SPRINGFIELD, IL - Illinois Senators returned to the Capitol for the first time after their holiday recess, and as the 2016 legislative session officially begins, many of the issues from 2015 still remain.
Senate Republicans are taking a stand against the scourge of human trafficking by adding some much-needed publicity to the worldwide awareness efforts.
Also this week, Senate Leader Christine Radogno addressed the City Club of Chicago about the state’s long-term fiscal challenges, and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability produced a sobering report about manufacturing in Illinois and the state’s tax receipts.
The Senate Republican Caucus’ newest member, State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), passed his first legislative measure to dedicate an Illinois highway after a fallen hero. A number of other memorial resolutions were also passed this week in Springfield.
Human trafficking awareness efforts
In the greater Chicago area, between 16,000 and 25,000 women and girls are estimated to be exploited by human trafficking each year. The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old. Ninety-five percent of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking.
Those startling statistics are reasons why Illinois Senate Republicans took part in a video discussing the tragic effects human trafficking has on its victims. January 11 was observed as Human Trafficking Awareness Day, while the entire month of January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-West Dundee) has taken the lead on these issues by working with a number of her female legislative colleagues to raise awareness and help facilitate regional trainings that help law enforcement and local communities identify and address human trafficking situations.
Uniting on this issue, women Senators from both sides of the aisle have come together to sponsor House Bill 2822, which creates a state task force that will address ways to combat this terrible crime and the negative effects it has communities throughout Illinois. House Bill 2822 has passed the House and awaits further consideration in the Senate this spring.
To join Senate GOP’s human trafficking efforts please visit senategop.state.il.us. For social networking purposes, use the “hashtag” #ILAgainstHumanTrafficking.
Senate Leader Radogno addresses the City Club
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) discussed the challenges facing Illinois during her address at the City Club of Chicago on Jan. 11. Despite the state’s seven-month budget impasse, Democrat majority legislative leaders are failing to negotiate on much-needed reforms and are cancelling legislative session days.
Leader Radogno discussed the fiscal forecast for Illinois as “bleak” if the legislative majorities refuse to come to the table. With no meaningful reforms or revenue enhancements, Illinois is projected to have a $5 billion hole in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget and by June 30, 2016, the state could have $9 billion in unpaid bills. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget recently released three-year fiscal projections mandated by state statute, and those numbers are even more disturbing.
Illinois’ current “auto-pilot” budget – the result of a number of court orders and consent decrees – will move the state’s backlog of bills to $25 billion by June 30, 2020. Leader Radogno also said she believes House Speaker Madigan will do anything to maintain the “status quo” despite the catastrophic fiscal damage, if no action is taken.
To view Leader Radogno’s address, visit: http://senategop.state.il.us/News/RecentNews/TabId/121/p/65281/v/2000/video-radogno-addresses-city-club-of-chicago.aspx
Manufacturing numbers in Illinois continue decline
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CoGFA) released its December report showing a number of disturbing trends with Illinois’ economy and the state’s fiscal health. CoGFA’s report shows that Chicago manufacturing indicators are falling to lows that have not been witnessed since the initial aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession.
Chicago unemployment numbers ticked up slightly during the fourth quarter of 2015, but are still down in comparison to the same final quarter of 2014. The most ominous observation from the monthly report was that “corporate income tax and sales tax have failed to meet even modest expectations.”
To obtain more of the CoGFA report visit http://cgfa.ilga.gov/Upload/1215revenue.pdf.
Sen. Weaver honors American hero
As part of an effort to recognize a local hero, Sen. Weaver sponsored House Joint Resolution 93 to rename the Mercer County section of Illinois Route 17 the “CPL. Bryant J. Luxmore Memorial Highway.”
Weaver said he was honored to present HJR 93 to rename the Mercer County section of Illinois 17 after this American hero. Army Corporal Luxmore deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012 and gave his last full measure in service to our nation, when he was killed on June 10, 2012.
HJR 93 passed the Senate on Jan. 13 with a 49-0 vote. Visit www.senatorweaver.com to learn more about CPL. Luxmore’s service.
Sen. McCann’s resolution to dedicate regional transportation supporter
A portion of U.S. Route 67 will soon be known as the “Dick Rawlings Memorial Highway” thanks to legislation sponsored by State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Carlinville) that was adopted by the Senate on Jan. 13. Rawlings was a beloved figure in Morgan County who had a large part in the movement to widen Route 67 to four lanes.
Visit www.senatormccann.com to learn more about Dick Rawlings.