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The trick bag is real

Friday, Jan 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Fox 32

A downstate Republican is joining area sheriffs in pushing back against Illinois’ new assault weapons ban.

Sheriffs in Crawford, Jasper and Lawrence counties are among many law enforcement agencies that have refused to enforce the new law, claiming it is unconstitutional.

State Rep. Adam Niemerg said the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is an attack on Second Amendment rights and an attempt to avoid the larger issue: lack of mental health support in Illinois.

“You’re talking about gun violence, and the solution is we are going to strip these folks in this room of their Second Amendment rights. We have some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation but still, crime is out of control in the city of Chicago as I alluded to earlier, so if the Democrats want to come to me and talk about mental health, completely open to that,” said Niemerg.

* Gov. Pritzker addressed this during his CBS News interview earlier this week

We also by the way, have invested in mental health and substance abuse treatment significantly during my term in office. I’ve been in office for four years and I’m proud of that fact. And there is a great deal of investment that we’ve made over the last two years, made in crime prevention that is in in violence prevention on the streets, lots of programs to put kids to work, during the summers and so on. So we’re doing quite a lot what makes me think that we’re going to have a diminution of crime in our state because we’re doing all of those things. You can’t just do one, you know, assault weapons ban, all by itself. It doesn’t have the desired effect of truly reducing gun violence by a significant amount. It’s important, it’s one component, but you’ve got to do all these things.

Now, Republicans talk an awful lot about mental health and say what we really need to do is not pass assault weapons bans, but really we need mental health treatment. But they voted against it every time in our state, and we’ve made significant strides in mental health treatment. So you know, they’re hypocrites.

* But Rep. Niemerg did make a decent point at that press conference

So, if the Democrats want to come to me and say, ‘Let’s talk about mental health,’ let’s run a standalone bill. Let’s actually approach this as we rightfully should. I am completely open to that. But all too often, you might get a little bit of funding, some crumbs for funding that fall in some huge budget bill, that we don’t know what’s in it. I sit on Appropriations, General Services. I see the budget at 11:55 on an evening and it just dropped at 11:50.

* To that larger point, Capitol News Illinois has a story about the omnibus health care bill that passed the House on the final day of the lame duck session

A law recently signed by Gov. JB Pritzker will extend the deadline for the state to transfer criminal defendants deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial from jail to a mental hospital.

That same bill, House Bill 240, also gives nursing homes in Illinois two more years to comply with minimum staffing levels implemented in 2022 before getting fined by the Department of Public Health. […]

And even though parts of the bill received criticism, many lawmakers who opposed those elements said they felt compelled to vote for it anyway because other parts of the bill were too important. Those necessary provisions included enabling certain rural hospitals to draw upon more federal funds, distributing federal disaster aid to ambulance services impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and extending the deadline for a shuttered hospital in Chicago’s west suburbs to reopen under new ownership.

“I think that there are some important changes in this bill, and I certainly disagree with the process of putting things together where some I really support and some I don’t,” said then-Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, during a committee hearing on the bill.

Bourne ended up voting against the bill, but quite a quite a few Republicans set aside the opposition from the county sheriffs and voted for it. The bill passed 85-24. Rep. Niemerg, unsurprisingly, also voted “No.”

In the old, old days, omnibus bills were fairly rare and appropriations bills were numerous. Agencies often had their own approp bills. But so many inter- and intra-chamber games can be played with appropriations bills that the practice ended. It also makes for an easy gotcha opportunity by the majority party: “Yeah, they talk a good game, but they won’t vote for the spending bills.”

Your thoughts?

…Adding… Good counterpoint in comments

Perhaps Mr. Niemerg should come to the Democrats and talk to them about mental health. Perhaps his party should proffer a bill addressing mental health solutions to crime. While he is at it, he could also coordinate a Republican plan for addressing the social causes of many mental health issues, like poverty, underfunded rural schools, inadequate labor market opportunities.

Perhaps instead of waiting for the Democrats to address mental health, the Republicans should take up that issue. It is not as if the Democrats would avoid that discussion.

       

48 Comments
  1. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:34 am:

    In the old, old days … remember individual budget bills for agencies that were Conference Committee reports. That also cuts out the rank and file. Individual bills, in and of themselves, do not guarantee members access to the process.


  2. - H-W - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:35 am:

    == if the Democrats want to come to me and talk about mental health, completely open to that, said Niemerg. ==

    Perhaps Mr. Niemerg should come to the Democrats and talk to them about mental health. Perhaps his party should proffer a bill addressing mental health solutions to crime. While he is at it, he could also coordinate a Republican plan for addressing the social causes of many mental health issues, like poverty, underfunded rural schools, inadequate labor market opportunities.

    Perhaps instead of waiting for the Democrats to address mental health, the Republicans should take up that issue. It is not as if the Democrats would avoid that discussion.


