Monday, November 6th, 2023 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Coffee and Conversations with Senator Tom Bennett
Building relationships, one cup at a time.
Old Route 66 Family Restaurant
105 S Old Rte 66, Dwight, IL 60420
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Controversial firearms ban law requires owners to submit affidavit by Jan. 1
This week, the Illinois State Police released rules to implement part of the state’s new firearms ban law. This comes as constitutional lawsuits challenging the ban still make their way through the federal court system.
While the new law bans a variety of so-called “assault” rifles, it allows owners of those firearms to lawfully keep possession as long as they submit an endorsement affidavit through their Firearm Owner’s Identification Card account before January 1, 2024, affirming they owned the firearm(s) prior to January 10, 2023—the date in which the law took effect.
Under the controversial law, affidavits must include the applicant’s FOID card number and the make, model, caliber, and serial number of each firearm.
The Illinois State Police says it will begin accepting affidavits online starting October 1, and they must be submitted online through a FOID Card account, which can be accessed through ISP’s Firearms Services Bureau website or by going directly to www.ispfsb.com
Sen. Bennett voted against the measure to ban firearms and believes it violates the United States Constitution and is a major infringement on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Application period for energy bill assistance to open in October
Low-income Illinois families can soon begin to apply to receive financial assistance for natural gas, propane, and electricity bills through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The application period begins Monday, October 2, 2023, under a tiered system, allowing priority groups the first chance to receive available funds, including seniors (age 60 and older), disabled and families with children under the age of 6 years old.
Then, on November 1, 2023, households that are disconnected from their utilities/energy vendors, have a disconnection notice, or have less than 25% in their propane tank can start applying for LIHEAP assistance. All other income eligible households can start applying on December 1, 2023.
The amount of support families can receive varies based on the needs of the applicants, but last year over 311,000 households received an average of over $1,000.
The eligible income thresholds can be found on the Help Illinois Families website. Families can also call the hotline at 1-833-711-0374 if they think they might be eligible for the program.
Small equipment grants open for local fire departments
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal announced the application period for the Small Equipment Grant Program is now open to eligible fire departments, fire protection districts, township fire departments, and not-for-profit ambulance services.
In an effort to address the financial hardships many fire departments face, the Small Equipment Grant Program provides grants of up to $26,000 for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment. Under the program, $4 million is available and qualified departments must apply by December 15, 2023.
Click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.
How much do we owe?
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,094,467,425.07 to state vendors, including 13,981 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?
This was just announced! According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the 2023 Illinois State Fair in Springfield saw more than 700,000 attendees during the 11-day event, which the Department says sets the new record.
The Department also announced the Fair had the second highest number of Grandstand tickets sold in the last five years, and record-breaking carnival revenue ($1.58 million).
Planning is now under way for the 2024 Illinois State Fair, which is scheduled to run August 8-18.
This Week in the 53rd District
State Senator Tom Bennett – Working full-time to represent you