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

I hope this finds you happy and well this snowy February! Below is my monthly legislative update with information on what we’re working on in Springfield and updates from the 97th District.

Our last legislative session day was January 5th. Session has been canceled this week due to the winter storms expected across central Illinois, cutting an already shortened legislative session even shorter. We have a lot to achieve this spring in order to get Illinois on the right path forward, including cracking down on rising crime, fighting corruption in state government, and passing a truly balanced budget.

You can always feel free to reach out to my office by calling (815) 254-0000 or emailing batinick@ilhousegop.org. Your feedback is welcome and I want to hear from you!

As some of us celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, I also want to encourage you to give back and show love to those around you. Small acts of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. You can also give the gift of life by donating blood. You can make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting here.

I wish you all a safe and warm February!

Batinick Files Legislation to Increase State Contracts with Minority and Women-Owned Businesses, Businesses Owned by People with Disabilities

I filed legislation that would grant a contract bidding boost to minority and women-owned businesses and businesses owned by individuals with disabilities. House Bill 4816 presents a real solution to make it easier for these Illinois businesses to qualify for contracts with the state. Read more about this legislation online here.

Batinick Buyout Extension Passes out of House Pensions Committee

In January, legislation that authorized additional funding and extended the successful “Batinick Buyout” program for state pensions passed out of the House Personnel & Pensions Committee. I’m happy an idea I had years ago to save the state significant money has been successful and will continue under this legislation. Read more about this legislation, House Bill 4292, online here.

Batinick Files Legislation for Random Order of Candidate Names on Election Ballots

In January, I filed legislation to require the randomization of the order of candidate names on Illinois ballots in primary, general, and consolidated elections. Candidates should not win close elections simply because they won a lottery to be first on the ballot. Find more information about this legislation, House Bill 4467, online here.

House Republicans Call for Repeal of “Damaging and Dangerous” SAFE-T Act

January was the one-year anniversary of the majority party passing sweeping legislation to defund, disarm, and disrespect our police. Violent crime is up, police retirements are increasing, and our communities are less safe. The SAFE-T Act has made Illinois a less safe place to live for just about everyone. Something needs to be done to address violent crime in Illinois and it’s clear rushing legislation through the General Assembly was not the right solution.

House Republicans have filed legislation to repeal the dangerous SAFE-T Act and there is a petition to get your input. If you agree we need to repeal the SAFE-T Act, please sign the petition at ilhousegop.org/repeal.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin Proposes Victim-Focused Overhaul of Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board

With a focus on protecting victims of violent crime and their families, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin introduced legislation on Thursday to overhaul Illinois’ Prisoner Review Board (PRB) and provide greater weight to the interests of victims of violent crime, rather than criminals.

According to Durkin, there are a number of recent examples of violent offenders being released by Pritzker’s PRB over the objections of victims, their families, law enforcement, and judges. This includes Paul Bryant, who had a long history of violent crimes, including numerous convictions for murder, rape, home invasion, burglary, and more. Also released was Ray Larsen, a man convicted of murdering a child and deviant sexual behavior. He made headlines last year when, just days after being released, he absconded from the state, violating the terms of his parole and becoming a fugitive. Ultimately, the PRB was forced to rescind Larson’s parole.

House Bill 5126 makes a number of reforms aimed at protecting victims of violent crime and ensuring dangerous offenders remain behind bars. Under Durkin’s proposal, victim-focused reforms would be instituted to the Prisoner Review Board.

Illinois Sheriffs’ Association Scholarships

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association is offering college scholarships for Illinois students attending Illinois higher learning institutions in the 2022-2023 school year. Applications are due by March 15th. Find more information online here.

Illinois Throwback: Learn More about Illinois History

  • Chicago’s pioneer: Chicago became the largest city in Illinois in the 19th century. First the lake brought visitors and settlers. Then it was the rivers, followed by the railroads, the highways and the airports. Millions of people now call Chicago home and it all started with one pioneer – Jean Baptiste Point du Sable.
  • The Father of Cool: Jazz is widely credited with having gotten its start in New Orleans, growing out of American blues and ragtime music popular around the turn of the 20th century. While its roots are in the American South, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time got started right here in Illinois.
  • Trailblazer of aviation: Since the dawn of flight, Illinoisans have been soaring into the heavens. In the late 1930s Willa Brown took a crucial step that opened the doors of aviation to many more Americans who sought to spread their wings.
  • Illinois’ frosty history: Throughout history Illinois has endured some truly brutal and bone-chilling winters. 

Prairies, Presidents and Patriots History Podcast

COVID-19 Updates

After rising rapidly in December and the first half of January, the headcount of patients seeking admission to hospitals for coronavirus symptoms and treatment has begun to scroll downward. While many patients continued to be hospitalized for COVID-19, and some have conditions that require treatment in intensive care units (ICUs), overall hospitalized patient headcounts and ICU headcounts have begun to drop in many sections of Illinois.

Hospitals report their bed-count numbers daily to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and inpatient hospitalizations for coronavirus peaked at 7,380 on Wednesday, January 12th. One and a half weeks later, at the close of Sunday, January 23rd, this number had dropped to 5,328, an eleven-day decrease of more than 25%. Other U.S. states are reporting similar declines in their numbers.

At least four separate variants of COVID-19 coronavirus have hit Illinois over the past 24 months, and the virus has a known ability to mutate and renew its attack on human beings.

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.