Smile Politely

The most recent Illinois legislative session proves that your vote matters

There’s this feeling among a not-insignificant number of the electorate that it doesn’t matter who is in office, that both parties are the same, and that your vote doesn’t matter. The end of the IL legislative session last week should dispel any of those notions. 

For those not following along:

  • The Fair Tax is now on the ballot for 2020. Currently, the IL constitution does not allow us to tax the income of the wealthy any higher than we tax the income of poorest among us. It’s part of the reason your property tax bills are such a disaster. We now have the chance to change that.
  • The Reproductive Health Act passed, the most progressive piece of reproductive health legislation in the nation, which enshrines a woman’s right to choose even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. As states like Alabama and Georgia try and drag us backwards, Illinois is leading. 
  • We legalized recreational cannabis via the most equity-centered legalization bill in the nation. It’s worth noting that Rep. Ammons voted present on this particular bill, as she felt it did not go far enough to repair the damage done to the black community. Check out her speech on the house floor here.
  • We’re actually making investments in infrastructure. Like, good infrastructure too, not just more lanes on the highway

Now, none of the half-dozen major pieces of legislation Democrats (and an inspiring number of Republicans) sent to Governor Pritzker’s desk will turn Illinois around overnight but they do stop us from taking on water, and they do give us the ability to steer ourselves in the right direction. Millions of peoples lives will be improved by these bills.

I’ll admit that this is also me eating a fair bit of crow. I was not at all looking forward to Pritzker as governor. I did not support him in the primary, and when I was out canvassing I talked about (or tried to talk about) every Democratic candidate on the ballot BUT him. Holding my nose and voting for him on election day felt….not great, but I did it. Not everything that passed last week was a home-run, and not everything that should have passed was able to pass, but I am pleasantly surprised by the speed with which some major legislation got through and with Pritzker’s ability to broker deals between groups that were at each other’s throats not even a year ago. 

This stuff matters, and these bills will have a tangible impact on your life whether you follow politics or participate in the process or not. 

Photo of Reproductive Health Act house vote from Carol Ammons Twitter page

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