The MIG Journal: Friday Evening Edition
Updated: Mar 6
FINAL EDITION - FEBRUARY 28
Photos by Lizzie Roehrs
House Education and Government Affairs Committees Kick Off Debates
By James Kanter
House Committee three was called to order this morning at 9:01 am by Speaker of the House Kallie Matthews (D-UIS). Though committee three covered many bills a few stood out. HB 2432 which amends the Administration of Psychiatric Medications to Children Act. Majority Spokesperson Representative Christian Lane (D-SIC) gave an impassioned speech in favor of the bill. He stated that “the children are the future of our state.” HB 2432 passed in committee with unanimous support.
Divisions began to show when HB 2495 was brought to the table. HB 2495 creates the Reproductive Health Act. The formerly amiable Representative Lane, and Minority Spokesperson Representative Michael Fields (R-EIU) argued the merits of this bill. Representative Lane suggested that the bill protected all citizens of Illinois, while Representative Fields quoted a pro-life statement made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The bill passed to the House floor on a strict party line vote of 4-3.
In committee 2, HB 0290 was proposed. It establishes the Self-Funding Limitation Act. This bill inspired bi partisanship on both sides. The measure did pass to the House with a vote of 6 in favor 5 against and 2 abstaining. HB 0295 establishing the Truth in Legislative Taxation act received bi partisan support as well and was passed with a 12-1 vote. It requires that any new act that creates a new tax or fee must include the words “tax” or “fee” in the title. Representative Joseph Partain (R-UIS) stated that “most of the time these bills are passed under the voters noses”
SBOL1302 Amended and Passed in Senate Committee
By Dana Cadey
This afternoon, Senators in Committee 3 passed SBOL1302, an original piece of legislation introduced by Head Lobbyist Nash Oldenettel (Millikin).
This bill gives high schools in Illinois the authority to subject their student athletes to mandatory random drug tests. These tests would be for the purpose of detecting any performance-enhancing drugs in the athletes’ systems.
Oldenettel made the bill easily amendable, which gives senators the freedom to add or remove requirements related to the drug tests.
“I wrote the bill for the senators to amend it and have fun with it,” Oldenettel said.
The committee did amend the bill, specifically Section Two, which identified public high school students as the only demographic that it would affect. The amendment to expand the bill to include private school students passed with bipartisan support.
“If we are going to test some kids, we should test all of them,” Senator TooCoby Irving (D-SIC) said in regards to including private school students in the drug testing.
Oldenettel cited a personal experience from high school as his motivation behind drafting this particular piece of legislation.
“In my senior year of high school, [the administration] tried pushing drug tests onto all of the students,” Oldenettel said. “It was just our school that was doing that, so students stood up against it. I was one of the students that threw the drug testing form away. No repercussions came about it, though, because [the administration] didn’t do it legally through the state.”
Oldenettel wants his bill to bring more organization and structure to the process of drug testing high school athletes. “[My personal experience] was so random and abrupt, and happened halfway through the season,” Oldenettel said. “It wasn’t organized.”
The bill is set to be discussed on the Senate floor soon.
Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Controversial Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Bill, HB2404 Extends Visitation Rights to Children
By August Kemp
Committee Leader Gillian Jones (R-SIC) today announced her support for Senate Bill 1179, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The bill would provide that neither the state or any subdivisions may authorize the use of, appropriate, or expend funds to pay for or cover any part of the costs of a health care plan that includes any coverage for abortion or refers a patient for an abortion.
The bill made it through an extremely controversial debate in the senate, passing with everyone in agreement. Committee spokesperson Jerimiah Boyd-Johnson (D-EIU) also signaled his support for the bill with a ‘yes’ vote.
Senator Elizabeth Swan (R-WIU) proposed an amendment to the bill that would allow women that suffered from rape or incest to be covered and paid for by the state. Democrats fought back against this and tried to follow up with another amendment to add women suffering from below the poverty line. After much debate, both parties agreed to drop both amendments and pass the bill onto the floor.
