Representative Dan Swanson’s March 22 Capitol News Update


  • Supreme Court asked to review Illinois gun ban law
  • House Republicans offer property tax solutions
  • Illinois lawsuit venue limit law found unconstitutional
  • Around the district

Supreme Court asked to review Illinois gun ban law

Second Amendment advocates have formally applied to the U.S. Supreme Court to review Illinois’ 2023 gun ban law.

This is the latest legal maneuver in a process that has so far included the Illinois state Supreme Court, a federal district court and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Defenders of the law have claimed that it is a reasonable limit on the enjoyment of rights otherwise guaranteed by the Second Amendment, while opponents argue that it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court will now be in a position to have the final say.

Critics of the law have pointed to gray areas within the way the law defines certain terms and certain items which may be subject to the ban. This opens the door to the possibility of the law being overturned or sharply narrowed on grounds of “unconstitutional vagueness,” though this is just one possible outcome.

The Supreme Court has not yet made a decision on whether or not to hear the challenge to the law, but it could do so at any time.

I voted No on the gun ban when it came before the House in January 2023.

House Republicans offer property tax solutions

This needs to be the year that the General Assembly finally acts on reducing the high property taxes that Illinoisans pay each year. High property taxes make it harder for us to attract new job creators to the state and they place an extra burden on those who are trying to stay in business here.

Recently House Republicans have offered solutions that would place caps on property tax increases. These tax hikes have not only been driving businesses out of Illinois for years, but also the jobs and families who depend on them. But it isn’t just businesses: in some parts of the state these high taxes have turned the dream of owning a home into a nightmare of excessive bills that threaten families’ ability to keep their home.

Illinois has a Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) that restricts the amount by which taxing bodies can increase their annual property tax levy. But each year, through heightened assessments and other changes, many property owners still see their taxes go up beyond the PTELL limit.

House Bills 4354 and 4716 would put hard caps in place so that individual property tax bills and assessments would not go above 5% or 3% respectively. Another bill, HB 3390, would cap the annual increase of residential property tax bills at 3%.

All three bills are in the Revenue and Finance Committee awaiting action. The deadline to have bills out of committee is April 5.

Illinois lawsuit venue limit law found unconstitutional

Last year a law was rushed through the General Assembly to limit the venues in which Illinoisans may file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of state laws. Once Governor Pritzker signed it, state laws could only be challenged in courts in Cook County (Chicago) or Sangamon County (Springfield). Now a Madison County judge has ruled the new law is itself unconstitutional.

In the debate on the House floor, opponents argued that the law made it much more difficult for Illinoisans who live far from Chicago or Springfield to use the courts to protect their rights. For example, someone from our district would have to drive four hours round trip to Springfield, or six hours round trip to Chicago, instead of just going to the local county courthouse. I voted No on this bill, but it passed on a largely party-line vote.

The judge ruled that the law “does violate due process, as applied to persons who reside or were injured outside of Cook or Sangamon County.”

The state can appeal the ruling until the end of March.

Around the District

It is always great to get out and around the communities of the 71st district.

This weekend I attended the Henry County Pork Producers Banquet. Thank you to the Ag/FFA Advisors from Cambridge, Kewanee and Geneseo for your input on Ag Education. Congratulations to all the scholarship winners.

It was great to hear from Cheryl Walsh, President of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. Also, thank you to Henry County Pork and the event’s sponsors. Illinois is the 4th largest pork producing state and over 57,000 jobs are related to the industry.

We also had breakfast at the Clover Fire Department over the weekend. We toured the new buildings and enjoyed our breakfast with friends!

On Sunday I had the honor to participate in Michael Gooding’s Court of Honor as he was presented his Eagle Scout.

Michael’s project was to repair and paint the park benches and picnic tables at Roseville park. He did a great job.

Congratulations Michael.

More news

House GOP targeting licensing delays with commonsense proposals

Governor announces retirement of Major General Rich Neely, Commander of Illinois National Guard

Spring enrollment at Illinois community colleges rising for 2nd consecutive year

Illinois approves nasal spray to fight overdose

Trout fishing season starts April 6 in Illinois