Illinois Legislative Session Begins
The Illinois General Assembly kicked off the 2024 regular session on Jan. 15.
Lawmakers spent much of the week in meetings with constituents, other lawmakers, and drafting legislation that they plan to file.
The General Assembly is expected to take up a number of serious issues during the session, including the ongoing immigration crisis and its associated costs. So far, Gov. JB Pritzker has chosen to deal with the crisis through executive action, bypassing the legislature while spending hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.
State Senator Sally Turner says that Pritzker needs to be more transparent about how much is actually being spent on immigration services, and how much money is being taken away from programs designed to help Illinois citizens.
The regular legislative session resumes at the Capitol on Feb. 6.
Turner introduces legislation to protect agricultural land and national security
In response to mounting concerns about the increasing trend of foreign ownership of Illinois land, State Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason) has introduced new legislation to protect the state’s critical farmland by prohibiting property ownership within Illinois by noncitizens from nations that have been deemed hostile by the federal government.
Senator Turner says that the agricultural industry is the backbone of the state’s economy, and lawmakers must take decisive steps to ensure its sustainability.
Drawing inspiration from successful bipartisan laws in California and Arkansas, Senate Bill 2668 aims to alleviate farmers fears that land acquisitions by foreign nations and investors may inflate farmland prices and pose a potential threat to national security. Currently, 24 states have passed similar legislation to mitigate the risks associated with the purchase of farmland by foreign entities that may jeopardize national security.
Senator Turner hopes that her legislation will spark a broad and constructive discussion among lawmakers regarding the state’s commitment to the welfare of its agricultural industry and the overall security of the nation.
Republicans Call on Governor to Reverse Proposed Cuts to Developmentally Disabled Community
Recently, the Pritzker Administration announced plans to make significant cuts to funding for programs that help the developmentally disabled community. The specific cuts would amount to 2.5 million less hours that Direct Support Professionals (DSP) could provide services in group homes, where approximately 10,000 adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) reside. The reduction would total around $87.7 million dollars, affecting 90% of all group home residents.
In response, every member of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus signed a letter calling on the Governor to rescind these cuts to one of the state’s most vulnerable populations. They also noted that these cuts come at the same time that spending for immigrant services has skyrocketed into the billions.
Senator Turner says that Gov. Pritzker needs to immediately rescind this proposal that would be devastating to people who are already some of the most underserved. She says that the Governor has already shorted the I/DD community half a billion dollars over the last five years by not implementing recommendations from a report by the independent Guidehouse Company.
IDNR Seeking Summer Instructors for 2024 Urban Fishing Program Clinics
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is accepting applications now for instructors for 2024 summer fishing clinics through the department’s Urban Fishing Program. The Illinois Urban Fishing Program was established in 1985 to teach people of all ages to fish, to provide better local fishing opportunities, and to offer participants an understanding of and a greater appreciation for natural resources.
Fishing instructors are the department’s boots on the ground at free clinics hosted in communities throughout Illinois. These temporary positions are not to exceed six months, making them perfect for teachers, retirees, students, and others eager to help people learn about fishing skills and ecology. The deadline to apply is approaching quickly. To learn more about the positions, qualifications, and how to apply, visit https://bit.ly/IDNRjobs. Look for positions titled “conservation education representative.”
Turner relaunches annual Valentines for Seniors program
As Valentine’s Day approaches, State Senator Sally Turner is once again working to uplift the spirits of local senior citizens through her annual “Valentines for Seniors” card drive.
To help with this goal, Sen. Turner is asking students, scout groups, churches, and other groups to consider creating homemade cards that will be delivered to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other long-term care facilities throughout the 44th Senate District.
Cards can be mailed or dropped off from now until February 5th at Sen. Turner’s district office in Lincoln. If delivering cards in person, please place them in the marked mailbox located in the hallway between normal business hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.