Legislative News from Senator Don DeWitte

Senator DeWitte calls for special session to enact real gas tax relief
As we enter the heart of summer and approach the 4th of July, gas prices aren’t getting any cheaper. In fact, they are only getting worse as motorists across Illinois are continuing to feel the sting of record-high prices. According to AAA, as of June 22, the average price for a gallon of gas was at $5.49 in Illinois. Up here in the suburbs, the price of gas is even higher.

Despite these unprecedented prices that are doing harm to Illinois families, the Legislature seems to be content taking advantage of this crisis by gouging consumers of millions of dollars it never expected to receive. That’s why I’m calling for legislators to return to Springfield immediately to provide meaningful relief at the pump.

If you agree that legislators should immediately return to Springfield to address this crisis and provide real relief at the pump, please consider signing my petition, here.

Before adjourning the spring session in early April, Senate Republicans called for a proposal that would cap the state’s sales tax on gas, saving consumers up to 20 cents per gallon (about $1 billion per year), depending on the price of gas. Unfortunately, Governor Pritzker and Democratic legislators had something else in mind and passed a law that would simply delay an automatic two-cent increase to the state’s Motor Fuel Tax, which was set to take effect on July 1, 2022, until after the election in November. Consumers would see that two-cent increase on January 1, 2023, and then another increase on July 1, 2023.

The Governor is touting this as relief, but I would urge you to keep in mind that this isn’t relief at all. You will be paying the same price per gallon in July that you are now.

Again, I am calling for a special session to repeal the Governor’s two-cent election-year gimmick and pass real relief such as Senate Bill 4195, which caps the amount of sales tax the government can collect for its General Revenue Fund at 18 cents per gallon and is more in line with what motorists were paying before gas prices skyrocketed earlier this year. I am a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.

Illinois is one of just seven states that charge a sales tax on top of the motor fuel tax. While both the state and federal gas taxes are a flat tax, which means the tax does not change with the price of fuel, Illinois also charges a sales tax (6.25 percent) on top of the motor fuel tax, which means as gas prices go up, so does the amount of money the state receives.

The Motor Fuel Tax goes straight to the Road Fund and pays for critical infrastructure projects like the repair of roads and bridges. However, the sales tax goes into the state’s General Revenue Fund for politicians to spend on whatever they wish, such as pork projects.

Consumers can see how much they would save at the gas pump under the Senate Republican plan by using this gas savings calculator. Simply enter the current price of gas per gallon and the estimated gallons purchased per week and see how much your family could save per month.

 

Sen. DeWitte, Rep. Ugaste to co-host mobile DMV event in July
Due to the success of my last mobile DMV event, on Wednesday, July 13, I am bringing the Secretary of State’s mobile drivers’ services team back to the 33rd District for another four-hour mobile event. This time, the team will be available from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM at the Village of South Elgin Public Services Building, 1000 Bowes Road, in South Elgin.

Services available include:

  • Driver’s License/State I.D. Cards (renewal, replacement, corrections)
  • Free State IDs for seniors age 65+
  • License Plate Renewal Stickers
  • Organ/Tissue Donor Registration
  • Voter Registration
  • Vision Screenings

Seniors age 75+ must visit an established Secretary of State Driver Services facility to renew a driver’s license, and no Real IDs can be obtained at the event. Payments for services must be made by check, credit card, debit card, or money order. No cash will be accepted.

Before coming to the event, residents should visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com to learn about identification requirements for specific services. This is an important step, because you don’t want to show up without the proper identification for the service you need. For additional information or to pre-register (walk ins are welcome), please contact Hannah at hseaver@sgop.ilga.gov.

 

Conversations Untapped scheduled in Crystal Lake for July 14
On Thursday, July 14, I’m partnering with nearby State Senator Craig Wilcox for a Conversations Untapped event at Crystal Lake Brewery in downtown Crystal Lake. We’ll be at CLB from 6:30-8:00 PM, so come on out and say hello and we can talk about how we can brew a better future for Illinois. CLB is located at 150 N. Main Street in Crystal Lake.

 

United States Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade
This morning news broke that the United States Supreme Court has overturned the landmark case Roe v Wade. The crux of the decisions is that now individual states (rather than federal law) will dictate whether abortions may be performed and under what circumstances in each state.

Based on legislative action over the years, abortion will remain legal in Illinois. Less than an hour after the decision was made public, lawmakers were told we will return to Springfield in the coming weeks to consider new legislation that further enshrines an individual’s right to have an abortion in Illinois.

What is most important to realize is that nothing changes in the State of Illinois. Extreme steps by the Majority Party have already been taken to protect individual abortion rights in the event Roe v Wade were to be overturned.

 

For the second time, Illinois Supreme Court declines to rule on FOID Act
Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court released a 4-3 decision to decline ruling on whether Illinois’ Firearm Owners Identification Act is unconstitutional.

This is the second time that the Court has seen the case of the People v. Vivian Brown and the second time the court has chosen to not rule on the constitutionality of state’s FOID Act, which requires Illinoisans to receive a permit to legally own a gun.

The majority opinion contended that the White County Circuit Court did not adhere to the Supreme Court’s previous 2020 ruling in the case and that the lower court had no authority to reconsider the case after that ruling. This decision once again vacated the circuit court’s ruling that the FOID Act was unconstitutional.

The People v. Vivian Brown case started when Vivian Claudine Brown was charged in 2017 with possession of a firearm without a FOID card after police responded to a call that she had fired a gun in her home. While police didn’t find evidence that she fired the rifle they found at the home, they decided to charge her for possession.

That led to the Circuit Court in White County ruling that the fees and forms required to receive a FOID imposed an unconstitutional burden on Brown’s Second Amendment right to keep a firearm in her own home. Additionally, the circuit judge issued an alternative ruling without the prompting from Brown’s legal team that the Illinois General Assembly did not intend to apply the FOID Act in the home because that would have meant anybody with knowledge of a firearm and exclusive control over the area where it was kept could be construed as possessing the gun.

Because of this alternative ruling, the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision vacated the original order and sent the case back down to the lower court in White County. There, Brown’s legal team filed a motion to reconsider, which was granted by the circuit judge. After charges were reinstated, Brown’s attorneys filed a new motion to dismiss on constitutional grounds, which the judge upheld. This led to an appeal from the state, sending the case back to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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