The MIG Journal: Saturday Morning Edition
Friday night's simulation action saw the first chamber action in the house and senate, plus an update from Governor Lizzie Roehrs.
New and Smooth Changes, Governor Roehrs on the State of MIG
Jenessa Peinado, Senate Reporter
This evening we the MIG Journal held a press conference to get to know how much has been attained and what foundations were laid in order to reach those settled upon accomplishments. Governor Lizzie Roehrs agreed to take the time to tell us just how much has gone on behind the scenes to come to this final Simulation result.
Starting off her address she remind us that this is in fact the 41st annual Model Illinois Government simulation and despite changes our first day of committee work beginning of the chamber work “has gone beautifully.” She then followed this comment stating that “Our delegates (of MIG) are dedicated to having an excellent year at MIG… I think that we will see a lot of interesting work on the chamber floors..”.
Following this acknowledgement the Governor proceed to speak of the changes made this year. The first change in which delegates were subject to was the forum in which the keynote speaker participated in. In prior years lectures were given and followed by audience inquiries whereas this year was set up as a prepared interview by the Governor, interviewing keynote speaker Daisy Contreras of NPR. Feedback following this seemed to be positively received. Following that positive was the welcoming of new addition of Illinois Central College.
Another new addition made was the Campaign Mixer, a chance for those to run for E-Board roles, find out what they entail and also just socialize. Governor Roehrs when question asked what she would change in her five years at MIG replied with “I regret not running for an Executive board position earlier.” So follow our Governors advice and get on out there.
Along with the positives though come the negatives. Unfortunately this year the Office of Management and Budget. Another obstacle that was faced was this past year was the Model Illinois Government budget. Following years had show the cushion room had begun to dwindle. To combat this dilemma the consideration of raising both delegate fees and delegation fees was brought to question. Rather than jumping to the implementation of this the precise cutting of the budget was able to keep the delegate fee the same and increase the delegation fee by only about twenty-five dollars.
All Governor Roehrs’ changes came from lessons learned and experiences made. We should follow her example and continue to strive for a good experience. For the rest of the simulation as long as our passions continue to drive us, such as hers did there is no reason to go anywhere but up.
Watch the full video of the press conference on the MIG Facebook Page
"Living Room Decisions": House Considers Abortion in Cases of Down Syndrome
Kelly Kupris, Deputy AG/House Correspondent
Of the three bills that came to the House floor Friday night, HB4210 was the one that had one of the most heated debates on each side. The passing of the bill would prohibit physicians from giving an abortion to a woman who is seeking the abortion solely based on the knowledge that the baby will or may be born with down syndrome.
Assistant Majority Leader Caleb Weiss opened debates by claiming that bill was one that intended to “wedge and divide the left” and was also “a stepping stone to overturn Roe v. Wade.” The Republicans retorted that it was a civil rights issue and they wanted to protect individuals from discrimination against their disabilities. While protecting people from discrimination is important to both the right and left, the Democrats made sure to make clear that their opposition to the bill was because they wanted a woman’s right to choose remain intact. Democrat Representative Hammond (Eastern Illinois University) stated that, “It’s not the place of the state legislature to be in the family’s living room.”
Republican Rep. Allison Anderson spoke for the other side of the aisle and reiterated that, while she is personally pro-life, she is,“against the idea the government or my doctor should make decisions on how I should govern my body.” While the Republicans appealed to the emotional side and brought up valid points such as: not disregarding people with down syndrome, not picking the traits of your children, and that all individuals are valuable to society, House Majority Leader Layla Werner pointed out the logistical issues with HB4210. Werner commented on how "hard it would to be prove and enforce" this bill, as it opens a door to discrimination by the physician allowing the room for the physician’s own personal beliefs to dictate a woman’s healthcare choice.
Several representatives spoke on how it’s not simply a decision of having or not having a child with down syndrome, it’s also based on financial concerns, mental health concerns, and simply, whether or not a woman wants to or is ready to become a mother. Werner wrapped up these points by asking Republicans to, “Practice being more pro-baby than pro-life,” as the Republicans concerns are more workable with a living breathing human, rather than a fetus. Due to issues with roll call and voting, the vote ended up being a tie. Madame Speaker of the House Mackenzi Matthews voted with the Democrats and the bill was not passed. While this was a highly emotional and personal debate, it was one that was representative of how some floor sessions will go. These are issues that are close to our hearts, our belief systems, and our lives. Keeping respect at the forefront of your words, please go onto be passionate this weekend.
Senate Considers Guns in Church
John Rayburn, Senate Columnist
The floor session was very intense when it came to Bill regarding the restrictions of having a gun near church grounds.The purpose of the bill is prevent concealed weapon holders of bring guns to the church. With the mass shootings that occured within the church, this bill was formed to protect innocent people. Sen. Prince Washington (D-UIS) stated , "The best way to control gun violence is to not have it within the hands of people who don't need them" Sen Kevin Coleman (D-NEIU) also made a point stating "Faith is trusting God. So that means that I shouldn't bring my gun in a place of worship". In all honesty, bringing a concealed weapon to a church serves exactly no purpose within the church setting.
