of Age

and Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products Act, was brought to the committee by Democrats. This bill creates more regulations to the access of underaged people to tobacco. It was criticized heavily by Republican Representatives. Charley Hoffman (R), from Principia College, said that the bill “is just government overreach, Democrats love creating more regulations and tax burdens” to the constituency.”


This law failed on the committee in spite of the support of Representative Christian Walls (D), from Eastern Illinois University, who argued in favor of the bills dispositions to attack the new problem of vaping in schools.


By Erwin Lopez Rada



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