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256 New Laws Effective January 1, 2020

As Illinoisans begin their first day of 2020 on Wednesday, January 1st, State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) wants the public to be aware of 256 new laws scheduled to take effect. In addition to legislation introduced by Rep. Meier, a few new laws which may be of interest include; eliminating fees placed on rebate cards provided by retailers, doubling fines for illegally passing a school bus, making mammogram screening more accessible, enhancing criminal penalties for violence committed in a place of worship, removing the statute of limitations for prosecuting criminal sexual assault cases, and the legalization of marijuana sold by businesses licensed with the state. BILLS INTRODUCED BY MEIER BECAME LAW Included in the 256 new laws, two bills introduced by Rep. Meier became law – Public Act 101-75 (HB 3069) and Public Act 101-383 (HB 2264). Public Act 101-75 requires all emergency calls made from Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs) otherwise called “group homes” to be reported to the Department of Human Services. The new law is in response to reports of abuse and neglect which occurred in group homes for the developmentally disabled. “It’s about time mandated reporting of all emergency calls from group homes became law,” said Rep Meier. “In the past the public was unaware of the emergencies which took place in group homes because emergency calls were kept secret. Thanks to this new law, these secrets are a thing of the past.” In order to secure funding for agriculture programs, Public Act 101-383 makes a significant change in order to provide annual funding to all 102 counties under the County Cooperative Extension Law. Some of the programs funded under this law by the University of Illinois Extension include; agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H and youth, community, and special services. “Oftentimes funding for 4-H, county fairs, and many other agriculture programs have been delayed as a result of political gridlock,” said Rep. Meier. “This new law will make sure these important programs receive annual funding to help keep agriculture Illinois’ number one industry.” Continue reading

Rep. Meier Provides Fall Veto Session Update

The Illinois General Assembly fall Veto Session recently came to a close, State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) says he left session “disappointed with the majority party’s lack of enthusiasm to pass major ethics reform.” Instead of enacting stricter ethics reforms, the House of Representatives did however find time to approve 42 bills in six days and declined to consider legislation to make daylight saving time year-round for the entire state. “Illinois has a reputation for being one of the most corrupt states in America, we need stronger ethics reforms to help end corruption in state government,” said Rep. Meier. “I co-sponsored seven common sense bills to improve the integrity of the legislature. I hope the legislature returns to work before the end of the year to consider these important bills to stop corruption.” Rep. Meier co-sponsored seven substantive ethics reform bills including House Bills 361, 3947, 3954, 3955, House Resolution 588, and House Joint Resolutions 87 and HJRCA 36. None of these bills were considered or allowed to move by Super-Majority Democrats during the two weeks of the fall Veto Session, which are likely to be the last two weeks of legislative session in 2019. The legislature did end up approving two watered down ethics reform bills, but more reforms need to be made. Aside from ethics debate, of the 42 bills which passed the Illinois House, a few bills of local interest include the consolidation of 649 police and fire pension funds, capping insulin copays, and cleanup language for the Recreational Cannabis law which passed during the Spring Session supported by law enforcement and the business community. Continue reading

Legislature Approves Plummer/Meier Resolution to Preserve Kaskaskia Watershed

State Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) and State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) teamed up to urge the legislature to secure state funding to make repairs and improvements to the Kaskaskia Watershed. “The Kaskaskia Watershed is vital to the economy in southern Illinois,” said Rep. Meier. “These funds will be used to restore and protect the Watershed from further erosion, resulting in the prevention of flooding at Scott Air Force Base and improving the waterway for barges that ship goods down the river.” Continue reading

Meier: Corruption is Running Rampant in Illinois Government

“Corruption is running rampant in Illinois government,” said Rep. Meier. “The FBI is currently investigating specific state lawmakers, lobbyists and elected officials in Chicago. It’s time for the legislature to pass stricter ethics reforms immediately. There should be no excuses, the Democrats control the majority in the legislature and they have yet to pass any ethics reforms. I have co-sponsored seven bills to stop corruption in our state, it’s time for the Democrat majority to join my Republican colleagues and I by allowing these bills to be voted on in the legislature.” Continue reading

Rep. Meier Announces Re-election for State Representative

State Rep. Charlie Meier announced he will seek re-election to the Illinois House of Representatives. Rep. Meier says he’s running to “protect Southern Illinois values at the State House while continuing to work against Chicago’s liberal agenda in Springfield.” According to Rep. Meier, “Each year I see numerous bills introduced which do not reflect the values of the district. The fact is, since the Democrats control the legislature and Governor’s office, I can’t prevent all bad bills from becoming law. However, this year we were able to prevent some bad ideas from becoming law. As always, I encourage residents to contact my office to discuss legislation they are concerned about.” The 2019 General Assembly witnessed legislation to create new taxes on satellite tv, plastic bags, online streaming such as Netflix and Amazon, including a new tax on beer and wine. Rep. Meier and his colleagues were successful at preventing these new taxes from becoming law, including a repeal of the franchise tax. Meier also voted against legislation that would increase fees and require mandatory fingerprinting for all gun owners in the state, the legislation thankfully stalled in the Senate. Continue reading

Rep. Charlie Meier to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Downstate GOP

