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It’s just a bill

Friday, Mar 17, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As we discussed, freshman GOP Rep. Jed Davis had some harsh things to say about his Republican colleagues the other day. He doubled down in his latest constituent newsletter

My hand was slapped for calling out republicans last week. I stand by my comments, we shouldn’t hold up committees no matter the excuses, which were basically the dems made us do it… Feels like I’m back in grade school at times.

* On to the topic at hand. Let’s go back to Rep. Davis’ newsletter

The house moved legislation this week, mostly low hanging fruit, although I still voted no 12 times. Curious about my votes, just click What is Jed Doing below, everything is right there. Here’s a bill of interest…

HB1591: Illinois is already an out of state abortion haven. This bill paves the way on the marriage front by removing roadblocks for Illinois becoming an out of state marriage haven. You often hear republicans struggle with platform. Well, the votes here exemplify this statement. We’re all over the map with no votes, not voting votes, and yes votes. Hmm.

HB1591’s synopsis

Amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act by repealing all of the following provisions: (i) no marriage shall be contracted in this State by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another state or jurisdiction if the marriage would be void if contracted in the other state or jurisdiction, and every marriage celebrated in this State in violation of that provision is null and void; (ii) before issuing a license to marry a person who resides and intends to continue to reside in another state, the officer having authority to issue the license shall satisfy himself by requiring affidavits or otherwise that the person is not prohibited from intermarrying by the laws of the jurisdiction where the person resides; and (iii) an official issuing a marriage license with knowledge that the parties are prohibited from marrying and a person authorized to solemnize marriages who knowingly solemnizes such a marriage are guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.

* The bill is sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago). From her own constituent newsletter…

I plan to advance HB1591, which cleans up outdated language in our marriage laws that could have unintended consequences in a post-Dobbs world if states start to prohibit certain marriages. The Dobbs decision specifically noted the two landmark decisions legalizing interracial marriage and same-sex marriage as being vulnerable, so it’s important that we take steps to protect people who could be impacted by the decision just as we did in the reproductive health space.

Mike Miletich also did a story.

* It was indeed an odd roll call. Click here. The Republican “Yes” votes (7, including House Minority Leader McCombie) and non-voters (8) are highlighted for ease of use.

…Adding… Illinois Freedom Caucus…

It is not the place of Illinois state government to do an end run on the laws of other states just because the radical left might not like the laws the duly elected officials in these states enact and enforce. If Illinois denies someone a professional license, we expect other states to honor our standards of professional regulations. This is how we have been able to live in one country with different states and different state laws. Our state government is in effect becoming the 21-year-old being paid to buy alcohol for high school students. It is a disgrace and an embarrassment to state leaders in other states. We are basically thumbing our nose at other states and saying we will not respect their laws and if the circumstances surrounding this legislation were to actually happen – we would be creating tremendous legal issues. Our state needs thoughtful leadership and unfortunately all we are getting is more extremism and radicalism.

* Moving right along. C’mon, it’s just one bill among thousands. Also, Senator Turner lives in Springfield, not Decatur

Because our legislative leaders do not have anything better to do, the State of Illinois is considering the design and adoption of a new state flag. It seems that some people in the state say our current banner – a picture of an eagle perched on a boulder with the word “Illinois” underneath is not symbolic enough.

“Illinois is a diverse state made up of rural, urban and suburban communities known for its agriculture, strong workforce, home of Abraham Lincoln and more,” State Representative Doris Turner, a Democrat from Decatur, said in a statement. “Our flag doesn’t show that. It’s time we have a flag that truly represents our state.” […]

I appreciate Representative Turner’s desire to reflect all of Illinois’ diversity on a new flag, but I doubt any new design will be able to make everyone happy. There just is no way to come up with a design to reflect farm and city; Chicago and Cobden, concrete and Cache River basin all at the same time.

Pretty sure that divide can be bridged (including the suburbs). That’s one reason why I personally think we should try to do this. It would be a good exercise in reuniting after years of people running us down and trying to divide us, in some cases literally so.

* The Illinois Opportunity Project has been ginning up electronic witness slips in opposition to this bill…

Grassroots engagement remains the most effective way to make policy changes. And we saw this again with your advocacy in the fight against ranked-choice voting (RCV).

This week, IOP Field Director, Andy Bakker, brought his expertise to the state capitol and testified against this confusing and disenfranchising voting system. Andy testified on behalf of the Coalition to Stop Ranked-Choice Voting, the over 3,000 Illinois residents who filed witness slips, and the thousands more who sent emails and called their legislators urging them to reject RCV in Illinois.

The “thousands more who sent emails,” is kind of a hoot, since many of those emails were received at the same exact time. Didn’t look at all like bots. Nope.

The bill (HB2807) would allow a pilot project for the presidential primary. The political parties can opt out. It’s most definitely not soup yet, regardless of the attacks.

* Center Square

Some state lawmakers are looking to hold rideshare companies in Illinois to the same standard as other common carriers like taxis.

State Rep. Jennifer-Gong Gershowitz, D-Glenview, introduced House Bill 2231, which would set up a new standard for companies like Uber and Lyft by getting rid of an exemption that says rideshare companies are not responsible for their drivers.

Gong-Gershowitz explained her measure on Thursday.