“Everyone is filled with such fiery passion in trying to pass the bill” said Senator Jones. Senator Jones went onto say that “everyone is friendly and smiling with each other when we walked out into the hall”. This level of respect is admirable to see from our Senators.
HBOL2404 was presented today by Callie Oxford (D-SIC). The bill was attempting to promote and extend the visitation rights for minor children with incarcerated parents. Representative Oxford gave an emotional speech talking about her childhood being affected by this very issue.
The bill passed with a vote count of 6/0/4 with six in favor the bill, zero against, and four abstentions. When asked for a comment, Representative Oxford said “She was very happy that my bill passed. I called my father beforehand and it gave me the confidence to give it my best”.
Rep. Hammond Introduces Tuition-Free College Act
By Lukas Angelus
“At the end of the day, I believe that a person’s ability to go to college and be able to advance their careers, shouldn’t be based on how much money they make or how well connected their family is.” These are the words of Representative Brock Hammond (D-EIU), who today presented his Tuition-Free Public College Act (HBOL2101) to the Education House Committee. The bill promises free public higher education to all Illinois residents, with a few conditions. It passed by a unanimous vote and will be moving to the House floor.
Though the vote was unanimous, so too were concerns from both sides of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans questioned the viability of this bill financially, citing the shrinking education budget in Illinois. To help pay for the initial costs, Representative Hammond proposes that Illinois could implement a more progressive tax system, which would increase income taxes for those with higher income.
In the long run, Representative Hammond is confident that this bill will stimulate Illinois’ economy and create jobs. A crucial part of this bill states that applicants must be residents for one year prior to attending, and two years after graduation. Due to this stipulation, Representative Hammond hopes graduates will invest in Illinois, starting their careers and businesses in-state. This will also help combat increasing migration from Illinois.
“Right now, we have a serious problem with out-migration in our state,” says Representative Hammond. “So many people have left, that after this next census, we could lose one congressional seat, perhaps even two. That’s a very serious problem because that leaves our state with less of a voice in Washington.”
Representative Hammond recognizes that in order to pass through the House floor, he will need to be open to amendments. He sees this bill as a stepping stone for future legislation, and one that offers a “common ground” for both Democrats and Republicans.
The financial concerns presented by the House committee will likely be the center of debate during the floor session. Progressive tax reform may not be appealing to Republicans, but it is not the only option available to help pay for this act. Representative Hammond’s willingness to make compromises may be the key to passing his legislation.
Proposed Cannabis Compensation Act to Provide Reparations for Non-Violent Drug Offenses
By Josue Moreno
Located in the Old Illinois State Capitol, Senator Geoffrey Diver proposed the Cannabis Compensation Act. This act gives reparations to those affected by the laws enacted by
President Nixon and his War on Drugs movement. The reparations include a $3,000 compensation with a $50,000 maximum compensation, to those affected.
Senator Geoffrey Diver proposed this bill to help the 770,000 expunged residents with Cannabis related charges. This will cost Illinois $38 billion dollars to give to those affected. Those who will be expunged through the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will receive the compensation through the taxation of the new marijuana recreational tax. This tax has already brought $40 billion every month in Illinois.
During the committee meeting between the two sides, a war waged on. While the Democratic side delved on the recent legalization of marijuana and how the War on Drugs was a harmful movement that affected many individuals.
The Republican side debated that despite the legalization, possession of marijuana is still a crime and that the crimes were already committed and that cannot change.
The bill will continue onto the floor.
