A new law will provide specific exemptions for businesses and firearms sales at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex events that would have been severely affected, limited, or outright banned by the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.
Without the exemptions, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act would have increased costs and administrative burdens for many of the vendors that typically set up during events at the IDNR site in Sparta.
These new regulations could have led to national shooting events choosing a different venue.
Record floods have led to disaster proclamations being issued in 34 Illinois counties this Spring. On June 18, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul warned residents not to fall for flood- damage scams and asked them to contact the Attorney General’s office to report fraudulent activities. Those worried about these scams could also contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if complaints have been made against a specific contractor, and should be wary of any individual who solicits home repair or insurance adjusting services door-to-door.
For those concerned that they may be interacting with a scammer, there are a few simple things that they can do to protect themselves.
Ask to see a permit before entering into any contract. In Illinois, general contractors are not required by state law to be licensed, but municipalities may require permits or have other local requirements. Insurance adjusters must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Insurance, and roofers must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Try to get estimates from multiple contractors and make sure you receive it in writing. Never make a full payment until all work has been completed in good quality. Never pay in cash.
Anyone entering a contract has three days to cancel it if it was signed on the contractor’s visit to their home.
On July 1, stiffer penalties will be implemented as Illinois’ law regarding the use of hand-held devices behind the wheel takes effect. Passed by the General Assembly last year, House Bill 4846 will count first-time incidences of driving while operating a handheld mobile device as a “moving violation.” Prior to HB 4846, first offenses of distracted driving would be considered a “non-moving violation.”
An operator using a hand-held device while the car is in drive could face a $75 fine. Exceptions to the rule are made for situations such as a driver using an cell phone to report an emergency, using a device in hands-free or voice-operated modes, or a driver using a communication device while parked on the shoulder of a roadway.
Three moving violations in a year can result in a suspended license in Illinois.
As the summer begins, legislation from the spring legislative session is now being signed into law – beginning with a controversial measure to expand abortion in Illinois and a reinstatement of the five-hour school day minimum
Meanwhile, wet weather continues to put pressure on farmers struggling to get their crops planted. Flooded communities received some major help from prison inmates. In addition, Senator Plummer has several upcoming events in his district.
Controversial abortion legislation signed into law
On June 12, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the “Reproductive Health Act” into law. The law replaces existing statutes and enshrines abortion as a fundamental right in Illinois. All insurance providers will be required to provide abortion coverage without restriction.
I firmly believe the Illinois State Senate turned their back Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, It’s amazing to me that just a week after doctors in San Diego sent home the world’s tiniest surviving newborn – born at just 23 weeks – Illinois has voted to massively expand abortion rights in Illinois. Ronald Reagan once said that what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life. Believing whole-heartedly in the value of each and every life, I voted no.
Opponents of the act note that it eliminates current state law which bans both late term and partial birth abortions, along with potentially infringing on protections for doctors, nurses, and hospitals who refuse to perform the procedures. It also eliminates sanitary protections in current state law that require facilities performing abortions to be held to the same standards as hospitals and surgical facilities.
Five-hour school day minimum reinstated
Also during the week, legislation reinstating a minimum school day length of five hours of class time was signed into law. The new law states that class time now also includes participation in dual credit programs, supervised career development experiences, youth apprenticeship programs, and blended learning programs. The requirement had been removed when the new evidence-based school funding formula was enacted.
Without the minimum, there was no standard in place for how long schools had to hold classes each day to receive credit for the day. The new law also expands an existing e-learning pilot program to all schools statewide.
Wet year putting the squeeze on Illinois farmers
For those travelling rural roads, please be careful when driving and keep an eye out for farm machinery as farmers continue to work to get their crops in the ground following a rainy spring.
Due to continued wet weather throughout the spring and into June, Illinois farmers have struggled to get their crops planted on time. According to the most recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), only 73 percent of the Illinois corn crop has been planted. By comparison, the state corn crop was considered 100 percent planted by the same date in each of the three previous years. Soybeans progress hasn’t fared well either, with the state crop only at 49 percent planted, compared to 96 percent at the same time last year.
