This Week in the 104th District

This past week, I was busy in the district, traveling to Savoy and learning more about my district and its needs. 


The House of Representatives are back in the House tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th. The starting time is to be announced. 

To watch the House Floor live, visit the Illinois General Assembly website, and click “Audio/Video”, which is nested under “House”. The schedule for Session is also available under “Schedules”, nested under “House”.


Two firms, Moody’s Analytics and Economic and Consumer Credit Analytics, were hired by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), a nonpartisan arm of the Illinois General Assembly, to generate a report on the economic conditions facing Illinois and its workforce. Their databases and personnel qualify the writers to compare Illinois with other U.S. states, and with the global economy as a whole.  

The conclusion of the analytical consortium is that “Illinois will be a below-average performer in the region and among U.S. states,” (“State of Illinois Forecast Report,” page 1) with the key data points of gross State product, employment, and income increasing less than in competitor states. The analysts downgrade Illinois based on downward population growth trends, the State’s stagnant tax base, and the mounting burden placed on local taxpayers to cover the cost of public-sector pensions.   

After a spike upward following the 2020-2022 pandemic, Illinois employment growth has returned to its pre-2020 trendline. The Prairie State generates virtually flat numbers of new payroll jobs to replace the old jobs eliminated by economic change, with a net increase of about 1% per year. This 1% figure reappeared in 2023, and the analysts expect it to continue (at best) in future years (page 2 of the report). In addition, the analysts warn of the danger of a future recession or recessions. Negative Illinois trends in the employment subfields of information science and professional and business services (page 3 of the report) bode poorly for Illinois’ long-term economic health, given the importance of these subfields as electronic automation and artificial intelligence take on greater and greater roles in economic production and productivity. 


Advanced manufacturing center opens in Central Illinois.  The $17 million facility marks an increased commitment by Illinois’ community colleges towards training a workforce for automated and artificial-intelligence (AI) factory floors. Located at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, the learning space and practice shopfloor will offer certifications in robotics maintenance, energy cabling, machinery HVAC pipefitting, and information technology. An Electric Vehicle Lab, sponsored by Bloomington-Normal’s State Farm, will train future workers in EV manufacturing and maintenance.

The EV Lab and Advanced Manufacturing Center is building affiliations with local employers such as Rivian Automotive. Two-year pathways to certification allow students to work up to full-time, thus minimizing student challenges and loan debt.

Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) career orientation events this spring.  The Department, which operates 46 separate correctional centers, units, work camps, classification centers, and re-entry centers, is currently seeking correctional officers, nurses, wardens, office associates, social workers, and other workers and professionals. As part of its hiring drive, IDOC is hosting, or participating in, 20 face-to-face recruitment events open to the public in March and April 2024. A list of the recruitment events has been posted. IDOC recruiters will be eager to answer questions from potential applicants. Jobs at IDOC include a variety of work-related benefits, including health insurance and a retirement plan. Reflecting the geographical diversity of the state, the recruitment events will be hosted at locations that range from the Chicago area to far-southern Illinois.      


Illinois House Republicans and thousands of concerned Illinois residents are working as part of statewide and local grassroots efforts to keep strict California Emission Standards from being enacted by radical Illinois Democrats. These emission standards would eliminate the production and use of gasoline-powered vehicles and force drivers to buy electric vehicles in Illinois in the near future.

House Bill 1634 would require Illinois to adopt California’s ultra-strict motor vehicle emission standards. Under California law, automakers are required to increase the proportion of zero-emission vehicle sales every year. That legislation would put zero-emission vehicle sales at 35 percent for model year 2026, 68 percent by 2030, and reach 100 percent by 2035. This would apply to ALL new passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in Illinois.

The bill would require Illinois to implement California’s clean trucks program and heavy-duty low NOx omnibus program that targets 100 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, all drayage semi-trucks to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, and all buses and long-haul semi-trucks to be zero-emission vehicles by 2045.

The bill was expected to be discussed during an Energy and Environment Committee meeting scheduled for February 20 in Springfield. However, faced with fierce opposition and thousands of witness slips being filed opposing the legislation, Democrats canceled the meeting. As of February 23, over 3,700 witness slips had been filed in opposition at, with only 540 filing in support.

The list of groups that oppose the bill is very long. It includes the Illinois Trucking Association, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Manufacturers Association, Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, and a host of others.

A zero-emission vehicle is defined as a vehicle that produces zero tail-pipe emissions, including battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Near-zero-emissions vehicles are defined as vehicles with an internal combustion engine and an electric energy storage system, including plug-in hybrid vehicles and hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicles.

Current Illinois emissions laws were last updated in 2005. Drivers living in a county or ZIP code with air pollution issues must complete regular emissions testing if the car is more than four years old and built after 1996. Motorists who live in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Madison, McHenry, Monroe, St. Clair, and Will are subject to emissions testing, with all locations in the Chicagoland and Metro East areas.


It was announced this week that veteran hard rockers Mötley Crüe will perform at the 2024 Illinois State Fair. The winners of innumerable metal awards and recognitions, Mötley Crüe has been performing since 1981. Their hits include “Dr. Feelgood,” “Kickstart My Heart,” “Home Sweet Home” and “Wild Side.” As a group they have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and have gone platinum/multi-platinum seven times. Their music has been streamed more than 5 billion times and the band claims more than 8 million followers on social media. Tickets for the Saturday, August 20 concert are set to go on sale March 2.

Mötley Crüe will be followed up by Americana-themed Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. After his work with the Drive-By Truckers, singer and songwriter Jason Isbell has developed enduring ties with band The 400 Unit. With roots in Southern folk-rock, Isbell’s songs and band identity have moved into the mainstream music scene. Isbell and his collaborators have won four Grammy Awards and his most recent album, “Weathervanes,” came out in June 2023.


On Wednesday, I visited the Village of Savoy. I made a few stops in the district along the way. 


My first stop in Savoy was at Willard Airport, owned by the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana. Currently, the airport runs four flights daily, two to Chicago and two to Houston- Fort Worth. In Spring 2024, a third flight will be added to Chicago. 

Here, I learned about the airport services, what advancements are set to hit the airport, and was given a tour of the facility. 

A big thank you to Tim Bannon and the Willard Airport crew for allowing me to tour and learn more about the facility and all it brings to District 104! 


Following the trip to Willard Airport, my staff and I were invited to join the Village of Savoy’s Mayor and staff for lunch at Old Orchard Lanes and Links. Unbeknownst to me, this location has amazing pizza. I enjoyed the Italian Beef style pizza! 

Thank you to Mayor Brown and Wendy for introducing me to great pizza! 


Following lunch with Mayor Brown, he and his assistant gave me a tour of the Savoy Rec Center. Here, Mayor Brown and staff showed me the pickle ball court, which is a highly sought after event at the Rec Center, as well as the Zumba studio, weight equipment, and community room. 

The Rec Center is a great asset to Savoy, thank you Mayor Brown and staff! 


After my tour of the Rec Center, Mayor Brown and his assistant Wendy showed us around City Hall and even invited a few trustees to meet with me. We talked about the village, proposed projects and what was currently going on. 

On my tour, I visited the Public Works Dept. and heard from the supervisor there and learned about how much must be factored into running a successful public works program. I was able to tour the shops and see what equipment the village was able to purchase in past years. 

Next was the Village of Savoy’s Fire Department. Here I was shown the fire trucks, the living quarters that the firefighters stay at while on call, and met some of the Savoy firefighters. 

My final stop was Colbert Park. During the warmer months, the park is a happening place, hosting lots of events, such as 5ks, for community members to utilize. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn about the Village of Savoy! 


The Champaign County City of Commerce puts on a First Fridays event every month. Every first Friday of the month, a location in the community hosts all members to participate in coffees and conversations. Everyone brings a business card and swaps information to grow connections. 

Thank you for hosting, SERVPRO of Champaign-Urbana!