Senator Chesney Hosts “Valentines for Seniors” Card Drive
With the new year comes a new opportunity to help make seniors feel special and appreciated. Between now and February 5, my office is collecting cards, notes, and drawings that will be distributed to local nursing homes, assisted living centers, and long-term care facilities in the 45th District through a “Valentines for Seniors” program.
Loneliness can be a real issue for the elderly, so it’s nice to bring them some joy so they know we’re thinking of them. To that end, I am asking students from public and private schools, church groups, Scouting organizations, and other groups to create homemade cards that will be delivered to seniors on or before Valentine’s Day.
Cards and other items can be dropped off or mailed between now and Feb. 5 at my Freeport office Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30. They can also be mailed to the office. The office is located at 50 West Douglas Street, Suite 1001, in Freeport. For additional information about this program, please call my office at 815-232-0774.
Long-Term Care Hero Honored at Allure of Pinecrest
Last week on January 4 it was my pleasure to attend a surprise award presentation at Allure of Pinecrest in Mt. Morris for Maggie Sholes, an activity aide.
Maggie was named a Long-Term Care Hero of the Month. Maggie has been familiar with Pinecrest since she was a child visiting her great-grandmother and is doing great work! Also shown in this photo are HCCI Senior Director of Police & Regulatory Affairs Ron Nunziato and Communications Director Lindsey Hess.
Allure of Pinecrest delivers excellent therapeutic, rehabilitative, and nursing services at 15 different locations.
Migrant Crisis Continues into the New Year
Since August 2022, over 28,000 noncitizens have been sent to Chicago from the U.S. border. Now, the public outcry over the crisis is hitting a fever pitch as the migrant problem is beginning to spill over from Chicago to its surrounding communities.
In mid-November, the Chicago City Council passed new rules stating that only two buses per hour could arrive at the City’s designated “landing zone” between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and that any bus company that ignored the new protocols could face a large fine. These new rules have resulted in some buses dropping off their noncitizen passengers in some other towns without notice to local officials as the migrants continue on their path to Chicago.
On the morning of December 31 and with little notice, a plane carrying 355 migrants arrived at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. Upon landing, migrants boarded buses and were driven to Chicago. Upon learning of the arrival of the immigrants in Rockford, I issued the following statement:
“Winnebago Sheriff Gary Caruana and his department is to be commended for their quick response in correctly rerouting these migrants to Chicago. Their arrival this morning is a direct consequence of the weak border policies of the Biden Administration and the ill-thought-out sanctuary state designation made by Governor JB Pritzker and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Legislature.
“When Illinois Democrats roll out the welcome mat to illegal immigrants and asylum seekers by offering driver’s licenses, free healthcare, and housing assistance, it is no surprise that Illinois has become a destination for non-citizens crossing into this country from our southern border. I am reviewing Illinois’ sanctuary state law and working on a legislative remedy to protect our communities from having to spend their very limited budget dollars on an issue that was not of their making.”
With no real federal solution to the migrant crisis in sight, I am concerned about the impact the crisis may have on the state’s already fragile financial future. Since Governor Pritzker took office, Illinois has gone from spending roughly a million dollars per year to more than a billion dollars on programs dedicated to noncitizens, including more than a half-billion dollars per year on a free healthcare program for undocumented immigrants. These types of programs will only continue to cost Illinois taxpayers more as more noncitizens choose Illinois as their destination.
Deadline to Register Banned Firearms Passes
The implementation of the state’s assault weapon ban has been marked by controversy and confusion. While the sale and purchase of certain firearms were immediately banned when the Governor signed the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” on Jan. 10, 2023, Illinois residents who owned banned assault weapons and/or attachments that were purchased before the bill’s signing had until Jan. 1, 2024, to register those items with the Illinois State Police in order to keep them.
According to the Illinois State Police, 29,357 people registered their assault weapons before the state’s Jan. 1 deadline. Information about 68,992 firearms and 42,830 attachments was also submitted to the Illinois State Police. That total is roughly 1 percent of all gun owners within the state.
Meanwhile, several court cases challenging the constitutionality of the ban are ongoing, including two cases docketed with the United States Supreme Court.