  3. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:41 am:

    Whataboutism works when talking to constituents and it can make for a nice tight soundbite. Drafting legislation to address things like mental health is work and actually requires taking some time to understand public policy and what can be done to influence and improve the problems people face in this state through meaningful changes to government programs or regulations.

    That’s why we seem lots of whataboutism from Republican legislators and not much legislation. They point at societies problems to distract, not to highlight solutions or to back a specific policy agenda.

    I bet if the topic were mental health we’d see complaints about needing to address crime. If the topic is crime we’d see complaints about taxes and so on in an never ending cycle of the dog eating their bill.


  4. - JB13 - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:42 am:

    “If Republicans really cared, they’d vote with Democrats or fix it themselves”

    Nice tired trope of deflection you got there, Mr. and Ms. Supermajority.

    I’m sure anything a Republican proposes that isn’t a carbon copy of what Democrats want won’t just get consigned to Rules, right? /s


  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:44 am:

    Still waiting on the list of any other state laws the sheriffs have determined to be unconstitutional.

    If they want to pretend to be experts on this, then walk the walk.

    The absence of any statements on the other state law that is clearly unconstitutional(for almost 30 years now) is a growing albatross hanging over their newly found and self-claimed authority on the constitution.

    Unsurprisingly, Sheriffs Dunning and Kreuger are completely silent on this matter.


  6. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:47 am:

    Exactly what the 20 holdouts were resisting over the Mc Carthy speakership

    Thousand page Omnibus hills dropping at the last minute with no idea what’s in it. Now individual appropriation bills will be voted on separately.

    Interesting concept, legislators legislating instead of rubber stamping what the leaders decide.

    Maybe the chaos was worth it in the long run


  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:48 am:

    ===won’t just get consigned to Rules, right?===

    Another victim heard from.


  8. - Jerry - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:51 am:

    Certainly looks like the state CAN’T afford to bailout the Bears and their new home purchase with all of these other pressing issues. I’m assuming there are mental health issues downstate.


  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:53 am:

    ===the state CAN’T afford to bailout the Bears===

    You’re confusing state money with OPM (property taxes).


  10. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:54 am:

    === Exactly what the 20 holdouts were resisting over the Mc Carthy speakership===

    I absolutely LOVE you supporting the racist thinkers, insurrectionists, (literally), and the conspiracy theorists.

    I can’t love this enough.

    Thank you, I mean it. You can’t say you don’t support these folks… you actually supported them AND their methods.

    Congratulation


  11. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:59 am:

    I am so sick and tired of Republicans complaining they are t included in the process. Whenever they are included in the process all they do is try to sink the ship with false narratives, and “Chicago! Chicago! Chicago!” whines and moans. They never engage, they just post endless videos of them screaming about how evil the Democrats are.

    Here is my advice to the Republicans: Wanna’ be a part of the process? Then maybe you should win some elections. Go tell your party “leaders” like Bailey to put up or shut up.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 9:59 am:

    === Maybe the chaos was worth it in the long run===

    That wasn’t chaos, that was an insurrection and you support the methods of the instigators.

    (Sigh)

    To the post,

    Let’s start here.

    How many budgets did Borne ever vote “Green”?

    Why? Well, think back on all the posturing for this or that, this change or this reconfiguration… if you don’t fund the state, “what exactly are you doing to pay for things?”

    Republicans bemoan… high deficits, unpaid bills (unemployment bill), unneeded expenditures… and vote “Red…

    But the pay down debt, to pay bills, to fund infrastructure, you need budgets or appropriations… as Republicans vote “Red” but show up to ribbon cuttings like bad pennies.

    It’s more that appropriate to call out the phony “phiscal” GOP GA… they aren’t partners, they are the hindrance that will posture against the very thing they show up to… to cut that ribbon.

    The trick is calling the phonies out.


  13. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:03 am:

    Interesting distortion of what I said as usual.

    What is more interesting is that your version of democracy is thousand page bills no one but the leaders have read being dropped at midnight and then voted on.

    What could go wrong?


  14. - Skeptic - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:04 am:

    “Perhaps his party should proffer a bill addressing mental health solutions to crime.” Yeah but if they did, they couldn’t just say “No.”


  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:04 am:

    People, this is an Illinois politics blog. DC is off-topic.


  16. - Jerry - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:16 am:

    I stand corrected. Thank you, Rich.


  17. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:25 am:

    Neimerg is employing hyperbole again to distort the truth and H-W and Candy Dogood bust him cold. Especially this from Candy…

    =Drafting legislation to address things like mental health is work and actually requires taking some time to understand public policy =

    The ILGOP of the most part isn’t interested in the work. They like to get on social media and pontificate, but if he was serious Niemerg would have a bill to share.

    Where is the beef Adam?

    If the democrats blow him off, he then has an actual grievance. Until then…nada.


