The MIG Journal: Saturday Morning Edition
MORNING EDITION - FEB. 29
Photos by Lizzie Roehrs and Tim Kirsininkas
Governor LeBlanc Gives Update Prior to Friday Night Floor Sessions
By James Kanter
Governor Sabrina LeBlanc (MU) began a press conference at 6:14 pm in the governor’s office of the Old State Capitol. Governor LeBlanc started by thanking John Shaw the guest speaker from Thursday night’s opening ceremonies. She then went on to address the fact that MIG did not have access to the New State Capitol this year. She stated that “for me MIG has never been about where it was held, but a quality, educational experience.” She then moved on to encourage delegates to go to both the Campaign mixer held Friday night at 8 pm, and the MIG Social held Saturday evening at 10 pm. The MIG Social is a dance that was first held last year, and will include both a keg and a cash bar for those old enough to imbibe. This provides delegates the opportunity to have fun and get to know each other. Governor LeBlanc concluded her address by explaining that further talks with the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature are being scheduled, and that the next MIG governor will be attending the spring session of Oklahoma’s simulation.
Afterwards, Journal reporters were able to ask questions. Journalist James Kanter (UIS) inquired as to what lessons the governor had learned this year with regards to not securing the new state capitol. Governor LeBlanc replied, “I believe communication is key”. She went on to state that one of the reasons MIG was not at the New State Capitol this year was due to Youth in Government being booked for this week. However, this has now opened up a new partnership between the organizations in terms of cooperation and recruitment, which had not existed before.
Also with that being said, she told the gathered press that MIG was booked at the State Capital for the next seven years. Governor LeBlanc continued by asserting that MIG has continued to grow over the past few years. Though several delegations have dropped this year MIG has remained consistent in its delegate count. Governor LeBlanc expressed enthusiasm and support for MIG. She said “I absolutely adore my board” and went on to discuss their various positive interactions throughout the year. Governor LeBlanc concluded by saying “Have fun and embrace everything that happens.”
House Floor Session Addresses Immigration and Deportation with Second Floor Debate
By Dana Cadey
Following a sharply partisan debate over HB3506 (which addressed government jurisdiction over homeschooled students), the House engaged in another tense battle over the passage of HB1553. The bill amends the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 so that the court has the power to classify certain children as “special immigrant minors.” To do so, the court would need to prove that it is not in the minor’s best interest to be returned to their last habitual residence.
The issue of child safety was raised often by both sides of the aisle during the debate. Republicans argued that the state should prioritize “keeping families united,” even if that means deporting minors to their country of origin.
“We should be acting as citizens of the world,” Minority Leader Joseph Partain (R-UIS) said near the end of the debate. “If these children’s families are the safest places for them, then we should send them back to their families.”
This point was criticized by the Democrats, who brought up that the U.S. is almost always safer than the alternative. Democrats also referenced the “American Dream” and their belief that every immigrant in America should have a clear path to citizenship.
Minority Whip Hunter Hummell (R-PC) introduced an amendment to the bill in an attempt to reach a bipartisan agreement on its passage. Majority Leader Mackenzi Matthews (D-UIS) argued against the amendment, claiming that it did not go far enough in protecting immigrant children. With near unanimous agreement from Democrats, the amendment did not pass.
The bill passed the House on a 37-24-3 vote, with most Democrats voting for it and most Republicans voting against it. A notable exception was Representative Wendy Cruz (R-NEIU), who cited the immigration experiences of her family and friends as the reason why she supported this bill.
Minority Leader Partain spoke on the feelings of House Republicans after the unsuccessful attempts to get party-backed bills passed.
“This is the state of Illinois, so Republicans can only expect a few fleeting victories,” the Minority Leader said. “We’ve made our best effort, and we’ll continue to make our best effort until the people see the change that they need.”
Senate Sees Bipartisanship and Objection to Consideration on Friday Evening
By Will Bolt & Lukas Angelus
The bipartisan nature of the debates heard in committee continued onto the floor of the Senate with SB0054.
SB0054 was introduced to amend the Liquor Control Act of 1934, creating a third-party facilitator license, establishes licensing fees, record keeping requirements, reporting requirements and other requirements for a third-party facilitator licensing. It also provides that a retailer may deliver liquor to the home of or other designated location of a consumer if conditions are met. It also provides retailers the ability to utilize a third-party facilitator to make the sale of alcoholic liquors and the delivery of these.
Majority Leader Dan Fogarty (D-GSU) started by saying, “This is a bill we believe we can work across the aisle with. We believe there is some bipartisanship to be had.” Senator Sean Dillard (R-SIC) returned the “olive branch” of bipartisanship by stating he was, “So glad that my colleagues want to come together on this bill.”
