In this edition of the Windhorst Weekly, I’ve got information on an upcoming Senior Citizens Health and Wellness Fair and details on a new legislative package that I’m sponsoring that addresses energy policy. I’ve also got information on the upcoming Du Quoin State Fair and much more. Thank you for reading!
Senior Citizens Health and Wellness Fair – August 24 in Carbondale
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, State Rep. Paul Jacobs, State Sen. Terri Bryant, and State Sen. Dale Fowler are teaming up to provide district residents with a free senior citizens health and wellness fair.
On Wednesday, August 24, 2022 from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Carbondale Civic Center, 200 S. Illinois Ave, Rep. Windhorst, Rep. Jacobs, Sen. Bryant, and Sen. Fowler will host several senior service agencies to provide literature, helpful guides, and other resources from a variety of state, county, and local agencies. General Assembly staff members will be on-hand to assist constituents with their concerns regarding state government. Those who attend are encouraged to sign up for a chance to win a door prize. The fair is free of charge.
“This is a great opportunity for senior residents to learn more about the resources available in our area and have a good time while doing it. I look forward to visiting with those that are able to attend and would like to thank all of the great community partners that help make these events possible,” Rep. Windhorst said.
State Rep. Patrick Windhorst and State Rep. Paul Jacobs Sign on to Legislative Package Aimed at Reducing Energy Costs and Ending Blackout Threats
Last week I signed on to a comprehensive package of energy-focused legislation that would restore Southern Illinois’ coal-fired power plant industry, ease the pain being felt by downstate energy customers due to recent massive spikes in costs, and eliminate bureaucratic red tape that prevents power plants from coming online.
The 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, or CEJA, bailed out nuclear power plants in the northern part of the state and punished Southern Illinois utility providers and their customers.
I favor an all-of-the-above approach to providing energy to our citizens, but CEJA simply went too far too fast. The result has been a dramatic and devastating spike in the cost of energy for regular people, working families, seniors on fixed incomes and businesses of all sizes. The legislation I’m sponsoring along with several of my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle is aimed at restoring coal and natural gas as integral parts of Illinois’ energy portfolio. We have a massive amount of these resources right under our feet. It makes no sense at all to abandon clean coal technology and to ship Illinois coal to other states where they burn it and we are forced to buy electricity from them in order to have sufficient supply. The result of the legislative package I have signed on to would be lower costs, a more stable electric grid, and the return of jobs in the energy sector using resources we have available right here at home.
HB 5780 would repurpose $10 million from fees already collected by Illinois ratepayers for renewables for the purpose of retrofitting coal and natural gas plants with carbon capturing technology. The bill also includes the creation of a new Power Grid Task Force to study the effect of state laws, including CEJA, on energy prices as well as grid reliability. The task force would also be charged with exploring ways to improve the power supply mix within the state using existing energy resources and new technologies, with the stated goal of ensuring the future stability and reliability of Illinois’ power grid. The bill will consider the present and future needs of Illinois consumers while simultaneously addressing any issues related to the performance and reliability of power generation in Illinois.
HB 5781 repeals the forced 2045 closure date for coal and natural gas power plants that was implemented under the provisions of CEJA, which was signed by Governor Pritzker in 2021. The bill would also allow companies to build new gas peaker plants without the fear of forced closure to ensure Illinois’ grid will be able to meet its demand.
HB 5782 would eliminate red tape at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that has been preventing new power plants from coming online in a timely manner by expediting the state permitting process.
Illinois State Police changes FOID card “clear and present danger” standard
Current law makes possession of a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card a requirement for possessing or carrying a firearm. Illinois residents apply to the State Police to present identification information before being issued a FOID card, which must be presented whenever a resident seeks to buy or take possession of a firearm in Illinois.
The presumption, under Illinois law, is that most persons who apply for an FOID card ought to get one. Exceptions include the authority granted, by current law, to the State Police not to issue an FOID card to any person who is a “clear and present danger” to others. “Clear and present danger” is a legal term that can be expanded or shrunk. The State Police has now promulgated a rulemaking to expand the definition of “clear and present danger” to prevent likely dangerous individuals from receiving a FOID card to purchase firearms. The new language strikes out old language that defined “clear and present danger” as involving an actual, impending, or imminent threat of substantial bodily harm to themselves or another person. Instead, the new standard adopted by the State Police will allow any violent, suicidal, or assaultive threat, even if not immediate or imminent, to stop the issuance of an FOID card.
The new State Police language was adopted by emergency rule, which means that it is already in effect. The emergency rule will remain in effect for no more than 150 days, which will be a period of time required to write the new language in the form of a permanent rule up for public comment. Persons throughout Illinois will have the chance to comment on the new rules language when it comes out. These comments will not, however, affect the current emergency rule. The State Police emergency rule was published on Monday, July 18.
Expirations for Illinois drivers’ licenses/ID cards extended until December 1, 2022
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as federal REAL ID requirements, the Office of Illinois Secretary of State has announced a further extension in the lifespan of drivers’ licenses and identification cards until December 1, 2022. This postpones the previous deadline, which had been July 31, 2022.
In addition, Illinois residents whose goal is simply to “roll over” their existing driver’s license or ID card are being encouraged to file their renewal applications online. This online renewal process, for those who are eligible, will replace the requirement under current law that the renewal applicant show up at a Driver Services facility in person.
This extension and online application opportunity does not apply to all drivers in all conditions. Applications for commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) and CDL learners’ permits must obey existing time requirements and deadlines. First-time license/ID-card applicants, and those who are seeking to switch over from a non-REAL ID-compliant card to a REAL-ID compliant card, will continue to have to visit a facility in person to submit documents to verify their identities.
Du Quoin State Fair Runs August 26 – September 5
The Du Quoin State Fair begins on Friday, August 26th, and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2022. To learn about this year’s entertainment, competitive events, food vendors, and more, please visit: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/dsf/Pages/default.aspx
My office in Harrisburg can be reached at 618-294-8703 or you can reach me by email at Windhorst@ILHouseGOP.org. Check out RepWindhorst.com for more information or send me a message at RepWindhorst.com/contact.