Senate Week in Review: Feb. 3 – 7, 2020

Springfield, IL. — During the week, the General Assembly began to settle into its spring session holding committee hearings in both the Senate and House with new legislative proposals being introduced. One of those proposals is about a topic about which I’ve received a lot of inquiries: The Second Amendment. I’ve also heard from people upset about registration fees for small utility trailers. There’s a fix in the works. 

In other news, the Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers to take full advantage of the Illinois and Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. And, aiming to showcase the wide range of items made in Illinois, the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) is hosting a contest to pick the “coolest things made in Illinois.” 

Legislation eliminates FOID card
Those wanting to purchase firearms would no longer need to possess a FOID card under legislation recently filed. Senate Bill 2535 would repeal the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Act. 

The FOID Act was created in 1968 as a way to identify people who were eligible to own firearms as part of a public-safety initiative in Illinois to meet the requirements of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968. However, Illinois’ FOID card isn’t needed because it duplicates the required federal background check when purchasing a firearm. I’m for less government not more. Less government means more Liberty. 

While Senate Bill 2535 would eliminate the need for a person to own a FOID card, it would not change any of the other requirements for purchasing a firearm. The measure has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a public hearing, although a hearing date has not been set.

Other Second Amendment legislation filed: Good and bad
Senate Bill 3029 is legislation that would amend Illinois’ Firearms Conceal Carry Act to allow concealed carry on public transportation, at IDOT rest stops, and public parks. Currently, these areas are gun-free zones and the criminals know it. 

Senate Bill 3032 would repeal the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act, which was passed and signed into law last year. Like the FOID card repeal, this legislation would eliminate redundant government red tape. Illinois firearm dealers must already pass a vigorous federal licensing process before they can do business. 

Senate Bill 3030 would allow adults under the age of 21 (18, 19 and 20 year olds) to apply for an Illinois FOID card without parental consent. This bill seems like common sense to me. These are young adults who are also eligible to enlist in the Armed Forces without parental consent. Not only could they be carrying firearms, they might also be driving tanks or operating large artillery pieces. 

Senate Bill 2468 is legislation, sponsored by a Chicago area lawmaker, which would impose an additional 10 percent retail sales tax on licensed firearm dealers on the retail sales of so-called “assault weapons,” which are really nothing more than semi-automatic firearms that have been around for a hundred years, and “high capacity magazines.” This will increase the cost of those firearms. The additional state tax would be on top of the current federal, state, and local taxes imposed on firearm sales in Illinois. Simply, this bill would just make it more expensive for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

In addition to the calls and emails about the FOID card, I’ve received inquiries about registration fees on small utility trailers. 

Trailer registration fee fix in the works
Gasoline taxes and license plate registration fees were increased as part of the capital construction program passed last year. I’m told the $100 increase over the former $18 fee, which included smaller trailers, was an oversight. So, I am working with two Senate Republican colleagues to write new legislation fixing the mistake.  

While I did not support the original capital construction program because of concerns over higher taxes and fees, I am working with Senators Don DeWitte and Dan McConchie to cosponsor legislation that would set registration fees at a more realistic and fair level, perhaps in the neighborhood of $27 annually for small utility trailers.


Illinois reminds taxpayers to take advantage of Earned Income Tax Credit
Tax season has begun as federal and state W-2 forms arrive in the mail, but according to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR), thousands of eligible taxpayers fail to claim the both the Illinois Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). 

IDOR acting Director David Harris says those taxpayers are missing out on thousands of dollars. 

Anyone eligible for the federal EITC automatically qualifies for the Illinois EIC, which is a refundable tax credit worth up to 18 percent of a taxpayer’s federal claim. However, IDOR says nearly 20,000 Illinoisans claimed a federal EITC credit without also claiming the state EIC, leaving more than $5 million unclaimed. 

To be eligible for the tax credit programs, taxpayers must meet certain income and residency qualifications and file a tax return, even if they do not owe any tax or are not required to file. To find out if your family qualifies for the credit, visit the Internal Revenue Service’s EITC Assistant

What is the coolest thing made in Illinois?
In addition to filling in college basketball brackets, Illinoisans can pick their winners for another March tournament that will determine the “coolest thing made in Illinois.” 

Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) President and CEO Mark Denzler wants to showcase the wide range of items made in the state. He said most people don’t realize what all is made in Illinois.

Manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of Illinois’ gross domestic product and a $304 billion economic output — the largest of any industry in the state, according to the IMA. More than 592,000 people are employed in the industry. 

“We have to attract the next generation of workers to Illinois,” Denzler said. “By showing the products and companies that are here, hopefully we can also help provide that next pipeline of workers.” 

You can nominate a product for the contest at


Craig Wilcox

Want to stay up to date with Senator Wilcox?

Sign up for his E-Newsletter below: