Barickman & Manar propose level playing field for all candidates, parties
Two state senators are embarking on a bipartisan effort to level the playing field for new political parties and independent candidates in Illinois.
State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) have introduced a plan that lowers the number of signatures required for new political parties and independent candidates to be on the ballot. They would need the same number of signatures that is required for established political parties to be on the ballot under the proposal.
For example, in 2018, candidates with established political parties were required to collect between 5,000 and 10,000 signatures to run for statewide office, but independent candidates and those with new parties had to collect 25,000.
“Competitive elections make for a stronger democracy, and I think reducing some of the hurdles for candidates to participate is a good step in that direction,” said Barickman. “I believe this is an idea that should receive bipartisan support and I’m optimistic that we will be able to advance this legislation.”
“It’s commonsense that all candidates and political parties should have to clear the same hurdles to secure a spot on the ballot,” Manar said. “I have never thought it was fair that some candidates in Illinois have to collect more signatures than others to run for office.”
Senate Subcommittee continues hearings
The newly formed Senate Subcommittee on Capital met in Edwardsville during the week to hear testimony from colleges, universities, and local governments in the southern Illinois region about their capital and infrastructure needs.
The Subcommittee on Capital is comprised of members of the Senate’s Appropriations II and Transportation Committees and is tasked with understanding the needs around the state prior to drafting a potential capital improvement projects bill.
Illinois hasn’t had a capital bill in 10 years, which is concerning for state officials, transportation experts and higher education administrators, who say the state’s infrastructure has been rapidly deteriorating, causing concern for safety and economic prosperity.
In the coming weeks, the Subcommittee on Capital will continue touring the state and hosting these hearings in an effort to gain better insights into the state’s infrastructure problems. Edwardsville was just the second of six scheduled hearings. The first took place in Springfield on February 21.
Four other hearings have been scheduled:
March 18: Decatur
April 8: Peoria
April 16: Chicago
April 22: Elgin
Lawmakers take shots at Second Amendment rights
As spring session continues, a number of controversial gun-control measures have recently been filed for consideration in the Legislature.
Proposed measures include a ban on using ammunition containing lead when hunting wildlife, a mandate on the storage of firearms with penalties for violations, a requirement for FOID Card applicants to turn over a list of their social media accounts to authorities and a serial number requirement for all handgun ammunition.
Other measures carry extra costs for law-abiding gun owners, including a proposed tax on firearm ammunition and a 3.75 percent surcharge on firearms and firearm component parts.
Also being considered is a measure that would make it a felony to possess an “assault weapon” 300 days after the law goes into effect unless the assault weapon was owned before the law went into effect and is registered with the State Police. Another bill would ban licensed concealed carry holders from carrying in polling places, and a proposed measure would revoke the FOID cards of those who suffer and report losses or thefts of their firearms in three separate incidents within a two-year period.
Advocates of the Second Amendment contend that many of proposed gun-control measures filed this year dangerously encroach on the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners.
To follow along with this legislation and other bills filed in the 101st General Assembly, visit ilga.gov.
Abridged standardized testing to take effect
Beginning in March, the Illinois State Board of Education will begin implementing the Illinois Assessment for Readiness (IAR) test to students across the state. The IAR will be taking the place of the highly-criticized Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test implemented in 2015.
Critics of the PARCC exam cite duration, scoring errors, technical glitches, and delays in releasing scoring results among their criticisms. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the IAR will be shorter than the PARCC test while still asking the same types of questions.
The test will be administered to third through eighth graders across the state.