Hello to everyone in the 97th District and Happy New Year! I hope this new year finds you safe, healthy, and well. I am writing to provide you a legislative update from 2021 about our Spring Session and Fall Veto Session.
In 2022, I will continue working on issues like addressing our pension crisis, implementing property tax relief, and creating the conditions for growth in Illinois.
In 2021, we saw extreme policy in the General Assembly with no checks and balances on these bills. This update will provide information on some of this policy so you can learn more about what we passed out of Springfield in the last year.
Our Spring Session began yesterday and will adjourn on Friday, April 8th. As your state representative, it is a privilege to serve the great communities of the 97th District. I hope this update is helpful in making you aware of what we have discussed, debated, and passed out of the House.
I welcome your feedback on legislation, as well as your thoughts and concerns. I will continue to be a resource for you and our communities in this final year I will serve as your state representative.
House Repeals Parental Notification of Abortion
During the Fall Veto Session, the General Assembly passed a law repealing the Parental Notification of Abortion Act. I voted against this legislation. While a bipartisan group of representatives opposed this legislation, a partisan group supported it.
I’m astounded as to why we would take away a parent’s right to be informed their minor child is having an abortion. If your child were having an appendectomy or their wisdom teeth removed, would you want them to be alone for it, or would you want to make sure they were cared for after the procedure?
I spoke about this before and will repeat: the danger of this repeal is not just that it strips parents of the right to be informed about serious medical decisions their children are making, it’s also the danger it poses to children who are being sexually abused, exploited, or trafficked.
While we would like to think a girl would go to her parents for help in a situation like this, we know that victims of sexual abuse often don’t speak up about their trauma. Survivors of sexual abuse are likely to experience issues with PTSD, substance abuse, and a negative impact on their relationships with their family and friends. Without treatment and support, these things can become lifelong problems.
To properly support a child that has been abused and is struggling with one or more of these issues, as well as to give them the appropriate treatment, parents must know about their child’s trauma.
Without question, there are cases where a girl may fear abuse at the hands of her parent or guardian if they are notified. In these situations, not only does current law allow a judge to issue a waiver, it also ensures that the abused or neglected girl is offered refuge and protection.
Ultimately, this issue comes down to one central and critical issue: protecting children.
Governor Pritzker signed the repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act into law on December 17th.
Rep. Batinick Introduces Legislation for Election Integrity
In February, I introduced a bill to ensure individuals who change their addresses and move from their former voting precincts or election districts are removed from their voter rolls.
House Bill 1920 would amend the Election Code to require a county clerk or board of election commissioners to cross-check voter registration rolls with the National Change of Address System. They would check to see if the changed address also removed that person from a voting precinct or election district. If so, they would then have to automatically remove those individuals from the respective voter rolls.
HB 1920 is basic oversight to uphold the integrity of our elections by ensuring voters can’t cast a ballot where they don’t live.
In late August, I introduced another bill, House Bill 4137, to establish an automatic voter registration program for individuals filing a change-of-address form, renewal application, or application for a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card or concealed carry license (CCL) in Illinois.
I spoke about this in-depth on a September episode of Policy Nuance, my radio town hall series I hosted from August to November. I discussed how we hear about expanding the vote. Yet we passed legislation with automatic voter registration for individuals who file for certain welfare or unemployment, or individuals doing certain things with the Secretary of State’s office. Meanwhile, if you go through a background check and file to get your FOID card or CCL, you’re not registered to vote automatically. This legislation will automatically register to vote people who interact with the state like so many other things, but through applying for a FOID card or CCL.
Both HB 1920 and HB 4137 have been referred to the Rules Committee.
Non-Age Appropriate Sex Education Bill Becomes Law
If Springfield thinks this is appropriate for a fourth grader, it should be appropriate for this newsletter!
Senate Bill 818 passed the House this spring with partisan support and bipartisan opposition. This legislation changes sex education standards in Illinois. While I joined the bipartisan opposition to this bill, the partisan majority had enough votes to pass it and Governor Pritzker signed it into law in August.
These new standards are based from the extreme National Sex Education Standards by the Future of Sex Education Initiative and include for grades 3-5, students should “explain common human sexual development and the role of hormones (e.g. romantic and sexual feelings, masturbation, mood swings, timing of pubertal onset).” They should also “describe…the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.”
For grades 6-8, students should “list at least four methods of contraception that are available without a prescription (e.g. abstinence, condoms, emergency contraception, withdrawal)” and “describe…pregnancy options, including parenting, abortion, and adoption.” Those students should also “define vaginal, oral, and anal sex.”
SB 818 says course instruction and material should be age appropriate. These standards are NOT age appropriate.
Rep. Batinick’s Recall Legislation
In March 2021, I joined my colleagues Reps. Tom Bennett of Gibson City and Dan Ugaste of Geneva to speak on Reimagine Illinois during a Facebook Live virtual town hall. We discussed the four pillars of the plan and how the platform’s reforms will help Illinois get back on track. During our conversation, I focused on one of these pillars: Ending the Culture of Corruption.
I proudly introduced one bill and three constitutional amendments to help end the culture of corruption in Illinois with recall action. We cannot move forward to find solutions to our state’s biggest issues until we lay the groundwork to root out the corruption that has plagued our statehouse for far too long.
This General Assembly, I introduced House Bill 340 to create the Local Government Elected Official Recall Act. I also introduced three recall constitutional amendments: House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) 3 would implement term limits for certain elected officials. It also states the Auditor General can serve a single term for four years rather than ten years. HJRCA 4 will give Illinoisans the ability to recall elected officials and HJRCA 6 will give Illinoisans the ability to recall legislation.
General Assembly Passes “Vote By Jail” Legislation
This spring, the House also passed a massive elections omnibus bill that was forced through the legislature in a single day. This legislation has “vote-by-jail” language that allows jails outside of Cook County to set up polling places in their facilities.
To visualize this, I gave the following example back in 2018: if someone were arrested for drunk driving and hit four people, hospitalizing them, one of those five people is going to vote: the person who got the DUI. That person would go to a voting booth and the four people hit would go to the hospital.
The elections omnibus bill, Senate Bill 825, passed the House with all Republicans and one Democrat voting against it. The Governor signed it into law in June.
House Passes Reduced Drug Penalties
In April, the Illinois House passed House Bill 3447. I voted against this legislation because of my deep concerns with its consequences in Illinois. An amount of fentanyl that is enough to kill thousands of people should not be a misdemeanor and I’m saddened the House thinks it should be.
As of November 30th, 2021 in Will County alone, there have been 82 deaths from heroin/fentanyl overdoses, according to the Will County Coroner. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl encounters in the U.S. increased from 5,343 in 2014 to 13,882 in 2015.
There was strong bipartisan opposition to this bill—61 representatives voted for it, all Democrats. But 57 Republicans and Democrats voted either against this legislation or did not support it.
It was my Number One mission in the House this spring to prevent this dangerous bill from becoming law. Once the bill passed the House, I worked to stop it by speaking with senators and directly with the Governor. Thankfully, the bill never passed the Senate. But I’m still left wondering how this legislation passed the House in the first place.
Opposition to Energy Bill, Batinick Offers Solutions
On September 9th, 2021, the Illinois House of Representatives returned to session in Springfield. On the agenda was a comprehensive energy bill dealing with various facets of Illinois’ energy and electricity supplies. I voted against this legislation, but it passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Pritzker on September 15th, 2021.
You can hear my in-depth conversation on this legislation from my Policy Nuance radio town hall online here.