Republican members of the Downstate GOP elected State Representative Charlie Meier to serve as their Vice-Chairman. The Downstate GOP consists of a majority of republican representatives serving in the Illinois General Assembly. Rep. Meier’s mission, “elect more downstate republicans to the State House and work towards gaining the majority in the House of Representatives.” “I’m honored to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Downstate GOP,” said Rep. Meier. “I will continue to help recruit and raise funds to support candidates so we can take control of the State House away from Chicago democrats. I’m tired of Chicago politicians running our state into the ground. We can do better, but it starts with electing more republicans in the legislature. Chicago has ruled long enough, the only way we can make swift changes is to pick up more seats and gain the majority.” Continue reading

Statement on Governor Pritzker Signing Bill to Require Duplicating Gun Dealer Licenses

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation today to require law-abiding gun dealers which are already licensed by the federal government to obtain a state gun dealer license and pay a fee up to $1,500 for the license. State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) opposes this new law and released the following statement: “I’m disappointed to see our new Governor sign a bill that requires law-abiding gun dealers that are already licensed and authorized to sell firearms in the State of Illinois to now be required to obtain an additional license from the state. The new law is a result of two questionable gun dealers in the city of Chicago which have been identified for putting guns in the hands of criminals which in fact can be traced back to gun crimes in the city. Just because there is a problem with two gun dealers in the city, it doesn’t mean all gun dealers should be slapped with duplicative regulation. Continue reading

Rep. Meier begins new term, nominates Durkin for House Speaker

State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) was sworn into office on Wednesday, January 9 at the University of Illinois – Springfield, the official inauguration of the 101st Illinois General Assembly. In addition to Meier taking the oath of office, he nominated House Republican Leader Jim Durkin for Speaker of the House. Following inauguration, the first order of businesses for the House of Representatives is to cast their vote for Speaker of the House. Rep. Meier nominated Jim Durkin for Speaker, offering lawmakers a choice between Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and incumbent Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago). According to Rep. Meier, “I’m proud to stand here today and nominate Jim Durkin for Speaker of the House. Jim Durkin genuinely understands each of our districts, he respects that all of us have been elected to represent our district and must advocate for what our district needs. Durkin has proven he will do what is right and what is best for the State of Illinois. He will work with all of us, regardless of party affiliation. During his time in the House, Jim Durkin has been successful at reaching bipartisan agreements to keep the state moving forward while not compromising the core beliefs of the Republican caucus.” Continue reading

Illinois Auditor General Audit Reveals Issues Concerning Oversight of Group Homes for Developmentally Disabled

Today, the Auditor General released a performance audit of the Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs) program administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). The audit was directed by House Resolution 34 sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville). Rep. Meier requested the audit in light of the abuse and neglect which took place throughout the state in group homes for the developmentally disabled dating back to 2011. According to State Representative Charlie Meier, “This audit reaffirms that more work must be done to improve the quality of care our most vulnerable population should expect to receive. Not all group homes are bad, but there is no excuse for these mistakes to happen again. Since 2015 the state has made improvements; however there is always room for improvement. I won’t give up advocating for better care for our developmentally disabled. In the meantime I will continue to review this audit with my staff in order to help advocate for more improvements.”The following is an excerpt from the Auditor General’s report which can be found at https://www.auditor.illinois.gov. Continue reading

2018 Session Update from Rep. Charlie Meier

The legislature completed its regular session work for the 100th Illinois General Assembly on May 31, 2018. The 2018 session was a busy one for State Representative Charlie Meier. During the 100th GA, Rep. Meier sponsored a total of fifty-one pieces of legislation. Here are a few legislative highlights from this session: Judicial Election Reform (HB 4176) If enacted, states that no judge or former judge may submit his or her candidacy for a vacancy in a judicial office by any method other than seeking retention in his or her office, unless that judge or former judge is seeking judicial office in a higher or lower court or he or she has not served as an elected or appointed judge for at least 2 years.The legislation is in response to the decision made by three St. Clair County judges Baricevic, Haida and LeChien to avoid retention and the requirement to receive 60% voter approval to remain on the bench. Instead, the three judges chose to run for election which only required approval from over 50% of the voters in the November 2016 election.Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee Income Tax Hike Repeal (HB 4211) Would repeal the 32 percent income tax hike which took effect in 2017. The current income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95 percent and 7 percent for employers. Rep. Meier’s bill would roll back the income tax to 3.75% on taxable income and 5.25% for employers. Meier’s legislation would reduce the tax burden placed on individuals and families while saving thousands of Illinois jobs.“Our state continues to lose population because of higher taxes and fewer jobs,” said Rep. Meier. “We need more jobs and less taxes in our state which is why I filed a bill to reduce taxes on individuals and businesses. I voted against the final bill which forced the recent 32 percent income tax hike onto Illinois taxpayers.”Status: Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee Concealed Carry License for Armed Forces in Illinois (HB 4177) Creates an exemption for non-resident active duty members of the Armed Forces or their spouses to apply for concealed carry licenses.  “I have been pushing for this bill ever since ISIS put out their hit list on our current and former service members,” said Rep. Meier. “Our service members put their lives at risk to protect our freedom, its common sense that we allow them to protect themselves and their family when they are in public.”The legislation provides that whether or not the laws of the state where the non-resident resides are substantially similar to Illinois, the Illinois State Police shall allow by rule a non-resident license application if the applicant is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State or the spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in this State.Status: Passed Judicial Criminal Committee, then held up by Anti-Gun Lawmakers Continue reading