Welcome to Springfield Daily’s breakdown of some of the hot-button issues for the 2018 election. These are some the main issues you’ll be hearing about in the news over the next several months. We asked the candidates for their responses to these issues, and have put their answers on the candidate pages. You can see how the candidates responded on their individual campaign sections, if they have submitted answers.
Climate Change, formerly referred to as “global warming,” focuses on three questions. First, how much, if at all, is the global climate changing? Second, how much, if at all, does human activity impact this change? Finally, what, if anything, should the United States do about it? The most recent global program designed to address climate change is the Paris Accord. President Trump withdrew the United States from the accord in 2017
2017 Tax Reform Law
The recent tax reform law made a number of significant changes to the US tax code. It doubled the standard deduction for individuals, but also reduced or eliminated many but not all other deductions. Tax rates were lowered for both individuals and corporations. According to the House’s Ways and Means Committee, a typical family of four earning $73,000 per year will see a tax cut of $2,059.
DACA and the DREAM Act
DACA is a subset of the larger illegal immigration debate. DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is for individuals who were brought to the US illegally by their parents. There are numerous restrictions on DACA eligibility, including being employed or in school. The DREAM Act would provide a direct path to citizenship for DACA recipients. DACA recipients account for around 800,000 of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the US.
Net Neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic must be treated equally. This means all websites are transmitted at the same speed. The Net Neutrality principle was formally put into place during the Obama administration. In December, 2017, the FCC voted to repeal these rules, allowing for internet service providers to speed up or slow down websites as they see fit.
Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 Drug under the Controlled Substance Act, which means it has no recognized medical uses and is considered highly addictive. According to Federal law, marijuana is still illegal everywhere in the US. However, several states, including Illinois, have started medical marijuana programs. These programs, while technically illegal, are currently protected by the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Other states, such Colorado have gone further and decriminalized possessing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Even when states decriminalize or legalize marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law.
Sanctuary State / Trust Act
Senate Bill 0031, or the Illinois Trust Act, placed restrictions on local and state law-enforcement agents to assist federal immigration services. State and local law enforcement agents can still enforce direct federal warrants, but cannot hold individuals just on the basis of their immigration status.
Illinois currently has no term limits for state officials. The Senate recently adopted rules limiting how long individuals can serve in some leadership roles; the House has no such limits. Term limits can restrict how many total terms an individual can serve, or how many consecutive terms an individual can serve.
Right to work
Right to work would prohibit making joining a union a requirement for employment. Even in places where formally joining a union is not mandatory, paying for “fair share” for union representation is often required. Right to work legislation would make both joining a union and paying any form of union due optional.
Tax Credits for private school scholarships
As part of the budget negotiations in 2017, Illinois created a tax-credit program to fund scholarships to private schools. These scholarships can be used to send low-income students to private schools, including religious schools. The program is capped at $100 million in donations, worth $75 million in tax credits. Although tax-credits are not directly tax dollars, offering tax credits does reduce the overall revenue the state generates.