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

We are past the unofficial start of summer and I hope you are all enjoying these warmer days! June is also important in American history as we recognize Juneteenth later this month. I wish everybody happy Juneteenth celebrations and you can learn more about Juneteenth online here.

If you are hoping to travel this summer and aren’t sure where to start planning, Enjoy Illinois prepared itineraries for road trips across our great state! From kid-friendly getaways to handcrafted delights to a “staycation” in the Heritage Corridor, there are lots of options available. Find itineraries online here. Additionally, as the summer boating season approaches, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources conservation police are reminding people to wear life jackets anytime they’re on the water and to only operate boats while sober.

Please feel free to reach out to my office at any time by calling (815) 254-0000 or emailing batinick@ilhousegop.org. Enjoy your summer!

Thank you to all who joined us at our blood drive this May! You gave a lifesaving gift for so many people and you are appreciated.

INFORMATION ON BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE

We have experienced a stressful national baby formula shortage after U.S. baby formula production dropped sharply following a contamination at a key Michigan factory. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) posted a fact sheet on the baby formula shortage, which includes a hotline – 1-800-843-6154 – for Illinois residents seeking further advice.

As always, you can feel free to reach out to my office at any time with your thoughts on this shortage at (815) 254-0000 or batinick@ilhousegop.org.

Released Audits on Department of Children and Family Services, Veterans Affairs

Following a damning report from the Illinois Auditor General released on May 12th and another contempt of court charge handed to DCFS Director Marc Smith, House members joined Republican Leader Jim Durkin in calling for Director Smith to step down. This report can be found online here.

Additionally, the Office of the Auditor General released a report of its Performance Audit of the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home. In total, 36 residents of the home died due to COVID-19 between November 2020 and January 2021. The audit report can be found online here.

Illinois Gas Prices Jump into Record Highs, Batinick Offers Solutions

Market data, including gasoline futures, indicates that prices could further increase as the summer driving season approaches. Earlier this year, I filed legislation to cap and freeze the State sales tax on Illinois motor fuel at 18 cents per gallon. Under current law whenever the price of gasoline goes up, the sales tax—which is a percentage of the total sales prices—goes up as well. This would have frozen it, but the majority party refused to release my bill from the Rules Committee, preventing any debate or vote on this important legislation. I produced a new video on this legislation, which can be found online here.

Justice Rita B. Garman to Retire; Replacement Named

The senior judge of Illinois’ highest court, Rita Garman, announced her retirement in May. An experienced justice and the second woman to sit on the Illinois Supreme Court, Justice Garman will step down on July 7th. She represented the Fourth Judicial District in central Illinois since February 2001 and led the Court as Chief Justice for a three-year term from 2013 to 2016. The Supreme Court has selected one of the Judicial District’s appellate judges, Lisa Holder White, to serve as Justice Garman’s appointed replacement. Holder White will be the first African-American woman to serve on the state’s highest court.

Illinois Tornado Season Underway

Tornado preparedness includes clearly distinguishing between a tornado watch—a relatively common event that signals the approach of a powerful thunderstorm—and a tornado warning—which is what officials issue when a tornado has actually been sighted or tracked on weather radar. Upon hearing a tornado warning on your phone or through other means—YOU ARE ADVISED TO SEEK SHELTER. Typical shelter areas include a basement or non-windowed room indoors. After a storm has passed over a residential area, local roads and sidewalks may be unsafe due to downed electric wires or floodwaters. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) posted a fact sheet on Illinois tornado preparedness.

Illinois Throwback: Learn More about Illinois History

  • The Grand Duchess: Marmaduke came along at a time when women journalists were often consigned to the entertainment beat or other similarly frivolous topics at their newspapers. But Virginia Marmaduke had no use for that: she was a hard news reporter, and that’s where she was determined to do her work.

COVID-19 Updates

The CDC reported last Thursday that 15 Illinois counties, including Will County, are now rated at High Community Level for COVID-19. They recommend the following measures for people in these areas:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status (including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings)
  • If you are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease:
    • Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
    • Consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed
    • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to take precautions
  • Have a plan for rapid testing if needed
  • IF YOU TEST POSITIVE: Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease:
    • Consider self-testing to detect infection before contact
    • Consider wearing a mask when indoors with them
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters
  • Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible
  • Follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19

Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found online here. To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, visit Vaccines.gov.

Stay Connected!

Were you forwarded this message? Sign up for my e-newsletter updates by visiting my website hereYou can also stay updated on what I’m working on in Springfield and in the 97th District by following me on Facebook here.