SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW: Nov. 4 – 8, 2019

A full agenda awaits legislators when they return to the Capitol Nov. 12 for the final week of the fall Veto Session, and time is running out to take advantage of Illinois’ one-time-only Tax Amnesty Program. 


In other news, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the state Department of Public Health have teamed up on a winter weather preparedness guide.  


Second Week of Veto Session


Senators and Representatives return to the Capitol Nov. 12-14 for the second and final week of the fall Veto Session. Nearly two dozen committee hearings are scheduled for the week on a variety of issues, including red-light cameras, minimum wage, education, public health, taxes and the environment.


Ethics reform continues to be the hottest issue before lawmakers. Several legislative proposals have been introduced since well-publicized allegations and indictments involving corruption began making headlines. Those measures remain on the front burner, and could be the number one action item. 


Among the proposals is a Senate Republican measure, Senate Bill 2297, which is a serious effort addressing ethical shortcomings at the Capitol.


Under SB 2297, the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) would have the authority to investigate complaints against legislators and issue subpoenas without approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC), a panel of Senate and House members. Taking politicians out of the equation gives the LIG the independence necessary to do his or her job. 


This dynamic reform seeks to end the current “fox guarding the henhouse” process when it comes to investigating allegations of wrongdoing. It gives the Legislative Inspector General true watchdog authority.


Tax Amnesty Program Nears End 


Individuals with unpaid tax liabilities need to act quickly to take advantage of the state’s Tax Amnesty Program. The deadline is Nov. 15, 2019 to make full payments on outstanding tax debt without penalties.


Taxpayers who did not file their state taxes during the original filing period will be required to file an original return in addition to paying the full tax due. Residents will also have the opportunity to report changes to previously filed returns by submitting an amended return and paying the tax debt in full. This is a one-time amnesty.


The Tax Amnesty Program covers taxes owed from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2018. More information about the program can be found at the Illinois Department of Revenue website:


Winter Preparedness 


While winter doesn’t officially start in the Northern Hemisphere until Saturday, December 21, some parts of Illinois have already seen snow, and that’s a good reminder to prepare for winter weather. November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois, and several state agencies are teaming up to provide valuable information and tips to keep warm and stay safe at home or on the road.


To help you prepare for winter, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has developed a winter weather preparedness guide. The 10-page guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at


State Fairground Improvements 


The state is spending $3 million on improvements to Illinois’ State Fairgrounds. The two-phase enhancements will focus on Fairground roadways. Work begins this fall, weather permitting, with about $500,000 in resurfacing that the Illinois Department of Transportation hopes to complete before the Thanksgiving holiday. Phase two will begin next spring with $2.5 million in road improvements planned. 


Money for the projects comes from the Capital Construction Program passed by the General Assembly earlier this year. Next year’s State Fair runs from August 13 through August 23.


Dave Syverson

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