I hope this update finds you well as we enjoy the last weeks of summer. We continue to keep the people and community of Highland Park in our prayers following the horrific and senseless violence at their Independence Day parade. Please keep your hearts with the families of the victims, survivors, and witnesses.
Below is an update on what has been going on in Springfield and Illinois the past month. Last month, I penned an op-ed on ethics reform in Illinois resembling a “Potemkin village.” You can read this full op-ed online here. We also saw Justice Lisa Holder White be sworn in as the first Black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court on a history-making day. Congratulations to Justice Holder White! To stay updated on the courts, you can visit IllinoisCourts.gov.
This month, many of us are going back to school. Some back to school tips for students from the Princeton Review include: you don’t need one study space, track more than homework in your school planner, start small and complete projects pieces at a time, come up with an organizational system, get into a routine, learn how to create a distraction-free zone, be realistic, use class time wisely, review your notes each night, study a little each day, don’t let bad grades keep you down, and make a friend in every class. Welcome back to school, 97th District students!
As always, you can feel free to reach out to my office at any time at (815) 254-0000 or email email@example.com. Enjoy your month!
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is Live
988 is the mental health version of 911. The dialing code will strengthen and expand the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, providing the public with easier access to life-saving services. Find more information at Illinois988.com.
Resources to Become a Foster Family in Illinois
I’m glad to provide information and resources on my website for individuals and families interested in becoming foster families in Illinois. Find information on the process, FAQs, useful links, and how to get started on my website here.
You can also find information on how to become an adoptive family on my website here.
Batinick Files Legislation to Hold Consenting Parents Criminally Liable for Firearm Damages Perpetrated by their Children with FOID Cards
Last month, in response to mass shootings that occurred in New York, Texas, and Highland Park, I filed legislation to hold parents consenting to FOID applicants under 21 years old criminally liable for any damages resulting from their use of firearms. The mass shootings that plague our nation and state regularly are stealing the lives of our loved ones. HB 5769 will help us hold parents criminally liable in Illinois for any damages resulting from the firearm, firearms, or ammunition in which they consented for their child under the age of 21 to have the FOID card to purchase. Find more information online here.
Batinick Files Legislation Allowing Chicago Speed Camera Revenue to Pay Police & Firefighter Pensions
In July, I also filed House Bill 5774 to allow for the use of speed camera enforcement revenue to pay down the woefully underfunded public safety pension liability in Chicago. Chicago’s public safety pensions need additional resources so people who put their lives on the line every day know their pensions will be there when they retire. This bill will allow the City Council to use speed camera revenue to benefit public safety efforts in Chicago, where it’s desperately needed. Find more information online here.
Embattled DCFS Director Grilled by Legislative Audit Commission over Massive Failures
Since December, nine children have died under the Department of Children and Family Services’ watch. Meanwhile, the agency’s director, Marc Smith, has been held in contempt of court 12 times for failing to place children in state care appropriately.
Last Tuesday, Director Smith and DCFS staff appeared before the bipartisan Legislative Audit Commission to answer for troubling missteps outlined in recent State audits of the agency. Director Smith grades his agency as “One of the best child welfare systems in the country.” Meanwhile, legislators overseeing DCFS see it differently.
Several audits of the department reveal glaring problems. 48% of kids who are victims of child abuse or neglect related to substance abuse didn’t have their cases handed to state’s attorneys for review, as they’re supposed to. In 98% of cases, DCFS was unable to provide home safety checklists and 100% of employees and contractors had no receipt or acknowledgement of DCFS policies.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin repeatedly called for Director Smith’s resignation and a complete restructuring of DCFS. Thus far, those calls have gone unanswered by Governor Pritzker and his administration. No more excuses, it’s clear the leadership and policies at the agency need to change immediately to protect Illinois’ most vulnerable children.
The Batinick Blueprint
Illinois is a special place to so many people in our state and across the nation. 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.” Find more information online here.
Expirations for Illinois Drivers’ Licenses/ID Cards Extended: December 1, 2022
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and REAL ID requirements, the Illinois Secretary of State office announced a further extension in the lifespan of drivers’ licenses and ID cards until December 1, 2022 from the previous deadline of July 31, 2022. Illinois residents are encouraged to file their renewal applications online.
Fair Season Has Begun!
With the arrival of August, we have the Illinois State Fair and 97th District county fairs. The Illinois State Fair in Springfield begins on August 11th and ends on August 21st. The Will County Fair in Peotone begins on August 24th and ends on August 28th. The Kendall County Fair in Yorkville begins on August 4th and ends on August 7th. If you are going to any of these fairs, I wish you safe and happy festivities!
Illinois Throwback: Learn More about Illinois History
- TBT: The story of Private Joe: In the decades following the Civil War, Illinois, like most northern states, saw veterans elected to many positions throughout government. At first, Joe Fifer of Bloomington was no different.
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