Recap with Rosenthal: Political Games, First Responders, & Jobs


Democrats muscle through changes to Illinois election law; Republicans denounce political games. This week, Democrats passed brazen legislation to change Illinois election law to their own self-serving political advantages, stifle the ability of the Republican Party to fill office vacancies, and place meaningless non-binding questions on the ballot to drive Democrat voters to the polls.

The Democrats’ amendment to SB 2412 was filed and muscled through the House and Senate in 24 hours and favors self-serving political corruption over any semblance of transparency. In protest to the process and content of the measure, House Republican lawmakers stood united in voting “present” on the bill. Following that vote, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie and her caucus held a press conference to reiterate that House Republicans will not play the political games House Democrats are prioritizing this spring.

“Serious legislators should want to give time for the public to understand the impact on our state,” said Leader McCombie. “We’re used to seeing this kind of maneuvering on May 31, but we don’t understand the sense of urgency right now, unless the end goal is to stifle the democratic process through the changes on slating candidates.”

“This united position is about providing checks and balances much needed in state government,” continued McCombie.

Senate Bill 2412, aka the “Katie Stuart Protection Act,” ends the longstanding practice of allowing local party organizations to appoint candidates to the ballot for the general election in uncontested legislative races. Rep. Stuart, a Metro East Democrat, faced no opposition coming out of the March primary until local Republicans slated a Republican candidate and filed the required petition signatures with the Illinois State Board of Elections hours before final passage of SB 2412.

Governor JB Pritzker signed the measure Thursday only hours after telling reporters he had not seen all the details of the measure. The Governor signed the bill into law almost immediately following Senate concurrence with the House amendments.

State Representative Wayne Rosenthal had this to say:

“Abuse of power and political gain is the only truth behind this bill. If we truly stand for democracy, this bill would have gone through the proper legislative process with transparency for not just Republicans, but the general public.”

Deputy Republican Leader Ryan Spain denounced the Democrats’ political games.

“The Democratic Majority has the ability to put real questions on the ballot, such as Fair Maps and critically needed Ethics Reform; but today they chose to play games. It’s disingenuous. They are disenfranchising voters and suppressing competition: what this bill intended. In short, this initiative prevents choice and competition in our elections. The rules shouldn’t be changing in the middle of the election cycle,” said Rep. Spain.

“The losers in all of this are the voters and the people of Illinois who deserve checks and balances and they deserve elections that are actually competitive,” Spain added.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour said the Democrats are wanting to take choices away from voters.

“To me it’s subverting democracy and since when are the Democrats limiting ballot access?” Wilhour told The Center Square. “My question is, ‘who thinks we need a referendum to lower property taxes?’ If you think we need a referendum on that, you’re an idiot.”

Wilhour said the state is crushing citizens under oppressive property taxes. Illinoisans pay the second highest property taxes in the nation.

There are a slew of bills out there that would bring down property taxes, but Wilhour said the Democrats won’t come to the table.

SB2412 is a backroom deal that took a DCFS Child Welfare bill and crafted it into an election bill that changes rules and removes voters’ choices. This bill is also framed to place non-binding questions on ballots to drive Democrat voters to the polls.


Fallen Chicago police officer Luis M. Huesca remembered this week. Officer Huesca’s funeral took place on Monday, April 29. The 30-year-old Chicago police officer was slain last week in Gage Park, a South Side neighborhood, as he was leaving his shift and returning home. The emergency response team took the fatally wounded officer to a South Side trauma hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police murder suspect Xavier L. Tate Jr. was arrested this week in the suburb of Glendale Heights.

Officer Huesca’s murder took place only days prior to the annual Police Memorial ceremony at the State Capitol in Springfield, where peace officers who died or were killed in the line of duty are memorialized. Fallen officers who died or were killed in 2023 were remembered at the May 2024 ceremony, which was held on Thursday, May 2.


Pritzker administration suggests moving hundreds of jobs from Downstate to the Chicago area. Approximately 455 job positions are associated with staffing Illinois’ prison for female inmates, Logan Correctional Center, located near Lincoln in Central Illinois. The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has reported in favor of a reorganization plan that would permanently shut down Logan CC and build a new women’s correctional facility on the grounds of the current Stateville Correctional Center in Will County. Stateville is located on unincorporated land adjacent to the Joliet suburb of Crest Hill.

If this plan is finalized, the 1,000-inmate population, $61 million/year economic impact, and correctional jobs would move with the prison from Central Illinois to the Chicago area. The IDOC report cited the orientation of the Will County labor force towards potential transitional outreach and social-work support for inmates who are moving towards their release dates from State custody. The IDOC report, presented on Friday, April 26, has not yet been officially accepted as State policy.

The threat to Logan Correctional Center follows other blows to the local economy in Lincoln and Logan County. Lincoln Christian University, which has been winding down its campus operations, will complete its shutdown in May 2024. LCU will turn over its seminary program to an institution with a similar identity, Ozark Christian College. LCU has been a presence in central Illinois higher education since the end of World War II.


April 2024 State revenue report. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) reported this week to the General Assembly on State revenue trends in April 2024. This was the tenth month of FY24; the current fiscal year will end on June 30, 2024.

With respect to April 2024, the CGFA analysts reported on overall trends, including higher interest rates, affecting the slowing U.S. economy. In attempts to fight record-high global inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve imposed repeated interest-rate hikes on U.S. borrowers in 2023 and early 2024, including rate hikes on persons seeking financing to buy homes, motor vehicles, and consumer goods. These interest rate moves are, in turn, associated with a drop in the production growth rates for U.S. goods and services. In the first quarter of calendar year 2024, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate was a relatively anemic 1.6%.

This minimal growth may have affected some of the State of Illinois’ revenue lines in FY24 through April 2024. A key element of the State’s revenues and spending budget, revenues from the taxes imposed upon corporations earning profits in Illinois, dropped 11.4% during this ten-month period. This corporate income tax revenue trend worsened in April 2024, with the key revenue line dropping 19.7% during the thirty-day period. For the first ten months of FY24, the corporate income tax revenue year-over-year shortfall was $679 million. This represents money Illinois does not have to meet State spending commitments that have already been made.

The shortfall in corporate income tax revenues has been, up until now, more than made up for with stronger income from personal income taxes, which are up 8.4% during the ten-month period. Net new personal income receipts in April 2024 added $744 million to State revenue coffers during the thirty-day period. However, the possibility that Illinois paychecks and personal income tax payments (including withheld payments) are a lagging indicator are elements that should flash another warning sign to Illinois lawmakers as they finalize a budget document for FY25. Any negative trends that are beginning to show up in April 2024 are likely to burst out in full force during the new fiscal year that will begin on July 1, 2024.

Rep. Rosenthal Views the Election Omnibus Bill as Failed Democracy


Springfield, IL…Yesterday in the Illinois House of Representatives, we witnessed a bold move from Democrats. SB2412 was introduced on the House floor with absolutely no time for Republicans to analyze the bill’s language and true motive. State Representative Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) says this bill was a last-minute ploy to rewrite our election laws. Continue reading…