Update from Senator Plummer: November 14

While Gov. JB Pritzker was chasing the national spotlight in Florida earlier this week, Senate Republicans redoubled their efforts to save the state’s Invest in Kids Scholarship program and give low-income children access to better schools. In other news, Illinois Senate Republicans passed a pivotal bill paving the way for the next generation of new nuclear reactors to be used as a source of clean, reliable, and secure energy for Illinoisans. Senate Republicans voted to extend an important criminal statute designed to keep repeat gun offenders behind bars, but partisan games in the Legislature stalled the effort. Finally, an original edition of the Gettysburg Address will be on display for 12 days at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.
Senate Chamber
Veto Session Ignores Public Safety and Low-Income Students The Illinois General Assembly has adjourned for the year without taking action to extend scholarship programs for low-income students, nor to extend a key criminal statute to keep repeat gun offenders off the streets, according to State Senator Jason Plummer. “Once again, Democratic leaders refused to act to help low-income students pleading for help,” said Senator Plummer. “Thousands of students and their families visited the Capitol over the last few weeks, pleading with lawmakers for help. Unfortunately, Democratic leaders cared far more about pleasing special interest groups than helping students.” The Invest in Kids Scholarship program was designed to encourage donations for scholarships by offering tax breaks to donors. The donations were used to fund scholarship programs that offered a lifeline to low-income students in failing school districts by giving them the opportunity to attend the school of their choice. Over 9,000 students are currently enrolled in the Invest in Kids program, including 241 in the 55th Senate District. Without legislative action, the program will now shut down at the end of the year. “It is a disgrace that Democratic leaders decided to leave these students, many of them their own constituents, without help,” said Plummer. “Now those students and their families will have to decide whether to yank their students out of schools where they are excelling in the middle of the school year, or to try to scrape together money they don’t have to keep them in school.” Meanwhile, Democrats in both chambers played games over another law that is set to expire. House Bill 1440 would have extended an important criminal statute that increased penalties for repeat offenders convicted of gun crimes. The statute was the result of requests from law enforcement and was supported by the Attorney General. “We have to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep violent criminals off of the streets and behind bars,” said Plummer. “Prosecutors across the state rely on this statute to keep us safe.” Initially, Senate leadership included the statute in a bill that covered numerous other unrelated laws that were also set to expire. Before voting on that bill, however, the provision was removed and placed in House Bill 1440. While it passed the Senate, it was not called for a vote by Democratic leaders in the House, meaning that the statute will expire at the end of the year. “What this means is that Democrats in the legislature decided to make sure that violent gun criminals and gang members are able get back on the streets faster,” said Plummer. “Illinois is less safe because they refused to act.”
Electric Meter
Lawmakers Pass Bill Paving Way for Next Generation of Nuclear Reactors  State lawmakers took an important step toward creating a stronger and more reliable power supply for Illinois by passing legislation end the moratorium on new nuclear reactor construction.   House Bill 2473 lifts the ban on next generation nuclear reactors less than 300 MW beginning Jan. 1, 2026, allowing for the construction and development of next-generation Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). The Illinois Emergency Management Agency Office of Homeland Security will be directed to establish rules for reactor decommissioning, environmental monitoring, and emergency preparedness by Jan. 1, 2026. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will provide consultation.   House Bill 2473 also authorizes the Governor to commission a brand-new study to research the state’s role in guiding the development of new nuclear technology and makes conforming statutory changes, including updating references to IEMA-OHS in preexisting Illinois law.  Passed by the Senate with a 44-7 vote and by the House of Representatives with a 98-8 vote, House Bill 2473 will be sent to the Governor’s desk for consideration.  
Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg Address on Display in Springfield An original edition of the Gettysburg Address will be on display from Nov. 17 through Nov. 28 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863, at the dedication of a national cemetery for the thousands of Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. Admission to the ALPLM will be free on Nov. 19, the 160th anniversary of Lincoln delivering the speech at a military cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa. For the full 12 days the Gettysburg Address is on display, visitors also have the option of paying just $5 to see the document without touring the rest of the museum. More information is available at http://www.PresidentLincoln.Illinois.gov/gettysburgaddress.
Jason Plummer

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