Crete, IL–(ENEWSPF)– State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) recently hosted a meeting for residents of the Village of Crete to update them on the recent legislative session and give them an opportunity to voice their thoughts and opinions on the issues facing the state and local community.
“Updating area citizens on legislative action in Springfield is one of the most important parts of my job as state representative,” DeLuca said. “The thoughts and insights that local residents shared at last night’s forum help better inform me on the issues that are of concern to my constituents.”
During the open forum at the Crete Village Hall on Monday evening, over 20 local residents came to hear DeLuca give an update on the Spring legislative session. DeLuca’s remarks included a wide range of issues that were addressed by the General Assembly over the past few months. A synopsis of some of the major issues DeLuca addressed are listed below.
While the budget takes precedent, state government has been reeling since the unfortunate saga of corruption brought on by Rod Blagojevich. With a new demand for change and reform, the General Assembly passed several landmark bills aimed at restoring accountability and increasing transparency in state government.
DeLuca discussed numerous reforms that were passed recently in the General Assembly, these include: strengthening the state’s Freedom of Information Act; imposing reforms on the state procurement system to prevent pay-to-play politics; overhauling the operations of the state pension systems to protect taxpayers’ and retirees and prevent scams; terminated the employment of political appointees from the Ryan and Blagojevich administrations; abolishing the Compensation Review Board, blocking the 3 percent cost-of-living salary increases for elected officials; and requiring lawmakers to take four unpaid furlough days to balance the budget.
Recall of the Governor
Illinois governors will be subject to recall in the middle of their terms if a Constitutional amendment, HJRCA 31, that passed the House, also passes the Senate, and is approved by voters at the next general election in November 2010. The measure will help ensure that governors remain accountable to taxpayers year-round, not just at election time, and it empowers voters to take action if they believe the governor has betrayed the public trust.
Campaign Finance Reform
DeLuca supported House Bill 7 which makes some of the most significant changes to Illinois’ campaign finance system in the state’s history. For the first time ever, the state ‘s political system will be subject to limits on campaign contributions. Under current law, there are no limitations placed on the amount of money candidates can raise or the amount of money individuals, PAC’s or political parties can donate to campaigns.
Contributions to individual candidates will be limited to $5,000 from individuals and $10,000 from corporations, labor unions, and associations per year. A committee organized to assist multiple candidates, such as a county political party or a caucus committee, or a non-candidate committee, such as an association’s Political Action Committee (PAC), may accept up to $10,000 from an individual and up to $20,000 from a corporation, labor organization, or association. Political committees will be limited to making transfers no higher than $90,000 to other political committees.
An initiative of the Village of South Chicago Heights, a non-home rule community, Senate Bill 1783 would allow the village to implement a crime-free rental program. The program, via a local ordinance, would require landlords and tenants to enter into lease agreements providing that the tenant’s commission of a crime as a cause for the tenant’s eviction. This legislation passed the House, but did not progress past the Senate.
“We made significant progress on advancing crime-free housing legislation that grants municipalities the power to regulate and license landlords, a move aimed at providing communities with the ability to weed out criminal activity in rental housing units,” DeLuca said. “While I was mayor of Chicago Heights, I helped enact a policy that set clear ground rules of what is expected of local area tenants and landlords, and this policy will allow us to reduce crime in our communities. I want to give other communities through our state this important tool to help reduce crime and keep neighborhoods safe.”
DeLuca helped pass House Bill 210, known as the mini-capital bill, which along with its implementation bills provides $8.3 billion in funds devoted to statewide transit, road and bridge projects, education, renewable energy development, affordable housing credits, reducing the backlog of Medicaid reimbursements to health care providers, and aid to laid off workers.The economic recovery and infrastructure repair package provides $ 11.5 million for resurfacing projects. DeLuca worked to include the following projects helping the 80thDistrict:
- Route 1/Halsted Street from Ridge Rd. to Strieff Ln.;
- Route 1/Dixie Highway from Burville Rd. to Elmscourt Ln.;
- Broadway Ave./OR 1 from Chicago Rd. to Route 1;
- Halsted St. from Route 1 to 15thSt.;
- Joe Orr Rd. from Ashland Ave. to Route 1;
- State St. from Route 1 to 15thSt.; and
- Western Ave/Harwood Ave. from 18thSt. to U.S. 30.
In addition, the legislation also provides $6 million for the patching of potholes in Will and South Cook County.