Batinick Bulletin – Legislative News from Rep. Mark Batinick for January 2022

We are into our Spring Session and I’m delighted to bring you this update on what we have been working on in Springfield. We will be in session until Friday, April 8th. I encourage you to stay updated on what we’re working on in the General Assembly. You can visit ILGA.gov to read legislation, watch committee hearings and floor debate, as well as find additional information from your State Capitol.

You can also stay updated by visiting my website RepBatinick.com and following me on Facebook. Stay safe, healthy, and warm as we welcome the winter season!

Illinois General Assembly Begins 2022 with a One-Day Session

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and case counts surging, the General Assembly reconvened in the first full week of January to begin its 2022 session. Each House committee will conduct its meetings via video conferencing and witnesses who wish to testify will submit their testimony and answer questions electronically.

All bills filed in the 2022 spring session will be tracked on the General Assembly website. If a bill is posted for a House committee hearing, all Illinoisans (including those not present in person in Springfield) will be able to register their support for or opposition to the bill in the General Assembly dashboard app.

The Batinick Blueprint

Illinois is a special place to so many people in the state and across the nation. We are a great state with a rich history and terrific communities. Yet we are in poor shape with our state finances, inhibiting us from thriving financially. This is why I outlined a blueprint to get our state fiscally back on track, called “The Batinick Blueprint.”

This nine-part blueprint provides an outline of the changes and reforms we can make to improve in various fields of policy, from property tax reform to health care transparency. Find more information and updates on The Batinick Blueprint by visiting my website here.

Letter to the Editor – New Year’s Legislative Resolutions

As we enter the new year, many of us are making resolutions. We may be resolving to exercise more often, take up a journaling practice, or choose more vegetables over sweets. In my final year in the Illinois House, I made resolutions for our communities and state. Read my full letter to the editor online here.

House Passes Judicial Sub Circuit Redistricting

The Illinois House met on Wednesday, January 5th for session in Springfield. With it was another example of Democrats making pure political power grabs in the redistricting process of 2021—interested in packing the courts with political appointees than addressing the spiraling crime in our communities.

Democrats are using the redistricting process to change circuit court maps, adding more politicians to the bench, and changing the rules to give themselves a competitive advantage to elect more Democrat judges. Our courts are the last place for politics, yet Democrats have placed politics at the center of this effort.

DCFS Investigator Murdered in Central Illinois

On Tuesday, January 4th, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Investigator Deidre Silas drove through cold weather to a home address in downstate Thayer, Illinois. Silas was conducting a welfare check on six children, ages 1 to 7, at that home. While performing her duties for DCFS and the people of Illinois, Silas was stabbed to death.

A suspect has been arrested and is being held without bail.

The Illinois House of Representatives observed a moment of silence to mourn Silas’s death on Wednesday, January 5th. Many lawmakers called for new policies to increase protection for DCFS investigators and caseworkers.

Two northwest Illinois legislators, Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer and State Rep. Tony McCombie, previously sponsored legislation to expand protections to DCFS and Adult Protective Services workers following the heinous murder of DCFS Investigator Pam Knight in Carroll County in 2018. They issued a joint statement after learning of the horrific murder of Deidre Silas in Sangamon County, which can be found online here.

My heart and deepest sympathies go out to the family of Deidre Silas, whose life was taken far too soon while serving our state and working to protect Illinois children.

Illinois has a 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-25-ABUSE, to report suspicions that an Illinois child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect.

Stay Safe this Winter Season – Be Prepared!

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency recommends keeping a supply kit in your car this winter to help you stay safe in case of an emergency. Find more preparedness tips online here. Please stay safe as we are in our cold Illinois winter now!

To also find warming centers in Will County, you can visit here and to find warming centers in Kendall County, you can visit here.

Illinois Has No Legislative Inspector General as Democrats Stall Appointment Process

In July, Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope announced she would be leaving office, citing the failure of the General Assembly to pass meaningful ethics reform. Pope, a former prosecutor and appellate court judge, tendered her resignation in July. She called the office a “paper tiger” and blasted lawmakers, saying they “demonstrated true ethics reform is not a priority.” She agreed to stay on until January 6th to allow more time for her position to be filled.