  18. - JoanP - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:26 am:

    Y’know, it is possible to address BOTH mental health issues AND the proliferation of firearms.


  19. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:26 am:

    =mental health.=

    The response of mental health services is the new way of sending thoughts and prayers.

    A totally hollow and meaningless response to a problem with root causes that one side is unwilling to address.

    Bless their hearts.


  20. - John Lopez - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:27 am:

    Taking on Niemerg’s assertion about mental health, let’s look at something he supported in 2021 and a place he could have been more constructive IMHO.

    Colton’s Law, signed in Aug 2021. What findings have the Colton’s Law Task Force found that contributed to the domestic violence at the root of the heinous crime which killed Colton Miller in 2019 with a gun?

    As the law, which passed the GA unanimously set out to create a task force to dive deep into every aspect of the process, operation and enforcement of domestic violence laws.

    At the root of domestic violence is mental health, and why not Niemerg, or anyone, find out what was learned by the task force, and include those findings into anti-crime legislation?

    The Task Force has had over a year to publish its findings, and if the findings included in legislation, so be it. Niemerg could show mental health issues in gun crimes being addressed.


  21. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:30 am:

    LP

    “Now individual appropriation bills will be voted on separately.

    Interesting concept, legislators legislating instead of rubber stamping what the leaders decide.”

    That was done here in Illinois. The end started when Pate Philip took over the Senate in 1993. “Mike Madigan’s 1997 Rules” were actually “Lee Daniel’s 1995 version” of “Pate Philip’s 1993 Rules” … .

    Omnibus appropriations arrived in Illinois, in part, due to Pate limiting his senators to introducing only 5 bills and sponsoring only 3 House bills arriving in the Senate.

    And, again, if individual appropriation bills end up as Conference Committee Reports, how does that enable the rank and file?

    Those who forget history … .


  22. - lol - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:33 am:

    Here’s a list of bills he’s sponsored. Don’t think many of them address the issues he claims to care about like mental health.
    https://www.ilga.gov/house/RepBills.asp?MemberID=3001&Primary=True

    But he does have a bills to lower the FOID age, repeal the reproductive health act, repeal prevailing wage, prevent mask mandates, anti-vax bills.

    If you want to be a part of the solution then take your job as a legislator seriously and put in the policy work.


  23. - Big Dipper - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:42 am:

    A party obsessed with crazy conspiracies wants to weigh in on mental health?


  24. - H-W - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:06 am:

    Just getting back from class. Here is one thing I hear Lucky Pierre saying, that is consistent with my beliefs, and possibly Candy DoGood’s.

    ==Interesting concept, legislators legislating instead of rubber stamping what the leaders decide.==

    Yes. That is the solution to the problem in Springfield. Legislators legislating together to address more concerns than those of primarily one party. The idea of workers working, legislators legislating seems to be more of a problem, because currently, fewer issues are resolved, fewer are solved, and the people’s business suffers needlessly.

    I bet if the minority party were to work diligently with the majority party (there will always be this division, by law), the minority party would grow. Seeing workers working together would encourage moderates to cross boundaries.


  25. - Homebody - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:08 am:

    Unless or until a GOP legislator at the state or federal level actually proposes solutions to any problem, they should basically be ignored.

    “It isn’t a gun problem, it is a mental health problem.” Or “we should be helping Americans in need before helping others.”

    Great, do you have a plan to improve mental health services, or help homeless Americans? No. Never have. Never will.

    All they have is red herrings while they run off to make the rich richer.


  26. - H-W - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:09 am:

    @ Big Dipper

    That made me laugh. Touche


  27. - Annonin' - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:20 am:

    We are so proud of Andy. He has proven even an imbecile can fool his voters and get a fst salary, pension, health care, gas money and some taxpayer funded staff. He could have drafted a bill, talked lobbos and providers. He opted to wine.


  28. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:22 am:

    But it’s not just about mental health. Mental health problems don’t end at the US border. It’s the guns and having to deal with lax gun law Republican states. What did candidate Irvin say when the Griffin gun investment story broke, basically? So what, he can invest how he wants.


  29. - Opening Date - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:26 am:

    The House is going to miss the courage of Rep. Bourne.


  30. - low level - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:30 am:

    So if there was a vote to help reopen mental health clinics in Chicago, Rep. Niemerg would be a yes?


  31. - Arsenal - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:32 am:

    ==Interesting distortion of what I said as usual.==

    I mean you’d know for “interesting distortions” since you’re still droning on about 1000 page bills when you know that 900 of those pages are formatting.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:33 am:

    === The House is going to miss the courage of Rep. Bourne.===

    An utter crock.

    For an entire General Assembly Niurbe refused to vote to give this state a budget snd purposely, with her votes, hurt the most needy and most vulnerable… so courageous was Bourne, and *every GOP GA member* that they voted with Ken Dunkin to continue that hurting did two years.

