Last Friday, I had the pleasure of honoring owner, Gesiele Mockabee, for our May Business of the Month! Gesiele has been the owner of Dis n’ Dat Beauty Supply in Danville for the last 18 years. She makes custom wigs and hair supplies specializing in providing those wigs to cancer patients and people who suffer from chronic severe hair loss. Gesiele does great work and is super passionate about her business, and this passion is bringing about an immense amount of support to those struggling with a terrible disease to maintain a positive self-image. I want to congratulate Gesiele for 18 years in business and for being our Business of the Month of May.
Before heading back to Springfield, I stopped in Champaign on Monday evening to meet with Dr. David Fletcher from Safe Works Illinois, David Northern Sr. from the Champaign County Housing Authority, and James Woodward of CIOS. We talked about economic development opportunities, discussed possible ideas for pro-business legislation, and toured the North Market Street loop and Industrial Park. The area development is home to some of the region’s most successful businesses and is an exciting location for potential growth. This area will be a focus and a priority for me during my time of service to the 104th District.
Back in Springfield, I was able to pass a couple more measures out of committee and I had a good week, however things are moving slowly on the floor. We have not moved any legislation at all over the last two weeks on the floor of the House. We gaveled in and gaveled out every day we were in session. What a waste of taxpayer dollars!
I suppose this was so we can get our per diem even though we were not doing anything on the floor. This way of handling business is so frustrating, incredibly inefficient, and the main driver in why the public has lost faith in government. It is frustrating to see first-hand, yet have little means to actually stop this way of doing business. In addition, it scares me to think of all the legislation that lies out there waiting for us in the last three weeks before we adjourn the Spring Session.
The legislation left for us to accomplish is anything from mundane. We have to pass a balanced budget, noncontroversial fixes to existing law, all the way up to the Governor’s big-ticket proposals that have yet to be called for a vote. We are in for an avalanche of bills coming at us in a very short period, and I am seeing first hand just how terrifying it is to be an Illinois taxpayer.
This week was the eerie calm before a very bad storm. That storm has been designed by the Speaker to ram through as many things as he can in the last few weeks, so we are overwhelmed an unable to respond. This example of gamesmanship with the public’s trust is my number one frustration with Springfield. There is no excuse for it, and I will keep screaming this story from the roof tops as long as I have a voice. Continuing to inform the public is the best thing I can currently do to fix the problem and that is what I intend to do.
On a positive note, I was able to pass my Coal Ash Task Force resolution through the Energy and Environment Committee on Tuesday, and I picked up a few cosponsors along the way. This is an initiative to bring all the stakeholders to the table in order to try to come up with a workable solution to remove the coal ash from the flood plain of the Middle Fork River. I have repeatedly urged Vistra Energy to remove the ash and I will continue to do so. This bipartisan and common sense initiative brings everyone together to discuss the issues that are keeping the company from cleaning up this mess. I hope to move the resolution on the floor next week. I appreciate my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who have signed on and supported me in this effort.
On Thursday, I was pleased to get unanimous support in the Revenue and Finance Committee for Senate Bill 1800. I am carrying Senator Chapin Rose’s initiative in the House after he passed it earlier in his chamber. This proposal is a pro-business and pro-investor bill that raises the threshold for when you must pay estimated income tax. It was a commonsense measure, and I am proud to say it received overwhelming support. I hope we can get it passed in the full House in the next couple of weeks.
Springfield is always challenging and at times frustrating. While I am encouraged by the small things we can accomplish, I know we are currently losing ground on the big items. It is the old mantra, one step forward and two steps back. Even though it continues to be an uphill battle, everyday I am reminded in many ways about how wonderful the State of Illinois is and how great our people are. Illinois is worth the battle. I will continue that battle as long as I can.