Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Fall Veto Session
Legislators returned to Springfield last week to begin the six-day 2018 Fall Veto Session. We were in session on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and will return for the final three days the week after Thanksgiving. Of the 612 bills that both the House and Senate approved this year, Governor Rauner vetoed 83 of them. Fifty-three of the vetoes were “total vetoes,” which means that to override the veto, both houses have to affirmatively vote “yes” to override with three-fifths majorities in each, or else the bill dies. Thirty of the vetoes were “amendatory vetoes,” in which Governor Rauner suggested additional, amendatory, or supplementary language to change a bill. In cases of amendatory vetoes, both houses of the General Assembly can accept the Governor’s language by a simple majority vote.
Through floor action last week, 17 vetoed House Bills received the requisite number of votes to override; two of those votes failed; and House members accepted the Governor’s amendatory language on one bill. In the Senate, lawmakers overrode 20 Senate Bills while two attempts to override the Governor’s veto failed. The bills that received three-fifths override votes in one chamber now move to the other chamber, where another three-fifths vote will be required for the bills to become law.
Mazzochi Honors Veterans in Remembrance Ceremony
On Veterans Day it was my honor to participate in the 90th anniversary celebration of the Hinsdale American Legion Post 250’s Memorial and “Victory of Hinsdale” statue. The statue, which was created by the same sculptor who designed the sculptures and engravings at Hoover Dam, was recently restored. The original statue was dedicated in the foyer of the Memorial Building on November 11, 1928, ten years after the World War I Armistice. I’m shown in this photo with Doug Stetina, Post Chaplain Charles Hartley, Post Commander Jack Orell and Adjutant Commander Tom Lynch.
Rep. Mazzochi Addresses Large Spike in “Failure to Appear in Court” Cases in DuPage
When I learned that several suburban counties recently experienced a significant spike in the number of accused people who are out on bail for serious crimes, but who fail to appear in court. People were skipping bail because the punishment for failure to appear to answer for a crime was less than the penalty for the crime itself—which incentivized avoiding the court if you were likely to be found guilty of a crime. I signed on as the primary Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation that addresses this problem. HB 5980 seeks to amend the Bail Reform Act (P.A. 100-0001) to address this problem and incentivize the accused to actually appear in court to answer charges.
More specifically, the Bail Reform Act that took effect in Illinois on January 1 of this year was part of a national movement to improve the pre-trial justice system in this country. While that Act includes some beneficial provisions, one specific change has disincentivized defendants from showing up for court dates. Failure to Appear in Court instances in DuPage County for more serious Category A offenses, which include murder, home invasion, and aggravated violent felonies, jumped by 83% during the first seven months of 2018 as compared to the same timeframe in 2017. Category B offenses jumped 71% during that same time.
The new law stipulates that failure to appear offenses are imposed at one Class lower than the original crime for which a defendant is charged. Often judges would decline to sentence offenders to jail time for skipping bail. Under these new bail guidelines, an increasing number of defendants would rather take their chances and flee justice than appear on court-mandated dates to face their charges. This is unacceptable.
Proposed changes to the Bail Reform Act include:
- Individuals who are out on bail and fail to appear in court would be charged with a “failure to appear” offense of the same Class (instead of the next lower Class) of the original crime with which he/she has been charged
- “Failure to Appear” offenders would not be eligible for probation for bail jumping
Rep. Mazzochi Attends Fall Senior Festival in Westmont
Mazzochi Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Penalties against Human Traffickers
I am leading the fight in Springfield to increase penalties for those who would engage in human trafficking of underage children in Illinois by serving as the Chief House Sponsor of HB 5079. While Illinois relies on its transportation expertise for economic growth, one dark side of this efficiency is that our network attracts a criminal element as well. We have long known that human trafficking occurs in Illinois, and that there is a type of predator who targets those who are underage. When other states have enhanced penalties, and Illinois does not, that gives perverse incentives to exploit children here in our state. We need to send a clear message that forcing people- often young girls- into involuntary servitude through human trafficking, will not be tolerated and that those who engage in this despicable crime will face a very severe penalty.
HB 5079 would amend the Criminal Code to increase penalties for Class X human trafficking offences to 12-30 years of incarceration. The bill also adds the offense of involuntary sexual servitude of a minor to the definition of sex offenses for sex offender registration purposes, and provides victims with enhanced opportunities to seek justice through civil suits.
IL Department on Aging Assists Seniors for Medicare Open Enrollment
The Illinois Department on Aging’s (IDoA) Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is reminding seniors of the free counseling assistance available to Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers during Medicare Open Enrollment occurring October 15th through December 7th. During open enrollment, eligible adults can adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage, move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan – or vice versa – switch between Medicare Advantage plans, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty; all of which can be overwhelming and confusing.
With over 350 SHIP offices across Illinois, the agency stands ready to refer clients to their closest site, which can schedule an appointment to assist with open enrollment. SHIP counselors work through the Medicare.gov system to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. Contact SHIP, by calling 1-800-252-8966, weekdays 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM. For more information about SHIP, including a list of SHIP locations, visit the website at: http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx. To compare 2019 drug and health plans on your own and to find out more about Medicare options, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at: www.medicare.gov. Medicare customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at: 1-800-633-4227.
Open Enrollment is also underway for all people needing insurance through the Affordable Care Act. During this time period, Illinoisans can enroll in or change plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace for the next year. For more information, call (866) 311-1119 or visit www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov.
There’s Still Time to Take My Legislative Survey
State Sells $250 Million in Build Illinois Bonds
Many investors see Illinois sales tax revenues as a relatively secure revenue source, and despite the State’s overall fiscal challenges the bonds were rated several significant notches above the “junk bond” level. S&P Global Ratings rated the new issue at AA-, and Fitch Ratings rated the issue at A-. The bonds were sold to Wall Street investors on Tuesday, October 16. Money from the debt issuance will be used for long-term investments such as roads, bridges, and educational infrastructure.
Mazzochi Visits Local Plasma Donation Center; Discusses Importance of Helping Companies Grow in Illinois
Veterans Honored by Bicentennial Commission
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Now Accepting Applications for Class of 2022
The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora is now accepting applications for the Class of 2022. IMSA’s highly acclaimed residential program is designed for students who have exceptional talent and interest in the areas of science and math. Students attending IMSA have access to expanded educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), world languages, and humanities. Please contact IMSA at www.imsa.edu for additional information about the curriculum and application process.
Let My Office Know About Upcoming Community Events
If your organization has an upcoming event, occasion or newsworthy item to share, please send the information to my office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be including local items of interest in a 47th District Community Calendar.
Don’t forget about the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot in Elmhurst on Thanksgiving morning. This marks the 35th year for this popular community event, and as always, proceeds will help feed hungry families in DuPage County. Click here for more information or to register for this year’s 5K run/walk.
One of the things that makes our district such a great place to live are the people in our community. If you know of a community volunteer, civic organization, service organization or simply a person in your neighborhood who goes above and beyond in the name of goodness that you believe deserves recognition, please send me an email at email@example.com and share the information.
For those of you frying turkeys this week, please remember that you can recycle cooking oil. While DuPage County offers nine locations where cooking oil can be recycled year-round, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving there will be several locations accepting used cooking oil in sealed containers. Click here to learn more about this service, which is provided by SCARCE a local recycling organization.
On behalf of my staff and me, please accept my very best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!