Legislation to Keep an Eye On During Final Stretch of Session
Lawmakers are heading back to Springfield for the final stretch of the spring session. Despite the many good ideas, proposals, and legislation that have been introduced to help make Illinois a better state to live, work, and raise a family, there are some bills that seem to miss the mark when it comes to what Illinois’ priorities should be. Here are some “not-so-good” bills to keep an eye on during the last few weeks of session.
Senate Bill 182: Seeks to limit local control by permitting the Illinois Department of Public Health to control local health departments during a pandemic in which the Governor has issued a Disaster Declaration.
Senate Bill 1345: Allows noncitizens of the United States to register to vote in school board elections.
Senate Bill 1483: Allows inmates of a correctional facility, including those convicted of a felony, the ability to vote in elections despite the Illinois Constitution stating, “A person convicted of a felony, or otherwise under sentence in a correctional institution or jail, shall lose their right to vote, which right shall be restored not later than upon completion of his sentence.”
Senate Bill 1556: Sets Illinois up for a ban on gas cars by allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to establish rules to reduce carbon intensity from on-road transportation.
Senate Bill 2211: Outlaws stores and food businesses from providing or selling a single-use plastic carryout bag to customers.
Senate Bill 2348: Requires school districts to provide 20 minutes of relaxation activities per week, such as yoga, meditation, or stretching, in addition to and not replacing recess.
Sen. Bryant’s Mother’s Day Baby Diaper Drive
In an effort to help ensure that local mothers in need get the support they deserve, Sen. Bryant’s office is teaming up with local pregnancy resource centers to host a Mother’s Day Diaper Drive.
Items in demand, including diapers, wipes, baby wash, lotion, and bottles, can be dropped off at Sen. Bryant’s district offices in Murphysboro and Mount Vernon from now through May 5th.
Illinois Gun Ban Law Heard in Federal Court
Last week, oral arguments began in a federal district court in East St. Louis over the constitutionality of Illinois’ new assault weapons ban law. The case is a consolidation of several lawsuits filed by groups including the Illinois State Rifle Association.
On the plaintiff’s side, attorneys argued that the U.S. Supreme Court has recently set the standard for what is considered arms in the Second Amendment, and that semi-automatics are arms in common use and are therefore protected by the Bill of Rights. The Illinois Attorney General representing the State, however, argued that because of technological advancement, the banned firearms are more advanced than what the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended to protect with the Second Amendment.
The start of the hearing is timely, as Monday marked the beginning of another phase of the gun ban taking effect. Now, citizens can no longer purchase certain magazines and if found in noncompliance can face a petty offense charge with up to a $1,000 fine. Noncompliant firearms, however, can face a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony charge for subsequent offenses.
State Senator Terri Bryant says that these restrictions continue to try to criminalize otherwise law-abiding gun owners instead of going after violent criminals.
World Shooting & Recreational Center Hiring
The World Shooting & Recreational Center in Sparta is currently hiring several seasonal positions for events. Please share with anyone you think may be interested.
People who are interested, can apply here.
Tax Season Comes to a Close
If you haven’t already filed your 2022 taxes, now is the time to do so as the deadline is fast approaching. Earners have until Tuesday, April 18 to file both federal and state taxes.
As you are preparing your taxes, the Illinois CPA Society is warning of the most common tax-filing mistakes to avoid.
One of the biggest mistakes taxpayers can make is in the personal information section. A misspelled name, incorrect Social Security/tax ID number, or forgetting to update a changed direct deposit account can result in delayed acceptance of your return or the IRS rejecting it entirely. This would result in a delayed tax return if you were owed money or a monthly penalty added to your tax bill plus any incurred interest.
Additional areas to pay attention to are your income and the credits and deductions sections. If your income does not match what the government has on file, at best the government will request more information from you and at worst you will be fined. Most earned income will generate a form for you to use to prepare your tax returns, however you are responsible for reporting some forms of taxable income on your taxes. Meanwhile, it is often challenging to keep the requirements for credits and deductions straight, so be sure to check through each option closely and provide proof when necessary.
One last easily confused area of taxes is investments. Financial institutions are required to provide this information on a regulated form, however, much like personal income there are some investments that are self-reported. Not only should you be careful of underreporting your investments to avoid penalties, but you also need to be aware of which transactions have already been reported so that you are not overreporting on yourself.