Jul 29
Tuesday

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
Senator 26th District
105D Capitol Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-8010
 
 
District Office:
111 North Avenue
Suite 211
Barrington, IL  60010
(847) 277-7100
(847) 277-7101 FAX
Medicaid Expansion Signed By Governor

Legislation signed in to law July 25 will add nearly 350,000 people to Illinois’ already overburdened Medicaid program. The expansion is a component of the federal Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) that had been deemed optional by a Supreme Court ruling. Senator Duffy voted against this legislation in the Senate.

Under Senate Bill 26, adults whose incomes are lower than 138% of the Federal Poverty Level will be eligible for Medicaid beginning January 1, 2014.  This expansion is in addition to the 250,000 people added to the rolls as a result of a previously approved Cook County waiver to allow early implementation of Obamacare.

Many Republicans have voiced concerns that the state is embarking on a costly new expansion that will be impossible to maintain in the coming years, and that putting too much strain on the system will limit resources for those who truly need them. They reminded their colleagues that even as Washington waves dollar bills in front of their eyes, the program is neither free nor affordable in a state that teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

Read more...
 
New Website Answers Common Concealed-Carry Questions

 

Click on the image above to have your questions about Illinois' new concealed-carry law answered. 

With a new concealed-carry law finally on the books many Illinois residents have questions about the law.  The Illinois State police have set up a new website with information on qualifying and applying for a license, associated costs, regulations and prohibitions, and more.  The site can be found at www.isp.state.il.us in the right sidebar.

The website also provides information about where to obtain firearms training, what the training course consists of, the type of firearm residents will be able to carry, information for businesses and property owners, and how long it will take to receive a concealed-carry license.

Illinois residents are cautioned that though ISP has begun working on establishing the licensure process for concealed carry, at this time it is still illegal to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. ISP estimated that it could take six months to set up the system, and another three months to process and screen applicants.

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Reduction of Unpaid Bills Not Likely to Continue

In the most recently released Comptrollers Quarterly from Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s office it was revealed that Illinois, “moved into fiscal year 2014 with an estimated total bill backlog of $6.1 billion, compared to $7.5 billion one year ago.” The reduction can be explained by the state’s collection of an unexpected one-time $1.2 billion tax windfall this spring.  These extra revenues are the result of individuals and businesses unloading assets or taking early dividends in order to take advantage of the lower 2012 federal tax rates.

However, the Comptroller says review of fiscal year 2014 revenue projections and state spending obligations shows the bill backlog is poised for a dramatic increase. Topinka said her office is projecting that without pension reform and additional cost-saving efforts the backlog could jump to $7.9 billion as early as August, and could grow to $9 billion by December as the state struggles with more than $4 billion in unpaid and pending bills lapsed from the previous fiscal year, along with almost $2 billion in state employee health insurance and Medicaid obligations.

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No Permits Until 2014?

Illinois lawmakers including State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) overwhelmingly voted to override Governor Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto of House Bill 183 on Tuesday during a special session day. Overriding the veto may have officially put a right-to-carry law on the books but it could be next year before permits begin to be issued.

The Illinois State Police has been tasked with oversight of applications and say that time will be needed to gear up for the process.  They estimate that it could take six months to set up a system and another three to process and screen applicants to issue permits.

Illinois law, when it goes into effect, will require one of the most rigorous training programs in the nation for concealed carry including 16 hours of training and a $150 fee.

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Governor Pivots to Pension Reform

In the wake of his defeat on concealed carry Governor Quinn turned his attention to pension reform the next day by acting to remove legislators’ salaries in an act of what many have called political grandstanding.  The Governor said he was cutting lawmakers pay until a pension solution was found and also claimed that he would not accept any pay until the reforms have been adopted, but failed to cut his own salary from the budget.

Many lawmakers share the Governor’s frustration over lack of progress on pension reform, but the overwhelming feeling is that Quinn’s action was more of a publicity stunt than an earnest attempt to contribute to the discussion on pension reform.

The Governor's action on legislative salaries may ultimately prove to be ineffective, as it may conflict with the state Constitution's ban on reducing an elected official's pay during the official's term of office – a separation of powers provision that was inserted in the Constitution to prevent one branch of government from altering the pay of another branch in political retaliation.

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