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Coffey Shares Thoughts on Legislative Process

A letter from State Representative Mike Coffey:

I have served as your State Representative for just over 130 days and it has been nothing less than a whirlwind experience. I hit the ground running after taking the oath of office on January 11, meeting with constituents, hiring staff and setting up a district office all while simultaneously serving on committees and attending legislative sessions.

The highlight has been meeting so many remarkable people, from school sports champions, small business owners, senior citizens and military veterans to nursing students, future farmers, teachers, not-for-profit directors… and too many others to list here.

But there have been a few frustrations along the way as well.

I am frustrated by the recent budget process that forced legislators to act on a budget in which few had any time to thoroughly review before we cast our votes.

I am also frustrated and angered by the lack of accountability, transparency and general respect for the people of Illinois shown by those currently leading the Illinois General Assembly.

A few points to illustrate:

Time. The House of Representatives works on “hurry up and wait” time. Legislative sessions rarely began on time. I’m not talking a few minutes late; too often we waited more than an hour for session to get started. That goes for committees, which is the only time the public has an opportunity to provide testimony. This disdain for those whom lawmakers are sworn to serve is at best disrespectful.

House Rules. The Speaker of the House crafts the “rules” governing the House of Representatives. The rules are supposed to set decorum, instead they are manipulated by one political party to control policy. For instance, one of the rules allows a small number of lawmakers to block a bill from receiving a public hearing or a vote, even if it has numerous sponsors and bipartisan support. Not sure what you call it, but it is not Democracy. Nor is it transparent government.

Spending. This General Assembly is spending taxpayer money like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately, that’s precisely where their spending spree will lead, to no tomorrow for our children. Those in control are blindly passing legislation creating new programs without having to divulge the cost. This lack of fiscal responsibility and accountability will be devastating to our children’s futures.

The Capitol is the people’s house and it infuriates me that those currently in power have disregarded that fact. The people of this state deserve a legislature that is accountable, transparent and keeps families in mind with every decision it makes.

As your state representative, I vow to continue fighting for the 95th District and putting pressure on those who would otherwise prefer to keep you in the dark.


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