House Majority Leader Matthews Introduces "Anti-Swatting" Act
By James Kanter
An Original Legislation proposed by House Majority Leader Representative Mackenzi Mathews (D-UIS) establishes the Anti-swatting Act. “Swatting” is when a person calls the police and falsely reports a serious crime at another residence. This action can result in the death of the person residing at the residence, as was the case in a December 28, 2017 swatting incident in Wichita, Kansas. HBOL 2403 combats this issue by assigning a class X felony charge to persons convicted of swatting. When asked why she wrote the bill Representative Matthews stated that “swatting is a pretty recent epidemic… I thought it was necessary to have something on the books to address the issue”. The bill passed to the house floor unanimously.
Rep. Trent Long Introduces Constitutional Amendment Regarding State vs. Local Control of Schools
By Anthony Muhammad
On Friday, The House Education committee introduced original legislation, HJRCA0001, to amend the Education Article of the Illinois Constitution. The Author of this amendment, Representative Trent Long (R-LLCC), proposes that the State of Illinois relinquish oversight to local jurisdiction.
The Education committee Chairman, Collin Moseley (D-UIS), opened the floor to members for Q&A with the bill sponsor. Chairman Long shared with his colleagues the benefit for such legislation in the area he represents, it would allow for direct input from the constituents he serves. The MIG Journal asked Long about his inspiration for the amendment, he stated, “I enjoy the challenge of proposing and debating new legislation, win or lose, and respecting the alternative view of others.”
The counter view from Representative Tyler Dillon (D-PUNW) stated, “This would gut the Illinois Constitution by drastically removing power from the State would create educational desserts.” There were others in agreement with Representative Dixon. Representative Kyle Hoffmeyer (D-PSC) believes, “It will complicate operations and services for unified school districts that serve multiple communities.”
The motion to amend the constitution ultimately failed to pass; with only two in favor, eight against its passage, and 2 voting in absention.
HB3167 Condsiders Repealing FOID Card Requirement
By Josue Moreno
House Bill 3167 seeks to repeal the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card Act.
State Representative Jerry Costello, a Democrat, presented this act.
The Republic party was for the bill and the Democratic Party was against it.
The Democratic party led by Majority Speaker Joel Lemmert (D-UIS) spoke on how the FOID Card Act was set in place to regulate and make sure that weapons were given to those who practiced gun safety and were using the weapons for their actual purpose. The FOID Card act was established to make sure that a gun was not put into the wrong hands.
The Republican party was led by Minority Speaker Trevor Crews (R-LLCC) and was also accompanied by NRA Lobbyist Nathan Cooper.
The Minority gave the argument that if someone wanted to use a weapon to do harm they would find a way to obtain a gun no matter what. The FOID Card Act only hinders the act of purchasing a weapon for those who enjoy guns. Lobbyist Nathan Cooper also noted how the FOID card does not prevent gun violence.
The Bill was sent to the floor.
HBOL2401 Proposes to Create Database of Violent Offenders
By Will Bolt
Bipartisanship was very strong today in multiple committees of both the House and the Senate.
In committee four of the House, an original piece of legislation, HBOL 2401, was introduced that would create a database of information of offenders that have committed offenses involving family or dating violence. Lobbyist Ashton Hooker (MU) spoke: “on behalf of all Illinoisans, especially women who statistically are nearly twice as likely than a man to experience some type of domestic violence.” Hooker made a comparison between the existing sex offender registry and how this new system would operate for domestic abusers. He stated he, “hoped both sides of the aisle can find some common ground with this bill and realize we can make some real changes here today when it comes to the safety of women everywhere.” Hooker’s hope was met with bipartisan support and a final vote of 10 to zero to zero.
In committee four of the Senate, they passed both SB0063, which amended the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 to ensure programs be created to provide legal counsel for minors under custodial interrogation and SB0033, which amended the Election Code to allow political funds to be used to take care of expenses for child care (after amendment) unanimously.
SB0055 reached a nearly unanimous decision which would create Barack Obama day on the fourth of August passed with a vote of 14 to one to two.
