Legislative Updates from Rep. Fritts

Governor Gives State of the State and Budget Address

On February 21st, we heard this year’s budget priorities from Governor Pritzker in his annual State of the State and Budget Address. I was deeply disappointed by his divisive, partisan rhetoric that showed us he is more focused on his national political ambitions than the people he was elected to represent. 

Healthcare in rural Illinois is drowning right now. Hospitals are closing and specialty providers are packing up and leaving town. But instead of adequately funding Medicaid reimbursement rates to ensure hospitals across the state are able to keep their doors open, Governor Pritzker is paying an estimated $2.8 billion of taxpayer dollars over the last three years for undocumented immigrants. 

Here are a few other key points in this year’s proposed budget:

  • This is the largest state budget in history at a proposed $52.7 billion, which is a 4.5% increase from last year.
  • This budget is operating on a $775 million deficit. 
  • The Governor proposed over $1 billion in new taxes and other budget gimmicks in an attempt to sustain the uncontrollable spending we have seen over the past four years.

I am more than willing to come to the table and have these conversations with my colleagues across the aisle, but the doors to bipartisan cooperation remain closed. I urge my colleagues to offer us a seat at the table so that every part of Illinois is represented in the final FY25 budget.

New Bills with Brad – House Bill 4139

This week, I want to discuss a bill that will help our first responders receive their full pension benefits, House Bill 4139. The Illinois Pension Code currently requires all disability diagnoses for individuals receiving pensions to be made by a physician. However, PTSD and other mental health related diagnoses are not within a physician’s scope of practice. This means that we have former first responders that left their role due to PTSD and are not currently receiving the pension benefits they earned. 

My bill will allow a diagnosis to be made by any licensed and practicing medical professional, like a clinical psychologist, ensuring that no one is being left behind.

As of last week, this bill passed the Personnel & Pensions Committee with a unanimous 10-0 vote. It is now scheduled for a debate and vote on the House floor. 

Community Outreach

I attended a ribbon cutting at the new Rochelle Recovery Center! One thing we desperately need in rural Illinois is access to specialty healthcare, such as mental health and addiction services. This much-needed facility will provide care for so many individuals in our community!

I visited Riverdale Preschool in Rock Falls. It was wonderful to see the students learning and growing to become our next generation of leaders!

Another school visit last week at Rock Falls Middle School! I enjoyed speaking with teachers and faculty about the work they do and ways I can offer continued support to educators across District 74.

Thank you to Christ Lutheran School in Sterling for inviting me for a visit! I enjoyed speaking with students, faculty, and staff as I learned more about your school.

My staff attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for La Michoacana ice cream shop in Sterling! Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing this new business to our community.

It was an honor to assist the Indian Creek High School Fishing Team with their Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus scholarship application! This week I was able to present the team with a check on behalf of the caucus. Best of luck to the ICHS Fishing Team!

Congratulations to A Cut Above Grooming Salon in Sterling on joining the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce! I look forward to your continued success in our community!

Another grand opening this week at K&K Creative Links in Rochelle. Congratulations to the team at K&K, and wishing you the best of luck in your new venture!

February Local Business Highlight

For my February 2024 local business highlight, I chose to highlight Lincolnway Cafe in Franklin Grove because they are an excellent, family-owned restaurant that gives back to our community. Not only is the customer service and food top-notch, but they also support the local women’s club, Ashton and Franklin Grove sports, as well as many other area events.

Lincolnway Cafe was opened nearly 18 years ago by owners Muda and Joe. Muda was raised in the restaurant industry and followed in her father’s footsteps, who also owned a family restaurant. 

It’s not an easy time to own a local family restaurant. I applaud Muda and Joe on their dedication to Lincolnway Cafe and the entire Franklin Grove community.

Lincolnway Cafe is located at 137 North Elm St in Franklin Grove. 

To nominate a local business in District 74 for a future highlight, click here.

Shabbona State Park Survey

In 1829, a Federal Treaty between the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the United States Government allowed the Potawatomi Nation to maintain 1,280 acres of land in what is now DeKalb County. However, the agreement was never fulfilled, and the land was subsequently sold by the U.S. government in 1849. This land now holds part of the Shabbona Lake State Park.

Legislation has been proposed by another member of the Illinois House of Representatives, House Bill 4107, that would return this land by transferring the entirety of Shabbona Lake State Park, 1,550 acres of land and 318 acres of lake, back to the Potawatomi Nation. This land transfer would be done without disrupting or challenging the land of current homeowners. 

In order to best serve my constituents, I am requesting feedback on this legislation from residents who live within a 15-mile radius of the Shabbona State Park. To complete this survey, please click here.

If You Are in Springfield

If you plan to visit Springfield in the coming months, please reach out! I am always available for my constituents and would be happy to meet with you during your visit. It is crucial that the government operates with transparency, and I encourage you to hold me, and my colleagues, accountable! 

Keep Up to Date

Click here to visit my website. There you can contact my office, see what legislation I am working on, and more.

Click here to “like” me on Facebook for more frequent updates.

I will continue to update you via this e-newsletter to keep you up to date on my efforts to pass bills in Springfield and serve you in the district.

Talk to you soon,

State Representative Bradley J. Fritts