Senate Week in Review: March 25-29, 2024

Prisoner Review Board Decision Leads to Tragedy

SPRINGFIELD – Two members of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board (PRB) have resigned after a man released by the board killed an 11-year-old boy and critically wounded the boy’s pregnant mother.

Crosetti Brand is accused of stabbing a former girlfriend and killing her son as the boy attempted to defend his mother from a brutal attack just a day after being released by Pritzker’s PRB. In February, while on parole, Brand sent the woman messages threatening to kill her and went to her home. This violation of his parole landed him back in the state’s custody while the PRB could consider whether he should remain in prison. 

Despite the threats, the boy’s mother seeking an order of protection, and Brand’s history of domestic abuse, the PRB voted to release him.

On March 25, Gov. Pritzker announced that two of the members of the scandal-plagued board were resigning.

State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) says this case is just the latest in a string of controversial decisions made by the PRB, which has released numerous convicted murderers and violent offenders on the Governor’s watch.

Pritzker has made a number of high-profile, controversial appointments to the PRB, including a convicted double murderer. While the Illinois Senate must confirm appointments to the board, the Governor had repeatedly circumvented the process by making controversial appointments and then rescinding the nominations just before the time they can serve unconfirmed expires, only to immediately reappoint them. In doing so, his nominees avoid public scrutiny and collect a paycheck serving on the board despite not being confirmed. 

Senate Republicans have repeatedly exposed the PRB’s issues, eventually creating enough public pressure for the Governor to change course and seek Senate confirmation of his appointees.

For the record Senator Syverson has voted against these Board Appointments feeling the history of these appointments clearly show a bias for releasing felons over protecting the public.

Review Law Limiting Courts Where Challenges to State Law Can be Heard

A controversial new state law requiring that challenges to state laws and actions can only be filed in Cook or Sangamon counties has come under new scrutiny. Now, the Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to consider whether it is constitutional.

Passed last June, House Bill 3062 states that Cook and Sangamon counties are the only places in the state where challenges to a state law’s constitutionality can be submitted.

Recently, Piasa Armory LLC, a gun store in Madison County, challenged the constitutionality of the Firearm Industry Responsibility Act. In March, the state sought to transfer the case to Sangamon or Cook County. However, a Madison County Circuit Court Judge ruled House Bill 3062 unconstitutional due to severe inconvenience to the plaintiff.

The Attorney General’s office filed an appeal to this ruling directly to the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has not yet issued a schedule for hearing the case.

Senator Syverson did not support House Bill 3062 in the Senate, noting that it creates an unnecessary burden on people seeking help through the courts and because the concept is likely unconstitutional.

Keep At-Risk Veterans Homes Affordable

Senate Republicans recently introduced legislation to put an end to expensive charging station mandates that have made it significantly more expensive to provide housing options for homeless veterans. 

The 2023 Electric Vehicle Charging Act requires all new affordable housing developments to include EV-capable parking spaces. Organizations working to build affordable housing units for homeless veterans have said that this requirement will make their efforts drastically more expensive.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Syverson, Senate Bill 2597 removes this costly burden, and stipulates that the provision under the Act would not apply to tiny homes designated for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, provided these homes were funded and constructed by qualified non-profit organizations.

Senate Bill 2597 unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and now awaits a vote in the full Senate.

Illinois Has Highest Tax Burden in U.S.

A new study has named Illinois the least tax-friendly state in the nation, underscoring Senate Republican calls to address the escalating tax burden residents face. 

This title was given to Illinois by the finance website MoneyGeek in its latest analysis of how tax-friendly each state is to its residents. The report, which gave Illinois an F-grade for its tax burden, noted that taxes account for an astonishing 13% of Illinois household income. 

Unsurprisingly, high property taxes were a major factor in Illinois’ dead-last ranking. The high effective tax rate in the state is another reason for Illinois’ tax unfriendly status, with Illinois coming in as the 2nd highest in the country in this category.

Senator Syverson, who has long called for much-needed tax relief for Illinois residents, says this report underscores the need for state government to prioritize its citizens and address the financial strain on working families.  

Dave Syverson

Want to stay up to date with your Senator?

Sign up for the District E-Newsletter below: