The MIG Journal: Saturday Session
MIG's Saturday session saw continued fiery debate from all sides in both the House and Senate, and our first look at who will be running for next year's executive board.
Saturday, March 2 FINAL EDITION
Senate Bill 1204: Life, Liberty and the right to Death?
Jenessa Peinado, Senate Reporter
Yesterday in Committee Original legislative bill 1402 was being debated for the first time. This bill brought to light a unique concept, the Right to the Death Penalty. The sole purpose of this bill is to give inmates who are to serve life sentences the option to either serve their allotted time in prison or face self chosen execution. Prior to debating the bill Lobbyists Oldenettel (MU) stated “We pass this bill, save money for our state and give inmates the choice of punishment”.
Republicans’ debating started by saying this was an original legislation that could be seen in a bipartisan light. Senator Johnson (R-MU) said “I’m not inhuman I promise. It is a fiscally responsible bill, it is pro-choice it is a chance for a good debate with open perspectives.” With this Majority Leader Fogarty (D-PSC) agreed to a certain degree. During debates he said, “As barbaric as this seems..this is a chance to be uniquely bi-partisan”. In order to put into context what he meant by this, I did ask him to follow up some, he said “This bill is fiscally responsible and thought out, it will help clear some space in prisons, and it all comes down to choice.”
Now with an amendment striking the option of death by a single bullet to the brain (chosen for both its efficiency and fiscal benefit) the left side did eventually vote in favor of this bill. Now although it did win in committee there were points by the left simply disagreed with the bill all together. Senator Kevin Coleman (D-NEIU) stated, “I think it’s a easy way out for people to have the option to take their own life”. Another said how it was “Barbaric” both comments were accompanied by a few chimes of agreement.
With a two thirds majority vote in committee it was seen as a “hot bill” to watch.
Understanding Moot Court: MIG's Court of Law
By Kyle Bergfors, Editor
The Model Illinois Government Simulation is often associated with legislation debate, lobbying, and journalistic coverage portraying the state of Illinois’ governmental process, yet there is an equally large and equal participation level aspect to MIG that is often overlooked; Moot Court. Moot Court allows participants to engage simulation as lawyers, compared to legislators, journalists, or lobbyists.
As lawyers, the participants receive a realistic enactment of being an actual lawyer through giving oral arguments centered around the subject matter of various case laws by arguing for and against the legal precedent of the case. After completing their arguments, participants are then given feedback on what they did correctly and incorrectly in order to have a better understanding where they could improve.
During my time in Moot Court, I witnessed a case on a constitutional dispute between two parties. It was regarding a case of a mural on a wall within a school being remodeled that had a painted mural of a cross accompanied with the words, “In God We Trust”. This showcased just a single aspect of the intense, yet highly enjoyable, Moot Court action. Moot Court is an essential opportunity for those who have a future interest in becoming law careers in order to get proper experience.
Illinois State Rep. CD Davidsmeyer Brings Real-Life Perspective to MIG
Earlier this afternoon at the House floor sessions, Model Illinois Government were treated to a visit by an actual congressman. Representative C.D Davidsmeyer (R) came to speak on a bill regarding people who use drugs while they’re pregnant. The bill would create a punishment for women who knew they were pregnant, but continued to abuse drugs to the point the infants were born with a drug addiction or other health conditions caused by the bearer’s drug use. The bill proposed by Davidsmeyer was not meant to be a debate about abortion, but due to confusion with the docket, was debated that way.
Regardless, Davidsmeyer took some time to speak with the Attorney General Staff on his bill, expectations, as well as views on MIG. When asked about his bill, he said the goal was to, “provide criminal penalties like child negligence for a mother who does drugs while a baby is in the womb.” Furthering on that, the congressman said the repercussions for the mother, “could be up to a year in prison or two years probation. Second offense would be a class four felony.”
To be clear, the debate that went on in the House floor session was not the original debate the congressman planned for, and they are two separate bills. I believed it was a bill that would garner support (if the debate had gone off of what he proposed), and so I asked him how he thought the bill would look like on the floor and what the voter turnout would be. Representative Davidsmeyer said that he, “doesn’t know the makeup of the (MIG) general assembly,” which is different than the one he works in. He also said that, “This bill has never been assigned to a committee before. I’ve (he) filed it in the past and it…died. The first time it was assigned to a committee was this week but it has not had a chance to be heard.”
He was not sure of what to expect as he, “hasn’t had a chance to hear from proponents or get ideas on how to change it and possibly make it better.” Despite that, he maintained a good demeanor and said, “It’s kind of interesting to go straight to the floor with this.” After the floor debates, I followed up with Davidsmeyer on what his view of Model Illinois Government was and his opinion on an organization like ours. The representative said it was, “really cool to see the different back and forth” and that it was a “little bit different than how it actually goes in regards to parliamentary procedure” due to the, “different rules an all.” He reiterated again that seeing the discussion back and forth was very interesting and good to see, “honest thought on real issues.” Before we thanked him for his time, he said he believes MIG is an, “awesome opportunity for everyone.” As an organization we were very grateful for Representative Davidsmeyer to have taken the time to come to the House floor and share his bill with us. It was a great opportunity for everyone in the House, and no doubt will be one of the most remembered parts of this MIG weekend.