    That is the legacy of any, including Bourne, Republican that served during that GA, it can’t be ignored.


  33. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:34 am:

    ===An utter crock.===

    Pretty sure it was snark.


  34. - Arsenal - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:38 am:

    My big reaction here is that it’s still funny to see Republicans turn against actual enforcement against crimes and toward those touchy feely “I blame society” arguments. Such a flip from the 90s.


  35. - Opening Date - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    ===courage===
    Absolute snark. Her legacy is non-accomplishment, disappointment, and photo ops.


  36. - T.S. - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:44 am:

    “come to me and talk about mental health”
    Part of “defund the police” ideology is adding Mental Health personnel to the team of officers when responding to certain calls. Adding mental health personnel can decrease incarceration, etc. However, this may result in funds being appropriated towards Mental Health resulting in fewer funds for Police force allocation.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:45 am:

    That’s on me, my apologies. I should have guessed it was snark.

    Sorry.


  38. - Mama - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 11:51 am:

    ==- Big Dipper - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 10:42 am:
    A party obsessed with crazy conspiracies wants to weigh in on mental health?==

    Big Dipper wins today’s comments!


  39. - Mama - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 12:08 pm:

    Does anyone even know that most Mental Illnesses are treatable with the right medicines, etc.?

    The problem is lots of people do not have the money to access mental health or drug abuse treatment professionals or the treatments & medicines they need when they need it. There is not enough mental health doctors or facilities to take care of all the people who are in a suicide crisis or other type of mental health crisis. Mental health facilities & professional staff are needed statewide.

    Plus the police force needs more training on how to calm a person(s) in the middle of a crisis.


  40. - JoeMaddon - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 12:18 pm:

    **‘Let’s talk about mental health,’ let’s run a standalone bill. … I sit on Appropriations, General Services.**

    Combining this is amusing. Maybe’s not aware that mental health services/funding go through the Approp-Human Services committee? Maybe he’s unaware that the GA and Gov just pushed through a very large mental health funding increase last year?

    The mental health issue is real. And we need to invest more there. But the Republican gun guys running around saying don’t address guns, address mental health are the exact same guys that vote against any and every spending bill. They’re the same guys that want to cut taxes. They’re the same guys that vote against mental health days in schools, or paid leave bills.


  41. - Sir Reel - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 12:26 pm:

    “Mental health” as a solution assumes those who may commit gun violence will voluntarily get help, take meds, continue treatment, etc. What about those that don’t, who have access to highly lethal weapons?

    In other words we can pour money into “mental health” and only partially solve the problem.

    I guess it’s just too complicated for the soundbite party.


  42. - JoanP - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 1:01 pm:

    = “Mental health” as a solution assumes those who may commit gun violence will voluntarily get help, . . . =

    It also assumes that anyone who commits gun violence has a recognizable mental health issue.


  43. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 1:28 pm:

    For decades, Republicans have been saying mass shootings are a mental health problem. Most of us think you’d have to have that kind of illness to shoot several innocent people.

    And yet, not everyone who commits murder is mentally ill–or they’d all use that as a defense.

    Throwing money at mental health is like throwing money at education. It hasn’t worked very well in the past to improve things.

    The ugly truth is gun owners believe endless mass shootings are an acceptable trade for their “right” to possess assault weapons.


  44. - Big Dipper - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 2:00 pm:

    ==And yet, not everyone who commits murder is mentally ill–or they’d all use that as a defense.==

    I have always wondered about this. Say someone kills another person for money. We call them not mentally ill because it is a rational reason as opposed to someone who is hallucinating and believes their child is possessed. But isn’t someone who values money more than human life arguably mentally ill at their core?


  45. - Hannibal Lecter - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 2:13 pm:

    === But isn’t someone who values money more than human life arguably mentally ill at their core? ===

    No. That doesn’t fit the legal definition for mentally ill.


  46. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 2:31 pm:

    The Illinois GOP proudly stood with Rauner watching Illinois behavioral health system burning.

    If not for Mendoza and some bankers willing to float loans when they didn’t have to, the systems would have burned to the ground. But do go on GOP, keep talking about your concern for MH issues.


  47. - Big Dipper - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 2:47 pm:

    Yeah I know the legal definition is the ability to know right from wrong but I wonder if it is the correct definition.


  48. - JoanP - Friday, Jan 27, 23 @ 3:04 pm:

    = I know the legal definition [of mentally ill] is the ability to know right from wrong =

    No, it’s not.

    First of all, “mentally ill” is a medical term, insanity is a legal term, and they are NOT the same.

    The definition of insanity (in Illinois) for purposes of a legal defense is that person “as a result of mental disease or mental defect, . . .lacks substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.”

    You can be mentally ill but not insane.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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