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

I hope you are all enjoying your summers!

Last month, our state lost former Attorney General Jim Ryan. Widely respected by members of both parties, Ryan was mourned by elected officials across the state after passing away at his Elmhurst home at the age of 76. Our prayers and hearts are with his family and loved ones.

Following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health (2022), Governor Pritzker announced he is calling the General Assembly into special session in the coming weeks with the support and consultation of Speaker Welch and Senate President Harmon. For a look ahead to the fall, the General Assembly has dates set for our fall veto session in November. As in previous years, the 2022 veto session will straddle Thanksgiving week, and no veto session activities will be held Thanksgiving week.

Lastly, for all who are celebrating Eid al-Adha this week, I wish you happy celebrations and a joyful Eid! Please feel free to call my office at any time by calling (815) 254-0000 or you can email us at batinick@ilhousegop.org.

Illinois Paid Out Nearly $2 Billion in Federal Funds for Fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Claims, Audit Finds

Fraudsters stole more than half the money paid out by the state from a special pandemic unemployment fund from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, pilfering nearly $2 billion in federal money that was supposed to help out of work Illinoisans, according to a state audit released in June. The audit covers much of the period the program was in use, from July 2020 through June 2021. Auditors called the level of fraud “unprecedented” with “fraudsters using highly sophisticated techniques to take advantage” of the pandemic’s unique conditions.

Illinois Housing Wards of the State in Chicago’s Juvenile Jail

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is required to find careful placement for classified juveniles with special needs taken up by legal guardians and declared wards of the state, taking into account all the elements of their classification or diagnosis. Unfortunately, many haven’t been placed in care settings complying with current standards of child welfare which Illinois promised to obey. An investigative reporter with WBEZ tracked many of these children to their current home as of June 2022: Chicago’s juvenile jail. Lacking legal placement for these young people in safe places that fulfill all of the legal responsibilities of a home, DCFS locked up many of them in the high-rise jail. This revelation spurred fresh calls for DCFS to change its policies and for DCFS Director Marc Smith to step down.

“Shrinkflation” at Illinois Grocery Stores

Consumers are finding shrunken packages that carry familiar brand names. The shrinkflation strategy matches moves made at grocery stores in the 1970s. Economic observers point to soaring prices for diesel fuel, which is needed to deliver almost every item sold in a grocery store. Additionally, in Illinois, the State tax on diesel fuel is even higher than the State tax on gasoline with an excise tax of 46.7 cents per gallon (plus sales tax!) charged on diesel fuel by the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Report on Illinois Pension Systems Operated by Local Governments

The pension report was published on Monday, June 6th by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the fiscal and budgetary agency of the Illinois General Assembly. Tax watchdogs report that one of the most important reasons for ever-increasing property tax bills (and local government taxes and fees generally) is to pay for pensions. The June 2022 report covered pension funds operated for the benefit of public-sector workers in Chicago, Cook County, and other Illinois municipalities. Twelve separate pension funds are described and many of the funds have significant unfunded liabilities that will legally necessitate even higher tax rates and pension obligation funding responsibilities in the near future.

Enjoy Illinois’ Outdoors!

This summer, I also provided a resource for 97th District residents interested in exploring the great outdoors around Illinois. Find camping locations on my website here. While you’re having fun in the great outdoors this summer, share your experience! Send my office photos at batinick@ilhousegop.org or tag #District97GreatOutdoors on Facebook for me to share your adventures on my Facebook page and website!

Happy National Ice Cream Month!

July is also National Ice Cream Month! According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes more than 22 pounds of ice cream and frozen desserts per year and 9% of cow’s milk in America is used to make ice cream. July became the summertime treat’s month in 1984, when President Reagan designated it as the month. Treat yourself to some ice cream this month from the 97th District and stay cool! Find local ice cream places below:

  • Hazel Marie’s (Plainfield)
  • Milkshake & Cookies (Plainfield)
  • Dairy Barn (Oswego)
  • La Yummy Michoacana Ice Cream (Oswego)

Illinois Throwback: Learn More about Illinois History

  • Hitting the roads: As the transportation crossroads of North America, Illinois [is] right in the middle of all that traffic. It is fitting, because Illinois was a state which quickly embraced the automotive revolution in the early 20th century.

Stay Connected!

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