Week in Review: June 23

New Rule Attempts to Rein in Spending for Undocumented Immigrant Healthcare

This week, after months of Republicans calling attention to the increasing costs of Illinois’ undocumented immigrant healthcare program, the Governor’s Administration filed an emergency rule attempting to rein in state spending on the program for non-citizens, which had ballooned to more than $1 billion. 

While the new rule temporarily suspends enrollment to the program beginning July 1 for those ages 42-64 and sets co-pay requirements, Illinois has already sent a clear message to undocumented immigrants across the nation and the world that Illinois is the best place to come for healthcare, said Senator Bennett, who remains concerned about the costs this influx will continue to have on taxpayers.

Even with the new limits on the program, Illinois taxpayers are still forced into providing the best in the nation healthcare to undocumented immigrants. Senator Bennett says this group of individuals are still receiving better healthcare than Illinois residents on Medicaid and that the healthcare costs for this population are four times greater than a similar citizen on Medicaid as the program hardly receives any federal dollars.

The emergency rule filed last week became effective immediately. Additionally, an identical, permanent rule was also filed and will be taken up by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules in the coming months.

Illinois’ Preliminary May Unemployment Data Released

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the preliminary unemployment data from May, showing Illinois as having the fourth highest state unemployment rate across the country. While there is no clear trend so far in 2023, the state measured 4.1 percent unemployment rate. This is overall down from January’s 4.5 percent, but up from April’s 3.7 percent.

Illinois’ rate falls on the higher end of the national unemployment rate spectrum, where the national average is 3.7 percent. Individual states range from 1.9 percent to 5.4 percent. Illinois is tied for fourth place with Texas and Washington.

Some Illinois Residents Under ‘No Burn’ Orders

The National Weather Service has issued an alert to tell Illinois residents that with the recent dry weather, the risk of widespread fires has also risen. As such, extra care is needed when it comes to fires, and several fire agencies around Illinois have announced “no burn” orders until further notice.

While these notices are mostly in Northern Illinois, all residents are advised to take caution when it comes to fires. According to fire departments, a “no burn” order includes open burnings, only excluding grills and small fire pits. Additionally, oftentimes cigarette smokers are also told to be cautious when it comes to disposing of their cigarettes and to remain vigilant about any sparks or ashes left unintentionally unattended.

IDNR Releases Duck Blind Drawing Dates

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has officially announced the dates and locations of the upcoming waterfowl hunting blind drawings. These drawings take place throughout Illinois from July 16 to Aug. 5. Hunters must register in person and be at that location when the drawing is held.

To participate in the drawing, all applicants must have a 2022 or 2023 regular Illinois hunting license and Migratory Waterfowl stamp at the time they register and a valid photo ID. Both licenses and stamps are available at any IDNR license and permit vendor or through the IDNR website. All applicants must be at least 16 years old by the date of the drawing.

The blind drawings will start July 16 and go through Aug. 5, so potential applicants have some time to gather their application materials. Details on the dates and locations also can be found in the IDNR press release and more information and maps of the locations can be found on IDNR’s Hunt Planner website.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,145,356,269.03 to  state vendors, including 15,079 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?

The new 2023 Legislative Survey was uploaded onto our website! 
I encourage you to take it because your participation will greatly assist me in understanding what matters most to you and how I can effectively represent your interests. This survey not only helps me but also enables me to showcase to my colleagues the issues that are significant to the people in our district. Your input is vital in shaping our collective voice and ensuring your concerns are heard and addressed. Let’s work together to make a positive impact in our community!

Click here to take the survey!

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, June 24 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet!

Prescription Drug Take Back Event

Drive-thru disposal at Streator City Park | 200 block of North Park Street

Drop off your unwanted or expired prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and syringes in a safe sealed container. Labels on the packages need to either be removed or personal information should be blacked out. Medications that are flushed down the toilet or thrown away can contaminate our water supplies and environment. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment/

Friday, July 28, 2023 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Coffee and Conversations with Senator Tom Bennett

Building relationships, one cup at a time.


Come out for a conversation with your elected official and help to brew a better future.

  • Join discussions related to state and local issues impacting you.
  • Receive updates on recent legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
  • Offer your thoughts, ideas, and concerns on issues that matter to you and your family.

Coffee will be provided!

This Week in the 53rd District

Tom Bennett

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