Jason Barickman

State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, chats with Ford County Record Editor Will Brumleve during a visit to the newspaper's office in downtown Paxton on Wednesday afternoon.

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PAXTON — State Sen. Jason Barickman said he expects the General Assembly’s fall veto session to be different than it has been in years past, given that Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker vetoed only seven of the 599 bills sent his way this year and sent back just one to the General Assembly with an amendatory veto.

Lawmakers will return to Springfield in late October and early November to consider overriding any of the vetoes. New legislation could also be considered at that time.

Barickman, a Bloomington Republican, said that given the number of vetoes issued by Pritzker — which he suspects may have set a record for the least number of vetoes issued by a first-year governor — he expects a “light workload” in the fall, “at least in dealing with his vetoes.”

As for new legislation, Barickman said he thinks there may be some talk about “energy-related issues.”

“There are a lot of groups out there who have supported Governor Pritzker and his agenda and want to see a change in policy — some of the wind groups, some of the solar groups,” Barickman said.

Barickman, however, said it is possible that some ongoing issues could present a challenge in bringing up energy policy for debate this fall. He specifically mentioned “an investigation into a lot of people around (Democratic House) Speaker (Michael) Madigan,” which he said “involves Commonwealth Edison and some of its lobbyists.”

“That whole investigation, unbelievable as it may be, could have a significant impact on whether or not we do anything of significance related to energy policy this fall,” Barickman said.

Can’t we all just get along?

Barickman — who visited the Ford County Record office Wednesday after he and state Rep. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, spoke to the Ford-Iroquois Retired Teachers Association — said he was pleased to see more bipartisanship in the General Assembly in the final week of the spring legislative session.

In the months leading up to that time, partisanship was rampant, he said.

“The Democrats had all the votes they needed, and they didn’t seem to be interested in negotiating with Republicans, by and large,” Barickman said. “But that changed during the last week (of the session).

“And as a result, even though Republicans were in a super-minority status (with Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the Senate 40-19) ... we were able to pass some important business reforms that we feel were good — things that the manufacturing community has been asking for, like some tax credits and things that hopefully help improve the environment that we ask our employers to operate in. They put our people to work, so I want to make sure our employers stay here and new employers come here, and at the end of the spring we were able to pass a series of proposals that had been stuck for years. So I thought that was very good. I’d like to see more of that next year.”

Barickman’s bills become law

Barickman said he was also pleased to see the governor sign a number of pieces of legislation that Barickman sponsored.

Among them:

➜ House Bill 2383 — referred to as Mason’s Law — which requires a one-year suspension of an individual’s driver’s license if they commit a right-of-way violation at a crosswalk or a crosswalk in a school zone that results in bodily harm or death. The legislation was proposed in response to the death of 24-year-old rural Clifton resident Mason Knorr, who was killed in a traffic crash when a semi failed to obey a posted stop sign.

➜ House Bill 92, which requires police officers to request a waiver of the required execution of an arrest warrant for a non-violent offense when the offender is a victim of a sexual assault who comes into contact with police when they are at a hospital, for example, to seek treatment following a rape. “Under current law, police must arrest sexual assault victims who have outstanding non-violent arrest warrants,” said Barickman. “This legislation fixes that issue and makes sure that victims don’t have to fear reporting an assault.”

➜ Senate Bill 117, which provides an updated set of rules for how schools handle, store and potentially destroy long-term student records.

➜ House Bill 2489, which requires the Illinois of Secretary of State’s Office to provide county tax collectors with quarterly reports on the sales (transfers of titles) of mobile homes. The goal is to ensure that the necessary taxes for a mobile home are paid for current and previous tax periods.

➜ House Bill 2583, which allows river conservancy districts to update their official names to more accurately represent the purpose they have evolved to serve.