LAME DUCK SESSION PRODUCES FEW RESULTS

A lame duck session of the 97th General Assembly which began with talk of dramatic action on gun control, pension reform and medical marijuana, ended with very little action this week.

The House voted to approve granting Temporary Visitor Driver Licenses to persons in the country illegally, provided they could produce proof that they have lived in Illinois for at least one year, have insurance and pass a driving test. I voted against this legislation on the grounds that I do not believe the state of Illinois should be in the business of extending privileges to those who are in our country illegally. I am concerned that laws such as this will only encourage more people to enter the country and our state illegally.

A rumored assault weapon ban, and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, failed to get enough support to be called for a vote in the Senate, and thus never made it to the House chamber. I was pleased to see common sense win out in the Senate because I do not believe that imposing Chicago-style restrictions on the Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners is going to solve our nation’s crime problem. It hasn’t worked in Chicago, and I do not believe it will work statewide.

Several proposals for pension reform were floated and voted on in committee, but in the end no final action was taken. On the final day of session, a pension proposal which would have reduced cost-of-living adjustments for retired teachers and state employees went nowhere, and was replaced with a proposed “pension super-committee,” to come up with a reform plan by April 30. In the end, neither one of these proposals was able to garner enough support to be called for a vote on the House floor. Pension reform is likely to be the number one issue legislators will try to address in the newly-convened 98th General Assembly.