The McAuliffe Message for March

The Illinois House and Senate are adjourned until April 9th. Speaker Madigan sets the schedule and all told the House has met for just 12 days this year. When the House returns, we will be in session nearly every day until scheduled adjournment on May 31st. By then we are expected to have passed a budget. However, the House has yet to adopt a revenue estimate and has failed to do so for years. This estimate serves as a taxpayer protection so we don’t spend more money than we have available. As a result, over the past few years we have had budget deficits ultimately culminating in last year’s tax hike.

It can be incredibly difficult to pass meaningful legislation and make tough budgetary choices in an election year. Increasingly partisan politics means neither side wants to give the other a “win”.

Gun Legislation Update
Both within Illinois and across the nation, public safety is under threat from gun violence and mass shootings. We need to give our law enforcement officials, our regulatory agencies, and our communities the tools they need to help prevent tragedies across the state. We can do that while maintaining a respect for an individual’s 2nd amendment rights.The Illinois House has responded with the following legislation: Sent to the Governor
SB1567: creates a gun dealer licensure system in Illinois. The bill requires every gun dealer to have a state license for the owner, a state license for the dealer and possibly a local license in addition to the federal license that is required. The bill also mandates a video surveillance system and allows for the general public to pay a fee and get a list of names and addresses of all licensees. This legislation was vetoed by the Governor of March 13th. The Governor characterized the bill as “burdensome regulation” that would have laid a heavy enforcement load upon more than 2,700 small businesses throughout Illinois and noted that the retail sale of firearms in every state is already regulated by the federal government. A three-fifths majority in both legislative chambers is required to override the Governor’s veto.
HB1468: imposes a 72-hour “cooling off” period between purchase and delivery of so-called assault weapons. This includes certain rifles, semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and semiautomatic pistols, and .50 caliber rifles. The previous wait time was 48 hours. Passed the House, Awaiting Further Legislative Action
HB1465: raises the minimum age to purchase assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices from 18 to 21.
HB1467: bans bump stock and trigger crank modification devices for semi-automatics in Illinois. These modifications are meant to increase the rate of fire achievable with the weapon. The House is expected to vote on at least two more gun control measures this spring:
HB2354: aka the Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act, which allows a family member or a law enforcement officer to file for a lethal violence order of protection against someone who poses an immediate and present danger to themselves or others by owing or possessing a fire arm. An order of protection can only be issued by a judge and that judge must find that the person poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others by having control or custody or the ability to possess or receive firearms. It is a one year order subject to renewal. The emergency order would then require the respondent to turn over their FOID and CCL cards to law enforcement, in addition to any firearms in their possession.
HB1469: aka the Commander Bauer Act would ban the sale, delivery, purchase or possession of high-capacity ammunition magazine clips of more than 10 rounds and ban the sale, possession, transfer, purchase or wearing of body armor. The bill has exemptions for law enforcement and retired law enforcement.

My Legislation
A number of the bills I filed have moved forward including:
HB5231: creates the Law Enforcement Support Program Confidentiality Act, which makes confidential, with some exemptions, any information or confessions by a law enforcement officer participating in a peer support program.
HB4953: requires each new applicant for a license regulated by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation complete a sexual harassment training program.
HB5682 and HB5683: creates recognition and appreciation programs for volunteers who assist in Illinois veterans homes and makes changes to the priorities for admission to a veteran’s home for non-military spouses of veterans who wish to live together.

Women’s Self Defense Class
I’m proud to announce that I am partnering with the non-profit organization, One Light Self Defense, to offer a free Women’s self defense class. Instructors from One Light will teach avoidance tactics, self-defense misconceptions, offensive techniques, and defensive escapes.
The class will take place in the gymnasium at the Salvation Army in Norridge on Tuesday, June 5th at 6pm. While the class is free, donations to One Light are appreciated. 100% of donations go to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, or sexual assault. Space is limited and registration is encouraged. For more information on this class, please contact my office. 

Tackle Football Ban Considered The House Mental Health Committee has advanced a bill that would ban any child under the age of 12 from participating in organized tackle football. Similar bills have been introduced in the legislatures of California, Maryland, and New York. The measure is explicitly limited to tackle football and does not cover any other sports or “pickup games” that children organize themselves. However, concerns were expressed in committee that this policy change could also be applied, in future years, to other recreational activities and ways that adults help kids organize themselves for sports. My kids play hockey, a sport that is also considered dangerous, but the decision to let them play was discussed and determined between my wife and I. I do not believe the government should tell parents what activities their children can and cannot do.  

Raising Tobacco Age to 21 The Illinois House and Senate are considering legislation to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. Possession of tobacco products by those underage would no longer be criminalized, but small businesses and convenience stores would see fines for the sale of such products to those under 21. The ban includes e-cigarettes, vapes, and other alternative nicotine products. Five states (CA, NJ, OR, HI, and ME) have enacted legislation to raise the purchase age to 21, as well as some local governments in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Revenue estimates that the State and local governments will experience a $35 – $40 million annual loss of tax revenue.  

Chicago Real Estate Taxes
New legislation from Springfield means new changes to property tax exemptions. All Chicago Homeowners will see an expanded Homeowner’s Exemption from $7,000 to 10,000. The Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption is increasing from $5,000 to $8,000. And finally, the income cap for seniors eligible for the Senior Freeze Exemption will increase from $55,000 to $65,000. To receive these exemptions, you must fill out applications with the Cook County Assessor’s Office. For more information, click here.