This Week in the 104th District: Session Edition

Last week marked two of three weeks in Springfield. We are back on Wednesday to round out March.


The House of Representatives adjourned Thursday, until Wednesday, March 20th. 

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”.

This past week, I had committee hearings for Energy and Environment, Ethics and Elections, and Gaming. Committee hearings can be found by visiting ILGA, choosing “Committees”, nested under House and clicking on the Committee title of the committee you are interested in listening or watching for the schedule. To access the video or audio of the committee hearings, use the “Audio/Video” option listed under House. 


Last Thursday, House Republican members held a press conference about a legislative package proposed to protect victims of human trafficking. Protecting victims of human trafficking is a top priority for Illinois House Republicans. We are fighting this epidemic head-on with a robust bill package that provides protections to individuals who have fallen victim to human trafficking.

Also announced last week was the sting operation that took place in Danville. Five men were involved in a human trafficking scheme. I want to thank the brave men and women that helped the effort. I released this press release following the event.


Our state received an “F” grade, according to the Shared Hope International report card, for protecting human trafficking victims and that is unacceptable. To help support victims of human trafficking in Illinois, please sign this petition.


The Illinois Department of Employment Security metro area jobs report, covering unemployment rates in greater Chicago and thirteen other metropolitan areas across Illinois, showed many suburban and Downstate communities with unemployment rates rising above the 5% mark. In the Chicago suburbs, regions with unemployment above 5% included greater Lake County (5.9%) and the Kane County-based Elgin area (6.5%). Eight separate Downstate areas notched unemployment rates above 5%, with the highs rates in historically industrial Kankakee (7.5%) and Rockford (7.3%).

To some extent, the unemployment rates posted by metro areas across Illinois were outweighed by the 4.5% rate posted in greater Chicago, which includes suburban Cook County and populous DuPage County. However, the January 2024 posting indicates that the overall trend is downward in many regions of Illinois. On an apples-to-apples basis, a comparison of unemployment rates in January 2023 with the rates twelve months later in January 2024 showed many regions with significantly higher rates of joblessness as 2024 began. In Decatur, Kankakee, and Rockford metro areas, joblessness was up more than 1.0% from the same rates posted in January 2023. 


A leading voice in this week’s discussions was that of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), an arm of the Illinois General Assembly. CGFA met on Tuesday, March 12 to discuss its final budget forecast for FY24 (fiscal year ending June 30, 2024) and its extended forecast for FY25 (fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024 and continuing until June 30, 2025). CGFA staff then presented their budget forecast to the Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee on Thursday, March 14. Along with numbers from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB), the FY25 CGFA budget forecast will guide the Illinois House and Senate as they craft a budget and appropriation bill or bills during the 2024 spring session.

CGFA’s look at the closing months of the FY24 budget was largely positive. After monitoring numbers from the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and near-term projections of approaching economic activity from economists nationwide, the Commission’s staff was able to report this week that Illinois has seen “firm but steady growth” through the first eight months of FY24. However, storm clouds are gathering. State sales tax revenues are flat, the growth rate of State income tax revenues is sharply slowing down, and the current budget has developed the worrisome trend of matching up new permanent spending programs with one-time revenues. These one-time revenues come from ways of reorganizing State cash flow to speed up the way certain money streams move from point A to point B, or to re-classify other money streams so as not to have to share them with municipalities and other local government units throughout Illinois. CGFA staff warned House members this week that complex accounting moves like these are playing a larger and larger role in the State’s budget.


Less than seven years after a total solar eclipse captivated millions and shined a spotlight on deep southern Illinois, another total solar eclipse will be visible in areas of southern Illinois on the afternoon of April 8. Southern Illinois is considered the eclipse crossroads of America because it was in the centerline for the path of totality in 2017 and will be again next month. 

The largest city in the path of totality is Carbondale, where the eclipse is expected to begin just after 1:59 p.m. and last for four minutes and nine seconds. This is nearly double the length of the time of the eclipse in 2017. During the eclipse, the sky will darken, the air will cool, stars and planets will become visible, and a 360-degree sunset will be visible. The total solar eclipse will cross North America, including portions of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The next total solar eclipse to be visible in the United States will not occur for another 20 years on August 23, 2044. 

At my Danville office, there are free eclipse glasses for constituents to pick up. Visit my office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays to pick up a pair! 


Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who represents Danville, is hosting a Youth Opportunities Fair for the 2nd Congressional District. The opportunity is open to students looking for a summer job, internship, or community service. For questions, please contact Mia Carter at

To see if you fall in the 2nd Congressional District, use this map.


Friday morning, I was able to attend a Step Up meeting at the Danville Second Church of Christ. There, I introduced myself and then broke out into breakout rooms with everyone there and talked about rural transportation and listened to our district’s needs. Thank you to Deanna Witzel for the invitation! 


To end the week, I was invited to the Villas of Holly Brook for a St. Patrick’s Day event! There I was able to talk with the residents and get to know them and pass out cookies and other goodies. It was a great time. Thank you to Jen Gussman for the invite!