Springfield, IL. – A short legislative week for the Illinois Senate; a busy week for local elections officials. The Senate was in session only Wednesday and Thursday during the week, but the Capitol still saw crowds of citizens and advocacy groups voicing their support or opposition to hundreds of bills currently being considered by lawmakers.
The normal Tuesday session day wasn’t scheduled to allow for activities on local election day throughout Illinois.
A Few Voters Made Decisions for All
In McHenry County, based on unofficial results, turnout for the April 2nd Consolidated Election was 9.69 percent. Elections are important. Participating in them is part of our responsibility as citizens. Whether the turnout is 9% or 90%, the costs to hold the election are the same.
- The same number of ballots must be printed
- The same number of election judges need to be hired, and
- The same costs exist for establishing locations for precinct polling places.
As our nation’s Declaration of Independence states: “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
22,324 ballots were cast in McHenry County out of 230,336 registered voters. So, less than 10 percent of voters gave their consent and made decisions for remaining 90 percent of eligible voters.
Back at the Capitol, Legislative action in the Senate during the week included the passage of a measure to provide a more affordable alternative to medicine for treating allergic reactions. Also, state officials and lawmakers urged motorists to pay more attention and be more careful while driving, as distracted-driving accidents resulted in the deaths of two Illinois State Police officers in just three days.
Health insurance companies would be required to offer generic alternatives for EpiPens under legislation sponsored by State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) that passed by a unanimous vote of the Senate on April 4.
EpiPen is the brand name of a device that delivers the drug epinephrine, which is a life-saving medication used when someone is experiencing a severe allergic reaction. Cost for this drug, which can be in the hundreds of dollars range, often place it out of reach to those who need it most.
Senate Bill 2047 would require health insurance companies to offer generic alternatives for insulin auto-injectors. SB 2047 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
State officials and lawmakers are asking the public to slow down and drive more carefully after two Illinois State Police officers were killed in recent distracted-driving accidents. Trooper Gerald Ellis was on duty March 30 when he was killed in a head-on collision with a vehicle traveling the wrong way on Interstate 94. Two days earlier, on March 28 Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was struck and killed by a semitrailer during a roadside inspection of another truck, just west of Illinois Route 75.
Their deaths brought to three the number of troopers killed in 2019. On Jan. 12, Trooper Christopher Lambert was killed after being hit by a car on I-294 while at the scene of an accident.
Lawmakers from around the state are expressing concern about the number of troopers who have been hit by vehicles – 16 so far in 2019. Illinois Acting State Police Director Brendan Kelly is urging motorists to obey Scott’s Law, which mandates that when approaching any police or other emergency vehicle stopped along the roadway, drivers must proceed with due caution, change lanes if possible, and reduce their speed. State Police have also stepped up enforcement of Scott’s Law and are trying to raise awareness of the issue through social media.
Meet and Greet
On Friday, April 26, Senator Dan McConchie and I will host a Conversations Untapped event at Crystal Lake Brewing, 150 North Main Street. We hope you will join us for discussions on state and local issues. It’s an opportunity to offer your thoughts, ideas and concerns on issues that matter to you. No reservation is needed. We’ll be at Crystal Lake Brewing from 5 to 6p.m.
Local Event: Down Syndrome Awareness
Last month, the Illinois Senate adopted a resolution declaring March 21 as Illinois Down Syndrome Day to raise awareness and advocate for the rights, inclusion and well-being of our citizens with Down syndrome.
A public presentation about Down syndrome will be held locally on Tuesday, April 16 at McHenry County College, in the Luecht Conference Center, Building B. “Inclusive Higher Education as a Pathway to Independence and Competitive Employment: A National Perspective” will be presented by Sara Jo Soldovieri, the Manager of Inclusive Education Programming with the National Down Syndrome Society.
As the Senate resolution indicates, Down syndrome occurs in one out of every 700 to 1,000 births and affects all races and ethnicities in all parts of the world. Adequate access to health care, early intervention programs and inclusive education are cited as vital to the growth and development of individuals with Down syndrome. (Logo: By DSi 2012 - Down Syndrome International.)
Keep In Touch/Stay Informed
If you can’t make our April 26 event, there are several ways to keep in touch with me. You can call my district or Capitol offices: 815/455-6330 or 217/782-8000 and you can email me at email@example.com.
I also have a legislative website at www.senatorwilcox.com. I post news from the Capitol and you can sign up for my free newsletter, read our Founding Documents, connect to state government agencies and resources and find college scholarship information. There’s also an extensive list of sites veterans can use to connect to employment, education, service records and more.
Teleforum by Phone
Another way you and I can stay in touch is through our Teleforum program. It’s a kind of town hall meeting by phone. We will call you at home, early evening, and you will have the opportunity to hold on for our live meeting. You can also ask questions, give your opinion and participate in an issues-oriented poll. Teleforums are held throughout the year, and we have one in the works, but because of the potential of scheduling conflicts, we can’t set specify dates in advance. I will post a notice on my website. Stay tuned.