Sunday night, the Illinois General Assembly finished what by most accounts was a historic session.
From the legalization of marijuana to a massive expansion of gambling, lawmakers made significant changes to the state. We thought we’d listen back to some of the voices that made news in the last week of the 2019 legislative session.
HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER JIM DURKIN: “It's been a long year, we've had a lot of emotions that have gone on in this chamber.”
STATE REP. ROBERT MARTWICK, D-Chicago: “This is an opportunity to fix the problems of Illinois and begin reestablishing the essential services that government is supposed to deliver.”
STATE REP. ALLEN SKILLICORN, R-East Dundee: “Here we are debating a constitution amendment to hike taxes, when Wallet Hub says Illinois tax burden is the highest in the nation.”
STATE REP. AVERY BOURNE, R-Raymond: “These definitions seem overly broad. And I am certain that most doctors, if their incentive is to perform an abortion, would be able to find some kind of loophole here to figure that out.”
STATE REP. JOYCE MASON, D-Gurnee: “I am disgusted by the propaganda that is out there suggesting that any woman late in her pregnancy, or even after giving birth, as I've heard from some, and then decided I just don't want this child, and simply end its life.”
STATE REP. JEHAN GORDON-BOOTH, D-Peoria: “If we are going to do this, we must ensure that black and brown communities that have been divested in, that have been locked up and have been castigated [sic] to the side had to be central to this policy. And that is what we have in this bill.”
STATE SEN. DALE RIGHTER, R-Mattoon: “We can disagree, Mr. President, on tax policy and environmental policy. But we can all get on the same page, I hope, that what we don't want to do at this time and place is to do something that will make it more likely that more of our citizenry will at some point, develop mental illness.”
DURKIN: It's amazing what we can do around here in just a few hours of people are willing to work together. And we just started doing that. So I feel we're on a good path. And I'm pleased to put my vote on the board tonight. And let's get our work done by tomorrow.”
STATE REP. WILL DAVIS, D-Hazel Crest: “We know that as we continue to work collaboratively, that is indeed what want to do, when we work collaboratively, there are a lot of things that we can indeed get done.”
STATE REP. MARGO MCDERMED, R-Mokena: “And so we have a situation where many of our buildings, our state building are in a state of poor repair, that needs to be remedied.
STATE REP. TOM DEMMER, R-Dixon: Now, I know it's difficult to pay for that infrastructure. But anybody who's traveled our roads, knows that we've been shortchanging that investment for years. Tonight we have a very difficult vote, but a necessary vote. Because if our infrastructure crumbles, our rural economy crumbles with it as backed by business.
STATE REP. JAY HOFFMAN, D-Swansea: “It's backed by labor and it's backed by contractors as well as transit officials.”
STATE REP. BOB RITA, D-Blue Island: “We’re authorizing six casinos Chicago Waukegan South suburbs, Williamson County or Walker's bluff is known Rockford in Danville.”
STATE SEN. TERRY LINK, D-Vernon Hills: “I've only been doing this for 20 years, trying to get this done. And it's a little emotional. And I have to say, this has been a job creation bill from day one. If we were bringing in six new manufacturers to town, everybody would be on board. Well guess what, we're putting six types of manufacturers on board. They're going to generate money for the state. They're going to generate employees. They're going to generate economic development, not only in those communities, but the state of Illinois.
HOUSE SPEAKER MICHAEL MADIGAN, D-Chicago: “So Mr. Governor, do you see what a difference it makes to have somebody new in the governor's office? This has been an extraordinarily productive session of the General Assembly, simply historic.”
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER: “Illinois is back. Illinois is open for business. This is a place that stands out for working families. I mean, our best days are ahead.”