From the Desk of Senator Brian W. Stewart: “Let the people decide!”

In the wake of a recent federal Supreme Court ruling, Illinois Senate Republicans are renewing their call to pass a state Constitutional Amendment to allow voters to decide who draws legislative boundary maps.

The ruling by the United States Supreme Court leaving redistricting to state legislatures shows that it is time for the Illinois General Assembly to vote on Senate Joint Resolution-Constitutional Amendment 4 (SJRCA 4).  With 37 sponsors (enough to pass the measure), this bipartisan measure would give residents the opportunity to amend our Illinois Constitution and create a new, non-partisan system for drawing legislative boundary maps.

SJRCA 4 would place the question of fair maps on the ballot for the next statewide election and if approved, would establish an independent redistricting commission, increase transparency in the process and provide for public hearings to allow for input from residents.

Governor asks citizens to report flood damage

Illinois citizens affected by recent flooding are being asked to report any damage to local officials to help the state qualify for federal aid. 

On July 15, Governor J.B. Pritzker asked Illinois residents to assess local flooding damage and report it to their county’s emergency management agencies.  The information will be used to assess whether the state receives Federal Recovery Assistance.

A formal request for federal assistance must be submitted by August 3, which is 30-days after the last impacted river fell below major flood stage.  To help counties with the necessary reporting requirement, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has made available teams to assist with the damage assessment process.

The State of Illinois has established a website ( that allows residents and business owners to submit an initial damage report online.  Once reported via the state’s flood recovery website, the submission is forwarded to the appropriate county emergency management agency for follow-up reporting.

More protections for sexual assault victims

A new law will give sexual assault victims more protections when reporting the crimes to police or receiving treatment at a hospital.

Under previous law, when victims of sexual assault came into contact with police, such as when going to the hospital for treatment, the victims faced the possibility of being arrested if they had outstanding warrants, even in cases of minor non-violent offenses or unpaid fines.

House Bill 92 requires police officers to request a waiver of the required execution of arrest warrants, as long as they aren’t for a violent offense or parole violation.

Exemption for World Shooting and Recreation Complex

A new law will help an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recreational site in in southern Illinois continue to operate successfully.

The law will provide specific exemptions for businesses and firearms sales at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex events that would have been severely affected, limited, or outright banned by the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

Without the exemptions, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act would have increased costs and administrative burdens for many of the vendors that typically set up during events at the IDNR site in Sparta.

These new regulations could have led to national shooting events choosing a different venue.

One year since Governor’s Mansion reopened

A year ago, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion reopened to the public after a privately-funded three-year renovation spearheaded by former Governor Bruce Rauner and First Lady Diana Rauner.

The renovation focused on structural repairs and construction updates, and on improving the visitor experience with dedicated art spaces, expanded programming, full accessibility for visitors, and a focus on Illinois’ rich history.

The Governor’s Mansion is open to the public for tours daily from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. More information is available at

If you have any additional thoughts or ideas on these or any other issues, please visit my website at and use the form to send me an e-mail.