Senate Week in Review: Jan. 29 – Feb. 2, 2024

SPRINGFIELD – The Pritzker Administration is finally following through on a promise to allow providers to charge co-pays for their free undocumented noncitizen healthcare program. The General Assembly pressured the Governor last summer to implement co-pays to help rein in the quickly rising cost of the nearly billion-dollar-per-year program.

In other news, Senate Republican Leader John Curran is holding Pritzker accountable for the ongoing migrant crisis in Chicago.

Also, a new bill cosponsored by State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) seeks to prevent entities of hostile foreign powers from buying up Illinois farmland.

Governor Finally Allows Co-Pays for Undocumented Healthcare

Last summer, under pressure from the General Assembly, Gov. JB Pritzker promised to implement mandatory co-pays for undocumented immigrants receiving otherwise free healthcare in Illinois. However, his Administration quickly put the plan on hold, allowing undocumented noncitizens enrolled in the program to continue to receive top-tier, free healthcare.

Now, more than three years after launching the program, and approximately eight months after first promising the co-pay requirement, the Pritzker Administration is finally moving forward on the plan, albeit with a major catch. The co-pays aren’t required, and providers feel most will never pay. This will result in providers taking an even greater loss in treating noncitizens.

Senator Syverson says Illinois taxpayers should not be paying for the nearly free healthcare for more than 100,000 noncitizens, which is far cheaper with richer benefits than what Illinois working families can afford. He warns that costs are likely to rise further due to the increased influx of noncitizens arriving in Illinois. He also notes that Illinois and now California are the only two states in the country offering this kind of comprehensive healthcare to noncitizens.   

Republican Leader Holds Pritzker Accountable for Ongoing Chicago Migrant Crisis

This week, Senate Republican Leader John Curran (R-Downers Grove) outlined Gov. Pritzker’s efforts to turn Illinois into a noncitizen welfare state in his op-ed, Gov. J.B. Pritzker invited, then mismanaged Illinois migrant crisis, printed in the Chicago Tribune.

Some crises are unexpected. Others, such as Gov. J.B. Pritzkers migrant crisis, are invited.

Shortly after taking office, Pritzker proudly proclaimed, Let there be no doubt that Illinois is a welcoming state. He sent his invitation around the globe, announcing, As the governor of Illinois, I proudly consent to the continuation of refugee admission to our state.

In the years since, he has systematically incentivized noncitizens to come to Illinois through his policies and promotion.

…Beyond his executive orders, the governor has signed a range of new laws, including legislation that prevents state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, to help cement Illinois as the destination state for noncitizens.

…This isnt an argument about the value of immigration and the role it has played in building the United States of America. Its a question of reality, of management and of what our already overtaxed residents can afford. The people of Illinois cannot afford the misplaced priorities, radical policies and grandiose promises of a governor seeking attention on the national stage.

There is also no question as to who is going to be picking up his tab.

Illinoisans with developmental disabilities who cant access critical services are paying for it. Low-income families who rely on programs that help pay for food, shelter and utilities are paying for it. Small businesses that are still struggling from pandemic-related loss are paying for it. Neglected veterans in need of lifesaving mental health services are paying for it.

There should be no mistake – the Illinois migrant crisis is no accident. Pritzker implemented and advertised radical policies to attract noncitizens to Illinois, and now that his generous invitation has been accepted, he is deflecting blame for his mismanagement.

In the coming months, as the governor tries to stick Illinoisans with the ever-increasing bill for his misplaced priorities, we will remind him that this is a crisis that he not just invited — but also created.

The op ed in its entirety is available at

New Legislation Would Ban Hostile Foreign Entities from Buying Farmland

A new bill cosponsored by Senator Syverson aims to address fears about the dangers of Illinois land being sold to individuals and organizations from hostile foreign powers.

Senate Bill 2668 prohibits purchases of land from countries categorized as hostile by the federal government. The measure is designed to help maintain national security while reducing the inflation of farmland prices by foreign entities.

According to the Department of Agriculture, foreign-owned farmland grew by 8 percent in 2022. Twenty-four states have similar legislation prohibiting or restricting farmland purchases by certain foreign parties.

Senate Bill 2668 includes fines up to $15,000 and punishment of up to two years prison time for violations. This bill mandates that the Illinois Department of Agriculture creates an office of Agricultural Intelligence to monitor suspicious agricultural land purchases.

Dave Syverson

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