House Upholds FOID Card Requirement in Illinois
In Saturday morning’s House debate, the subject of gun debate was on the table. HB 4314 on the matter of repealing the requirement of having a FOID card for gun owners which is specific type of identification card that is a requirement for individuals who are gun owners. In addition, FOID cards double as a background check for the respective owner as well.
On the Democrats side, it was argued that repealing the requirement of a the FOID card would take away a vital factor in determining whether or not an individual is deemed responsible enough to carry a firearm. The republicans argued that if the FOID card was repealed, it would result in fewer people crossing gun border lines to get firearms with less restrictions.
Republicans also stated that the FOID card is an infringement on second amendment rights, since it goes against the right to bear arms. Democrats opposed such statements using the recent mass shooting in Aurora as an example, since the the shooter was a convicted felon, and still had possession of a FOID card. The final votes for the repealment of the FOID card was thirty-five for it, fifty-five against it, and one abstention. This bill did not pass.
Senate OKs Minimum Wage Hike to $11 an Hour
The first bill on the docket on Saturday morning was SB0002, which aims to achieve the amendment of the minimum wage law. It amends the minimum wage law currently instated to be increase by fifty centers a year until 2020 where the minimum wage will then stand at eleven dollars an hour.
Minority leader Will Truman (R-LLCC) passionately stated that “It has the potential to be detrimental to small businesses”, however the left proposes the notion that it will not plummet businesses due to the gradual growth of the bill. This bill will not make any changes overnight as inflation is not a one-day response to a crisis. The left addresses it as a step in the right direction. After a short debate, the bill passed with the vote of 29-18-1.
Predictable Scheduling & Coliseum Stand out as Saturday House Highlights
HB 2502: Creates The Predictable Scheduling Act and also HB 2102: The Coliseum Act, were two bills that stuck out to me for a variety of reasons. The purpose of HB 2502 was to grant employees of small businesses an advanced notification on their schedule regarding when they’re scheduled to work. The Coliseum Act Bill’s (2102) purpose is to allow contractors to work but under a unified license and permit bond. Hearing both parties discuss these bills were very intense. The Democrats felt that The Coliseum Act,was absurd and felt that it didn’t help out the community within the state of Illinois. Rep. Sara Galvan (D-NEIU) stated, “this bill does not help the community”. Rep. Issalma Franco (D-NEIU) was within agreeance saying "having a small business is a lot of work and commitment". This bill will not help small business". Listening to these two points, I find it very important that we must think economically about our small businesses.
However, Rep. Bradley Cazeau (R-PSC) stated, “businesses create jobs, not the government” which is also true because within businesses, there are positions which may have qualifications and standards that need to be followed. If they’re not followed, then how do we expect to run a business? In regards to the employees of these small businesses, they should have a say so of their scheduling preferences that’ll best benefit them within the long run. In conclusion, The Bill regarding the Coliseum Act did not pass while the Bill regarding to The Predictable Scheduling Act did pass.
House Considers LGBTQ Sex Ed Requirement
This evening’s final bill was on a time limit, but a lot was discussed in its short amount of time. The bill that was discussed is HB 1202, which, following its amendment, was passed to provide education in Illinois schools on the subject of same sex relationships into already existing sex education classes. “Would be a great stepping stone in the right direction on LGBTQ relationships” majority leader Layla Werner (D-NIU) said.
A number of republican representatives agreed on the subject as well, including representative Mason Switzer (R-Principia), who advocated for the bill because if the subject of LGBTQ relationships was taught in schools, it would possibly prevent people from contracting STDs/STIs. Other aspects of the bill that were brought up was that the class should include the history of LGBTQ representation, in order to reduce homophobia, and that the population of Illinois deserves to know this information pertaining to same-sex education. Democrat representative Dannie Kyle (D-WIU) also brought up statistics pertaining to LGBTQ youth suicides and urged her statement that “LGBTQ youth are at a high potential to commit suicide. Education like this can help prevent more suicides from occurring.”
On the contrary, HB 1202 was unable to obtain full bipartisanship. The argument of this bill will go against first amendment rights, due to certain religions having a zero tolerance for homosexuality, as well as that, if this bill was implemented, it would be going against the rights of private school’s, whose own committees decide on what they do and do not teach to their students. A republican representative stated that “Sex ed should be on the topic of reproduction, and when two people of the same gender have sex, it is just ‘fooling around.” Other republicans were concerned that this shouldn’t be a state decision, but instead a school decision. While other’s of the same party were adamant about making the right choices for the public.