Legislative News from Rep. Avery Bourne

State Representative Avery Bourne Files Bill to Protect Second Amendment Rights

One of the first bills JB Pritzker signed into law when he became Governor was the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act, which created new, duplicative licensing costs and overly-burdensome regulations for gun dealers throughout Illinois. Downstate legislators and Second Amendment supporters fought the bill with vigor, claiming the new costs and regulations would drive many small, independent gun shops out of business. Now, 13 months later, nearly half of Illinois’ gun dealers have chosen to close their doors rather than pay for duplicative licenses, expensive surveillance equipment, and other compliance mandates.

In response, I recently filed a bill that would reverse this impact on lawful gun shop owners while still addressing issues with gun dealers who are selling guns used in the commission of crimes. HB 5032 seeks to amend the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act by taking away the secondary, duplicative state licensing requirement from honest, law-abiding gun dealers, while providing that the extra layer of licensing and regulation only to shops that have sold guns illegally, or that have sold guns used in the commission of crimes. It’s a common-sense remedy that allows additional scrutiny over bad actors, while removing the provisions from gun shop dealers who were previously in full compliance with federal regulations. 

The original Firearm Dealer License Certification Act was an extreme overreach into the Constitutional right of Illinoisans to keep and bear arms. It presented an undue hardship for the small, mom-and-pop gun shops, and is another example of Chicago politicians pushing solutions to their problems onto all Illinois communities. The provisions of the Act may make sense for the City of Chicago, but for downstate communities, that law devastated an industry filled with honest, hardworking people. The bill remains in House Speaker Madigan’s Rules Committee and has not yet been assigned to a substantive committee for a hearing.

Bourne Welcomes FFA and 4-H Students to Capitol

Last week the halls of the Capitol were filled with future leaders who were in town promoting the benefits of FFA and 4-H programs. On Tuesday, hundreds of FFA students and their advisors from across the state visited Springfield and spoke with lawmakers about the importance of agriculture. I met with several FFA groups, including those from Carlinville, North Mac, Nokomis, Raymond, Litchfield, Morrisonville and Pana. I also met with several leaders from the agriculture industry. Then, on Thursday, a similar-sized crowd of 4-H participants met with legislators and shared their experiences. As a 4-H alumna myself, I enjoyed talking with these future leaders and sharing stories about our time in 4-H.

Representative Avery Bourne Files Bill Package to Protect Downstate Illinois Communities

Bills that benefit Chicago and/or the suburbs often have a negative impact on the more rural parts of our state, including the communities in the 95th District. This year I filed a package of bills that seek to protect downstate Illinois communities from legislation that often has detrimental effects on communities outside of Chicago and the collar counties that surround it.

HB 5029 would create the Downstate Impact Note Act. When a financial or other impact on downstate communities exists within a pending bill, HB 5029 would require the disclosure of the impact prior to any floor vote being taken. We have a concentration of legislators in and around Chicago who file bills with no regard for how their legislation could harm downstate communities. HB 5029 would provide important information so that legislators understand the true statewide impact of bills prior to a final House vote.

HB 5030 addresses rulemaking in the General Assembly by requiring that any agency that proposes a new administrative rule or regulation that might negatively affect downstate communities provide for input to reduce the perceived impact.

HB 5031 addresses inequities as they currently exist on boards and commissions where appointees are chosen by the Governor. In an effort to promote board and commission membership that is more balanced and includes people from all over Illinois, HB 5031 would require the Governor to file reports with the General Assembly that detail the geographic information of gubernatorial appointees. Many decisions made by Illinois boards and commissions impact more rural areas of the state yet those decisions are made by people who are not familiar with downstate Illinois. Knowing the geographic makeup of boards and commissions is an important tool to know we are well represented on these important decision making bodies. We need to make sure that state government is working for all of Illinois and not just for our northernmost communities.

Last week I had an opportunity to appear as a guest on WTAX’s Joey McLaughlin’s radio show, where we discussed these bills. Click here to listen to the interview.

House GOP Members Address FOID Renewal Delays, Call for Passage of Bills to Reduce Cost and Regulations for Law-Abiding Gun Owners
Several House Republicans joined 2nd Amendment supporters last week for a press conference in Springfield to discuss solutions to end delays in FOID card processing, and discussed their shared 2nd Amendment focused legislative agenda. The lawmakers expressed their concerns that fund sweeps of $28 million from the Illinois State Police fund have led to delays in processing FOID card applications and renewals. I share these concerns and have made 2nd Amendment rights a key part of my 2020 legislative agenda.

House Republicans are sponsoring a large package of legislation this year that would reduce costs and regulations for law-abiding gun owners and protect FOID and CCL funding. This year’s 2nd Amendment protection package includes:

  • HB 4391 would ban local government units from imposing taxes or fees on firearms and ammunition.
  • HB 4392 would eliminate the 72-hour waiting period for individuals that have been granted a valid license to carry a concealed handgun under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.
  • HB 4393 would lower the fee to obtain a concealed carry license from $150 to $100.
  • HB 4397 grants exclusive power to the State of Illinois in regard to the regulation of the ownership and possession of firearms and invalidates existing and future local ordinances or resolutions that require local registration, or local reporting of the sale or transfer of a firearm, and bans municipalities from maintaining any kind of firearm registry.
  • HB 4398 allows any individual that has received a permit to conceal carry a firearm to do so on public transportation.
  • HB 4447 states that any renewal application shall be accepted by the Illinois State Police if submitted within 180 days before the expiration of the applicant’s FOID card or concealed carry license.
  • HB 4448 would require the Illinois State Police to automatically renew any concealed carry license holder’s FOID card as long as their conceal carry license is in good standing until the time that the concealed carry license expires.
  • HB 4450 spells out the process by which any appeal of the denial of a FOID card or concealed carry license must be handled and provides specific guidelines for the State Police in regard to the time it takes to process any such appeal.
  • HJRCA 40 would amend the Illinois Constitution to place fees collected from FOID and CCL applicants in a ‘lock box’ fund that would be protected from future fund sweeps.

