Tuesday, August 22, 2023 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Coffee and Conversations with Senator Tom Bennett
Building relationships, one cup at a time.
At Washington Family Restaurant
1269 Peoria St #2352 Washington, IL 61571
Office Hours: Click here for the weekly office hours.
Governor Signs Sen. Bennett-Sponsored Bills into Law
As the 60-day deadline approaches for some of the Legislature’s passed bills, the Governor signed two more bills that were sponsored by Senator Bennett.
Senate Bill 1488 – Designed to help with the ongoing teacher shortage. For people studying to become teachers, there is a requirement called edTPA, which we’ve been repeatedly told is an outdated standard, and that it’s keeping good, qualified people from becoming teachers. This new law pauses the edTPA standard for two years and creates a task force to develop a new and better system for evaluating teachers.
House Bill 3172 – Updates the requirements for assisted living facilities to help individuals who require sliding scale insulin treatments. Under the old law, if people who needed those treatments couldn’t administer them by themselves, they basically either had to pay for their own nurse to administer the treatments, or they couldn’t live in an assisted living facility.
Illinois Supreme Court Rules to Uphold Gun Ban
On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled against plaintiffs in a case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s recently enacted “assault weapon” ban. The justices voted 4-3 in favor of the gun ban, with one democrat joining two republican judges in dissent.
Notably, the ruling focused only on the constitutionality of whether individuals who own banned weapons (before the ban was passed) would be treated differently than those who wish to purchase weapons after the ban.
The court did not rule on whether or not the ban violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling is not the final word on whether the ban will be overturned. Multiple federal lawsuits are ongoing with many legal experts saying that the federal court system is more likely to result in a ruling against the new law.
Senate Republicans Call for More Information on $5.2 Billion Lost by IDES
Members of the Senate Republican Caucus are calling for answers after a recent audit showed that Governor Pritzker’s IDES (Illinois Department of Employment Security) lost $5.2 billion through illegitimate unemployment payments during the pandemic, due primarily to fraud and identity theft.
Noting the audit showed that the administration has only been able to recover roughly $500 million, about a tenth of the money lost, Senate Republicans sent a request for more information from the agency. The legislators are specifically requesting information on what has been done so far to recover money from the illicit payments, as well as what efforts are currently underway to claw back more of the taxpayers’ money.
How much do we owe? As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $811,272,566.74 to state vendors, including 16,792 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 butter cow at the Illinois State Fair is a life size figure of a cow made of butter that weighs nearly 800 pounds. This has been a tradition at the fair since the 1920s. The butter cow is sculpted by hand using salted of unsalted butter. The themes throughout the years often relate to dairy farming or agriculture. This year the theme was, “Harvest the Fun”. You can find the butter cow along with delicious ice cream in the Dairy Building!
This Week in the 53rd District
State Senator Tom Bennett – Working full-time to represent you!