Deadline to Register Banned Firearms Passes
The crystal ball drop on 2023 has come and gone, and so has the deadline for Illinois firearm owners to register their “assault weapons” and attachments.
The implementation of the state’s assault weapon ban has been marked by controversy and confusion. While the sale and purchase of certain firearms were immediately banned when the Governor signed the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” on Jan. 10, 2023, Illinois residents who owned banned assault weapons and/or attachments that were purchased prior to the bill’s signing had until Jan. 1, 2024, to register those items with the Illinois State Police in order to keep them.
According to the Illinois State Police, 29,357 people registered their assault weapons before the state’s Jan. 1 deadline. Information about 68,992 firearms and 42,830 attachments was also submitted to the Illinois State Police. That total is roughly 1 percent of all gun owners within the state.
Meanwhile, several court cases challenging the constitutionality of the ban are ongoing, including two cases docketed with the United States Supreme Court.
Migrant Crisis Continues into the New Year
Since August 2022, over 28,000 noncitizens have been sent to Chicago from the U.S. border. Now, the public outcry over the crisis is hitting a fever pitch as the migrant problem is beginning to spill over from Chicago to its surrounding communities.
In mid-November, the Chicago City Council passed new rules stating that only two buses per hour could arrive at the City’s designated “landing zone” between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and that any bus company that ignored the new protocols could face a fine.
These new rules have resulted in some buses dropping off their noncitizen passengers in some surrounding suburbs without notice to local officials as the migrants continue on their path to Chicago. This has prompted backlash from some local officials worried about a lack of available resources to handle the influx of noncitizens, and a push for these communities to pass their own ordinances allowing them to fine bus companies for unscheduled drop-offs.
With no real federal solution to the migrant crisis in sight, State Senator Terri Bryant is concerned about the impact the crisis may have on the state’s already fragile financial future. Since Gov. Pritzker took office, Illinois has gone from spending roughly a million dollars per year to more than a billion dollars on programs dedicated to noncitizens, including more than a half-billion dollars per year on a free healthcare program for undocumented immigrants. Senator Bryant fears that these types of programs will only continue to cost Illinois taxpayers more as more noncitizens choose the state as their destination.
Local schools awarded library grant
More than 30 local schools within the 58th Senate District were recently awarded nearly $31,000 by the state of Illinois.
Schools can use the funding for resources like books, audiobooks, e-books, technology and programs. The grants awarded school districts $0.885 for each registered student, with the minimum grant amount being $850.
In total, 2,713 schools from across the state received more than $1.4 million. The full list of school districts that received a grant and how much each received can be found here.
Ed Burke Found Guilty on Corruption Charges
Former longtime Chicago Alderman Ed Burke was found guilty of all counts except one in his federal corruption case on Dec. 21, 2023. The former Chicago alderman faced 14 counts, including racketeering, bribery, and attempted extortion.
The case against the once influential Chicago City Council alderman centered around his use of his public position for personal gain. His sentencing will be June 19, where he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Burke’s corruption charges include an attempt to extort money from the Field Museum for the benefit of a close family friend. In another scheme, Burke tried to extort the owners of a Burger King in order to steer tax appeal business to his private law firm. Finally, he was found guilty of using his public position to shake down the developers of Chicago’s Old Post Office to use his law firm.
Last week, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan had his first court appearance since he was indicted on his own corruption charges. At that hearing, Madigan’s motion to delay his federal bribery trial was granted and is now scheduled to begin October 8, 2024.
State Senator Terri Bryant says that these cases are just further examples in a long list of corruption by public officials that has plagued Illinois for far too long. She has long advocated for stronger ethics laws.
Bryant relaunches annual Valentines for Seniors program
As Valentine’s Day approaches, State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) is once again working to uplift the spirits of local senior citizens through her annual “Valentines for Seniors” card drive.
Senator Terri Bryant says that her Valentines for Seniors card drive is an opportunity for our communities to show local seniors that they are loved and cherished.
To help with this goal, Sen. Bryant is asking students, scout groups, churches, and other groups to consider creating homemade cards that will be delivered to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other long-term care facilities throughout the 58th Senate District.
Cards can be mailed or dropped off from now until February 5th to one of Sen. Bryant’s district offices, which are located at 1032 W. Industrial Park Road in Murphysboro and 2929 Broadway Street, Suite 3 in Mt. Vernon. Cards that are being dropped off in-person can be placed in the marked mailbox inside the offices between normal business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
For questions, please call 618-684-1100 or email Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.