Senate and House Republicans Introduce the People’s Independent Maps Act
On March 30, Republican legislative leaders in both the Senate and House came together to introduce the People’s Independent Maps Act, a proposal to allow Illinois legislative redistricting maps to be determined by an independent commission. The legislation is filed as Senate Bill 1325 and I am proud to serve as a Chief Co-Sponsor.
The state’s current system of drawing legislative maps gives current officeholders the power to draw district lines, allowing partisan politics to influence the final map outcome and stifle voters.
Over the years, I have strongly advocated for creating a system that would allow legislators to recuse themselves from the map-drawing process all together. This position is shared among most Illinoisans as well. Polls show that more than 75 percent of Illinois voters support an independent process that puts citizens in control of drawing election districts instead of the politicians.
The People’s Independent Maps Act is Republican lawmakers’ most recent push to put an end to Illinois’ broken redistricting system.
The People’s Independent Maps Act:
- Gives the Supreme Court the power to appoint 16 independent, citizen commissioners to the Independent Redistricting Commission within 30 days of becoming law.
- The makeup of the Commission would be required to reflect the ethnic, gender and racial demographics of the state.
- Party affiliation would be evenly split, in addition to members without party affiliation.
- Legislators, state employees and lobbyists are prohibited from serving on the Commission.
- The Commission would be required to hold at least 10 public hearings throughout the state before adopting a plan, with at least four hearings after a map is proposed.
- The Commission will release a map within 30 days of receipt of the census redistricting data.
- This legislation would only apply to the 2021 redistricting cycle.
Identical legislation has been proposed in previous years, garnering bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House.
Demand change by signing my petition calling for an Independent Redistricting Commission, where lawmakers don’t decide their voters, voters decide their lawmakers.
Senator DeWitte, Reps Ugaste and Ness to Co-Host Virtual ACA Health Insurance Special Enrollment Event
More than one million Illinoisans experienced unemployment over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many who lost their jobs also lost access to health care benefits. Next week on Thursday, April 8 I am co-hosting a virtual information session to help Illinoisans who need health insurance connect with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace. The online event is in response to the federal government’s decision to open a special enrollment period (SEP) due to COVID-19. Unlike other SEPs, those who enroll in an ACA plan or change plans within the Marketplace between now and May 15 will not have to show documentation of a qualifying life event.
The April 8 virtual event will begin at 6:00 PM and will feature representatives of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Illinois Department of Insurance, who will discuss the special enrollment period of the ACA Marketplace and provide information about the new SEP, including eligibility for the Medicaid program and how to enroll.
Those who wish to participate in the online event on April 8 can register through this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-seminar-special-enrollment-period-aca-health-insurance-tickets-148385879159?fbclid=IwAR3VH8OEO66ulmaxRn-xnn6wEi8OFIBg56wDbf8s8ErtKLKpP45N5Yzit6M
For additional information about this event, please contact my office at (847) 214-8245.
Illinois rated with highest tax burden
While Illinoisans prepare their state and federal taxes, a recent study has been done to compare state and local tax rates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Not surprisingly, Illinois was found to have the highest tax burden in the entire country.
Wallethub, a personal finance website, compared states across four types of taxation to determine state rankings: real-estate, vehicle property, income, and sales and excise taxes. According to the study, Illinois ranks dead last for state and local tax burden with an effective total state and local tax rate of over 15 percent.
Senate Republicans, who led the charge against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s shortsighted push to impose a graduated income tax, point to Illinois’ ever-increasing tax burden as evidence that state government needs to provide relief to Illinois taxpayers, not take more from their pocketbooks.