Like all of us, I was shocked and heartbroken to hear the news about another mass shooting. As we grieve and wait for all the facts of this case to come forward, I want you to know that I will continue to prioritize public safety reforms for our communities. As a father of three kids in our local schools, I take to heart how important it is for our families to feel safe and secure.
I will thoughtfully and thoroughly look at any legislation that is brought before me. We need to have discussions around the functionality of some of these “assault weapons” and if there are contributing factors in their mechanics that lead to their use in these acts of violence. I am in favor of mechanical limitations, similar to how fully automatic weapons are restricted for civilian use, and converting the mechanics of semi-automatic to fully automatic is also illegal.
The issues surrounding these tragedies tend to be very complex, and as such, our solutions need to be too.
In the majority of, if not all, mass shootings, there were numerous current laws that were violated. We need to ask the questions why. Was there not enough knowledge on the behalf of the law enforcement agencies, local officials, or family members? Are the laws too vague and do they need to be clarified?
I am in favor of increasing the awareness and education of our current red flag law, so families and community members know the options they have within the current law to report those who pose a threat to themselves or others. Although we are still waiting for all the facts to come forward from this tragedy, the information made public so far appears to show our current red flag law could have kept weapons away from the perpetrator had it been properly utilized.
The mental health crisis in our youth is also a large contributing factor to these tragedies. I’ve worked to pass legislation here in the State of Illinois to expand access and funding for mental health professionals in our schools and our communities. I’ve hosted community-wide events where experts in the field give parents tools and resources to talk with their children. I also support the media agencies that refuse to use the name and photos of the killers. Studies have shown that the constant media attention inspires others, especially those who are not receiving the mental health treatments they need.
I have broken from the majority of my political party and voted in favor of legislation that passed this Session in Illinois:
HB562: Expands background checks to cover all gun sales in Illinois, including private person-to-person sales or transfers.
Invests in community-based, trauma-informed mental health programs in the communities most impacted by gun violence.
Properly funds the Illinois State Police’s ability to enforce the surrender of firearms from people who have had their Firearms Owners I.D. card (FOID) revoked or suspended, as well as creating a portal of communication with local law enforcement to ensure guns are removed.
Creates a stolen gun database and requires ISP to continuously monitor state and federal databases for prohibited gun buyers.
Creates stronger identification factors, like fingerprints, so Illinois State Police can more easily verify the identity of FOID applicants and firearm purchasers, as well as increase the frequency of background checks. Allows responsible gun owners who opt into this process to see their FOID and Concealed Carry applications expedited and automatically renewed going forward.
HB4729: Legislation that would require the Department of Public Health to develop and implement a comprehensive 2-year statewide secure gun storage public awareness campaign.
To help address the continued growth in violence and mass shootings in the city of Chicago and surrounding communities, I filed HB3395 & HB4404. These bills would require that a person who already has two or more convictions for firearms offenses, shall be denied bail. Keeping repeat firearm offenders off the streets. Unfortunately, and frustratingly, the Democrat Majority Leadership in the IL House stopped these bills from being heard or considered for a vote.
As always, I am open to discussing any solutions or ideas you may have for our state. If you would like to set up a time to meet, please reach out to my office at 224-662-1176.
Shred & Recycle Event, Gas Prices & More
Shred & Recycle Event.
Please join Sen. Dan McConchie and me for a FREE community recycling event on Saturday, July 9. The event will take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lake Zurich and feature document shredding, as well as recycling for select electronics and other items like eyeglasses and bikes. The event will operate like a drive-thru. Please enter on S. Buesching Road and follow traffic directions. Staff will unload your recyclables, so please stay in your vehicle. You will then exit directly onto Route 22. Items not listed for collection cannot be accepted. Please visit my website for a complete list of items we’ll be recycling. Click Here.
Audit reveals IDES lost $2 billion to fraud.
The Illinois Auditor General released its annual financial audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) earlier this month. The audit, which covers a 1-year period between 2020 and 2021, found that IDES lost nearly $2 billion to fraud from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
Gov. Pritzker and IDES have repeatedly refused to provide the public with answers about the extent of the fraud and identity theft problems that have plagued the unemployment system. Unfortunately, this audit seems to answer why. $1.9 billion went missing out of $3.6 billion for the PUA program. This is an unprecedented loss of taxpayer dollars, and, as auditors pointed out, IDES doesn’t even have adequate safeguards to protect Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund assets. We need immediate hearings to address these failings. Read More Here.
Still time to join my summer reading program for PreK-5th graders.
If you have a child in PreK through 5th grade, I invite them to participate in my free summer reading program. To participate, your child must read eight books (books over 150 pages count for two) between the time school ends and the program deadline of August 1. Children who achieve this goal will be invited to join us for an ice cream social at the end of summer! They will also receive an official Certificate of Recognition commending their reading efforts this summer. This program can also be completed in conjunction with any other reading program already offered at a child’s school or through the public library in their community. Read More Here.
IL gas prices continue spike above national average.
Illinois joined ten other states last month with gas prices above $5.00/gallon including Arizona, California, and Michigan. The General Assembly could provide more relief to Illinoisans this year through the enactment of House Bill 5723, a bill to end the practice of charging ever-higher sales taxes on motor fuel as the price goes up. Charging a percentage sales tax has meant a massive windfall for Illinois government at the expense of residents as gas prices have dramatically increased. HB 5723, was introduced this spring and has more than 40 bipartisan co-sponsors, myself included, and puts a stop to this windfall by freezing the sales tax on gas at 18 cents a gallon. Unfortunately, the bill was bottled up in the Democrat-controlled House Rules Committee and never received a vote. If the General Assembly returns for a Special Session this summer, you can bet we’ll be demanding action on this legislation to provide more relief for families and small businesses. Read More Here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. It is an honor to represent our communities. If you have any questions or concerns about anything you read, please feel free to contact me.