Keeping you caught up with issues impacting our state and our community.
House Republicans Call for Business Reforms to Attract Manufacturing and Keep Jobs in Illinois. House Republican members held a Capitol news conference this week to call for reforms to Illinois’ business climate following the shuttering of the Stellantis Jeep Assembly Plant in Belvidere and Stellantis’ previously announced $150 million investment in Indiana.
Representatives Joe Sosnowski, Dan Ugaste, and John Cabello called for reforms to Illinois’ tax code and business regulatory environment, while pointing out that major manufacturers are passing over Illinois to invest in states with friendlier business environments.
State Rep. Joe Sosnowski spoke on the need to keep manufacturing and other industries in Illinois, pointing out how the policies of the Pritzker Administration and the legislative supermajority in Springfield have given false hope to job creators and local families while failing to stem the exodus of Illinois jobs to neighboring states
You can watch the press conference here.
Illinois Supreme Court hears arguments on cash bail. Illinois courts have long had the power to require that a defendant post cash bail as a surety for their good behavior as they get ready for their trial date. The Illinois Constitution protects defendants by ordering that the cash bail be set at an appropriate level, and a wide variety of case law gives Illinois defendants a recourse when they face a request for bail as a condition of pretrial release.
Although cash bail has been, and continues to be, a significant part of Illinois’ criminal procedure, a case before the Illinois Supreme Court could soon end it. A major component of the Democrats’ so-called “SAFE-T Act” would eliminate cash bail as of this year. Law enforcement officials, including the overwhelming majority of Illinois state’s attorneys, filed suit to block the implementation of “no cash bail.” Oral arguments on the case of Rowe and Downey v. Kwame Raoul et al. were heard by the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 14. State’s Attorney James E. Rowe and Sheriff Michael Downey, the lead plaintiffs, represented a bipartisan group of elected law enforcement officers from across Illinois. These public officials within law enforcement are fighting to retain cash bail as a tool of criminal procedure by the Illinois courts. The state high court’s decision will shape the future of pretrial detention in Illinois.
Key global credit rating firm grants Illinois a debt upgrade; still near the bottom of U.S. state governments.Moody’s Investors Service, one of the largest credit rating agencies, moved Illinois general obligation debt to a ‘single A3’ rating. This standing, while far below that posted by affiliate agencies of neighboring states such as triple-Aaa Indiana, could grant Illinois taxpayers some much-needed relief in terms of the interest payable on State debts. Illinois is continually borrowing more money, and its credit ratings from Moody’s and other credit rating firms help determine the comparative level of interest rates that Illinois bonds must pay when they hit the global debt marketplace. These interest payments, which are made on bonds sold by Illinois and its affiliate agencies, are payments that must ultimately be paid by Illinois taxpayers.
The Moody’s Investors Service ‘single A3’ rating is the lowest A-ranked slot on Moody’s chalkboard. While above the ‘Baa’ slots, it continues to signify standing within the lower half of the set of investment-grade bond ratings that Moody’s awards to borrowers. In a comment that accompanied the rating change, Moody’s noted the current “stable outlook” of the fiscal picture facing the State. The Moody’s Investor Service upgrade was announced on Tuesday, March 14.
In a time of sharply rising interest rates, Illinois must set aside more and more money every year to service its new and existing debt load. Moody’s decision could make this burden less crushing than it otherwise would have been for Fiscal Year 2024, which begins on July 1, 2023. Illinois House appropriations committees heard presentations this week on many facets of the FY24 budget picture.
Illinois trout seasons to open on Saturday, March 18, and on Saturday, April 1. The speckled fish is stocked in 58 ponds, lakes, and streams throughout Illinois, using funds from a variety of sources. Funding sources include money from Inland Trout Stamp fishing licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which announced that the catch-and-release trout season will open on Saturday, March 18.
Starting on Saturday, April 1, holders of Trout Stamps will be able to keep and clean up to five fish per day. The Trout Stamp requirement is waived for children under age 16, persons with blindness or other disabilities, and for Illinois residents on leave from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. The 58 stocked Illinois trout waterways are listed in the announcement of the opening of the season.