January 2024 Newsletter

Valentine’s for Seniors Card Drive

We still need your help creating Valentine’s Day cards for our Valentines for Seniors Card Drive! Let’s help Seniors feel loved and remembered this Valentine’s Day.

Please drop off or mail by Feb. 5

You can drop off or mail your cards to 795 Ela Road, Suite 208, Lake Zurich, IL 60047

Illinois to Launch New Intake Center, Shelter Site for Migrants Arriving in Chicago

Illinois has been under some form of a gubernatorial disaster proclamation for most of the past four years, giving Gov. Pritzker sweeping emergency powers to spend taxpayer dollars with little to no transparency or input from the legislature. Last Friday, he issued his 18th disaster proclamation on the migrant crisis allowing him greater spending authority and aggressive powers to bypass Illinois’ procurement processes.

Chicago has received nearly 30,000 individuals and families seeking asylum since August 2022. Over the last month, Pritzker’s office announced they will be spending more taxpayer dollars to support the influx of new migrants.  Funds will support supplies, hotel rooms and eventually a shelter at a former CVS in Little Village.

Senator McConchie says that the Governor spent years encouraging non-citizens to come to Illinois and is now trying to avoid responsibility for the problem he created.

Ex-House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Racketeering Trial Postponed 6 Months Pending Supreme Court Decision in Bribery Case

In March 2022, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) was indicted on 23 counts of racketeering, bribery, and official misconduct. Madigan resigned after losing the House speakership in January 2021. Madigan’s trial has been postponed from April until Oct. 8 after a recent court hearing. The charges stem from the alleged improper dealings with the state’s largest utility, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). So far, Madigan has used millions of dollars in campaign funds to pay for his criminal defense. 

In prior court cases involving the scandal, prosecutors presented secretly recorded videos, wiretapped phone calls, and hundreds of emails to show how the four former ComEd executives and lobbyists were “the grandmasters of corruption.” Prosecutors said that the utility paid out $1.3 million in jobs, contracts, and payments to associates of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan over eight years in exchange for favorable treatment on legislation in Springfield that would affect the finances of the utility company.

Madigan served in the Illinois House from 1971 to 2021. He served as Speaker of the Illinois House from 1983 to 1995 and then again from 1997 to 2021. He wielded additional power as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

Senate Republicans Help Convince Gov. Pritzker to Pause Budget Cuts for the Developmentally Disabled

Senate Republicans are applauding a decision from Illinois Department of Human Services to halt proposed budget cuts to the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (I/DD) community. The Pritzker administration’s proposed cuts would have amounted to 2.5 million fewer hours that Direct Support Professionals (DSP) could provide services in group homes, where approximately 10,000 adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities reside. The proposed reduction would have totaled nearly $90 million dollars, affecting 90% of all group home residents.

The proposal generated strong bipartisan pushback from lawmakers who are concerned about the I/DD community. Every member of the Senate Republican caucus signed their name to a recent letter pleading with the Pritzker administration to call off the cuts. This is in addition to other letters and petitions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

During the week, the Pritzker administration confirmed that the cuts will not happen until at least the end of the fiscal year.

Senator McConchie said that pausing these cuts is a good step in the right direction, adding that he is committed to continuing to advocate to get the administration to put a permanent stop on the proposed cuts.

Discontinuation of Scholarship Program Pushing Private Schools to Close

Democratic leadership’s refusal to extend the popular Invest in Kids scholarship program is beginning to reverberate across the state. Recently, four private schools announced they would be closing their doors due in part to the loss of the Invest in Kids Scholarship program.

The four schools include Notre Dame Academy in Belleville, St. Odilo in Berwyn, St. Frances of Rome in Cicero, and St. Ann in Nashville.

The Invest in Kids scholarship fund was created as part of a bipartisan compromise that was part of a larger education funding reform law signed into law in 2017. The program was designed to help provide a choice to low-income families in struggling school districts by offering them a chance to find schools that better fit their children’s needs. The program encouraged donations to K-12 scholarships by offering a 75% Illinois income tax credit on the donations. Since the inception of the program in 2017, more than $308 million in private donations were made, providing more than 38,000 scholarships to help low-income K-12 students.

The original program was set to expire without legislative action at the end of 2023. Thousands of students and their families visited the Capitol throughout the year, pleading with legislators to extend the program so that they could continue the successes they were experiencing in their new schools.

Despite the bipartisan outpouring of support for the program, Democratic leadership refused to allow a vote on legislation to extend the program.

Senator McConchie supported legislation to save the program. He will continue to advocate for new legislation to restart the program to help students across the state receive the best possible education that fits their unique needs.

Dan McConchie

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