Senate Week in Review April 10-14, 2023

SPRINGFIELD – As legislators head back into session from their two-week break, Senate Republicans plan to continue to advocate for measures that grow Illinois’ economy and help struggling families. Meanwhile, there are some ideas and measures floating in Springfield that completely miss the mark.

In other news, there was some movement on the federal consolidated lawsuit against the “assault weapons” ban that was signed into law at the beginning of the year. The Southern District Court has officially begun hearing oral arguments.

Legislation to Keep an Eye On During Final Stretch of Session

Lawmakers head back to Springfield next week for the final stretch of the spring session. Despite the many good ideas, proposals, and legislation that have been introduced to help make Illinois a better state to live, work, and raise a family, there are some bills that seem to miss the mark when it comes to what Illinois’ priorities should be.

State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) noted a few “not-so-good” bills to keep an eye on during the last few weeks of session. 

Senate Bill 182: Seeks to limit local control by permitting the Illinois Department of Public Health to control local health departments during a pandemic in which the Governor has issued a Disaster Declaration.

Senate Bill 1345: Allows noncitizens of the United States to register to vote in school board elections.

Senate Bill 1483: Allows inmates of a correctional facility, including those convicted of a felony, the ability to vote in elections despite the Illinois Constitution stating, “A person convicted of a felony, or otherwise under sentence in a correctional institution or jail, shall lose their right to vote, which right shall be restored not later than upon completion of his sentence.”

Senate Bill 1556: Sets Illinois up for a ban on gas cars by allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to establish rules to reduce carbon intensity from on-road transportation.

Senate Bill 2211: Outlaws stores and food businesses from providing or selling a single-use plastic carryout bag to customers.

Senate Bill 2348: Requires school districts to provide 20 minutes of relaxation activities per week, such as yoga, meditation, or stretching, in addition to and not replacing recess.

Illinois Gun Ban Law Heard in Federal Court

This week, oral arguments began in a federal district court in East St. Louis over the constitutionality of Illinois’ new assault weapons ban law. The case is a consolidation of several lawsuits filed by groups including the Illinois State Rifle Association.

On the plaintiff’s side, attorneys argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has recently set the standard for what is considered arms in the Second Amendment, and that semi-automatics are arms in common use and are therefore protected by the Bill of Rights. The Illinois Attorney General representing the State, however, argued that because of technological advancement, the banned firearms are more advanced than what the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended to protect with the Second Amendment.

The start of the hearing is timely, as Monday marked the beginning of another phase of the gun ban taking effect. Now, citizens can no longer purchase certain magazines and if found in noncompliance can face a petty offense charge with up to a $1,000 fine. Noncompliant firearms, however, can face a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony charge for subsequent offenses.

Dave Syverson

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