The MIG Journal: Saturday Evening Edition
FINAL EDITION - FEB. 29
Photos by Lizzie Roehrs
Proposal to Repeal FOID Card Requirement Passes House
By Kaylar Recker
HB3167 elicited a heated debate during Saturday afternoon’s floor session. This bill repeals the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (FOID). On top of a spirited debate, Majority Leader Matthews (D-UIS) and Minority Leader Partain (R-UIS) switched House positions, as done as a yearly tradition, and each one spoke on behalf of their counterparts.
Before debate began, NRA Lobbyist Nick Gehricke (WIU) spoke in support of repealing the FOID card. He stated the FOID system was backlogged, with 62,000 people either waiting to re-apply or are applying for the first time. Lobbyist Gehricke also spoke about the fees the FOID card imposes on gun users, stating it cost $10 for 10 years and costs an additional $30 for fingerprinting fee.
Representative Michael Perri (D-EIU) gave a passionate speech about the need to keep FOID cards. He acknowledged the backlog was a problem, he stated that dismissing FOID cards would be reckless. Representative Perri said, “The FOID card picks up what the federal government misses.”
Most of the Republican party stood in strong support for this HB3167. Representative Cacioppo (R-UIS) quoted the U.S. Constitution, saying that the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed. Representative Jacob Rayl (R-UIS) stated that rights in the constitution cannot be limited by a permit. Other states do not have a FOID card permit, as Representative Ian Peason (R-NIU) pointed out, hinting that Illinois should follow the same lead.
With a final vote of 33-25-2, HB3167 was passed in the House.
Drug Test for High School Athletes Proposal Shot Down in Senate
By Dana Cadey
This afternoon, the Senate floor engaged in a short debate over Senate Bill 1302, an original piece of legislation that would require all high school athletes to undergo random drug testing. Due to multiple senators not finding the bill detailed enough for appropriate discussion, the Senate moved into an immediate vote before the debate was scheduled to end. A majority of senators voted against the bill, effectively blocking its potential passage to the governor’s desk.
Lobbyist Nash Oldenettel (Millikin), the author of the bill, briefly introduced his legislation to the senators, emphasizing that he wrote the bill to be easily amendable. The bill was already amended once in Senate Committee 3 to be inclusive of private high schools in addition to public schools.
Senator Gerard James (D-SEIC) called the bill discriminatory towards students of color based on how many of these students participate in high school sports. The debate became heated, with some comments drawing jeers from both sides of the aisle and being labelled “out of order” by Senate President Isaiah Moore (D-PSC).
“This policy will affect a lot of kids of color, because people think they do the most drugs,” said Senator James, clarifying his previous statement.
Oldenettel claimed that he was disappointed that the floor “took the bill so literally,” instead of actively adding amendments that would have made the legislation less vague.
“[The Senators] turned it into a race issue, which was not my intention with the bill at all,” said Oldenettel.
Student Attorneys Participate in Moot Court Competition
By Anthony Muhammad
Each year the Supreme Court of MIG hosted a Moot Court Competition for its delegates with an interest in law careers. MIG Journal had the opportunity to speak with Chief Justice Paola Ascencio about the importance and relevance of Moot Court, for her and participating delegates. Justice Paola shared that her desire to see good case preparation, have a sound argument, and to gain confidence with court litigation, processes, and demeanor.
The Moot Court experience assists student delegates with development in logical and critical thinking skills, research, legal writing, oral advocacy, self management, organization, ambition, and initiative. It further develops public speaking - (persuasive) and the ability to work as team members for a shared goal.
Moot participants receive a fact pattern(the case) and relevant materials to formulate an argument for their client. The competition has preliminary rounds in which all paired entrants are afforded the opportunity to present evidence on behalf of the client. The rounds consist of two parts that require participants to argue for both plaintiff and defendant. The criteria for judgement originates from the office of Chief Justice. Each judge evaluates and scores the delegate’s knowledge of the fact pattern, court demeanor, effective speech, and overall presentation. Delegate members who receive the highest scores advance to the next round, culminating with the two final Teams competing on Sunday in the Supreme Court Chambers of the Old State Capitol building.
This year Supreme Court Chief Justice, Paola Ascencio welcomed 28 participants from 5 colleges/universities for the Moot Court competition. The Preliminary rounds began Friday morning and were completed Saturday afternoon with teams from the following delegations:
Four from Millikin University (MU)
Four from Eastern Illinois University (EIU)
Three from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU)
Two from North Illinois University (NIU)
One from Purdue Northwestern (PNW)
Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in Vista 1(29th fl, Wyndham) Justice Ascencio announced the following eight teams had advanced to the quarter-final round:
Team 10 (MU) vs Team 1 (NEIU)
Team 12 (MU) vs Team 2 (NEIU)
Team 13 (MU) vs Team 4 (NIU)
Team 11 (MU) vs Team 5 (NIU)
Immediately following the announcement MIG Journal had the opportunity to speak with members from Team 10 (MU). Sophie Green and Madison Burress shared how excited they were to advance, how demanding it is to prepare for competition, and the toll it has mentally and physically.
The Office of the Chief Justice announced Saturday evening at 6:20pm which teams have advanced to the Semifinal round of the 2020 Moot court competition. The final four teams selected are all from Millikin University. The following are the scheduled pairings:
Team 13 (MU) vs Team 10 (MU)
Team 11 (MU) vs Team 12 (MU)
The Semifinal round will be held at the Old State Capitol on Sunday at 8:30a.m. in the Supreme Court Chamber.