Senate Democrats found that the only change they wanted to amend to the proposed bill was a requirement to show identification for the delivery of alcohol, which the Senate Republicans pointed out was already included in the bill. The bill quickly moved to a vote with a final vote of 50-1-0.
As the fourth and final bill was brought before the Senate, one sentence created enough disruption to bring the proceedings to a full stop.
Senator William Truman (R-LLCC) stood before the President and stated: “I would like to make an objection to the consideration of this bill.” At first, it was unclear if this was proper procedure. After a brief exchange, Advisor Andrew Schott intervened, and a five-minute recess was called. No one had objected to the discussion of a bill since 2016. Why did Senator Truman object?
“I was in committee four today, which is where the bill originated,” says Senator Truman. “The whole debate was very unclear, no one was sure about the actual substance of the bill, and the arguments were built upon misunderstandings of the bill.”
Truman went on to say that he did not want to to see a poor debate on the Senate floor, which lead him to make his objection. Majority Leader Dan Fogarty (D-GSU), who was also on the committee, shared this sentiment, and conveyed the message to his delegates. After the recess ended, a motion to table the bill was called, which was agreed upon by a vast majority.
SB1678 Implements SNAP Requirements in "Major Win" for Republicans
By Lukas Angelus
During the Senate proceeding last night, bill SB1678 passed with a near unanimous vote. It would require those requesting SNAP benefits to work at least twenty hours a week. In an amendment to the bill, school credit hours were allowed to count towards this total.
This was a major win for Republicans, and, to say the least, a missed opportunity for the Democrats. Democrats were originally strongly opposed to the bill, but the hard work of minority whips convinced them to compromise.
“I was sent by Minority Leader Allen to figure out how we could reach a middle ground and after a few rounds of negotiations, we were able to draw up an amendment that satisfied both parties,” said Party Whip Will Truman.
Of course, it is true the delegates were satisfied — but Majority Leader Dan Fogarty (D-GSU) was incredibly disappointed. The bill opposed fundamental values of the democratic party, and according to Majority Leader Fogarty, it should have not gone through the Senate.
“I consider it a mistake for the democrats… I know it was an important bill, and one that our constituents would not want passed. I believe it’ll get shot down in the house, and rightfully so.”
Majority Leader Fogarty says that the main issue was unity. Because the party lacked a unified view of the bill, the minority whips were able to more easily gather support. In the future, however, he says this is going to change.
“I will express this to my leadership. I will bring this to tomorrow’s caucus, that way, hopefully, the problems that we faced today will be alleviated,” said Truman.
As for the Republicans, they plan to continue the diplomatic strategy that worked so well for them last night. Minority Leader Corey Allen (R-ICC) was very pleased with the overall outcome of last night’s proceedings, and will employ his whips to seek more bipartisan support Saturday morning.
Consideration of Death Penalty Sparks Heated Debate
By Kaylar Recker
HB2035 was the last bill brought to the House floor on Friday night. This bill broadly states that the death penalty may be reinstated. Majority Leader Mackenzi Matthews (D- UIS) started off the heated debate by quoting the bible with the 6th Commandment and Pontius Pilate. She said that she attempted to use this language as an attempt to persuade some of her GOP counterparts.
Representative Brock Hammond (D-EIU) also agreed with eliminating the death penalty. His tactic to persuade others was to use statistics. For example, he noted that in a study conducted in 2017 by the NAACP, African Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, but make up 42% of the population on death row. Representative Ashley Hines (D-NIU) believes that citizens cannot determine what justifies as right and wrong.
Representative Hines said, “It’s very easy for us to sit here and think of ourselves to be the ultimate arbiters of right and wrong, but the best way to understand the morality on an issue is to listen to and empathize with the stories and experiences of those affected, and then decide if it is right to put these individuals in conditions adverse to them and their health.”
On the other side of the aisle, Republican Whip Hunter Hummell (R-PC) said that the death penalty creates a more just system. Representative Barry Rocha (D-PSU) broke from his party. Rocha said that certain crimes, such as those pertaining to children, are reprehensible and should result in death rather than jail time. Representative Cedric Birgans (R-UIS) used a real life example to explain his sentiments. He noted that Ted Bundy escaped prison twice, and once free, killed 12 other victims.
The bill was defeated on the House floor, with a final vote of 26-35-4.
Publishing staff: AG Paige Rader, Editor in Chief Aileen Garcia, Press Secretary Tim Kirsininkas