IL Census Count Begins This Week

This week homes across Illinois will begin receiving invitations to fill out the 2020 census. I would like to remind you what the census is, and why it is essential. Residents will receive an invitation to respond online to the 2020 census between March 12 and 20.

Mandated by the United States Constitution, the census is a count of the United States population that takes place every ten years. The 2020 Census will be the 24th census conducted since 1790.

Billions of dollars in federal funding that is based on census numbers go to schools, hospitals, roads, public safety, and other vital programs each year. Not only is participating in the census required by law, but a complete count is important to ensuring your community has funding for these resources.

The links below provide additional information about the upcoming census.

Census Website

https://www.census.gov/

What is the census?

https://2020census.gov/en/what-is-2020-census.html

What questions are asked?

https://2020census.gov/en/about-questions.html

Ways to Respond

https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html

Impact in Your Community

https://2020census.gov/en/community-impact.html

Census Jobs

https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html

Sample Questionnaire

https://2020census.gov/content/dam/2020census/materials/partners/2019-08/2020-informational-questionnaire.pdf

House Republicans strongly urge the State of Illinois to Cooperate with Federal Law Enforcement

Recently I stood with House and Senate Republicans and county sheriffs from throughout Illinois, including Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp, to urge Governor JB Pritzker to immediately reverse a radical shift in state policy. The policy, approved by the Pritzker administration, requires undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of violent felonies to be released from prison into communities, rather than transferred to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

As of January 30th, the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) ceased their policy of cooperating with ICE to transport dangerous felons into federal custody. This policy change was made with no notice to law enforcement, crime victims, or local communities. It now allows undocumented immigrant felons to be released upon the completion of their incarceration directly into the communities where they served their time, such as Taylorville or Graham Correctional Centers. Prior to the abrupt policy change, undocumented inmates, upon the completion of their sentence, were transported to ICE custody, where their legal status was determined and they would face possible release, detention, or deportation.

“The State of Illinois is helping convicted felons get a head start on evading federal authorities who simply want to do their job,” said Sheriff Kettelkamp. “The lack of coordination is raising the stakes that a dangerous or violent altercation will occur in our communities between a recently-released felon, who knows that immigration authorities are looking for them, and any law enforcement officer. This policy undermines the rule of law, endangers our communities, and puts the lives of our first responders at risk.”

These are felons who committed serious crimes including murder, sexual assault, and child abuse, and who are wanted by the Federal government. They pose a threat to the safety of our communities. With no safety measures in place, these criminals are walking out the door after serving their time, and getting a ‘free pass’ for violating federal immigration laws. We don’t even know if there is a mechanism in place to mandate those convicted of sex crimes to register as a sex offender in the community where they settle.  These criminals are wanted by ICE and should be handed over to ICE once they have served their time in DOC. This is a public safety issue. This is an issue of upholding the rule of law. This dangerous policy change by the Pritzker administration and the Department of Corrections is wrong.

Before this policy change, if a convicted felon was an undocumented immigrant and was wanted by ICE after they completed their sentence, they were directly transported from the prison where they were serving time into ICE custody. Last year alone, 17 such individuals were transferred from DOC to ICE custody from Taylorville Correctional Center and 3 individuals were transferred from Graham Correctional Center into ICE custody. Under the new policy, those individuals would have been released into the community without any notice to local authorities or to ICE. 

Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey’s department had a contract with ICE to coordinate the pick-up and transfer of inmates whose state prison sentences were ending, but for whom valid retainers had been issued due to their immigration status. Downey explained that in 2019, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office participated in the safe and secure transfer of 223 felons that had been convicted of crimes including, murder, attempted murder, predatory criminal sexual assault with some assaulting children under the age of 13, and other offenses. “Rather than safely allowing us to transfer these felons to answer for another serious and legitimate criminal charge in another court of law they are being released by the Department of Corrections into our communities all across the state of Illinois,” Downey said. 

In addition to the call for an immediate reversal of the new policy, lawmakers also called for public hearings to learn how such a significant policy change could occur without input from legislators, law enforcement, or the public.

After the press conference, Governor Pritzker’s office dismissed calls for hearings and claimed they would continue these policies as a way to resist President Trump’s immigration policies.  It is unacceptable that Governor Pritzker is committed to opposing President Trump at any cost, including when it puts our communities and local law enforcement in danger. 

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Tests For and Tracks Coronavirus Cases in Illinois
The State agency has responsibility for public health in Illinois, including contagious diseases and illnesses. There has been major news coverage in recent days about the COVID-19 coronavirus, a contagious viral disease that can have a lethal outcome. Efforts to stem the growth of this disease were temporarily held back by problems suffered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by many states in implementing scientific tests to diagnose this new virus. Many public health experts nationwide have praised IDPH for its pioneering work. Illinois was the first state to successfully test Americans for the disease. Testing labs are now active in Chicago, Springfield, and Carbondale.

The IDPH has also issued a series of advisories and descriptions of the disease and what Illinois should do to avoid it. The Department and its public health experts strongly advise people to carefully follow ordinary actions of human hygiene and cleanliness, including careful handwashing. The great majority of people who contract COVID-19 make a full recovery.