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Update from the Capitol 11/18/2022

Friday, November 18, 2022 Posted by Rep. Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett

Sunday night I was involved in a car accident on my way home from an event in Iroquois County. I spent some time in the hospital before coming home earlier this week. I am happy to be able to report to you that I am on the mend and am looking forward to getting back to work and seeing everyone again soon.

My family and I want to thank everyone who sent us prayers and good wishes after the accident. Thank you to the first responders who answered the call, and to the doctors and nurses who put me on the path to recovery. I appreciate you all so very much.

Fall veto session convenes in Springfield

Capitol.jpgUnfortunately because of the accident I was not able to make the trip over to Springfield for the fall veto session this week, but overall, very little ended up happening on the House floor. The session was scheduled to run for three days, but was shortened to just two.

The top item on the agenda needs to be reforming the SAFE-T Act, much of which goes into effect on January 1. There have been a lot of conversations about changes over the summer, and some statements about what needs to be changed, but very few specifics. This time we need to involve our law enforcement personnel in the discussion and take their ideas and concerns seriously.

The veto session is scheduled to resume for three days during the week following Thanksgiving. The newly-elected 103rd General Assembly will be sworn in on January 11, though there is a chance that outgoing members of the 102nd General Assembly might convene again during the first days of the new year.

Tony McCombie chosen as next House Republican Leader

This week the members of the incoming House Republican caucus met and selected Rep. Tony McCombie of Savanna as the next House Republican Leader. Rep. McCombie will be the first woman to lead the House Republican caucus.

Rep. McCombie was first elected to the House in 2016 after serving as the mayor of Savanna, a town of about 3000 people on the Mississippi River in northwestern Illinois. She graduated from Western Illinois University and went to work in the real estate field, including owning a small business called Blue Appraisals. She is a proven and effective legislator and it has been my honor to have worked closely with her over the past six years.

Senate Republicans chose Senator John Curran of Downers Grove to lead their caucus in the coming years. Democrats re-elected House Speaker Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon.

Congratulations to Leader McCombie and best wishes in leading our caucus in the upcoming General Assembly.

Speaking with students at Eureka College

Eureka.jpgI was glad to talk with Eureka College Professor Kathryn Everett and her Environmental Policy students last week about environmental issues and how government can help. It was a great discussion with some very thoughtful, insightful and wonderful questions. It was time so very well spent. Thank you Professor Everett and all the students who participated.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $2,650,737,282 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $4.6 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $137 billion.

Did You Know?

Senator John B. Cohrs introduced legislation in 1867 to build a new Capitol building in Springfield - the building we still use today. To thank him, the people of Springfield commissioned a silver tea service. The pitcher was recently returned to the Capitol after more than a century and is now on display outside the House chamber on the third floor.

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving.jpgThursday we will pause to remember all that we have to be thankful for this year. We can be thankful for family and friends, our continued emergence from the pandemic, our men and women in uniform and our first responders, or perhaps some personal achievement this year like a graduation, a new job, a retirement or a new addition to the family. I hope that everyone will also remember the less fortunate at this time of year. However you celebrate, I wish you all the best for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

I will be back with another update from the Capitol on Friday December 2.

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Thomas Bennett
State Representative Tom Bennett