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  • Writer's pictureThe MIG Journal

The MIG Journal: Friday Evening Edition

Members of the House Judiciary Committee discuss speaking points during caucus - Photo by Kyle Bergfors

Friday afternoon was filled with committee action, as delegates got their first taste of partisan debate, and introduced some of their first original legislation. Read up on all the action below.

House Bill 2601 finds Bipartisanship to Make Roads Safer for Motorcycles

Kelly Kupris, Deputy Attorney General/House Correspondent

Attorney General Chief of Staff Paige Leonard (NIU) introduced her own original legislation, HBOL2601. The bill requires an amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code that mandates any driver or passenger on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. The bill also covers motorized pedal cycles as well as motorized bicycles. Leonard’s goal with this bill is to simply make Illinois a safer place for drivers. When arguing for the bill, Leonard shared the fact that Illinois is one of the only three states across the nation that does not have mandatory helmet law, and due to that, also one of the states that has the highest fatalities for motorcyclists.

Leonard, a Republican, requested bipartisanship on the bill introduced by Majority Leader Layla Werner of Northern Illinois University, who described the proposed bill as, “common sense.” This call for agreement was then echoed on the Democratic side.

The minority in House Committee Six (Alcohol, Transportation, and Firearms) agreed that this was a matter of safety of transportation, and that everyone could get behind it. The Minority Leader, in fact, ended up being the one to call for a vote to get Leonard’s bill to pass.

House Majority Leader Layla Werner speaks in support of a bill in her committee - Photo by Kyle Bergfors

The ability for the majority Republicans and minority Democrats to come together in House Committee Six is a representation of what politics is about. Politicians have to work together at times to pass bills for the general good despite having majorly differing views.

The passing of HBOL2601 also shows the camaraderie that is building between delegates despite it being only Friday afternoon. Leonard’s determination with her bill and desire of spreading the message about motorcycle safety is what brought it to House Committee Six. Common sense and a willingness to work together is what got the bill passed and will bring it to the House floors. From there, we hope the entire House of Representatives will demonstrate bipartisanship and pass HBOL2601.


SBOL1402 Proposing Giving Inmates a Right to the Death Penalty

John Rayburn, Senate Columnist

SBOL1402, Right to Death Penalty Act, creates the option for inmates to have the ability to go forth with either execution or to serve their sentence in prison. Amber Johnson (R-Millikin) introduced the bill in Committee four. Lobbyist Oldenettel made a point stating, “We pass this bill, save money for our state and give inmates the choice of punishment.” The Democrats, however thought otherwise. Senator Kevin Coleman (D-NEIU) stated, “I think it’s an easy way out for people to have the option to take their own life.”

The Democrats also mentioned how the state should use that money for funding for education instead and that it’s barbaric for this bill to be passed. When it came down to a vote, the bill passes in favor of the Death Penalty Act. My thoughts on this is that the Democrats had valid points regarding using the funding for education. It is barbaric that inmates get to choose their own punishment.

For example, what if these criminals are actually innocent? Now, in this case, they choose the death penalty not knowing of their innocence and end up dying innocently, when they could’ve lived to see another day. Moral of this is that inmates should not get the option because it’s similar to suicide.


Senate Weighs LGBTQ Sex Education

Jenessa Peinado, Senate Reporter & Kyle Bergfors, Editor

SBOL1202 was introduced in Senate committee two, which amends the School Code Critical Health Critical Health Problems, Comprehensive Health Education Act and Comprehensive Sex Education while making changes requires all classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual intercourse in grades 6 through 12 shall also provide information on LGBTQ sex in addition to requiring instructors to include information on LGBTQ+ health centers.

Attorney General Tim Kirsininkas and Senate Chief of Staff David Wilson coordinate Senate Bills - Photo by Kyle Bergfors

While the Democrats continued to argue that kids will remain curious and the current system is flawed the Republicans rebutted by saying there was no necessary reason for the change.Democrats continued to back their original legislation bill by reiterating that the bill was not simply for LGBTQ+ students, but for all. The continuing drive behind the bill was that it was not just about sex but rather health neglect.

While the Democrats established their view, the Republicans came back ready to rebuttal. While arguing that the percentages have drastically decreased they as a party seemed to be a bit divided. Whereas some senators were in favor of the education portion of the bill, were there was camaraderie occurring was where the bill stated the specific ages that should be taught, thus an amendment was proposed. The proposed amendment was for the educational classes to occur within the age class groups of freshman through seniors. Although this amendment did not pass, it played a crucial role in whether Republicans would remain opposed or vote in favor.

In the end the final vote came down to a close vote with seven in favor and six opposed, therefore passing bill 1202 .


SBOL1301 Aims to Lower Drinking and FOID Card Age Requirement for Those in the Military

Kim Wolf, Solicitor General/Senate Correspondent

Minority Spokesperson Sean Dillard (R-SEIU) proposed his original legislation SBOL1301 in Senate committee three. SBOL 1301 aims to grant personnel in the military the ability to consume alcohol and obtain a FOID card at the age of eighteen, rather then the current age of Twenty-one., with a valid military ID.

