Capitol Report from Senator Craig Wilcox

Lawmakers Hear Testimony on AWB Rules

Members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) met December 12 to hear testimony from the Illinois State Police (ISP) on their proposed permanent rules for enforcement of the state’s so-called “assault weapon” ban (AWB). 

For now, ISP’s temporary emergency rules remain in effect since action on the proposed permanent rules will be held until the January meeting of JCAR. The emergency rules include requirements for registering existing weapons that are included in the AWB. According to the law, owners of banned firearms purchased before Jan. 10, 2023, are now required to file an affidavit with ISP.

I believe the gun ban law is a direct infringement on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, and will ultimately be found to be unconstitutional. It places undue burdens on lawful gun owners through a set of confusing rules that still have many wondering which firearms and accessories are banned or require the affidavit. More information on the rules and process, including what weapons and attachments are covered, can be found at

Meanwhile, there are still several court cases pending over the constitutionality of the AWB.

District 32 Schools Receive Library Grants

Fourteen school districts in the 32nd District are receiving a share of $1.4 million in public library grants that were announced on Friday. The grants will support student learning by providing financial assistance for resources and services. Grants are awarded by the Secretary of State’s office annually and can be used for the purchase of library books, e-books, audiobooks, periodicals, multilingual materials technology, and other library programs. Schools receive $0.885 per student based on enrollment. The list below includes districts where the administration building is located within the 32nd District:

Illinois Steps Back on Enforcing Crisis Pregnancy Center Fraud Law

Pro-life advocates reached a new milestone in their fight to keep crisis pregnancy centers operating in Illinois through a proposed agreement with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to halt enforcement of a controversial law.

Senate Bill 1909 was proposed by Raoul and passed by Illinois Democrats earlier this year. According to Raoul and his legislative allies, the law amended the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act with a goal of rooting out so-called “bad actors” in the crisis pregnancy industry.

When the bill was being discussed prior to its approval, I pointed out that the Attorney General already had the power to go after bad actors and that the bill was nothing more than a publicity stunt meant to tip the scales of justice toward one side of an ideological divide.

During testimony earlier this year, the Attorney General’s Office admitted they already had the power to go after the “deceptive practices” but could not name a single instance where they took action.

The new agreement was reached following a federal judge’s action in August that temporarily blocked the law from being enforced in a scathing opinion where he called the law “both stupid and very likely unconstitutional.”

Volunteer Emergency Worker Income Tax Credit

Volunteer firefighters and EMTs are getting financial help from the state to help them cover the costs of training and equipment.

Eligible Illinois emergency volunteers may now receive a $500 non-refundable income tax credit starting next year. A volunteer emergency worker is defined as a person who serves as a member, other than on a full-time career basis, of a fire department, fire protection district, or fire protection association that has a State Fire Marshal Identification Number issued by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and who does not serve as a member on a full-time career basis for another fire department, fire protection district, fire protection association, or government entity. 

To qualify, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Has served as a volunteer emergency worker for at least nine months during the taxable year.
  • Has not received compensation for services as a volunteer emergency worker of more than $5,000 for the taxable year.
  • Be included on the list provided by a local fire department, district, or office to the OSFM by Jan. 12, confirming the individual met the previous two qualifications.
  • Submit a complete online application with the Illinois Department of Revenue on the date listed above.
  • Be one of the first 10,000 qualified applicants.

This application process opens in February, but volunteers must make sure their names are on the list within their organization by January 12 to be able to apply. Visit the Illinois Department of Revenue’s Website to view more information and apply.

Illinois Firearm Deer Season Concluded with Over 76,000 Deer Harvested

Illinois deer hunters have wrapped up the primary firearm season, with the total harvest falling just a bit short of their total quarry last year.

According to data from IDNR, 76,232 deer were harvested during the seven-day 2023 Illinois firearm deer season. This was a slight decrease from the 76,854 deer taken during the 2022 season. 

The remaining 2023-2024 deer hunting opportunities in Illinois include:

  • Late-winter antlerless-only and chronic wasting disease (CWD) season, in designated counties only, Dec. 28-31 and Jan. 12-14. A map showing the counties open to late-winter and CWD seasons can be found online.
  • Archery deer season continues through Jan. 14.

IDNR cleans up several hundred thousand pounds of invasive carp in Illinois River

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and a group of professional fishermen teamed up to reduce the number of invasive carp populating the Illinois River. IDNR biologists, Illinois River Biological Station biologists, and commercial fishing contractors caught more than 700,000 pounds of silver carp within 10 days at the Starved Rock pool of the Illinois River. The haul is roughly double what the program removed last year, with the 2022 effort totaling 350,000 pounds of the invasive carp.

According to agency officials, the 2023 effort was the most extensive single removal operation, and possibly the most significant freshwater harvest in the United States.

This program aims to decrease the number of adult fish to control upstream migration and protect the Great Lakes from invasive species. Annually, fishermen remove more than one million pounds of invasive carp from the Upper Illinois River under the supervision of IDNR staff. 

Craig Wilcox

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