According to Bill Graff, Executive Director of the Illinois Farm Service Agency (FSA), which is part of the USDA, for the majority of Illinois farmers, corn must been planted by June 5 and soybeans by June 20 to receive full federal crop insurance coverage. After those dates, coverage drops to lower levels.
Graff also noted that the county USDA emergency boards are currently working to send information and statistics to the Illinois USDA Farm Service Agency, so that the state USDA emergency board can meet and develop a recommendation for a potential disaster declaration.
Inmates helping out with flood protection
Water levels on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers are finally beginning to drop after cresting in the “major flooding” category along much of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers throughout Illinois.
Communities facing the floodwaters have gotten a helping hand from Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) inmates. According to IDOC, since March their work crews have put in more than 6,000 hours placing sandbags.
In addition, the IDOC facilities have produced one million sandbags, which were distributed by the Illinois Department of Transportation to flooded areas throughout the state.
It is important for us to remember the fallen who have given us the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the benefits of living in the greatest country in the world. Thank you to all the veterans past and present. You will never be forgotten.
As a veteran myself, I was proud this past week as our caucus unveiled its annual Wall of Remembrance in honor of Memorial Day. The Wall of Remembrance features a moving display of photos and stories of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Visitors also have the opportunity to share their own stories and memories of loved ones and friends who have fallen in the line of duty, or to simply express gratitude by filling out notes to post on the Wall.
With just four days remaining until the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn the spring legislative session on May 31, several controversial issues remain unresolved.
Lawmakers have not yet acted on issues like an overhaul of Illinois income tax system from a flat to a graduated tax system, legalization of recreational cannabis, sports betting, or a much needed capital plan. Additionally, lawmakers must approve a budget for Fiscal Year 2020 in the remaining days.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, students are another step closer to learning about hunting safety, under a measure that has now passed both the House and Senate. I am the Senate sponsor of HB 3462, which gives school districts the option to include hunting safety classes in their curriculum as a unit of instruction on hunting education. This bill should soon be off to the Governor.
It was great to have Logan Klitzing as my “page for the day” this past Wednesday. I enjoyed helping Logan learn about the legislative process here in the Senate. Logan just finished his freshman year at Quincy University, majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Philosophy. After graduating, Logan wants to enter the job force as a programmer, or the idea of seminary has crossed his mind. Good luck Logan!
Qualified deputy fire chiefs or assistant fire chiefs will now be able to operate a vehicle with red or white oscillating, rotating, or flashing emergency lights, under a measure that has passed both the House and Senate. I am happy to be the Senate sponsor of HB 1876, which will be a great benefit to volunteer fire departments across the state, where the Chief is not always able to respond to the scene and the Deputy Chief and/or Assistant Chief may be the one responding.
On May 14, Senate Republican lawmakers joined firefighters and their families from around the state who traveled to Springfield to participate in the 26th Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony. The ceremony, which takes place every year in May, honors those who have made the supreme sacrifice, and those who have demonstrated extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism to protect fellow firefighters and civilians.
Students could soon hit the books to learn about hunting safety under a measure sponsored in the Illinois Senate by Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville). House Bill 3462 would give school districts the option to include hunting safety classes in their curriculum as a unit of instruction on hunting education.
“Students who are exposed to lessons in hunting safety have a greater chance of respecting firearms and using them properly for the rest of their lives,” said Sen. Plummer. “As the law is shifting to emphasize the importance of safe handing—adopting legislation like this could make for an accessible path for students to learn these methods in depth, early on in their lives.”
The plan would require the State Board of Education to prepare and distribute instructional materials that may be used as guidelines for development of a unit of instruction on hunting education.
Current Illinois law requires anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1980 to present a valid Hunter Education Certificate of Competency issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Safety Education Division or another state before being issued a hunting license.
Many states are now requiring adult hunters to furnish evidence of having completed a Hunter Education Course prior to issuance of a non-resident license. An Illinois Hunter Safety Education certificate is accepted by all other states.
The plan unanimously passed out of the House of Representatives and is currently on 2nd reading in the Senate having passed in committee. You can follow further action on this bill on ilga.gov.
