Update from the Desk of Rep. Halbrook

Wishing everyone a Happy & Safe Thanksgiving!

New Challenges Face Assault Weapon Ban

Representative Dan Caulkins has petitioned the nation’s highest court to review the state Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the law on due process, equal protection and Second Amendment grounds. The petition argues that Justices Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien participated in the case despite receiving campaign contributions from those who support the ban.

“Both Justice Rochford and O’Brien received disproportionate campaign contributions, and both made a commitment to support the legislative policy of banning assault weapons,” Caulkins told WRSP-TV. “Additionally, the donations to these justices came from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and [state] House Speaker Chris Welch which calls into question the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers. Given the size of the campaign contributions and who gave the contributions, there not only is a question of fairness and impartiality, there also is a question of the independence of the justices which calls into question the validity of the state court decision.”

Illinoisans will soon see even higher natural gas bills

The chief suppliers of natural gas to Illinois businesses and households all applied, in the fall 2023 rate hike cycle, for the right to charge higher rates for natural gas. Under law, these rate requests are heard by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), a nonpartisan State panel with authority over electricity providers, natural gas utilities, and many other segments of the State’s economy.

The ICC decided to grant slices of these requests, and to deny other slices. The applicant utility firms got between 50% and 75% of the rate hikes for which they requested. The specific percentages granted by the ICC ranged from approximately 50% of the rate hike request in the case of Ameren, to approximately 75% in the case of Peoples Gas. Peoples Gas serves natural gas customers in the city of Chicago, while Ameren has a wide-ranging natural gas service area in many parts of Downstate Illinois. Rate hikes were also granted to Peoples Gas’s related firm North Shore Gas and to gas utility Nicor. Nicor and North Shore Gas, which received about two-third to 70% of the rate hikes for which they requested, serve suburban Chicago customers.

The ICC decisions were handed down on Thursday, November 16. In a series of announcements that accompanied the issuance of these decisions, Doug Scott, the ICC’s chairperson, stated that it is the long-term goal of Illinois under the Pritzker administration to move away from carbon-based energy. All four natural gas utilities with rate cases before the ICC this fall asked for more money to speed up their return on the capital they have already invested, and continue to invest, in natural gas pipes and lines. This means that even if the price of natural gas at the well goes down, the price of natural gas as delivered to billed Illinois customers will continue to go up. The approved hikes will show up in Illinoisans’ natural gas bills this winter.

The Cost Illinois Taxpayers Are Covering

Late last week I requested a report on total state spending projected and committed on illegal aliens since August 2022.  In total, that number for all state agencies exceeds $708 million. This figure does not include non-citizen healthcare which is expected to be over $831 million, $300 million more than budgeted.

This number includes the recent commitment Governor Pritzker made yesterday for $160 million more to Chicago for migrants. In addition to the $160 million, another $115 million will go directly to Chicago and over $54 million will be spent on just asylee healthcare.

The spending comes from numerous agencies including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Department of Housing, Department of Human Services, and Department of Healthcare and Family Services.  The money comes from many different grant lines and redirects spending allocated for other purposes to funding for illegal aliens.  Specifically, the report shows that part of the funding for the $160 million includes a redirect of $35 million in TANF block grant cash.  Numerous other budgeted amounts are being redirected for migrant care. Earlier this year, Governor Pritzker was caught diverting money intended for rent assistance for Illinois citizens to migrant needs.

These numbers are alarming and likely much more will be spent than what is projected.  The Democrats should be calling for the border to be closed and illegal aliens to be deported. Instead, they are redirecting money budgeted for Illinois citizens and asking for more money from the federal government to keep the migrants here. There is also a human cost to the illegal immigration with payments to cartels for passage, sex trafficking, and forced servitude in off-the-book jobs.

The staff report on Asylee Seeker Assistance for FY23 and FY24 can be viewed on his website https://rephalbrook.com/ under the ‘News’ tab.

Post Veto Session Town Hall

I have one more town hall currently scheduled to fill you in on the Veto Session and important ongoing issues. Hope to see you there tonight!

Tuesday, November 21st 7:00-8:30pm @ US Army Corps of Engineers Lake Shelbyville Visitors Center, 1989 IL-16 in Shelbyville.

My Office Can Help

As your state representative, my office is available to assist you with any issues you may have when interacting with a state agency. Please call our office to get help or schedule an appointment to see me. Or contact me at Halbrook@ilhousegop.org. Find more information and events on my website www.rephalbrook.com.

Shelbyville Office: 203 N Cedar St. Shelbyville 62565 217-774-1306Effingham Office: 304 E Jefferson Ave, Suite A Effingham 62401 217-342-0220