PEORIA, IL (WEEK) – State lawmakers are taking a deep breath after passing several bills in a rapid-fire overtime session last weekend.
They passed a budget and the first capital spending plan in 10 years. That’s completely separate from landmark proposals to expand gaming and legalize adult use of recreational marijuana. But, Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) says he is proud they were able to debate a controversial abortion rights bill in a very passionate way while respecting viewpoints from both sides of the aisle.
“You can have government that works with differing of ideas. You just have to understand that when the vote is vast, then you move on,” said Koehler.
Governor Pritzker is expected to sign the Reproductive Health Act into law. You can find a report on that proposal here.
Koehler also explained that he didn’t mind staying at the Capitol through the weekend for special session because lawmakers were able to accomplish many of their goals. He says there are still big issues to work on, but Illinois is pivoting in the right direction and making residents happier.
“No one likes to pay taxes, but you know what? If I’ve got a job to go to and it’s going to be paying me well and my family is employed, things look a lot better. I don’t mind paying to fill my tank with gas if I have a job to go to,” said Koehler.
Koehler says he wants to work on improving the state pension system and find the best ways to lower property taxes to keep people in Illinois. He also hopes to work on a plan to restructure the school funding model to lower the burden on tax payers.
Lawmakers will return to Springfield for veto session in late October.