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Governor Rauner’s 2018 “State of the State” Address

Thomas Clatterbuck

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At a join session of the Illinois General Assembly, Governor Bruce Rauner gave his 2018 State of the State address. Rauner highlighted the vast potential that exists in the state, and the progress that has been made in criminal justice reform. He also pushed his agenda for both term limits, and tax relief.

Many state lawmakers wore black to the address, to signify their support for the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment and violence. Rauner spoke in solidarity with that movement, and highlighted his recent actions to support survivors of harassment.

But he acknowledged the challenges Illinois is facing. Rauner spoke of needing to live within our means, and not spend money the state doesn’t have. He also promised to deliver a balanced budget proposal to the General Assembly in the coming weeks.

 

You can watch his full address below. The actual speech starts at the 5:10 mark.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

Crime

Gov. Rauner’s death penalty, public safety proposals to get House hearing Monday

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An Illinois House hearing Monday afternoon in Springfield will tackle reinstating the death penalty for cop killers and mass murderers, and other issues that are part of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s latest public safety push.

Rauner injected the death penalty idea into the conversation when he changed a bill lawmakers sent to his desk. The bill, House Bill 1468, would have put a 72 hour, rather than 24 hour, waiting period for certain semi-automatic rifles. Rauner changed that to include all guns. But he also put in language that would reinstate the death penalty in Illinois for specific crimes like mass murder or killing a police officer.

Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011 after several people were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to die.

The sponsor of HB1468, state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Buffalo Grove, filed a motion to accept Rauner’s amendatory veto.

The Illinois State Rifle Association issued a bulletin Thursday that said the veto should be sustained.

“Now we have to make every effort to prevent the amendatory veto from being overridden,” ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson said in an email. “We need phone calls to the members of the Illinois House asking legislators to support the governor’s veto.”

Rauner said his package of ideas is intended to bring about what he called important public safety measures. Those ideas include bringing back the death penalty, putting a 72-hour waiting period in place for all firearm purchases, banning bump stocks and trigger cranks, authorizing restraining orders to disarm dangerous people and requiring judges and prosecutors to explain why charges are reduced in plea agreements for violent offenders in gun cases.

House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said Rauner’s move is pure politics.

“[Rauner] handed a bunch of things to people who are less interested in guns and he handed a bunch of things to people who are more interested in guns and hard line on criminal law,” Lang said.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is promoting an amendment to Senate Bill 2580 filed by Carroll to bring Rauner’s ideas up for a hearing at 2 p.m. Monday in the Judiciary-Criminal Committee.

“The issues the governor raised … deserve a full hearing and consideration before the House,” Madigan said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing from stakeholders and continuing our effort to keep our children, our schools and our communities safe from senseless gun violence.”

Rauner said Friday’s deadly mass shooting at a Texas school was another reminder there needs to be common sense policies in place to protect children. He said his proposals would free up resources for armed school resource officers at public schools.

“Just like the hero in Dixon [Illinois] who stopped a shooter in his tracks effectively in Dixon,” Rauner said. “We need that in every school that would like it and we also need mental health professionals, and I’ve proposed ways that we can fund that for each school to keep the schools safer.”

Rauner said local sales taxes should be freed up to hire more school resource officers.

On Wednesday in Dixon, school resource officer Mark Dallas shot and wounded Matthew Milby, a 19-year-old former student of Dixon High School, when Milby allegedly opened fire with a rifle. There were no other injuries.

Given that Rauner has been in office for more than three years, during which there were multiple mass shootings across the country, the gun proposals seem like a last-minute effort, Lang said.

“We haven’t heard all that much from him,” Lang said. “And now in the 11th hour he wants to be a person who wants to talk about guns and guns safety, and try to pander to both sides.”

 

Article by Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org 

Video Credit: State of Illinois, Greg Bishop | Illinois News Network. Gov. Bruce Rauner in Chicago Friday talks about his public safety proposals, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, says Rauner’s playing politics

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News

Illinois tourism marks record year with nearly 114 million visitors

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More people visited Illinois last year than ever before, a record that state officials said helped boost the state’s economy and create jobs.

State tourism numbers show nearly 114 million people traveled to Illinois in 2017. That’s up 1.4 percent from 2016, which also was a record year.

“Tourism is a critical part of our economy,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement. “There is so much to see and do in our state. It is gratifying to know that so many people come here each year to experience what we have to offer.”

Illinois Office of Tourism Director Cory Jobe said marketing helped drive the increase.

“We really attribute the growth to our overall new brand campaign where we ask the question, ‘Illinois, are you up for amazing?’ ” he said.

Illinois Tourism’s “Up for Amazing” advertising campaign launched in March 2017. It targeted 14 domestic and five international markets.

“The spring/summer campaign was extremely successful with every dollar invested delivering nearly $9 in economic impact for our state,” Jobe said.

Another ad campaign, called Illinois Made, highlighted experiences, places and products that are unique to Illinois.

Other ads focused on travel in different seasons and inclusion by aiming to attract more LGBTQ tourists to Illinois.

Jobe said many Illinoisans chose to play tourist here by traveling to other parts of their home state for vacation.

“You can get to many of our unique destinations, our hot spot destinations within a 70-minute to three-hour drive, and that’s proven in the numbers that we see,” Jobe said.

All of those tourists spent $39.5 billion, according to the U.S. Travel Association. That’s an increase of $1.1 billion, or 3 percent, from 2016. That spending generated $2.95 billion in state and local tax revenue, up $75 million from 2016.

The industry also helped to create jobs. The Illinois tourism industry supported 335,500 jobs in 2017.

“Just in the past three and a half years alone we’ve created over 18,500 new jobs,” Jobe said.

Tourism figures show 83 percent of tourists visited Illinois for pleasure and the rest traveled here on business. In the past decade, tourism has become one of the state’s most important industries, according to the Illinois Office of Tourism.

 

Article by Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org 

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Business

New Opportunity Zones coming to Central Illinois

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Hundreds of sites in Illinois are being made more business friendly thanks to new “Opportunity Zones.”  372 sites across Illinois were selected to receive special tax breaks to encourage private investments. These locations were chosen based on a number of factors relating to economic need. Many areas in Central Illinois received zones, including Springfield, Decatur, Champaign; as well as a number of smaller communities.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-13) said, “Opportunity Zones, which were a key aspect of the tax reform package we passed, will continue to spur economic investment in areas that need it the most. During the recession, many of our rural communities were hit the hardest and have been the slowest to recover. The tax-free, private investments that will be a result of these Opportunity Zones will help create jobs and grow these communities. We’ve only just started to see the benefits from tax reform and because of provisions like this, we will continue to see tax reform help Americans at all income levels.” 23 of the new zones are located within the 13th.

State Rep. Avery Bourn (R-95) called the zones a, “great opportunity to bring jobs and investments in the 95th.” There are three zones located within the 95th.

Click the link to learn more about these zones and find areas near your community.

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