* Press release…
State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), the only US Marine Corps female Veteran in the IL House of Representatives, has filed legislation that will mandate Memorial Day be recognized in the Illinois House of Representatives. House Bill 4214 and its companion House Resolution 671, amends the General Assembly Operations Act and creates a new House Rule 9.5 to mandate that the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall not convene the House of Representatives in regular of perfunctory session after 4:00 pm on the day before Memorial Day or before 4:00 pm on Memorial Day. It further mandates that the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall include in the business on the Daily Calendar for the House of Representatives for that session a remembrance ceremony for Memorial Day.
“For many years, I have been forced to be absent from my seat on the Illinois House Floor in order to honor the men and women who lost their lives in service to our country in cemetery visits the morning of Memorial Day. It is time for all members of the Illinois House of Representatives to be able to be in their hometowns and to honor those who gave so much” states Kifowit. “The Illinois House of Representatives should recognize that nothing is more important than honoring those that have lost their lives in defense of our freedom and liberties”.
“The Department of Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) supports this legislation, which aims to shut down session for a 24-hour period to allow Illinois lawmakers time to convene with the Veterans in their home districts, and to pay tribute and high honor to the Veterans whose lives were lost in combat operations on behalf of a grateful nation” stated Jay Hoffman, Legislative Director of the Department of Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars. “This would allow our legislators the ability to briefly break from the business of state government to reflect and respect the reason why we are able to have duly elected officials that are able to conduct state business, and that reason is our Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice”.
Memorial Day, originally Decoration Day, was a day to honor union soldiers who had died in the Civil war. After WWI, it was expanded to honor all men and women who died in any war or military action. WWII, it was formally renamed Memorial Day and was designated in 1971 to be observed on the last Monday in May.
“On this one day of the year, we are to collectively pause in remembrance of the supreme sacrifice made by ordinary Americans in service to our Nation” writes Denise Williams, President, Department of Illinois American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Proud mother of PFC Andrew Meari, KIA 11/01/10 Afghanistan. “This is a day of somber reflection of their gift to us all, and of joyous appreciation of what they have secured for us with the most selfless sacrifice”.
There is no record of a remembrance ceremony for the fallen service members in the Illinois House of Representatives and committees began meeting at 9:00 am on Memorial Day for 2019. The Illinois State Senate does not indicate Memorial Day as a session day on their calendar for 2020.
This became an issue when the spring session was shortened to the end of May, from the previous end of June deadline. It’s another example of an unintended consequence from a well-meaning change. This year’s Memorial Day is May 25th, so session may not be needed unless they find themselves with a bigtime crunch issue like they did last May.
A state lawmaker wants to restrict who can access I-Pass information on drivers who use the pass on the Illinois Tollway.
Last year, WBEZ reported that the Illinois Tollway is regularly subpoenaed by law enforcement agencies and even divorce attorneys for an individual customer’s I-Pass data.
In one troubling instance, the Tollway turned over a customer’s travel information, cell phone number, email address and vehicle information to her ex-boyfriend whom she felt was stalking her. The woman had a restraining order against the man at the time he was able to obtain her personal information by filing a subpoena to the Illinois Tollway for her I-Pass records. The practice raised concerns from privacy advocates.
State Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, recently introduced a bill that would prohibit the Tollway from releasing such information via subpoena in civil cases — whether it’s for use in a divorce case, a car accident lawsuit or to potentially stalk someone. McDermed’s bill would also require law enforcement to first obtain a warrant from a judge before asking the Tollway to release someone’s I-Pass records.
From her press release…
Rep. McDermed’s legislation, House Bill 4006, would prohibit the Tollway from releasing personally identifiable information, except to a law enforcement agency with a search warrant. The Tollway must notify a person within 5 days that their information has been obtained and must provide them with the name of the law enforcement agency and a copy of the search warrant.
That notification could be a problem.
* Center Square…
An Illinois lawmaker wants to realign Illinois’ tax on inheritance to federal thresholds, something long sought by family farmers.
Currently, Illinois imposes an estate tax, sometimes called a “death tax,” of up to 16 percent. Combined with a top federal rate of 40 percent, some heirs face a tax of up to 56 percent, but the federal estate tax kicks in at just under $12 million while Illinois’ estate tax applies to any inherited value above $4 million.
That’s why state Rep. Mike Murphy said he wants to bring Illinois back to using the same estate value threshold as the federal government.
“The estate tax is one of the reasons we’re losing the family farm,” he said.
Farm families, if they haven’t spent the money on an estate tax attorney, can be forced to sell off a portion of the family farm or take out loans to pay off an estate tax bill. A 500-acre farm valued at $10,000 an acre would, according to the Illinois Attorney General’s calculator, pay an estimated $285,714 in taxes to the state. Because inherited farms often come with other assets such as farm implements and structures that all carry value, the effect would be greater or be triggered at a lower acreage. The average land price for high-productivity soil is more than 10,000 per acre in central Illinois, according to the Illinois Farm Bureau.