Batinick Bulletin – Legislative News from Rep. Mark Batinick for Final Week of Veto Session

Season’s greetings! I am providing an additional update from our final week of veto session, which wrapped up last Thursday. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield during the first week of January 2023 for a lame duck session to consider an assault weapons ban and further gun control measures, as well as other possible issues. The 103rd General Assembly will be sworn into office during the January 11th, 2023 inauguration, which will also mark the end of my term in the House of Representatives.

For all who celebrate in the next few weeks, I wish you a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and happy Kwanzaa spent with loved ones creating happy memories. As we approach the new year as well, please remember to stay safe and make sure you have a sober ride home during your new year’s celebrations.

Democrats Pass SAFE-T Act Trailer Legislation over GOP Opposition

In a now-familiar pattern, Illinois Democrats passed changes to their so-called “SAFE-T” Act during the final hours of the fall Veto Session. This trailer legislation (HB 1095) passed with the minimum required number of votes in the House on yet another partisan roll call.

The SAFE-T Act was a terrible law when it was originally passed under the cover of darkness at the end of the 2021 lame duck session and it remains a terrible law today for public safety, victims of violent crime, and law enforcement.

Despite multiple attempts to clean it up and clarify its intent, the harsh reality is that Democrats’ so-called “reforms” will still let dangerous criminals back out onto the streets. No amount of sugarcoating can change what Illinoisans are seeing with their own eyes: shootings and other violent crime is up, carjackings are rampant, and criminal mob actions are plaguing our cities. Our law enforcement community is demoralized and police officers are retiring in droves, leaving some communities without any law enforcement officers at all.

General Assembly Enacts Agreed Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Legislation

In spring, Governor Pritzker signed the FY2023 budget that left a $1.8 billion deficit in the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund, which House Republicans strongly opposed and argued we had the necessary revenue on hand to pay back the unemployment debt in full. Instead, Democrats spent $1 billion on pork projects in Democrat districts and the delay in payment cost Illinois taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in back interest and penalties.

A significant victory has now been won thanks to pressure applied by House Republican members of the Unemployment Insurance Task Force. An agreement was reached between the business and labor communities to pay off the balance owed by the State of Illinois to the federal government for money that was borrowed to replenish the state’s UI Trust Fund.

Senate Bill 1698 contains the agreed language to pay off the UI Trust Fund debt and shore up the rolling balance in the Fund. SB 1698 passed the House on a bipartisan vote with the Senate concurring.

Image from Enjoy Illinois

Preparations for 2022 Holiday Season

Enjoy Illinois developed a webpage for the 2022 holiday season. Christmas markets, skating rinks, festivals of lights, and visits by Santa Claus are opening up around Illinois. The eight days of Hanukkah will also begin on Sunday, December 18th and conclude on December 26th.

Image from U.S. Navy
Image from U.S. Army

Happy Holidays to Our Troops

This time of year is important to remember the men and women who are deployed or away from their families during holiday celebrations. I hope you join me in taking the time to thank our troops and military families for their sacrifices during what can be a difficult time for them when away from their loved ones.

Image from Plainfield Police Department

Be sure to also thank first responder families and first responders (police officers, 911 dispatchers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, EMS workers, and more) for their work during the holiday season and during these upcoming holidays. We are able to celebrate these important times with our loved ones because of others’ sacrifices, so be sure to express your gratitude!