State lawmakers are working back in their districts until April 30, when they return to Springfield to finish the spring legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn May 31.
So far this legislative session, several measures sponsored by Senate Republicans have advanced to the House of Representatives after receiving approval from the Senate, including a bill that increases awareness of Scott’s Law.
One of the bills that has not been allowed to advance is my proposal to authorize Sunday car sales, which would allow dealers to run their businesses as they see fit, give consumers more shopping options, and ultimately increase tax revenues for Illinois.
In other news, women older than 25 who are seeking to earn undergraduate college degrees are encouraged to apply for the Conference of Women Legislators $2,500 scholarship.
Also, as severe weather season ramps up, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is offering residents some tips for disaster recovery.
Strong grassroots effort needed
Once again, I am calling on Illinois consumers to help me in my push to end the state’s Sunday sales ban for car dealers.
My Senate Bill 22 would repeal the prohibition enacted in 1982 that has prevented Illinois consumers from being able to buy cars on Sundays. It would allow for the sale of motor vehicles on any six days of the week chosen by the business owner.
However, Democrat leaders have not allowed Senate Bill 22 to be called for a vote. Car dealers should be able to sell their products on any day of week, even Sunday, just like every other business, with economic benefits like increased tax revenue for Illinois as a result of more sales. But the big franchise car dealers have decided that their convenience is more important than the customer’s inconvenience and they do not want to open on Sunday. That’s ok with me if they so choose but to then use the power of government to prevent any competitors from being open on Sunday is terribly wrong. Most states allow sales seven days a week. As a compromise, I proposed leaving a six-day limit but allowing dealers to choose their six days. But the big dealers have refused any compromise, even for used cars. They have expensive lobbyists and make lots of political contributions and, as a result, many legislators are not willing to do what is right if it means giving up all of those contributions.
Uri Adler, a used car dealer, testified in support of the legislation March 5 before the Senate Transportation Committee in the Capitol.
“I am an Orthodox Jew. I am prohibited by my religion from opening the dealership on Saturday, when a large percentage of used vehicle transactions and activity takes place for most dealerships. I am unable to participate in that activity for that reason,” Adler said. “The only other day that’s available to me on a weekend – when people have time to shop for used vehicles, and to browse used vehicles and to conduct these transactions – would be on Sunday. I have many potential customers that would like to visit the dealership on a weekend day. Sunday is available to them, it’s available to me, but it’s prohibited by state law.”
Micah Sapoznick, a used car dealer whose business is mostly Internet-based, also testified March 5 that the Sunday sales prohibition impacts his ability to sell cars.
“I have lots of clients that want to come from out of state … and unfortunately, the weekend is the only time for them that they are able to make these plans and come in. If they run into any type of travel issues and are not able to make it in on time on Saturday … they have to turn around … and get back to work on Monday,” Sapoznick said. “Not being open on Sunday also stops a lot of people that do work on Saturday, that do work six days per week, and their only day to come in would be Sunday, and that prohibits them from being able to buy a vehicle.”
I am asking consumers to please contact your state legislators and tell them Senate Bill 22 deserves a public hearing and a public vote.
Scott’s Law reminder in SOS renewal notices
To promote on-the-job safety for Illinois State Troopers, the Senate has passed legislation that would require the Secretary of State to include information about Scott’s Law with every vehicle registration notice it sends to motorists.
Senate Bill 947 is an effort to make Illinois’ roadways safer by informing drivers about Scott’s Law, which states that drivers must move over, if possible, and slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped along the roadway.
The legislation is a response to the recent tragic deaths of three Illinois State Troopers who have been hit in accidents while their cars have been stopped along the roadway. The number of Troopers hit by vehicles has drastically increased in 2019, with 16 reported incidents in the past three months. In 2018, eight troopers were hit; 12 were hit in 2017; and five in 2016.
Scott’s Law, enacted in 2002, is named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department, who was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while assisting at a crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
A person who violates Scott’s Law can be fined up to $10,000.
COWL’s $2,500 scholarship program for women
The Conference of Women Legislators (COWL) is encouraging Illinois women who are seeking to earn undergraduate college degrees, to apply for one of their $2,500 scholarships. Applicants must be ages 25 or older.
COWL is a bipartisan, bicameral, nonprofit organization of women legislators in the Illinois General Assembly. The group’s yearly Scholarship Award Program is a part of its mission to promote economic independence, community service, and leadership development.
Scholarship applicants are required to enroll in an Illinois accredited college or university for a minimum of six credit hours to qualify, making the scholarships available to part-time and online students.
Applications must be postmarked or emailed by April 30. Awardees will be notified by May 31. More information and application materials can be found at https://cowlil.com/programs/.
IEMA tips for disaster recovery
April is Recovery Preparedness Month, and IEMA has released a helpful guide on how residents can be prepared to quickly and efficiently recover from disasters.
Here are five tips from IEMA:
- Get Organized. Secure and organize financial and critical personal, household, and medical information. Having these items in a safe place can expedite insurance claims and other emergency expenses.
- Savings. Having some money saved is the best financial defense against disasters. Saving a little bit at a time can go a long way. A “rainy day” fund can help you invest in your family’s safety.
- Insurance. Obtain property (homeowners or renters), health, and life insurance if you do not have them.
- Inventory. Make an inventory of your possessions using photographs and/or videos of your belongings.
- Communication. Develop a Family Communication Plan that outlines how you will contact one another when a disaster strikes.