Ban on Vaping Products Passes House with Mixed Support
By James Kanter
The first bill of the afternoon session was, HB 3420 which creates the Vapor Products Regulatory Act. This bill would require any business that sells vapor products to register with the state and pay a licensing fee. Republicans came out against the bill stating that the bill will hurt businesses and make them unable to participate in the economy. Minority Leader Representative Joseph Partain (R-UIS) said “The end result is that most businesses in this state would not be able to sell this product… This bill harms people it doesn’t help them.”
Majority Leader Representative Mackenzi Matthews replied saying “this bill simply says you must follow new regulation, not that you can’t sell vape products.” The democrats continued by citing health concerns regarding vape products. A recent report from the Illinois Department of Public Health statistic was brought up, specifically that 187 people in Illinois have received injury after using vape products. Continuing on this stance of public health Representative Sarah Burris (D-UIS) said, “The real issue isn’t regulation … it’s tobacco companies. 1,300 deaths are caused every day by tobacco.”
The Republicans then responded by stating that vape products and tobacco products are significantly different. Representative Jacob Rayl (R-UIS) said “we have almost defeated smoking cigarettes… legal [vape product] is significantly healthier for you than smoking a cigarette.” Journalist James Kanter researched this statement and found that the National Center for Health Research has said, “There are no long-term studies to back up claims that the vapor from e-cigarettes is less harmful than conventional smoke.” Despite this Republicans continued on this narrative with Representative Garrett Fisher (R-EIU) saying “Legal products are not the issue.” Republicans instead asserted that the majority of injuries from vape products came from black market products. They further argued that passing this bill would result in more black-market sales. Minority Leader Representative Partain said, “the end result, teens and adults will have to get [vape products] on the black market”.
The Democrats concluded their arguments with statements from several representatives. Representative Lexi Werle (D-WIU) argued that the republican members were biased as, “the tobacco industry donated millions of dollars to republican congress members.” Representative Ashley Hines (D-NIU) said, “this bill is about whether or not we’re ok with allowing commercial businesses lacing these products with dangerous drugs.”
The Republicans concluded with Minority Leader Representative Partain saying, “if you are a minor you cannot vape…if you are a company in Illinois you are not allowed to put illegal substances in your vape, those protections are already in place. Minority Leader Representative Partain concluded by saying, “if you want to start a new war on drugs, that’s your business.”
The resolution passed with of vote of 32-21-6.
Senate Votes Down Minimum Wage Hike
By Lukas Angelus
The ‘Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act” (SB0001) was shot down in the Senate yesterday in a close 26-21-3 vote. The bill proposed to raise the Illinois minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour, nearly double Illinois’ current minimum.
Democrats championed this bill as a moral necessity; one that would ensure that minimum wage was livable for families. Their cause was adopted by three Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the bill. Although they admitted Republican constituents would be unhappy with their vote, they say that it’s in the interest of everyone to raise the minimum wage.
Senator Juan Garcia (R-NEIU) says “ I live in the city of Chicago and I see the beneficial effects that rising minimum wage has had, especially in minority communities… I think the benefits outweigh the cons.”
However, fellow Senate Rebuplican Cheryl Harvey (R-ICC) disagrees. “I found that there is lots of evidence that supports the claim that raising wages negatively impacts the economy,” said Senator Harvey, “Since the 1970’s, the minimum wage has been raised five times. Four out of those five times, the unemployment rate increased significantly in a year after.”
It was this point that the Republicans drilled, which eventually led three Democrat senators to abstain. In addition to the abstentions, a few Democratic Senators were absent for the vote, giving the Republicans the advantage.
House and Senate Pass HBOL2404 With Unanimous Support
By August Klemp
HBOL2404 came onto the floor of the House this afternoon. HBOL2404 amends the Uniform Code of Criminal Procedures of 1963. This bill attempts to give more rights to incarcerated parents. This bill would give parents increased visitation rights and free phone calls with their families.
Representative Callie Oxford gave an emotional speech about her bill before the house. After a fiery debate from both sides, a surprising vote of 59/0/0 with 59 in the affirmative, zero in the negative, and zero in the abstentions, the bill overwhelmingly passed.
When asked about why the bill passed with no dissenting votes, Majority Speaker of the House Mackenzi Matthew (D-UIS) said “It was a very emotional bill. While we debated for the spirit of simulation, in the end we wanted to support a great bill”.
HBOL2404 then went to the Senate floor. From the opening moments, both sides were on the same page on making it pass. What followed were several minutes of congratulations and respect for the author that had been unseen up until that point. When asked the speak on the closing statements of the bill, Representative Oxford said “I never expected such support from both sides of the aisle on my bill”.
In a vote that shocked no one, It passed with a vote of 53/0/0 with 53 in the affirmative, zero in the negative, and zero in the abstentions. It was truly inspiring to see this bill pass with full support of the both the house and the committee. It was then announced that this was the first bill that had passed the Senate and would be the first bill that would hit the desk of the Governor. A deafening roar exploded from the crowd as everyone stood in support of such a great bill.
House Passes Tuition-Free Public College Act
By Lukas Angelus
The Tuition-Free Public College Act (HBOL2101) was passed by a close 33-21-5 vote this morning. Within the first moments of consideration, hard party lines were drawn as Republicans attacked the great costs of this bill. Minority Leader Joseph Partain (R-UIS) cited Illinois’ increasing debt, a point which the Republicans relied heavily upon.
The Democrats asserted that this bill would be beneficial to Illinois’ economy in the long run. Though they portrayed the bill as an economic investment, they did not address the Republican’s concerns about the down payment — as of yet, the source of the funds needed to initiate this bill is uncertain. Both Democrats and Republicans acknowledged that this bill could result in increased taxes for Illinois residents.
Publishing staff: AG Paige Rader, Editor in Chief Aileen Garcia, Press Secretary Tim Kirsininkas