Batinick Bulletin – Legislative News from State Rep. Batinick for December 2021

I hope this finds you well as we celebrate and recognize the holiday season!

Last month, I announced that the 102nd General Assembly will be my final term in the General Assembly. It has been an honor to serve the 97th District for the past seven years. I have seen such tremendous goodness in our communities, especially with our Helping Hands program at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I plan on working on issues such as addressing our pension crisis, implementing property tax relief, and creating conditions for growth in Illinois in my last year in office.

We are back to work in the Illinois House on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 and will be in session until Friday, April 8th, 2022.

In the meantime, I have some updates to provide you. I wish you all happy, healthy, and safe holiday seasons. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa!

Here are some updates:

Happy Hanukkah from Rep. Batinick’s Office!

For all who celebrate in the 97th District, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and fun Hanukkah as we recognize the fourth night of Hanukkah tonight. Chag Sameach, Happy Hanukkah!

Public School Enrollments Plunge During COVID-19 Pandemic

Illinois’ public school districts submit cross-checked enrollment figures to Springfield as part of their state aid payment cycles. Although most districts would like to have as many pupils as possible (state aid payments are tied to enrollments), many Illinois school districts were compelled to report plunging enrollments to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) during the 2020-21 school year. The pupil count fell from 1.9 million in the year ending in June 2020, to 1.8 million in the year ending in June 2021, marking a 3.6% decline.

As the Census 2020 overall numbers showed, Illinois’ overall population is falling. This decline is especially significant among members of birth-year groups who are likely to be young parents pursuing initial school enrollments for their young children. ISBE figures cover all pupils enrolled in public school district programs, from pre-K to 12th grade.

I have discussed COVID-19 and schools several times on my 2021 Policy Nuance Radio Town Hall series. You can find these discussions online here.

Advocates Give Illinois an “F” Failing Grade on Human Trafficking

This failing grade was given by Shared Hope International, a worldwide advocacy group that seeks to stamp out child and youth sex trafficking. Shared Hope International asks the states to adopt not only strong criminal laws against these activities, but also a survivor-centered criminal procedural system that will use the arrest of an accused perpetrator as the trigger for the flow of adequate resources to survivors. This includes training and additional support for child welfare personnel, personnel in juvenile justice agencies, law enforcement servicepersons, prosecutors, and school personnel.

Like most U.S. states, Illinois received a failing grade on the ancillary spending demands made by Shared Hope for sharp increases in spending and support in these survivor-support areas. The advocacy organization gave an “F” failing grade to 40 U.S. states. States with better grades include the Sunbelt states of California, Florida, and Texas.

The General Assembly also passed a repeal of the Parental Notification of Abortion Act during Fall Veto Session. I spoke about how on a global scale, we could not ignore how parental notification is an important tool to combat the rise of human trafficking, which is the fastest growing criminal trade in the world. Parental notification serves as an extra layer of protection against those who would exploit children. When a girl is taken to an abortion clinic, and the staff must notify a parent or guardian, there is a higher likelihood that the girl’s situation will be discovered and she could be saved from trafficking. I was deeply disappointed this legislation passed the House and Senate in October.

I discussed this issue in depth on Policy Nuance with State Rep. Chris Bos and former State Rep. Peter Breen back in October. Listen to the full episode online here.

Reimagine Illinois

If you could build a better Illinois, what would it look like? The Illinois House Republicans have reimagined an Illinois free of corruption and with responsible fiscal leadership, an Illinois where jobs are plentiful and all our neighborhoods are safe. Find more information online at ReimagineIllinois.com.

You Can Still Be Santa This Year: USPS Operation Santa

Each year, the United States Postal Service invites people to adopt letters to Santa and respond to them. This is a program that began in 1912 with Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock creating Santa’s first mailroom and authorized local postmasters to open the letters for employees to read and respond. It opened to the public in the 1940s.

This year, the mailroom opened on November 29th! You can participate by reading through letters, adopting ones you love, shopping for the perfect gift (anonymously – it’s from Santa!), wrapping the present using the USPS shipping guidelines, and shipping the gift from a participating post office by December 18th.

You can adopt a letter on your own or with your friends. As we wrapped up our Toys for Tots donation drive at my office this week, I encourage you to continue the spirit of giving with Operation Santa. Find more information online here.

Shotgun Deer Season Begins

During one of Illinois’ two primary 2021-22 firearm deer hunting weekends, December 2-5 (https://huntillinois.org/deer/), a variety of firearms are allowed – not only shotguns but also muzzle loaders and handguns. Most firearm deer hunters use shotguns from deer stands. In the third weekend of the Illinois deer hunt going forward, December 10-12, only muzzle loading weapons will be allowed. A series of supplemental hunt weekends, targeted towards chronic wasting disease (CWD) locations and late winter antlerless-only targets, will open out after Christmas 2021.

Illinois deer hunters must have a license, and various restrictions can limit the kinds of deer that can be taken. Mature bucks with antlers are protected by special limits.

Thank You Veterans!

In November for Veterans Day, my office wanted to say how grateful we are to those in the armed forces for their service. We brought in pizzas to the American Legion Marine Post 131 for their Military Movie Event to show them our appreciation. Thank you to all our veterans and active duty military members!

Get in the Spirit of Giving: Donate Blood!

As we are in the holiday season, I encourage you to consider giving the gift of life by donating blood. Donating blood is always an important way to give back to your community. Find more information online here.

Illinois Throwback: Learn More about Illinois History

  • The Memory of Abraham Lincoln is Enshrined Forever: In the years following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln the nation sought ways to memorialize its martyred leader, however, the country lacked one great national monument to its greatest President. A half century after his death, that would finally change thanks to the efforts of Illinois’ longest-tenured U.S. Senator and an accomplished Illinois architect.
  • “The honor of playing for Illinois”: Even without a genuine national championship game, it was clear in 1914 which college football team was the best in the country when the gridiron squad from the University of Illinois dominated opponents on their way to an undefeated season.

COVID-19 Updates

Mutated variants of the COVID-19 virus continue to spread throughout Illinois, with unvaccinated individuals especially vulnerable to the deadly disease. Despite treatment improvements, about 0.5% of all persons who come down with this disease will die from it. In addition, many patients are reporting various follow-up symptoms, called “long COVID” by journalists.

If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and live in Will County, you can visit here. If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and live in Kendall County, you can visit here. You can also visit Vaccines.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccine.

Additional information on booster shots can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website here.