Springfield, IL. – Senate Republican Committee assignments were announced for the new 101st General Assembly, warming centers can provide help managing the predicted bitterly cold weather across the state and it’s tax filing season.
I’ll be a member of one of the Senate’s two major budget committees, in addition to serving as a member on the Energy and Public Utilities and Human Services Committees. I will also continue my role as a member of the Labor, Transportation and Veterans Affairs Committees while also serving as the Republican spokesman on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Important Committee Assignments
Agriculture is Illinois’ number one industry. I’m pleased to be part of the leadership on a committee that is so important to the economic lifeblood of our state. The Senate has two committees that handle budget requests from state agencies, departments and offices. I’ll be a member of the Appropriations I committee. The state’s poor fiscal condition is well-known. We have a responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and not add to the debt that eventually will have to be paid by every man, woman and child – when they become taxpayers as adults.
The Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee will consider legislation that impacts every Illinois citizen: reliable and affordable electric and natural gas power. Illinois has tremendous energy resources. Our coal reserves are among the largest in the nation and domestic oil exploration – through new, high-tech developments – offers promise to meet our future energy needs and economic prosperity through job creation.
The Senate Transportation Committee could play a significant role in the coming months. There’s a lot of talk in Springfield about a capital construction plan that includes roads, bridges and other public transportation needs. As a state in the heart of the country, Illinois is a crossroads for interstate, rail and air traffic. A quality transportation system is an important part of our overall economic health.
As a 24-year career officer (Colonel, retired) with the U.S. Air Force, continuing my role on the Veterans Affairs Committee means a lot to me. One of the main responsibilities as a commanding officer is the welfare of the people I commanded. Illinois members of the military continue to return home as overseas combat winds down. Our committee can play a role in their health and prosperity as they transition back to civilian life.
I’ll be a member of these committees during the 101st General Assembly, which will meet over the next two years. The committees are part of the legislative process that provides public hearings for witness testimony and a more thorough debate on issues and proposed new laws before they reach the full Senate for final consideration.
DeKalb County Farm Tour
I want to thank the Illinois Pork Producers and Steve and John Ward for the great tour of their Old Elm Farms in Sycamore on Jan. 22. I saw a tremendously successful hog operation and discussed issues affecting their industry. Pork production in Illinois provides a huge economic impact to our state. With about 2,000 hog farms, our farmers rank fourth in the nation for pork production. It’s an industry that provides more than 10,000 jobs and contributes nearly $2 billion annually to the state’s economy.
Warming Centers Provide Relief
Some of the coldest temperatures of the winter season are predicted over the next week in Illinois. Designated warming centers are located throughout Illinois. Warming centers are listed alphabetically, by county, at https://www2.illinois.gov/services/GOV/warming-center.
According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, there have been 664 cold-related deaths in Illinois over the last ten years (2008-2017).
New Legislation Introduced
While the new legislative session has yet to begin in earnest, there are already 75 new legislative measures filed with the Senate, while in the House of Representatives, 484 proposals have been filed for consideration. Over the next several months, the legislation will be heard by dozens of committees – in each chamber – before final votes are taken, most of which occur in May.
New legislation is assigned to committees, based on subject matter. Each committee will hold one or more public hearings, hear testimony – for and against the proposals – before taking an initial vote. Once a proposal wins committee approval, it moves on to the respective chambers for additional debate and approval. The Illinois General Assembly has a detailed explanation of the legislative process on the “How a Bill Becomes a Law” webpage.
Lawmakers return to the State Capitol Jan. 29. Senate Committee hearings are already scheduled.
Income Tax Filing Begins
Both the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begin accepting 2018 individual income tax filings on Jan. 28. Illinois taxpayers can file their Forms IL-1040 for free using the IDOR’s website MyTax.Illinois.gov. Federal income tax filers can use www.irs.gov/freefile to find the IRS Free File software product that matches their situation.
According to IDOR, state taxpayers can use the state website to make payments, check the status of their Illinois Individual Income Tax refunds using the Where's My Refund? link, and look up their Illinois-Personal Identification Numbers, amounts of any estimated tax payments they have made, and (when necessary) amounts reported on Form1099-G.
More than six million individual Illinois income tax returns were filed in 2018 with 86 percent of them filed electronically. IDOR anticipates direct-deposit refunds will be issued approximately four weeks from the time an “error-free, electronically-filed return” is submitted. The filing deadline to submit 2018 individual state and federal income tax returns is April 15.