From the Desk of Senator Brian W. Stewart (March 29): “Let’s Save Lives Together”

First, I want to share my deepest condolences to the loved ones of Illinois State Trooper Brooke Jones-Story and the entire Illinois State Police family. Trooper Jones-Story was the brave officer who tragically paid the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of her duties when her life was taken after being struck by a truck while on a traffic stop on US RT 20 just outside Freeport on Thursday. We are thankful for her service and are deeply sorry that her watch was ended way too soon. Sadly, she was the 2nd Trooper in the past 75 days to die in the line of duty and the 15th Trooper to be struck by a vehicle this year due to violations of Scott’s Law.

For those who don’t know or need to be reminded, Scott’s Law, or the “Move Over Law,” has been in effect since 2002. It was named for Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant Scott Gillen. Lt. Gillen was doing his duty at a crash scene on a Chicago expressway, when a car that was driving too fast lost control, struck, and killed him.

Scott’s Law requires all drivers to do one of two things on Illinois roadways. If you’re driving and you see an emergency vehicle with their emergency lights on, get your car into the non-adjacent lane. If you can’t get into the non-adjacent lane, SLOW DOWN. Not only will you avoid a ticket, with fines up to $10,000 and the suspension of your driver’s license, you could save a life.

I must say as the Acting Director of the Illinois State Police Brendan F. Kelly also said, “Enough is enough”. MOVE OVER and SLOW DOWN!

This last week has definitely been full. It included the analysis of the Mueller Report in Washington and thousands of Second Amendment advocates gathering in Springfield. It’s been so full you may have missed that the United States Senate voted on the Green New Deal Tuesday.

For those who don’t know, the Green New Deal is a resolution that calls for our country to completely transition to renewable energy by 2030. It also massively expands government to help the working families who will be hit the hardest. Don’t worry. If these tax funded bureaucrats don’t find jobs for people who need them, they’ll turn to other bureaucrats who will provide “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.” Thankfully, it didn’t pass.

Now we all know what this is. The Green New Deal is neither new nor is it a deal. It’s socialism, plain and simple. Socialism by any other name is still socialism. Calling it environmentalism or conservation doesn’t make it any better.

Let me be clear. Conserving our natural resources is not a single party issue. It was President Theodore Roosevelt who wrote, “We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so.” As President, he also doubled the number of national parks and signed the Antiquities Act which provides for the protection of national monuments like the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation ceding the Yosemite Valley to the state of California for preservation. Our nation’s first official national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. President Eisenhower created the modest Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1960.

I believe in conservation. I believe in good stewardship. I think we are morally obligated to be good stewards, because, “to whom much is given, much is required.”

I believe good stewardship must include respecting private property and balancing the economic needs of working families. I also believe that there is a difference between good stewardship and radical environmentalism.

Tuesday’s vote doesn’t mean that the Green New Deal is dead. PV Magazine USA published an article February 8 titled “America’s Green New Deal is going to happen at the state, not federal level.” Since taking office, Governor Pritzker has joined the US Climate Alliance, and said, “We know that climate change is real. We know it’s a threat. And we know we must act.”

House Bill 3624 and Senate Bill 2132 seek to “fulfill” that mission. They propose the “Clean Energy Jobs Act.” The goal is to have Illinois using 100% renewable energy by 2050. It proposes an end to using coal or natural gas, and it seems, nuclear energy. It also proposes the end of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles on our roads.

But don’t worry. There’s a plan. After all, we’re talking about a “Jobs” Act. The plan is to create new state programs to spend more tax dollars empowering more bureaucrats to create “environmental justice communities,” a “clean jobs workforce,” and “clean energy empowerment zones.”

The bill doesn’t tell us what those terms mean. They don’t tell us how working families will be able to afford an electric car, or the charging station to power the car, or the garage for the charging station and the car. They don’t tell us why absolutely converting to renewable energy is so heavily dependent on “reducing peak demand.”

We don’t know how it will impact farmers who drive farm vehicles on the roads. What about the semi-trucks that haul our crops and deliver products to stores and businesses throughout Illinois?

David Roberts of the online magazine Vox offers some insight into the massive government expansion. In an article titled, “An Illinois bill leans into the most contentious part of the Green New Deal,” Roberts is quoted saying, “It is not merely a way to reduce emissions, but also to ameliorate the other symptoms and dysfunctions of a late capitalist economy…”

Illinois can’t afford to pay for the government it already has. That’s why Springfield is proposing plastic bag taxes, gas taxes, and a progressive income tax. We don’t need more socialism in Illinois. WE NEED LESS.

If you have any additional thoughts or ideas, you can visit my website at www.senatorstewart.com and use the form to send me an e-mail.