“All they are saying,” claimed Illinois Sheriffs Association executive director Jim Kaitschuk about dozens of his members, “is ‘We’re not going to knock on people's doors to ask whether they have registered their firearms. And if they're arrested solely on that charge, we will not house them in our jails until ordered to do so by a competent authority.”

When the Democrats get their act together during a legislative lame-duck session, they can really pass a lot of stuff in short order. We’ve seen it before. Two years ago, the Democrats passed a huge amount of important legislation, including the SAFE-T Act, in just a few days.

Kankakee County Judge Thomas Cunnington set off a chaotic chain reaction December 29 with his ruling that the General Assembly over-stepped its constitutional grounds when it voted to eliminate cash bail. Judge Cunnington essentially said that a cash-bail requirement, even though not specifically mentioned in the constitution, could be inferred; and that the General Assembly had exercised powers that properly belonged to the judicial branch.

Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) headed up her chamber’s efforts to amend the controversial SAFE-T Act this year. The day before the bill came up for a vote, I asked her what were, in her opinion, the largest misconceptions about the 2021 social justice reform law. Gordon-Booth pointed to the trespassing issue. “I don't care if you live in rural, urban, suburban. The trespassing [issue] was one that just made a lot of folks incredibly uncomfortable.”

There’s been sort of an unwritten rule the past several years in Springfield to stay away from doing things like ban assault weapons. The votes to pass one have seemingly been there in both chambers, but the will of past Democratic leadership seemed to be to not overtly poke any big, cash-rich bears, like the National Rifle Association, or to alienate or electorally imperil conservative members of their Democratic caucuses.

The state legislative debate last week over amending the Pre-Trial Fairness Act provisions within the controversial SAFE-T Act featured many of the same obfuscations and outright misinformation that characterized the fall campaign by Republicans and many of the same insufficient answers by Democrats. One of the problems that the super-majority Democrats have in both chambers is that when they know their bill is going to pass, they usually don’t take the Republicans’ objections seriously enough to fully engage with them. But on bills like this, misinformation can spread when points aren’t adequately rebutted.

The Illinois Senate Republicans’ new leader John Curran told Capitol News Illinois the other day that there was nothing left to do on the abortion topic in Illinois. “The reality is, what else can we do here in Illinois?” Senator Curran said. “The laws of Illinois are more weighted towards guarantees of the rights to have an abortion than any other state in the nation. There's no further to go.”

Governor JB Pritzker’s administration recently used its annual Economic and Fiscal Policy Report to outline three new budget proposals. The report revised projected revenues upward by $3.69 billion for this fiscal year, but noted that most of the projected increase was from one-time sources, like an unexpected spike in the state’s Income Tax Refund Fund of $1.28 billion.

Representative Tim Ozinga (R-Mokena) made the classic blunder of not focusing on one election at a time. But his flub does give us an excuse to look at a few fundraising issues. It’s been no secret that Ozinga wanted to be the next House Republican Leader. But he hasn’t really been involved in many House Republican races this year, and then, the day before election day, all of a sudden reported giving his own campaign fund a million dollars.

I’m writing this a few days before election day. But from where I sit, if the so-called Workers’ Rights Amendment fails to pass muster with voters, a campaign fueled by the Illinois Policy Institute could take a big share of the credit. The proposed constitutional amendment is backed to the hilt by organized labor. They’ve raised $16 million to support their cause.

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