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1 Good Bill Both Sides Agree On

I was traveling this week. I started out by going to Houston for a few days to meet my new granddaughter. There is really nothing like a new baby to make you forget the rest of the world. I noticed that gas prices were well under three dollars per gallon in Texas.

I flew from Houston to South Dakota to be with my mom for a few days as she is still in a rehab hospital following her stroke. My sister is involved in her local political organization, and so we had quite a few conversations about politics. Interestingly, the South Dakota legislature finished its legislative session on Friday. They meet for 40 days over two months. One of their bigger debates centered around how much to cut the sales tax.

When was the last time you ever heard about a similar debate over HOW MUCH to CUT taxes in Illinois?

BTW, South Dakota legislators make $12,500. Illinois legislators make nearly $90,000 with committee stipends. And in SD, it takes a 2/3rd majority vote to pass any tax increase. We could use that in Illinois.

For the Illinois legislature, Friday was the deadline for bills to pass out of committees in both the House and the Senate.

In a flurry of activity over four days this week, collectively, the House and Senate passed out of committee 1628 bills.

No way, you’re thinking they could actually hear and pass that many bills. You would be right. 914 of the bills were “Shell Bills.” Shell bills are used to move legislation after the committee deadline by adding an amendment to that bill.

Actual bills heard and passed were 714, by my count. That’s a lot of bills.

  1. If you think hidden in one of those bills is a residential property tax cap bill of one percent like Indiana has – just forget about it.

  2. Maybe you are hoping there’s a big pension reform bill – something simple like making new teachers and state employees have a 401k and be subject to market risk like the rest of us are – you would be wrong again.

  3. Then surely, they passed a full school choice bill to help parents whose kids are trapped in failing schools get into a better school system. Nope.

There were only a few decent bills that came out of committee that will have any long-term positive impact on the state.

One bill, presented by Democrat Mark Walker, removes the ban on the construction of new nuclear plants. It is a good idea and received bipartisan support.

Illinois has the most nuclear plants in the country and nuclear power is a necessary, reliable base load supplier. During the coldest days of the Polar Vortex, nuclear power had no problem producing electricity even as natural gas plants and coal plants had difficulties and wind and solar were no use at all. We need nuclear power. We also need natural gas and coal. I frequently check the power generation mix using the MISO and PJM Now Apps. Typically, both Apps will show that natural gas is providing the most power anywhere between 30-60 percent, followed by nuclear and coal. In MISO area, coal usually provides more power than nuclear. Guess which provides the least amount of power – Wind and Solar.

So, when can we be honest about where our power comes from? Because problems lie ahead.

Crain’s Chicago reported that the power grid operator serving Northern Illinois and areas to the east warned just last month of potential electricity shortages over the coming seven years, thanks to ill-conceived state policies like Governor Pritzker’s Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA).

First MISO and now PJM reports power shortage possibilities due to Illinois’ CEJA Act. PJM services the northeast corner of the state and 12 other states over to the East coast. And yet, they cite specifically Illinois’ version of the New Green Deal as the largest contributor to power issues in the future. Read the excerpt below from Crains Chicago Business’ alarming article highlighting the problems in the CEJA Act.

“PJM Interconnection, in a Feb. 24 report prompting legislative hearings in Pennsylvania and Ohio, warned that the combination of fewer fossil fuel-fired power plants and higher demand caused by new data centers, the electrification of vehicles and buildings switching from gas to electric-powered heating could lead to shortages during normal peak times as the decade proceeds.

The report explicitly cites Illinois’ Climate & Equitable Jobs Act, or CEJA, enacted in 2021, as a contributor to the issue. The law, PJM estimates, will lead to the retirement of 5,800 megawatts of power production by 2030 — equivalent to two dual-reactor nuclear stations plus a single-reactor plant. That lost capacity is equal to 56% of the capacity of all five of the nuclear stations operating in northern Illinois.

Illinois’ aggressive decarbonization timetable represents the largest policy-driven cause of plant closures among several other federal and state initiatives that will result in retirements in other parts of PJM’s footprint. PJM covers all or parts of 13 states in the eastern half of the U.S., as well as Washington, D.C.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Thursday, March 9th, had this title.

Coal Keeps Germany’s Lights On:

The supposedly evil energy source saves the day in Europe”

And said this:

"So in a hilarious green irony, coal is keeping the lights on….

Berlin still plans to ban coal by 2030. Maybe before that day arrives, politicians in Berlin will catch up to what the market already knows: Fossil fuels remain indispensable for powering modern economies."

Where are the adults in the room?

Energy policy mishaps are beginning to unravel elsewhere as reality sets in. But, here in the US and in Illinois specifically, the politicians just can’t see the foolishness of their ways. Even as they pass a bill to allow for more nuclear plants, they still think you can get rid of fossil fuels which keep the lights on and the homes heated and cooled. CEJA should be repealed. We need affordable and reliable energy. Period.

Another good bill that passed out of committee is Republican Blain Wilhour’s HB 2984, which “Prohibits the investment of State moneys and public funds in certain investments or institutions tied to the Chinese Communist Party or the People's Republic of China.” The bill passed out of committee unanimously.

Back to South Dakota... I was shocked to find out that this vehicle was driving around Vermillion, SD. Excuse the photo quality; they are screenshots from a video my sister took of the van with an electronic display on its sides and rear panels. The van is roaming around this college town, home of the University of South Dakota, during Women’s History Month. The depths of depravity that the abortion industry will go to is disgusting.

South Dakota only allows abortion to save a mother’s life. In this article, “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, along with the state's Republican attorney general, said Tuesday the state will prosecute pharmacists who dispense abortion-inducing pills following a recent Food and Drug Administration rule change that broadens access to the pills.”

Walgreens is taking heat from a number of radical pro-abort consumers and politicians. A spokesman for Walgreens said in this NY Times article, “We have said from the beginning we will dispense this medication wherever we legally can once we are certified by the F.D.A.,” he added, “but at the same time we have to follow the law.”

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