Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I hope you’ve had the chance to enjoy some quality time with family and friends this summer. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time working throughout my district, attending community events, and hearing your concerns about our State and local governments. I am committed to working together with you and other state and local leaders to find new ways to make our Southland the thriving region we know that it can be.
This newsletter will provide an update on some of the initiatives I continue to fight for in Springfield. Our state government is in serious need of reform and we must make public safety a top priority. The items listed below touch on both.
It’s so obvious today how important a transparent and responsible state government is. Taxpayers should demand nothing less. Term limits will help set our sights on creating an efficient and responsive government focused on working for the good of the people. Term limits will erode a corrupt system while promoting fresh ideas. A government run by those who have a history of putting their own interests before yours should be reformed. You’ll hear many creative reasons why term limits are a bad idea, yet it would be the single most significant reform for Illinois.
In the 2015-16 legislative year, I introduced term limit legislation – HJRCA16 – that would prohibit a state representative from serving more than 3 terms or 6 years in the House, while state senators would be able to serve 10 years, (2 four-year terms and 1 two-year term) in the Senate. In both the 2011-12 and 2013-14 legislative years, I introduced HJRCA 0040 and HJRCA 0008 respectively; both were designed to eliminate career politicking. In the future, I will continue working with other representatives and interested parties to move forward with responsible term limit legislation that will help keep our legislature focused on the good of the people, rather than the special interests of some.
While connecting with constituents this summer, I heard loud and clear that you want more openness and transparency in the process of determining how our legislative boundaries are drawn. I agree, and such a change requires a constitutional amendment. I have worked together with legislators from both parties by not only joining as a co-sponsor on legislation concerning the introduction of a redistricting plan (HJRCA 42), but also by voting “yes” to amending redistricting legislation by way of HJRCA 58, which passed the House and awaits action in the Senate. Redistricting reform will create competitive districts and restore your voice at the ballot box, while ensuring that the interests of minority representation is protected.
Habitual Gun Offenders
Juveniles who have previously been charged for the use or possession of a firearm are frequently given probation by the courts for subsequent offenses. We should not continue to blindly return juvenile gun offenders to the streets when we are in the midst of a devastating epidemic of gun crimes. I have sponsored House Amendment # 1 to House Bill 1096 which will prohibit juvenile gun offenders with a prior probation for the use or possession of a firearm from receiving probation a 2nd, 3rd or 4th time. This measure will ensure that juvenile gun offenders do not simply get a slap on the wrist for serious criminal behavior. I will continue to work towards making our neighborhoods safer for our families and communities.
Offensive Use of Property
Tenants who repeatedly commit crimes in and on their rented property can tear at the fabric of our community, endangering the health, safety, and welfare of all who live nearby. I previously introduced HB 1532, a bill to assist landlords when they need to evict tenants that regularly and repeatedly commit offensive and disruptive acts that result in law enforcement issuing a citation or making an arrest three or more times within a 60-day period. This legislation provides an additional tool to help us clean-up our communities and make our neighborhoods safe for our families and friends.
Replica Firearms Cases
I filed legislation to prevent people from carrying replica firearm cell phone cases that have been manufactured to look identical to an actual gun. The replica or imitation firearm cell phone cases pose a serious safety threat for persons and law enforcement officers that may mistake the cases as real firearms.
In response to this issue, I introduced House Bill 4331, which prohibits the sale, possession, and transfer of any mobile cell phone case that resembles the likeness of a firearm. Under the measure, a first offense would result in a fine ranging between $250 and $750. A second offense would range between $500 and $1000, and a third offense between $1000 and $2500. This bill awaits a committee hearing and I will continue to work to develop common sense measures like this one that protect our children, communities, and law enforcement officers.
The following is a list of upcoming events. Feel free to contact my full-time constituent service office in Chicago Heights at 708-754-7900 to receive more information pertaining to them:
Senior Information Fair
Monday, October 3, 2016
John H. Blakey Senior Center
One Rebecca Street, Glenwood, IL
Women’s Self Defense Seminar
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Rich East High School Gymnasium
300 Sauk Trail, Park Forest, IL
As always, I will keep you posted about my work towards providing responsible legislation that will bring the highest level of sound governance to our state, particularly my efforts as I prepare to return to Springfield this fall.