“House Bill 2231 puts rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft on the same playing field as taxis and other common carriers,” Gong-Gershowitz said. “The policy rationale for granting this statutory exemption nearly a decade ago no longer makes sense, and its extended use harms public safety.” […]

The bill passed the House 73-36 and now awaits to be sent to the Illinois Senate.

ABATE, the group which lobbies against motorcycle helmet mandates, supported the bill. I reached out and was told they got involved after two young motorcycle riders were killed by a rideshare driver while his app was on. Current law exempts rideshare companies from these sorts of suits.

From the Illinois State Bar Association…

Injured customers of the ridesharing companies are now statutorily limited in their efforts to be made whole for an injury that they had received because of the actions of the ridesharing companies. If they had been injured by the actions of any other common carrier who competes with the ridesharing companies, they would have an opportunity to be made whole. The injured customer should have a right to seek to be made whole.

Lyft settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who alleged she was raped by one of their drivers before the Illinois Supreme Court could rule on the law. The appellate court had sided with rideshare companies after the legislature exempted them from suits.

* Press release…

The Illinois House and Senate Committees advanced more than 1600 bills last week, but missing were any significant reforms needed to address pensions, create new jobs, and provide tax relief to working families, according to State Representative Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City).

One bill left on the table at the Committee deadline is House Bill 2986, which prevents the rate of growth of general fund spending from exceeding the rate of growth of the Illinois median household income. Another measure not considered in a House Committee (HB 1640) creates the Efficient School District Commission to make recommendations on where reorganization and realignment of school districts into unit districts would be beneficial. Wilhour also introduced measures (HB 2136) to end the legislative pension system for new members and to implement some other basic pension reforms (HB 1644 and HB 1645), but none of these bills were considered in a legislative Committee.

“Every year Governor Pritzker has been in office, he has increased spending and there is no effort on the part of the leadership in the House and the Senate to provide any kind of financial restraint,” Wilhour said. “We continue to ignore the pension crisis and do nothing about it. We can’t even put together a commission to look at what reducing the number of school districts would look like. We keep creating new programs and creating new ways of spending money while our state continues to march toward insolvency. We will never improve our financial outlook as a state until we resolve the structural obstacles in Illinois government preventing real reform from taking place.”

Wilhour noted that instead of tackling the big issues, legislative leaders are prioritizing measures such as House Bill 1596 which strikes pronouns from state statutes involving children and Senate Bill 1818 which establishes a commission to study if Illinois needs a new flag.

Ah, yes, there’s the new flag proposal again. Rep. Wilhour co-sponsored the resolution to kick Chicago out of Illinois. Dividers don’t want a symbolic exercise that could help heal some wounds.


  1. - someonehastosayit - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 12:53 pm:

    Wilhour says, “…while our state continues to march toward insolvency” … At some point, shouldn’t the carnival supply the barkers with new and updated material?

  2. - Homebody - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 12:55 pm:

    I don’t know Jed Davis. Don’t know anything about him. But from this limited information he strikes me as someone who I may not agree with on much, but at least isn’t crazy. I feel like that is extremely high marks for the ILGOP these days.

  3. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 12:59 pm:

    =We keep creating new programs and creating new ways of spending money while our state continues to march toward insolvency. We will never improve our financial outlook as a state until we resolve the structural obstacles in Illinois government preventing real reform from taking place.”=

    All evidence to the contrary. Blaine.

    This comes to mind everytime I hear his name:

  4. - Fayette County - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 1:14 pm:

    My Representative Blaine Wilhour trying to be relevant but continuing to do and say things that make him irrelevant. I wish he would seek some compromise and middle ground with the other side so he could actually benefit his constituents with results. But unfortunately, many of those constituents see his inaction and obstinance as a good thing and encourage his behavior.

  5. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 1:19 pm:

    Had a conversation with someone that really thinks Wilhour and his gang are really doing a lot in Springfield

    I asked them what he has done for his district and he said, “made sure we can keep our guns and our schools”.

    Whatever you think of the eastern block crew, they know how to play to the crew in the coffee shops and shooting ranges in their districts.

  6. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 1:49 pm:

    ==our state continues to march toward insolvency==

    ==We will never improve our financial outlook as a state ==

    He’s not very well informed. The state’s finances are in as great a shape as they have been in decades. I think the Republicans need to take out that talking point. It’s provably a lie.

  7. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 2:51 pm:

    ===If Illinois denies someone a professional license, we expect other states to honor our standards of professional regulations.===

    I don’t understand this claim at all. If a lawyer who’s admitted in Illinois and Missouri has his license suspended for misconduct in Illinois, that has no effect on his ability to practice in Missouri. Missouri could choose to take note of it, but disbarred lawyers just up stakes and move to a new state all the time.

    That’s true in a lot of regulated professions, and regulated industries — if Illinois pulled Geico’s ability to sell insurance in Illinois, that wouldn’t affect Geico’s operations in Tennessee.

  8. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 3:14 pm:

    The higher ed/business/religion reporter in The Southern uses his time and dwindling news space to UN-ironically whine that lawmakers should have better things to do than come up with a new flag.

    Just wait til someone tells him about the Southern Illinois lawmaker’s successful efforts to get a state snake.

  9. - towndal64 - Friday, Mar 17, 23 @ 4:29 pm:

    “There just is no way to come up with a design to reflect farm and city.” Apparently hasn’t looked at the design on our current state license plate…

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