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

As you receive this, the world may feel heavier than when I sent my last Batinick Bulletin. Last week, we saw shocking images of violence and explosions in Ukraine as Russian soldiers invaded. I called for prayers for Ukraine and those defending freedom across the world and continue to urge this. My heart is with Ukrainian Americans in the 97th District and those with family members in Ukraine.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has introduced legislation requiring Illinois to divest of any pension funds in Russian companies and prohibit the state’s treasury from holding any Russian assets. House Republican Deputy Leader Tom Demmer has also introduced legislation including an additional $20 million in the Department of Human Services budget for FY22 and FY23 to aid in the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees.

As we witness an act of war the likes of which has not been seen in Europe since 1939, Illinois supports the Ukrainian people.

We are in our Spring Session and will adjourn next month on Friday, April 8th. With last month’s winter storm and disaster declaration, both the House and Senate cancelled scheduled session and Governor Pritzker presented his State of the State/Budget Address at the Old State Capitol (rather than the Illinois House chamber).

As we know, March welcomes spring but also includes winter weather. During the first hours of the Groundhog’s Day winter storm, at least three Illinois State Police vehicles were hit by other motor vehicles. This was despite widespread warnings that a major storm was expected to cause unsafe driving conditions. Remember, Illinois law requires motorists to avoid driving in lanes next to first-responder vehicles that are on one side of the road and signaling their identity. This is to protect the first responders who protect all of us.

Please feel free to reach out to my office at any time by calling (815) 254-0000 or emailing batinick@ilhousegop.org. Your feedback on legislation and issues in our state is always welcome, especially as we approach our final month of our Spring Session.

Batinick-Backed Legislation to Hold Sexual Predators and Human Traffickers Accountable Passes House

Last week, legislation I co-sponsored to combat human trafficking in Illinois passed out of the House. House Bill 4593 was introduced by Rep. Chris Bos to prevent sexual predators from claiming they did not know the person they solicited for sex was underage or had an intellectual disability. This is a serious issue affecting vulnerable populations and I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation.

If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or Text “HELP,” or “INFO” to 233733.

Rep. Batinick Reacts to Governor Pritzker’s State of the State Budget Address

Governor Pritzker highlighted in his budget address the successful Batinick Buyout program that I introduced in 2018. I’m happy this idea I had years ago to save the state money is successful and have supported legislation to extend it. However, the reality of our state’s fiscal health is reliant on temporary circumstances and we can do better. We need to stop ignoring the structural causes of Illinois’ fiscal instability and find ways to fully restore our fiscal health.

New State Police Map Plots Chicago-Area Expressway Shootings

The map, based upon police blotter reports, covers shooting incidents (including fatal and non-fatal shootings) since 2019. It covers limited-access highway incidents throughout all of greater Chicago as far west as Route 47 and as far south as U.S. Route 30. Each plotted incident includes a link to basic information on the incident, such as the time of day and whether it caused injury or death. It doesn’t give out the names of persons involved in the incidents.

Illinois State Police Reports on Fentanyl, Other Illegal Drug Seizures in FY2021

The State Police’s Metropolitan Enforcement Groups (MEGs) are task forces that concentrate on the presence of illegal drugs throughout Illinois. In a report to local law enforcement officers and Illinoisans, State Police Director Brendan Kelly announced last week that the MEG units had participated in 2,229 bust actions throughout Illinois in FY21. These actions had seized illegal drugs with a street value of over $71 million. Fentanyl seizures were up almost 400%, heroin seizures increased approximately 260%, and meth bust actions were up approximately 190%.

It was my Number One mission in the House last spring to prevent the dangerous bill, House Bill 3447, from becoming law. Once it passed the House, I worked to stop it by speaking with senators and directly with the Governor. Thankfully, it never passed the Senate, and these statistics further my concerns of reducing drug penalties in Illinois.

Illinois Sheriffs’ Association Scholarships – Due March 15th!

The Illinois Sheriff’s 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 Women’s World Fair: With its status as a world-class city in the center of the North American continent and with so many of the leaders in nation’s movement toward equal rights for women based here in Illinois, it was only fitting in 1925 Chicago would play host in the first Woman’s World Fair.
  • Blazing a trail to Springfield: It did not take long after the ratification of the 19th Amendment for a pair of trailblazers to become the first women elected to the Illinois General Assembly. Learn more about Lottie Holman O’Neill and Florence Fifer Bohrer.

COVID-19 Updates

Illinois’ indoor mask requirement ended yesterday, February 28th. Even with the current facemask mitigation guidance, face coverings are still legally mandatory in healthcare settings, long-term care settings, places of public transportation, and inside federal buildings.

Spurred by a recent Illinois court decision and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), many schools are lifting their facemask requirements or going mask optional. Other school systems say they are maintaining these rules in place.

The recent surge in COVID-19/Omicron cases, which placed a fresh round of stress on Illinois inpatient health care, continued to recede sharply last week. However, COVID-19 continues to be a potentially dangerous illness.

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.