House Judiciary Committee Considers Important Criminal Code Changes
By Anthony Muhammad
On Friday morning the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Representative Mackenzi Matthews (D-UIS) convened to debate House bills on the docket. The Majority was led by Representative Christian Walls (D-EIU), the Minority led by Representative Kaleb Schutt (R-SIC).
The introduction of HB0021, Complaints Against Police, gave way to strong debate on the committee floor from both sides. Representative Hector Estrada (D-NEIU) stated, “this bill is needed to hold law enforcement accountable and to protect his constituents who fear retribution from police for filing complaints.” The perspective of the minority differed with Representative Delaney (R-PRIN) stating, “This would be an impediment to law enforcement performing their duties. Our desire is to see a complete process where complaints are validated with a sworn affidavit.” This bill narrowed passed with a 5-4-0 majority.
The democratic spirit was on full display with an injection of bipartisan support for proposed bills, HB0339 and HB0870. Sex Offender-Video Recording and Sex Offender-Child Photo respectively both restrict sex offenders from the unauthorized video recording or having in their possession photographs of minors 18 years or younger. These two bills were passed by the Judicial committee with a vote of 9-0-0 majority.
The CAR Act Garners Bipartisanship in Committee Five
By Kaylar Recker
Representative Ian Pearson (R-NIU) proposed his original HBOL 2501 in House committee five. Also known as the Creating Advantages for Retailers (CAR) Act, HBOL 2501 will allow motor vehicle retailers to voluntarily conduct business seven days a week. As it currently stands, car dealerships in the state of Illinois cannot operate their businesses on Sundays.
Pearson garnered support from both parties, by recapping the long history the CAR Act has had within the Illinois legislature. Pearson said that this bill will boost consumerism. Majority Spokesperson Ashley Hines (D-NIU) spoke positively of the bill, noting that Sundays may be the only available day that an individual has time off to car shop. Representative Tyler Ralph (D-LLCC) said that while some may argue that car dealerships should not be open for religious purposes, the state of Illinois has a separation of church and state, and car dealerships should not be exempt from this as well.
Representative Francisco Lopez Zavala (D-UIS) criticized the bill, citing that bigger dealerships will have an economical advantage over smaller, more locally-owned dealerships. Representative Lopez Zavala said that some dealerships cannot afford to stay open an extra day on Sundays.
The CAR Act proved to be convincing, as it gained enough votes to pass in committee. With a final vote of 5-1-0, HBOL 2501 will go to the House chamber for floor action.
In response to his bill passing committee five, Representative Pearson said, “I’m gratified by the bipartisan effort to expand consumer rights and repeal this archaic law.”
HBOL4202 Proposes Temporary Emergency Sexual Violence Order of Protection Act
By Kim Wolf & Kelly Kupris
*Content Warning-Sexual Assault*
Representative Sarah Burris (D-UIS) was one of the authors who presented her OL in House Committee 4 (Judiciary) today. This passionate bill creates the Temporary Emergency Sexual Violence Order of Protection Act. Representative Burris brought to light the fact that one in four women will experience sexual assault within their lifetimes. She made a note to the fact that we all know a woman who was impacted by sexual violence, and not only are they themselves irrevocably affected but often they are disbelieved and belittled in court, as well as not having many physical protections. Representative Burris hopes that this bill will put an end to that injustice.
Within the bill, there is a significant point added to change the language of a “civil-no-contact order” to reflect that it is because of a sexual assault. This is so the assaulter cannot walk around without the attachment of rapist to his or her name. Representative Burris’ bill also relieves the burden of proof for the victim while their civil or criminal case is still in hearings. Orders of protection would be added to the victim as well. This would lessen the judicial ridicule that victims often face, as well as keep them safer while they attempt to heal from what was stolen from them.
Representative Burris bravely shared her own story, and when asked, said that she finds being honest is what can help people heal. This bill passed with not just bipartisanship, but with a depth of humanity and care for our fellow humans. Representative Burris hopes to bring this bill will create change within the real Illinois legislature.
National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1-800-656-4673