SPRINGFIELD—May 1, 2019—Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) expressed disappointment in today’s passage of the Governor’s proposed graduated income tax increase. Sen. Plummer has been vehemently opposed to the Democratic proposal that calls for hiking income taxes on the businesses and hardworking families throughout Illinois who are already overtaxed.
Under Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1, there are no provisions in place to prevent future rates from being raised, creating greater uncertainty for taxpayers who are already on the fence about leaving Illinois. It is important to note that since the Governor announced so-called "fair tax" rates, they have already changed. The top marginal rate on this proposal has gone up and the income to which the top rate is subject for those filing separately has already come down by $250,000.
The argument in states that keep a flat tax is that transitioning to a graduated tax system makes tax increases more likely, and the government more prone to change the rates.
In the last 20 years, states that have a flat tax system have reduced taxes 21 times and increased them only four. It is worth noting that half of those increases were in Illinois. In states with graduated tax systems, over the same 20 year period, on 24 occasions, taxes have gone up and the income threshold to which the maximum rate applies has been dropped drastically. Data shows flat tax systems protect all taxpayers.
"The constitutional amendment was just introduced a few weeks ago and we've already seen the rates change," said Sen. Plummer. "A lot of trust is already lost, so how can we believe the numbers being pushed aren't going to change on us again? This proposal is dangerous. The answer to our state government's problems is not to raise taxes."
What Sen. Plummer says is even more troubling is the proposal provides no protections for middle-income families, and takes away the stability the current flat tax provides to taxpayers.
"This is a huge red flag. Shifting from a flat tax to a graduated tax makes it even easier for politicians with no fiscal discipline to raise taxes again," said Sen. Plummer. "No one in their right mind would give Springfield legislators a blank check to control tax rates. They're creating a stronger signal to families and businesses to flee Illinois."
Lessons learned the hard way
Looking back to 2017, the record-setting $5 billion permanent income tax hike was supposed to balance the budget, but has failed to do so. At the time, the individual tax rates rose to an alarming 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent, and corporate taxes jumped to 7 percent from 5.25 percent.
"Whatever trust there was is gone," said Sen. Plummer. "The same legislators who've promoted tax-and-spend policies for years, while refusing to rein in state spending, will be the first ones calling for future increases."
Rep. Meier and Sen. Plummer to meet in O’Fallon April 24
SPRINGFIELD – April 23, 2019 – Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) will unite with Illinois House Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) in O’Fallon this week for a public town hall forum. The free event will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Katy Cavins Community Center located at 308 E. 5th St. in O’Fallon.
Participants will learn more about legislation pending in the Illinois General Assembly such as the graduated income tax increase, gun control, the proposed legalization of marijuana, job creation, and other important issues facing the state. The forum is open to the public and members of the media.
SPRINGFIELD—March 26, 2019—Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) is backing a new initiative to curb tax increases in the state. The Illinois Senate Republican Caucus is seeking to protect the middle class and give them a voice in safeguarding their hard-earned money through Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 12, filed by State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods).
The proposal calls for an amendment to Illinois' Constitution to prohibit the legislature from imposing or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds supermajority vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Currently, legislators only need a simple majority to pass a tax increase or to implement a new tax.
"Enough is enough," said Sen. Plummer. "Middle income families need enhanced protections against Illinois' money hungry politicians. When government continues to create ways to reach into the pockets of their residents, the least we can do is provide taxpayers with an avenue of defense. They need a seat at the table."
Sen. Plummer noted 15 states impose some kind of supermajority requirement—forcing two-thirds, three-fourths, or three-fifths of theses legislatures to support the plan in order to raise or implement taxes.
"We're seeing state after state adopt this type of protection," said Sen. Plummer. "States all around are moving in this direction in order to help protect taxpayers and ensure tax increases aren't just passing willy-nilly."
To put SJRCA 12 on the ballot in 2020, a three-fifths majority is required, and for the amendment to be adopted, voters must approve it on the ballot with three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election. If placed on the ballot and approved by voters, any new state tax or state tax increase would need to obtain 40 votes in the Senate and 79 votes in the House.