Capitol Report from Senator Craig Wilcox

Illinois’ Culture of Corruption in the Headlines

Democrat Ed Burke, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman, a longtime-ally of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and a towering figure in city politics, has been sentenced to prison time in the latest in a long history of high-profile corruption cases to rock Illinois.

Burke, who used his significant influence to steer business to his law firm in exchange for helping companies navigate the Chicago City Council, was convicted on 13 charges of bribery, racketeering, and extortion. He was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $2 million for leveraging his position to improperly influence business dealings for personal gain. In my opinion, this is a mere slap on the wrist considering the severity of his crime and the duration of his indiscretions.

Senate Republicans cite this conviction as further evidence of the urgent need for tougher ethics reforms to hold politicians accountable and make it easier for law enforcement to investigate public corruption.

Senate Republicans have continued to fight the culture of corruption that has long tainted Illinois politics, pushing for greater accountability and transparency. Recent proposals from Republican lawmakers include stronger revolving door prohibitions, banning elected officials from working as paid lobbyists and campaign finance reforms.

$205 Million Coming to 32nd District in New IDOT Multi-Year Plan

The 32nd District in McHenry and Lake Counties is receiving a large investment of capital funding toward important transportation improvement projects in the new IDOT Multi-Year Plan.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) released its updated Multi-Year transportation improvement plan last week, and a total of $205,077,000 is coming to the 32nd Senate District. Of this, $193,807,000 is slated for state highway improvements within the district, and $11,270,000 is allocated toward improvements to local highways. The plan has designated $55,030,000 in IDOT funds to be spent on state and local projects in the 32nd District during the current fiscal year.

These projects will improve safety on our local and state roadways and strengthen the integrity of several bridges. Click here to view the list of projects that are coming to the 32nd District between Fiscal Years 2025-2030, with projects slated for the current fiscal year noted in red. A total of 30 projects that cover 18.1 miles of state highways, and an additional 16 projects that span 1.56 miles of local highways are included for this area in the updated plan.

Laws Taking Effect July 1

Several new laws are set to take effect on July 1, including measures allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain Illinois driver’s licenses, protections for the children of social media influencers, additional safeguards for independent contractors, and changes to school assessment tests.

  • Undocumented Immigrants Drivers’ Licenses: Public Act 103-0210 allows non-citizens to obtain standard driver’s licenses. This replaces a previous system in which they were allowed to obtain licenses that indicated they were not citizens. Now, they will be able to get the same licenses as Illinois citizens.
  • Underage Professional Vlogger Protections: Public Act 103-0556 seeks to protect children from exploitation by requiring influencers to set up a trust fund for their child if they earn income from their child’s likeness.
  • Regulation for District-Administered Assessment in Schools: Public Act 103-0393 requires school boards to hold a public vote before approving a new contract for district-administered assessments.
  • Freelance Worker Protections: Public Act 103-0417 creates the Freelance Worker Protection Act to create protections for independent contractors.

Summer Events Continue in 32nd District

Just a reminder that my office is hosting a variety of public outreach events throughout the summer and fall. Please mark your calendars now for the following:

  • July 17, ICASH Unclaimed Property Day: Algonquin Township Building, 3702 US-14, Crystal Lake, 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM
  • August 5, Secretary of State REAL ID Event: McHenry City Hall, 333 S. Green Street, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • August 17, District Office Open House: Wilcox Office, 209 N. Benton Street, Woodstock, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • September 11, Medicare 101: Nippersink Public Library, 5418 Hill Rd, Richmond, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • October 15, Senior Health Fair: Crystal Lake Park District Grand Oaks Building, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

For the Secretary of State REAL ID event, registrations are required. Registrations are coming in at a regular pace, so do not delay if you want to get a REAL ID at this event. Walk-ins will not be able to be served, so if you want to reserve a time, please call my district office at (815) 455-6330. Additionally, please refer to the check-list in the graphic to ensure you arrive with all necessary documents to complete a REAL ID transaction.

IDNR Offers Free Camping Near State Fairgrounds with Purchase of 2024 Admission Booklet

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is offering free camping near the fairgrounds during the Illinois State Fair.

To be eligible for this promotion, interested fair campers need to purchase a 2024 Illinois State Fair Admission booklet from June 26 to July 3 and plan to camp within the dates of August 11 to 16.

With the booklet purchase, campers and fair attendees can receive up to two complimentary nights at one of the Springfield-area State Parks. The three parks available for this free stay include Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site, Sangchris Lake State Park, and Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area.

For more information, visit the fair’s website at

ISP Partners with Texas DPS to Enhance Child Protection Training

A new Illinois State Police (ISP) partnership with the Texas Department of Public Safety trained officers to better protect at-risk Illinois children.

This joint venture allowed ISP officers to participate in the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) training program. The goal of the IPC training is to help officers identify signs of child exploitation, victimization, and abduction.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), other law enforcement agencies and child advocacy groups also attended the training.

Illinoisans are encouraged to report any suspicious activities involving minors to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Additional resources can be found at

Craig Wilcox

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