I want to take a moment to wish all of you a happy New Year, and hope you had a warm holiday season. While there have been plenty of recaps (including a link to one here), I would like to use today’s blog post to shed some light on some of my upcoming plans and legislation for the new, 101st General Assembly. There is plenty of exciting legislation in the works, from myself and colleagues, but I want to share with you some of the highlights.
First off, one of my top priorities will be to swiftly implement HB4237 from last year. It’s a phenomenal bill that would greatly benefit the taxpayers of Illinois, but it hit a few snags. With a new administration in Springfield, we will continue identifying workarounds for Trump’s unfair tax laws. Please look to my past blog post about the tax relief legislation for a more thorough explanation.
I am a proud father to two wonderful, bright, zany children, and they motivate so much of my work. While sometimes this job makes it tough to see them, I make sure to spend as much time with them as I can when I’m out of session. They don’t just help remind me that my work impacts families all across our state, they even serve as the inspiration of some of my bills. My daughter has severe and widespread food allergies. As a concerned parent, you better believe I stay up-to-date on the latest findings in this field. One thing I have noticed is the rising rate of adults and children discovering an allergy to sesame products. The seeds are frequently added to our food, the oil is used in its preparation, yet it is not considered a common enough allergen to warrant printing warning labels on packaging. The data coming out on this matter will shows that this is another case of the law not staying at pace with the research, and I will aim to remedy this with legislation this coming cycle.
We keep an open door policy in our District Office, are out in the community frequently, and are active on social media. This is all done in an attempt to stay close to the desires and needs of our constituents. I often tell people, we cannot fix problems that we are unaware of, and I appreciate every opportunity to meet with those I represent. During one of these fact-finding missions, I discovered that health insurers in Illinois are currently allowed to operate within a framework that lets them skip out of covering life saving medications, for children no less. That’s why I plan on introducing a set of twin bills that mandate that Epipen shots and inhalers used to treat childhood asthma must be covered in any health plan sold to Illinoisans under the age of 18.
There is another disturbing trend that is currently getting a lot of research and media attention, and that is the alarming rate at which college students are suffering from adverse mental health conditions. The American university system is more competitive than it has ever been, and students are starting to succumb to the negative pressures that come with sustained high levels of stress. This is not a case of our children being weak-willed, “snowflakes” or other nonsense that pundits seem so eager to throw around these days. This is based on empirical data and decades long studies. In some instances, the average workload of a college freshman is comparable to that of a first year law student just a few short decades ago. I want to ensure all of our children get a top-quality education, but with instances of self-harm and suicide on the rise, we clearly need to fix what is broken in this system. I’ve begun the process working with my colleagues to find some solutions to this problem.
This has been quite a busy holiday, I have been working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle towards crafting better laws for this state. As I prepare for the coming session, I am doing so with the renewed zeal and vigor of a legislator with a plan. These were just some of the potential bills that I’m particularly excited about, but I plan on working hard for the people of the 57th District, and Illinois. If you have any ideas for legislation, or any thoughts, critiques, additions to bills you see described above, I encourage you to reach out to me at [email protected] or call my office at 847.229.5499. My door is always open to constituents, and even if I’m currently in Springfield, my staff will happily accommodate you. I appreciate you taking the time to read about my plans for the next two years.
Best wishes in the new year,