One of the most commonly reported problems by constituents at my office is the delays that folks are experiencing in receiving their updated/renewed FOID Cards (Firearm Owner’s Identification Card). My staff works from hard to address each individual case that comes up, as all cases are a bit different.
We have heard from the Illinois State Police, who we have a great relationship with, the delays are due, in part to a lack of staff available to handle the thousands of requests for changes or renewals for both FOID cards and CCLs (Concealed Carry Licenses).
Many Illinois gun owners have faced repeated delays and wait times in translating their fees and required documentation (which they have submitted in a timely manner) into the legal documents necessary to own or carry a firearm. The programs that generate these cards are funded by the State Police Firearm Services Fund, which is what State insiders call a “special fund” or “dedicated fund” because moneys in these funds are supposed to be “dedicated” to specific purposes set forth by law.
My good friend and college House Republican Rep. Keith Wheeler has learned that some of the money paid in fees by Illinois gun owners to this Fund had been siphoned off in some other direction. Upon Wheeler’s request, the nonpartisan Legislative Research Unit crunched the numbers and found that more than $13.2 million in Firearm Services Fund moneys had been transferred to other programs, including $6.0 million in FY15 and $7.2 million in FY18.
Law abiding gun owners pay fees to fund these programs. It is a shame that these fund sweeps seem to occur every year, causing delays and hardship for gun owners just trying their best to follow the law and be able to afford to protect themselves and their property.
I will be working on legislation to protect these funds from future sweeps and pledge to work with the State Police to get them the resources they need to process FOID and CCL paperwork in a more timely and efficient manner going forward.
Backpacks for Buddies Drive
The backpacks for buddies drive continues to be a BIG success thanks to the generous people of Southern Illinois.
Thank you to Dental Care for Kids for donating 8 backpacks with LOTS of supplies for the Backpacks for Buddies drive. We will wrap up our first drive at the end of this year, so keep them coming!
Learn more about how you can donate before the end of 2019 at repseverin.com/backpacksforbuddies
Southern Illinois University Makes Change to Admission Requirements – Will No Longer Require SAT/ACT Score
On Friday of this week, Southern Illinois University issued a press release announcing that SIU will no longer require student applicants to provide ACT/SAT scores to be considered for admission.
You can read the entire press release by clicking this link. Here are a couple of important excerpts from the University’s press release explaining the change:
“Research has consistently demonstrated that the most important predictor of college success is the high school grade point average,” Interim Chancellor John M. Dunn said.
“Standardized tests can be a barrier to many students due to cost and demographic factors. We have a responsibility to level the playing field and ensure that every student with potential has an opportunity to study at SIU.”
At SIU Carbondale, applicants with a high school grade point average of 2.75 or above who have met course requirements will be admitted to the university regardless of whether they submit their SAT or ACT scores. Students enrolling for summer or fall 2021 with a 2.75 or above will be eligible for consideration for most scholarships without submitting standardized test scores.
Illinois Farm Bureau Convention
I had a great time learning and celebrating at the Illinois Farm Bureau’s annual convention last weekend. The annual event draws thousands of agriculture businesses, farmers, and ag-enthusiasts and supporters every year.
This year I was happy to present the Franklin County Farm Bureau with a certificate celebrating their 100 year anniversary. I was also glad to join with Farm Bureau officials from Hamilton County in celebrating their 75 year anniversary.
West Frankfort Ribbon Cutting
It was an honor to join McGuire’s Flowers and Gifts in West Frankfort for the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating their grand opening this week. Thank you for having me and best of luck!
Coffee and Conversation
I had a great conversation over coffee with my constituents at Hmson’s on Friday morning in Dahlgren. If you’re ever up and at-em on a weekday morning I recommend stopping in for a cup of coffee and enjoy the company and conversation!
House Republican Week in Review
Fitch Ratings issues watch report on Illinois’ fiscal stability.
The credit rating agency identified Illinois as one of three states that should be closely scrutinized by debt investors in calendar year 2020. Fitch identified potential “changes in credit quality” in Springfield as an element in its continuing belief that Illinois’ finances must be kept under close watch. Fitch’s report, released on Tuesday, December 10, placed Illinois in the same category as Alaska and Kentucky. All three are states with serious budgetary problems, including unfunded pension liabilities.
Progressive advocacy group predicts death of Illinois Basin coal industry.
The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), an advocacy group that calls for “a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy,” released a report this week that projects the termination of Illinois coal mining and burning for energy production. Stating that the “industry will be gone in 20 years,” IEEFA pointed to the ongoing trend among publicly-traded Wall Street power companies to shut down coal-burning power plants. Five major Illinois plant closures have been announced by the industry so far in 2019.
The Illinois Basin is a thick seam of coal spanning the Ohio River underneath sections of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Illinois mines that tap the Illinois Basin follow a geological trend line from Marissa, in far southern St. Clair County near St. Louis, southeast underneath the Big Muddy River to Galatia in mineral-rich Saline County.
Numbers reported for two-segment Firearm Deer Season.
Licensed hunters were invited to use their shotguns in the Firearm Deer Season on November 22 through 24, and again on December 5 through 8. These seasons are separate from the muzzleloader-only window on December 13-15, the archery season through January 19, 2020, and two late-season hunting periods, in designated counties only, for antlerless-only deer and for deer in CWD-affected regions. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has more information on these supplemental deer seasons at their website.
In the traditional prime “deer hunting” season of 2019, the Firearm Deer Season, a preliminary total of 75,349 deer were taken and tagged. This was a drop of 5,608 animals from the nearly 81,000 deer taken in 2018, a decline of 7.0%. All of the 2019 decline was reported from the first half of deer season. The #1 county reporting was southern Illinois’ Randolph County, with 2,253 deer taken and tagged. Deer were taken in 100 of the 102 counties of Illinois, with the exception of largely urban Cook County and DuPage County.
My office in Marion is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You can reach me any time by calling 618-440-5090 or contact me via my website at www.ilhousegop.org/contactseverin or by emailing Severin@ILHouseGOP.org
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