This week, newly-compiled and shocking numbers related to the state’s vaccination rollout warrant the need for a clear explanation from the Pritzker Administration.
Meanwhile, I joined with my Republican colleagues to continue our calls to action against controversial criminal justice reform legislation that could pose a risk to community safety.
Illinois Lags Behind Nation in Vaccination Rollout, Ranked 47th
In the year since the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in Illinois, the residents of our state’s long-term care facilities have been hard-hit by the virus, resulting in thousands of deaths and forced isolation from families and friends.
These facility residents, along with every Illinoisan, received a glimmer of hope for the possible return to normalcy as the first vaccines were given out on Dec. 15. However, a month later, it seems the state has failed these residents.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, of the 537,050 doses of vaccines available and allotted to the state’s long-term care facilities, only approximately 20 percent of them have been administered to its residents—a population that makes up nearly half of COVID-related deaths.
Additionally, according to the latest data from the New York Times, Illinois ranks 47th in overall vaccine distribution, with just 4.8 percent of Illinoisans receiving at least one shot. The state is last compared to its sister states of Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and California.
These staggering numbers are unacceptable. Which is why I joined with my Senate Republican colleagues to issue a letter demanding answers from the Pritzker Administration.
Senator Bryant Hosts Law Enforcement Zoom
Throughout the week, I held a Zoom video conference for local law enforcement officers who live and work throughout the 58th Senate District. I was joined on the Zoom call with my colleagues Senator Fowler and Senator Plummer to discuss the impact that House Bill 3653 will have on the law enforcement profession.
Law enforcement officers were given the opportunity to discuss their ongoing concerns about provisions in the legislation, including unfunded mandates, creation of a task force to study the feasibility of removing qualified immunity, changes to “use of force” language, and anonymous complaints.
I also joined Senator Fowler and our colleagues in the House to host a live Facebook Townhall on the topic this week. The process by which this legislation was passed is an affront to the system of democratic government and the people of this state deserve to have their thoughts and concerns heard!
In the dead of night, just hours before the inauguration of a new General Assembly, a nearly 800-page amendment was revealed. Lawmakers were given little to no time to review it and allowed only two speakers in debate before a vote was taken. This is no way to conduct legislative business.
This bill, if signed into law, will drastically change Illinois’ criminal justice system and change how law enforcement are able to perform their duties. Legislative reforms of this magnitude require in-depth discussion from all stakeholders. Instead, lawmakers witnessed a non-transparent, one-sided effort to pass this bill.
While this legislation has passed both chambers, our fight against it isn’t over. Please continue to voice your opposition by contacting the Governor’s office and tell him not to sign this ill-advised legislation. Contact information for Governor Pritzker’s office is available here.
Senate Republicans hope to use the upcoming spring session to renegotiate criminal justice reform and come up with a bipartisan proposal that can be properly vetted by all the citizens and stakeholders.
I want to thank the Republic Times for covering my move to the Senate in such a thorough and thoughtful manner! Give the article a read here!
Big Welcome to our newest Senator, Sally Turner!
Sally Turner is now the newest member of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus after being appointed over the weekend by the Republican County Chairs of Logan, McLean, Menard, Sangamon and Tazewell counties. She will fill the empty seat in the 44th Senate District formerly held by State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), who announced his retirement last month.
I'm excited to have another strong female voice join us in the Chamber! Welcome to the team!
Last but not least, I want to wish my granddaughter, Cori, a HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY!