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***Guest Column***

Is Illinois growing or shrinking? Are more people coming into the state, or are more people leaving the state? At present, the numbers don’t look good for Illinois. The 2015 census estimate for Illinois calculates that the state saw a 0.2% population growth over the past five years. That growth is more than seven times slower than Wisconsin’s, ten times slower than Indiana’s, and twelve times slower than Iowa’s population growth over the same period. 

***Guest Column***

It is with heavy heart that I write this column today. In Dallas on Thursday, there was another senseless tragedy. For me, and other law enforcement officers (both active and retired), this one struck close to home. Divisiveness and anti-police propaganda has finally run its natural course. Putting on the police uniform every day has never been an easy job, but now – with so many united against them – our nation’s public servants are in more danger than ever. I humbly urge all of us to calm the rhetoric, disassociate ourselves from those whose only intention is to divide us, and to work together for the common good of our country.
***Guest Column***

For the third consecutive week the House Speaker has cancelled session. Time is running out. The end of the fiscal year is fast approaching. After session adjourned in May, the Speaker agreed to hold session once a week in the month of June. Every session has been canceled so far. If we do not pass anything this month, there will be complete chaos and it is becoming clear that the Speaker is fine with that.

***Guest Column***

There are less than two weeks left of the current fiscal year and again the legislature’s day in Springfield was cancelled by Speaker Madigan. We are told that the Working Groups are making progress, but in reality, the State of Illinois cannot wait any longer. If we do not agree to a financial plan in the next week, our state will enter its second year without a budget.



***Guest Column***

Today I would like to tell you what we had achieved in the Capitol over the past week, but unfortunately Speaker Madigan cancelled our day to meet. It is disheartening, disappointing, and flat out sad that he cancelled the General Assembly’s opportunity to continue discussing the issues that face this state. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin introduced two bills that we should have voted on this week.
***Guest Column***

Spring session ended on Tuesday, and with it ends any chance of a balanced budget in the foreseeable future. This week, the Governor and Republicans offered concessions, but Speaker Madigan refused to allow any discussion of a compromise.

We made several attempts, and one of my colleagues went as far as to stand on the House floor and ask everyone who was willing to work on a budget to stand up. Everyone on the Republican side rose, but Democrats (For fear of reprisal) mostly remained seated. To me, that sums up the entirety of the Spring Session. We tried to get things done, but it became abundantly clear that House leadership had no interest in passing a budget.

***Guest Column***

Are you satisfied with Illinois Government? Well you could pay 47% more for it. Wednesday night, the House Democrats launched a surprise attack on taxpayers, throwing a 500 page budget for a vote, giving us one hour to prepare for it. The Speaker of the House waived parliamentary procedure and pushed SB 2048 to a vote.