Dillard spoke with great passion by discussing the fact that these soldiers are putting their lives on the line and sacrificing everything that they have for our country, yet the state of Illinois still views them as folks who do not have the capability to enjoy a legal drink with whomever they wish. The Majority Spokesperson, Jordan Franks (D-Southeastern) proposed a rebuttal concerning the damage to the brain at a younger age and therefore it can, in turn, affect the soldier later on in life.

Both sides of the aisle, however, were completely respectful and persuasive as evidenced by the congratulatory remarks given from the Democrats to the Republicans. The bill unanimously passed 10-0-0 and will be sent to the to the Senate chambers for floor action.


Homeless Relocation Bill and Phone Search Define a Busy Day for House Human Services Committee

Cory Kirsininkas, House Reporter

HBOL 2303 was introduced in House Committee three during committee actions proposing that homeless people should be sent to warmer parts of the U.S. during the winter.

On the Democrat side, the bill was instantly described as “abysmal” by Majority Leader Christian Lane (D-SIU), and Democratic delegate Jay Banister (D-ICC) stating that “The cost difference between renovating abandoned houses for the homeless or sending them to various parts of the U.S. should be evaluated. We should focus on the problems they have here, instead of just deporting them.”

On the reverse side, a Republican representative proclaimed, to much laughter, that “We need to look out for Illinois, the people of Illinois elected us, not the homeless, since they can’t vote”.

Following more debate, some surprise drama came to fruition. Police arrived in the committee room asking about a missing phone that had credit cards and IDs with it. People who were at a certain restaurant, where the phone was said to have been last seen, talked to the police, while the others were told to go outside the committee room, while they questioned the individuals and examined the bags. After about five minutes, legislators were allowed back in after finding out that the phone was located in the room next to the committee three room was in.


Death Penalty Bill Sparks Heated Debate to Start Simulation Weekend

John Rayburn, Senate Columnist

When it came to the debate between the House of Representatives on Bill 4423 regarding the Death Penalty Act, I heard a lot of good facts. The purpose of the bill amends the Criminal Code of 2012 relating to first degree murder.

During this debate, both the Democrats and Republicans had strong facts to support their arguments. With the Democrats, they’ve highlighted some excellent points. One of the House Reps from the Democratic Party stated “According to the 2000 Louisiana Law Review, $1.26 million is the cost to secure the death penalty whereas $740,000 was used for retaining life in prison.”

The Republicans counter-argued and stated , “The prison was not created for people to hold life sentences but the death penalty is grained in our judicial system”. Moreover, Rep. Leah Schaefer (R-Principia) stated, “ We need to put more trust within our judicial system”.

For some people within this great state, they have issues trusting the judicial system only because they feel as though the system failed them when the system is for them. Rep. Bradley Cazeau (R-PSC) says, “In prisons, inmates committed more crimes while being imprisoned". So, in conclusion, by locking up more criminals within prison, it’s putting the policemen and sergeants in danger within the correctional facility. So, I guess giving them the option to choose their own punishment is beneficial maybe.


A Right vs. A Privilege: HB4314

Kelly Kupris, Deputy Attorney General/House Correspondent

HB4314 raised a fiery debate in House Committee Six by proposing a removal of a FOID card for Illinois gun purchasers and instead just requiring a valid driver’s license to purchase a firearm breaking the flow of bipartisanship found within Committee VI.

Kallie Matthews (R - LLCC) , who was Majority Leader for Committee VI. - Alcohol, Transportation, and Firearms, shared the fact that twenty-one-year olds would be able to purchase handguns, and eighteen-year olds would only be allowed to purchase shotguns and rifles with a valid driver’s license if a FOID card were no longer required. While there was quite a bit of bipartisanship throughout Committee VI., this was one bill that was clearly divisional.

Republicans argued that a FOID card is a form of ‘nameless regulation’. The majority all concurred with the opinion that a FOID card was making the second amendment too much of a privilege, rather than the right it was as granted in the Constitution. The Republicans also drove home the point that Illinois is not just made up of Chicago, who, as mentioned as well, have huge rights of gun violence. While arguing for the repeal of a regulation on firearms and at the same time citing high rates of gun violence may seem contradictory, the Republicans did mention states without the FOID card that had low rates of gun violence, for example, Louisiana (pop. 4.6 million). While Illinois is more than double Louisiana's with 12.1 million, the Republicans did drive home that a lack of FOID cards can possibly cause lower rates of gun violence in states with smaller populations.

The Democrats took the more ‘emotional’ route of arguments. The minority brought up that less regulations does not equal more safety, bringing up the issues of domestic violence and mass school shootings, which happen nationwide. The Democrats made clear they don’t want to take away gun rights, they just want to make sure guns are in proper and responsible hands. The Republicans took the more logistical path being that the Constitution gives gun rights to everyone, the Democrats simply made the point that a right to do something does not necessarily exist as right without regulations. Due to having the committee majority, the Republicans were able to pass HB4314.

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