On March 22, 2023, the Model Illinois Government hosted its final 2022-2023 school year session. The session was partly spent doing a little bit of recap. A simulation earlier in March saw the University of Illinois at Springfield sending a delegation that included a modest number of executive board members. This year graduate student Connor Krater served as Governor of Model Illinois Government. Krater succeeded UIS alumnus Mackenzie Matthews as Governor. Starting April 1, UIS will continue to hold the Governor’s office for three years in a row, with UIS graduate student Joel Lemmert becoming Governor-Elect at simulation. Governor-Elect Lemmert will assume office on April 1 and begin planning next year’s delegation with the other executive officers.

Highlights of this year’s MIG simulation included the passage and signatory of Original Legislation No.3, written by Senator Prince Washington (D). It passed the Senate unanimously with 3 amendments and passed the House 30-15. It was one of about 6 bills that made it to the MIG Governor’s desk, where it was signed into law.

The bill elevates the school bullying penalty and reduces administrative wiggle room for bullying and violence. Bullying in grades 6-12 is declared illegal and includes bullying sexual orientation, physical features, and economic status. There are caps to the number of incidents committed before bullies are referred for a hearing by the school board to determine if the alternative placement will be imposed for a minimum of one school year. In grades 6-8, there is the imposition of 3 strikes before the same penalty is imposed. There is only one chance in high school before a hearing is required. Largely in part to the bias that administrators in some schools impose and the neglect to eliminate the threat of bullying and physical intimidation when reported. It also evens out the same treatment staff receives silently, as students who attack staff are almost always removed from school.

Another important aspect was increasing support for the mental health of the bully and bullied, with stringent minimum intervention and deterrent protocols to be followed every year and rights granted to students who are victims. Some rights are the right to review cameras for tracing, the right not to be punished if forced into a physical altercation not wanted, and a process for bullied students to transfer schools should there be the utmost concern for their mental health. This was built in response to the unaddressed problem of bullying in schools, a realistic issue many people spoke on emotionally at simulation. Aside from the legislative review. The delegation reviewed their rules and made minor changes to the attendance policy for MIG. Last but not least, we had goodbye speeches for everyone graduating and not returning to the university nor participating In MIG in the future from elsewhere.

It was a brief, emotional encounter to participate in and witness as the club just recovered from the effects of Covid-19; as fast as we were all together again, everyone was going to head off their separate ways. MIG has always been something I enjoyed and has made a lot of people’s days better. Built for the nature of the debate, it was opened to those politically inclined and those who just wanted an extracurricular. Simulation has always been a blast. With Alexander Rankin now elected head delegate, we soon-to-be alumni can rest assured that MIG will be loved and taken care of in the hands of the next generation.