2024 Legislative Session Kicks Off with Chesney Press Conference
The Illinois General Assembly kicked off the 2024 regular session on January 16, and lawmakers spent much of the week in meetings with constituents and other lawmakers, and drafting legislation that will be filed. However, less than an hour before the Senate gaveled in, three of my Republican colleagues and I held a Capitol press conference to discuss the ongoing migrant crisis in Illinois. Along with State Senator Dave Syverson, Assistant House Republican Leader John M. Cabello, and State Representative Joe Sosnowski, we discussed the federal and state policies that created the crisis, how it has impacted Northwest Illinois communities, and how the issue can be addressed through legislative action.
The influx of migrants and illegal immigrants into Illinois is a direct consequence of weak border policies by the Biden Administration and laws passed in Illinois in recent years that act as incentives to lure undocumented people to this state.
In the absence of leadership at the federal level and from Governor Pritzker and his Democrat allies in the General Assembly, Republicans will lead on this issue. We are filing of a bill package that seeks to eliminate incentives that draw migrants and illegal immigrants to Illinois.
Our legislation includes:
- Rescind the TRUST Act: This law prohibits law enforcement from coordinating with federal officials to ensure immigration laws are enforced. Today, if a police officer has contact with an individual who is in this country illegally, they cannot contact federal immigration officials to arrange for detention and deportment.
- Eliminate Free Healthcare for non-citizens: Over the last few years, Democrats have passed laws that extend free healthcare to migrants and other non-citizens.
- Provide Free Transportation Out of Illinois: While basic services would be provided to the migrants already in Illinois, a law is needed to help them move along and out of Illinois by providing transportation either back to their home country, or to a different “Sanctuary State.”
The legislative package is being finalized and will be filed before the February 9 deadline for the introduction of bills.
Senator Chesney Hosts “Valentines for Seniors” Card Drive
Valentines are arriving at my office, but there is still time to participate in my Valentines for Seniors program. Please feel free to drop off valentines, poems, drawings, and other well-wishes for this year’s program between now and February 5 at my Freeport office. Items collected will be distributed to local nursing homes, assisted living centers, and long-term care facilities in the 45th District.
The office is open between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM., Monday through Friday, and is located at 50 W. Douglas Street, Suite 1001, Freeport, IL, 60132. For additional information about this outreach program, please email Lori at email@example.com, or call my office at (815) 232-0774.
These special deliveries will put smiles on seniors’ faces, so I hope you’ll participate.
Republicans Call on Governor to Reverse Proposed Cuts to Developmentally Disabled Community
Recently, the Pritzker Administration announced plans to make significant cuts to funding for programs that help the developmentally disabled community. The specific cuts would amount to 2.5 million less hours that Direct Support Professionals (DSP) could provide services in group homes, where approximately 10,000 adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) reside. The reduction would total around $87.7 million dollars, affecting 90% of all group home residents.
In response, every member of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus signed a letter calling on the Governor to rescind these cuts to one of the state’s most vulnerable populations. They also noted that these cuts come at the same time that spending for immigrant services has skyrocketed into the billions.
It is unconscionable that the Governor would propose cutting funding to some of Illinois’ must vulnerable citizens at the same time he is allocating hundreds of millions of dollars toward services for migrants and illegal immigrants.
Lawmakers Take Up Assault Weapon Ban Rules
On the same day that lawmakers returned to Springfield, the bipartisan and bicameral Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) met to discuss new permanent rules for the state’s “assault weapons” ban (AWB) proposed by the Illinois State Police (ISP).
The State was operating under emergency rules that ISP promulgated last year. These new permanent rules will replace those emergency rules and contain changes, additions, and clarifications that ISP has worked on since the emergency rules were first published.
Numerous concerns have been raised about the potential for confusion caused by both the emergency and permanent rules. Critics have said the rules are too vague and could leave gun owners struggling to understand exactly which firearms, parts, and attachments are illegal or need to be registered.
Republican members of JCAR filed a motion to prohibit the new permanent rules from being put into place, citing many of the same concerns, but the motion failed on a party-line vote.
However, the Republican JCAR members were successful in filing a motion to object to the rules on the same grounds. ISP must respond in writing to the Committee’s objection before it can file the regulations with the Secretary of State’s Office to be adopted.
As you probably know, I voted against the so-called “assault weapons” ban in Illinois because I believe it is unconstitutional. Court cases are still pending, and I believe that ultimately this law will be overturned.
Chesney Tours South Beloit Manufacturing Plant
When I’m not in Springfield, I enjoy meeting and talking with people who live and work in the 45th District. On January 11, I had an opportunity to tour Top Die Casting Company in South Beloit. Thank you to COO Brad Lindmark, Plant Manager Keith McDonald, and company co-owner David McCurdy for the tour and conversation. These manufacturers help drive the Illinois economy, and Top Die Casting has been a financially sound and family-owned business since 1977.