Catching up with Coffey

Keeping you caught up with issues impacting our state and our community.


Truth in Public Safety Working Group Unveils New Legislation.On Wednesday, the House Republican Truth in Public Safety (TIPS) Working Group introduced a series of measures designed to balance the rights of the accused while ensuring the safety of the public. 

Members of the Working Group include Rep. Patrick Windhorst, House Republican Floor Leader and Chairperson of the TIPS Working Group as well as Representatives Dan Ugaste, Dennis Tipsword, John Cabello, Amy Grant and David Friess. 

“The Truth in Public Safety Working group has come up with a package of more than 20 bills through our work,” Windhorst said. “We have developed legislation centering around protecting crime victims, restoring cash bail with reforms, and recruiting and retaining police officers.”  The working group began meeting in January, and with the final product unveiled, Windhorst says he’ll push hard for hearings and votes on the package.


Spring flooding cycle begins.  Authorities have posted flood warnings for the Mississippi River’s banks from Illinois’ northern border, near Galena, to the junction of the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers near Alton. On the opposite bank from Illinois, Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster declaration covering ten riverfront counties in the Hawkeye State. Parallel flooding has begun across the river in Carroll County, Illinois, and the river town of Savanna.  

As in previous years, the high water is associated with snowmelt upriver, especially from watersheds in Minnesota and Wisconsin. As these floodwaters roll south, the fresh waters will crest on various days depending on location. In Quincy, Illinois, for example, the floodwaters are expected to crest from Thursday, May 4 through Saturday, May 


Illinois’ unemployment rate was 4.4% in March 2023.  Unemployment rates are published monthly by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The IDES numbers indicate that in March 2023, 4.4% of the overall Illinois labor force was unemployed. This number defines unemployed people who are actively seeking employment as a percentage of the overall nonfarm workforce. 

Metro areas within Illinois posted March 2023 numbers this week in line with the overall statewide average. Centers of higher education, headed by Bloomington-Normal (3.4%) and Champaign-Urbana (3.6%) have jobless numbers in line with overall national prosperity. Traditional industrial regions, headed by Decatur (6.1%) and Rockford (6.7%), continue to have recession-level unemployment numbers which are much higher than Illinois and the U.S. as a whole.  

The preliminary March 2023 figure marked a slight decline from the 4.5% unemployment rate notched in February 2023. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 7,900 during this period. The number of unemployed Illinois workers remained high, at 283,800. Many states that neighbor Illinois have significantly lower unemployment rates than Illinois, such as Indiana’s rate of 3.1%. The national unemployment rate was 3.5% in March 2023.