Update from Senator Bennett: May 12

Bennett Passes Legislation to Ease Access to Assisted Living Facilities for Certain Diabetic Individuals The Illinois Senate has passed legislationsponsored by State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) that updates requirements for assisted living facilities, to help individuals who require sliding scale insulin treatments. “I believe this is a common-sense change that can make a real difference in terms of access to care for some individuals,” said Bennett. “I want to make sure that people who need to reside in an assisted living facility, have access to those facilities.” Under current law, people aren’t allowed to be accepted for residency in an assisted living facility if that person requires sliding scale insulin treatment, unless those treatments can be self-performed or administered by a licensed health care professional. This is a particular issue because many individuals are unable to self-administer the treatments. Due to the second requirement, those patients are required to find private duty licensed healthcare professionals, even if the assisted living facilities have nurses on staff that are able to administer the treatments. If they can’t find or afford the private duty professional, they are not allowed to live in an assisted living facility. The legislation sponsored by Senator Bennett, House Bill 3172, removes that requirement, allowing individuals who require sliding scale insulin treatments to be accepted into assisted living facilities. In addition, Senator Bennett was able to pass another healthcare-related bill, House Bill 2855. This legislation updates statutes governing the Lyme Disease Task Force, clarifying that veterinarians appointed to the task force must be practicing veterinarians. Both bills now await the signature of the Governor to become law.
Scott Bennett
Senator Scott M Bennett Memorial Highway On Thursday, the Senate passed a resolution honoring Senator Bennett’s nephew, the late Senator Scott Bennett. This resolution will rename part of I-74, from Champaign to the Indiana border, as the Senator Scott M Bennett Memorial Highway.
“I would like to thank my fellow Senators for their support.,” said Senator Bennett. “It’s important to recognize his work, especially his history of working with people, regardless of political ideology, to pass legislation to help the citizens of Illinois.” Pictured above: Senator Bennett and Senator Paul Faraci (D-Champaign) who were two of the chief sponsors of the resolution.
Dollars Sheet
Title 42 Highlights Illinois’ Ballooning Undocumented Healthcare Program May 12, 2023, marked the end of Title 42, which is a federal provision that allowed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to expel or restrict the number of migrants entering the United States to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19. As thousands amass at the United States border, its ending is highlighting a billion-dollar program in Illinois that provides free healthcare to undocumented immigrants. The Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors program was implemented in 2020 to provide benefits to undocumented immigrants ages 65 and older. It has since been incrementally expanded to include individuals ages 42 and older, and renamed Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA). Because Democrats relied on an estimate provided by advocates that grossly underestimated the number of people who would enroll – and failed to verify that it would be accurate – the program exceeded its yearly appropriation in the first month it was in place. As Democrats have expanded the program, that trend has only continued, and next year it will cost taxpayers $1.1 billion. Gov. JB Pritzker initially boasted about Illinois’ status as the only state in the nation offering healthcare to undocumented immigrants at this scale, but he is now walking back that enthusiasm as costs continue to rise.  Despite ballooning costs, Democratic legislators continue pushing to further expand the program. Senate Bill 122 would expand taxpayer-funded coverage to all undocumented adults. This expansion would add an additional $380 million to the program’s cost, bringing the total tab for taxpayers to nearly $1.5 billion. As pandemic-era funding dries up and the economy slows down, Senate Republicans are urging Democratic colleagues to consider budgetary pressures Illinois faces and be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. Senator Bennett believes that Illinois should first keep promises made to its vulnerable citizens, such as the developmentally disabled community whose programs have been underfunded by half a billion dollars over the last three years.
Senator Bennett Sponsors Legislation to Protect Law-Abiding Gun Owners Law-abiding gun owners who legally purchased a firearm that is subject to Illinois’ recent firearms ban – during the federal court injunction between April 28 and May 4 – are being told by the Attorney General and the Governor’s Administration that beginning Jan. 1, they have to either surrender those firearms or risk becoming a criminal. On April 28, a federal judge placed an injunction on the state’s recently enacted “assault weapons ban,” which opened a period of time where it was again lawful to sell and purchase these “banned firearms.” On May 4, a federal appeals court lifted the injunction against the ban. The Attorney General then released guidance, claiming that those firearms (which were included in the ban), but then purchased and picked up during the window between the rulings, would be illegal on Jan. 1, 2024 – the date on which firearms subject to the ban are required to be registered. The registration process includes an affidavit where the owner is required to attest that the affected firearm was purchased prior to Jan. 10, 2023. Senator Bennett says it’s not right that those who legally purchased one of these firearms between April 28 and May 4 would have to either surrender their firearm of risk becoming a criminal. To rectify the issue and to prevent law-abiding citizens from being turned into criminals, Senator Bennett is co-sponsoring legislation, Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1073, which updates the affidavit requirements to include firearms purchased during a period in which a court issued an injunction on the law. This would allow individuals who purchased “banned firearms” during this recent injunction or any future ones, to be able to legally keep and possess them. 
Dollar Pipeline
How much do we owe? As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $519,447,700 to state vendors, including 20,417 pending vouchers. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $139 billion. At the same time last year, the state’s accounts payable stood at a little less than $2 billion.
Did You Know? In recent weeks, you’ve probably noticed quite a few farmers out in the field tilling the soil and planting crops (including some members of Senator Bennett’s family). But how many farms does the state actually have? According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), there are around 72,000 farms in the Land of Lincoln. The average size of Illinois farms, including hobby farms, is 375 acres. While most farm acreage in the state is devoted to crop production (primarily corn and soybeans), 22% of farms have beef cattle, 3% have hogs, and 1% have dairy cattle. The state’s farms are operated by approximately 75,000 farm operators, which is down from 164,000 in 1959, as farms have increased in size. 49% of farmers have jobs off of the farm and consider farming as a secondary occupation. As for how they are doing this year, Illinois farmers have so far planted 73% of their corn acres and 66% of their soybeans, so you may be seeing them planting for a little while longer yet this spring.
This Week in the 53rd District
Tom Bennett

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