|The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the state’s recently enacted gun ban, but the legal battle over the new law is far from over. Meanwhile, a federal judge has stopped enforcement of a new law that targets pregnancy centers, saying it potentially violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In other news, Senate Republicans are calling for more information from IDES after a recent audit showed the agency lost $5.2 billion during the pandemic. The lawmakers want answers on what the agency has done to recover more of the lost cash. Additionally, Illinois has some new laws on the books, including two that cap prices of potentially life-saving medicine, along with a third that protects the rights of parents. Finally, the Illinois State Fair is now underway in Springfield, offering food, fun, and entertainment, along with a big, buttery bovine.
|Illinois Supreme Court Rules to Uphold Gun Ban On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled against plaintiffs in a case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s recently enacted “assault weapon” ban. The justices voted 4-3 in favor of the gun ban, with one democrat joining two republican judges in dissent. Notably, the ruling focused only on the constitutionality of whether individuals who own banned weapons (before the ban was passed) would be treated differently than those who wish to purchase weapons after the ban. The court did not rule on whether or not the ban violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling is not the final word on whether the ban will be overturned. Multiple federal lawsuits are ongoing with many legal experts saying that the federal court system is more likely to result in a ruling against the new law. “The Illinois Supreme Court tried to thread a needle by refusing to rule on some extremely important aspects of this case, including whether the ban violates the Second Amendment,” said Senator Plummer. “The justices in the majority stood by their political patrons, not the people of Illinois. But they also clearly showed that they are worried about being overruled by the federal case. The issue sits in the federal courts now, where I pray they have the courage and the decency to put the constitution over petty politics.”
|Federal Judge Halts Illinois Law Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers On Thursday, August 3, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of Illinois’ newly signed Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act (Senate Bill 1909). The lawsuit brought by the National Institute of Family Life Advocates asserts that this law was designed to target pregnancy help ministries solely because of their pro-life message. When issuing the injunction, the judge stated that “the bill is painfully and blatantly a violation of the First Amendment,” and “there’s no doubt who the Attorney General wants to win or lose in the market place of ideas, but the government doesn’t get to decide that. The people do.” Senator Plummer opposed Senate Bill 1909, believing that it was an attempt to silence the voices of people on one side of an issue, while empowering the opposite viewpoint. He believes the new law goes against the foundations of free speech that our country was founded on. The next court date is scheduled for August 21. The injunction will remain in place until the federal judge lifts the injunction order, makes their final ruling, or the injunctions is appealed and overturned by a higher court.
|Senate Republicans Call for More Information on $5.2 Billion Lost by IDES Members of the Senate Republican Caucus are calling for answers after a recent audit showed that Governor Pritzker’s IDES (Illinois Department of Employment Security) lost $5.2 billion through illegitimate unemployment payments during the pandemic, due primarily to fraud and identity theft. Noting the audit showed that the administration has only been able to recover roughly $500 million, about a tenth of the money lost, Senate Republicans sent a request for more information from the agency. The legislators are specifically requesting information on what has been done so far to recover money from the illicit payments, as well as what efforts are currently underway to claw back more of the taxpayers’ money.
|Two New Laws Cap Costs for Life-Saving Drugs Illinois has two new laws on the books designed to lower costs for two potentially life-saving medicines, insulin, and epi-pens, offering a lifeline to people across Illinois with diabetes or serious allergies. House Bill 2189 lowers the current cap on a 30-day supply of insulin from $100 to $35. Insulin is a vital hormone used by the body to regulate blood sugar. For individuals diagnosed with diabetes, access to insulin treatment can be a matter of life and death. House Bill 3639 caps the cost of 2-packs of epinephrine, often referred to as epi-pens, to $60. Epinephrine Auto-Injectors are typically used to stave off anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction that can be fatal. Both bills were signed into law on August 4th.
|Legislation to Enhance Parental Rights Signed into Law If a parent has to consent for their child to receive a medical procedure or test, then they should be able to access the resulting records and results. That’s the idea behind a new law brought by State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield). Under prior Illinois law, parents have access to medical records for children under the age of 12; however, they may be denied access to records and test results for children 12 -17 years of age, even if the records are from tests and/or procedures that required parental consent to be performed. Once the child turns 18, if they are declared a developmentally disabled adult, parents can once again get access. Senate Bill 188 closes the glaring loophole for special needs children aged 12 – 17 and allows parents access to these important records of their child, who often aren’t physically able to provide consent. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on August 4th.
|Illinois State Fair Underway The 2023 edition of the Illinois State Fair officially opened on August 10th, with a formal ribbon cutting in the morning, followed by the annual Twilight Parade in the evening. One of the event’s longstanding traditions is the construction and unveiling of the butter cow, a full-size sculpture is made of roughly 500 pounds of unsalted butter that is on display in the Dairy Building. Fair organizers have switched up the themed days for 2023, with promotional “Twosday” on Tuesday, Governor’s Day, Republican Day, First Responder & Healthcare Heroes Day, and then finally wrapping up the closing weekend with Park District Conservation Day followed by Family Day. Remaining grandstand concerts include REO Speedwagon on Tuesday, Alter Bridge on Wednesday, Tim McGraw on Thursday, Chevelle on Friday, Maren Morris on Saturday, and finally Nelly on the final Sunday of the fair. There will also be USAC and ARCA racing at the grandstand during the final weekend. For more information, visit https://statefair.illinois.gov/. And don’t forget, the Du Quoin State Fair runs in Southern Illinois from August 25th to September 4th. You can find more information on that event at: https://dsf.illinois.gov/.