However, our 2nd Amendment gives us the right to bear arms. My overall concern is people taking advantage of the that right to bear arms. Looking at the crime rate within the city of Chicago, people automatically assume it’s the murder capital of the state. Furthermore, the voting results were ruled in favor of the Democrats which is restricting guns from entering the church setting. This was honestly an amazing floor session and definitely a session for the books.
House Passes Requirement for Spanish School Handbooks
Cory Kirsininkas, House Reporter
To kick off Model Illinois Government’s first House discussion of 2019, House bill 5906 is pertaining to the implementation of Chicago School Board’s district policy handbook, to be written in English as well as Spanish.
To begin, the democrats argued that including a Spanish handbook would be a perfect step to including more minorities, more frequently, in official writings. Since so many families in the Chicago area are Spanish speaking, and possibly only Spanish speaking, passing this bill would allow for minority parent’s to be better informed on school guidelines as well of what their children would be doing in their school.
Conversely, the republicans argued the that this bill has no place in an official legislation, and that it should be determined by the Chicago School Board. A discussion such as this bill would not allow the Chicago Board of Education to continue to make their own choices regarding school policies. Republicans cited cases of segregation in Chicago as a further complication to the issue. Representative Joseph Partain (R-UIS) stated “Chicago is segregated, and you can see that from space.”
Democrats' rebuttal was that if this bill passed, the legislation would be a stepping stone for more inclusivity to other minorities who speak languages other than English and Spanish. Regarding the segregation of Chicago, Wendy Cruz (D-Northeastern) went on to say that “Chicago is segregated because of the way the city is set up,” because of not providing equal opportunities to minorities like this bill would.
To finish up the discussion, republicans continued to lay down the statement that this bill belongs on a municipal level instead of a statewide one. The final vote for House bill 5906 on whether or not to include a Spanish Chicago School Board policy handbook was 49 for the legislation, 41 against. This bill does pass.
Being too Vague in an already Gray Issue: House Considers FOID Card Law
Jenessa Peinado, Reporter
Committee three the house chamber commenced an interesting debates this afternoon discussing whether or not a person who is charged with sexual misconduct should not be given the opportunity to have a FOID card if deemed (psychologically) unfit.
While Republicans argued against the taking away of the opportunity they went on to give examples of how this infringes on the second amendment. Even though the police department can choose to not enforce this law on particular individuals the Republican party still found to be flawed. That being said Representative Murphy (R-ICC) has said that “It is so vague. People need a shot at redemption, a hypothetical five years. For life though is way too long and way too personal.” To give the police departments that power is argued to be to much for too little. There has been the argument that there is too much of a narrowing in views.
The Democratic party on the other hand on their opening statement came to state how the law is “still in favor to law abiding citizens.” they came to argue that the people that committed their crimes have up their rights in doing so. Representative Cruz (D-NEIU) “If the police can show that they have enough proof that they should not be given a FOID card they need that right.” The Democratic party committee brought to light how the police could deem someone unfit to obtain a FOID card. One example has been due to being classified as mentally unfit.
All in all this bill was seen as too harsh or not harsh enough, seems to sum up the parties when it comes to pressing matters. Let us hope that a mutually beneficial compromise can soon be found.
Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
Kim Wolf, Solicitor General/Senate Correspondent
The second bill of Friday night’s floor session resulted in a vivacious debate. Senators debated SB2241 which would no longer force taxpayers to cover abortion costs. The right side of the aisle strongly persuaded for this bill to pass due to their belief that the taxpayers should not have to fund something that goes against their morals and values. On the other hand, the left recognized this bill as an attack on women and its passing would affect agencies such as Planned Parenthood because much of their funds do come from taxpayers.
Senate Majority Leader Dan Fogarty (D-Prairie State College) allocated his opening statement to his female Assistant Minority Leader, Megan Owens (D-Millikin University), to reiterate the notion that this bill is a woman’s issue. She passionately stated that “this bill affects those with a uterus”. As for Will Truman (R-LLCC), he used his time to make it a point that this bill will not and does not target women as it is not stripping away their choice to an abortion. It is an issue of taxpayers being the ones that are aiding to resources that contradict their values.
A powerful statement made by Senator Valerie Thomas (D-Illinois Central College) was directed towards the women who, in the sense that this bill passes, will no longer be able to afford a safe abortion and will be forced to look externally and potentially partake in extremely dangerous alternatives that have been done in the past. No direct comments were made by the minority senators as a rebuttal to Thomas’ argument, however an intriguing point was introduced by Senator Marilyn Mancusi (R-Governor’s State University). She argued the fact that because the Republicans are in the minority, their choices are being infringed upon. She and her other colleagues reiterated that the bill does not discriminate against a women’s choice which the left claims, but choices are being silenced regardless.
Ultimately, the bill did not reach a majority and did not pass. The final vote was 19-27-3.