As of the first full week of January, the Office of the Legislative Inspector General is vacant. Republican Senator Jil Tracy, who chairs the Legislative Ethics Commission, blamed the delay on appointing a new LIG on Democrats. The search for a new LIG began after Pope announced her resignation in July. The position was posted and the search committee was formed. Two candidates were recommended, but the Legislative Ethics Committee made up of four Democrats and four Republicans couldn’t come to a decision.

Safe2Help Illinois

Safe2Help Illinois offers students a safe, confidential way in which to share information that might help prevent suicides, bullying, school violence or other threats to school safety. Safe2Help is available 24/7 and you can find additional information online here. Students can call 1-844-4-SAFE-IL, text 72332 (Safe2), or download the free mobile app.

Driver’s License & ID Card Expiration Dates Extended until March 31, 2022

Secretary of State Jesse White announced that expiration dates for driver’s licenses and ID cards have been extended from January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022. This does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and CDL learner’s permits. Secretary White noted this will be the final extension.

Reminder: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the federal REAL ID deadline to May 3, 2023.

Illinois Throwback: Learn More about Illinois History

  • Science under the stands: One of the most important steps in the development of the atomic bomb was accomplished underneath the bleachers of an Illinois football stadium in 1942.
  • The present and prospective needs of the people: One hundred years ago Illinois’ leaders and many of its citizens had run out of patience with the existing state Constitution. With tremendous momentum they started the process of throwing it out and crafting a new basic law for the state, only to see their efforts collapse into acrimony and inertia, eventually leading to an epic defeat by the electorate.
  • Whistlestopping across Illinois: In September 1948, Harry Truman set out on the most famous presidential train tour in history. Truman would cross Illinois six times on his trip, the railroad giving him access to cities and towns which had never been visited by a President before.
  • “I bid you an affectionate farewell”: Outside the Great Western Railroad station at 10th and Monroe a crowd had begun to gather to wish President-elect Lincoln farewell on the chilly, dreary morning of Monday, February 11, 1861. The crowd pressed forward to hear as Lincoln stepped to the railing to address them for what would turn out to be the final time.

Prairies, Presidents and Patriots History Podcast

  • We have seen nothing like this in our travels: Our state’s name and its correct pronunciation are part of the legacy left by the French explorers who in the 17th century became the first European settlers to visit the parcel of land in the middle of North America now known as “Illinois”.

COVID-19 Updates

The current rate of COVID-19 positive cases, illnesses, and hospitalizations has imposed added burdens upon all the people of Illinois, especially health care providers.

As of Thursday, January 6th, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that 7,098 people were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19. Up until now, there have been approximately 550 new admissions daily, but many Illinois hospitals reported last week that they were operating at full capacity. These facilities now have no remaining empty beds for new patients.

Statistics currently indicate that the members of the 60% of Illinois residents who are fully vaccinated are making up only 15% of the COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized in Illinois. In other words, Illinoisans continue to be able to sharply reduce their chances of getting severely ill, or hospitalized, for COVID-19 if they are fully vaccinated.

With the highly transmissible Omicron variant surging, coronavirus case counts were very high throughout Illinois this week. It was difficult for many Illinois residents to get access to tests for coronavirus, especially the nasal swabs that generate quick results. Free community testing sites are open throughout Illinois and can be found online here.

Persons who test positive for COVID-19, or persons who have had close personal contact with a person who has tested positive, are urged to follow the current guidelines for self-isolation or quarantine. These guidelines have changed frequently in recent weeks as public health experts learn more about Omicron and in line with overall need to keep the American economy operating during this renewed time of pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a continuously updated webpage of guidance for COVID-19 quarantine and isolation and it can be found online here.

If you live in Will County and are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, 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 locate a COVID-19 vaccine.

To find testing locations in Illinois for COVID-19, click here.