Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers, in voting YES on an FY 19 State Budget that is balanced and relies on “no new taxes”.

“When this process started, we pushed hard for three goals: a balanced budget, a full-year budget, and no tax increases,” said Rep. Hammond.  “This budget funds many of our priorities and provides critical stability to State Government which suffered under a nearly two-year budget impasse in recent past.”

The FY 19 State Budget fully funds the new bipartisan K-12 education funding formula to local schools, funds the MAP grant program as well as providing a four-year commitment for MAP recipients, creates a new merit-based scholarship program to keep students in Illinois (a proposal that came out the Higher Education Working Group, on which Rep. Hammond served), provides a 2% operations funding increase for universities and community colleges (including Western Illinois University), and includes more than $400 million for the Department of Corrections unpaid vendor bills from FY 17 and FY 18.

“Last year, I crossed the aisle to end the gridlock and pass a state budget after a two-year budget impasse,” said Rep. Hammond.  “This year, I was pleased to see the byproduct of the trust built last year was an agreed budget negotiation process that yielded a far more bipartisan rollcall.  This budget provides the stability needed by so many of our stakeholders, as well as implementing programs that will help us keep our best and brightest in Illinois to grow our way out of this mess.”

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Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) passed Illinois Farm Bureau-backed legislation to address a constituent issue related to spousal transfers of wooded acreage qualified under the “transition percentage” assessment program.

“This legislation clearly defines for County Assessors how the wooded acreage is to be addressed for tax purposes.  This issue was brought to us by a constituent who was assessed at a higher rate by the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) after transferring qualified acreage to a spouse.  The bill allows a spousal transfer exception, which would prevent IDOR from going after other unknowing constituents in this manner,” said Rep. Norine Hammond.

“When wooded acreage is transferred from spouse to spouse, the couple should not be penalized with a higher property assessment,” said Sen. Jil Tracy.  “The county should recognize that transferring property to one’s spouse is not equivalent to selling or transferring to an outside individual.  I’m glad our constituent brought this issue of oversight in the law to our attention.”

Senate Bill 2274 passed the Illinois House on Tuesday and passed the Illinois Senate on April 11.  It will now go the Governor for consideration. 

“Senator Tracy and I are very attuned to issues brought forward by our constituents that may require legislative changes.  We are confident that this legislation will help wooded acreage owners who may find themselves in a similar situation,” Hammond continued.

The Illinois Farm Bureau supported Senate Bill 2274 and joined in seeking additional clarity on this policy issue. 
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Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond joined Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz in urging Illinois firearm owners to file paperwork early to renew their Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) Cards as the first wave of the 10-year renewal will create a backlog of renewal applications.

“With more than 50,000 FOID cards due for renewal between June 1 and August 1, I am urging my constituents who are FOID holders to renew as early as possible to allow adequate time for processing prior to expiration,” said Rep. Hammond on Tuesday.

Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz recommends, “gun owners get their renewal application in at least one to two months in advance so we have adequate time to process them and get a new card our before expiration.”

The Illinois State Police oversees the FOID card system and issues the cards that are required to buy or possess a firearm or ammunition in Illinois.  FOID card applications require state and federal background checks, as well as review of the database from the Illinois Department of Human Services to confirm applicants have not been in a mental institution in the past five years.  Persons with common names may find additional delays as identities are confirmed.

Illinois State Police have already sent renewal notices to those whose cards will expire June 1.  Applicants can visit the ISP’s Firearms Services Bureau website at ispfsb.com to renew online.  The cost of the card is $10.  

Applicants must be Illinois residents and include their Driver’s License or State ID card number.  Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parents’ signature on the application.  Anyone who needs assistance with the FOID card renewal, and those who prefer paper applications, may call 217-782-7980 and select menu option 0.  Applicants should also make sure the name and address on FOID applications match the records on file for them at the Secretary of State’s Office, otherwise the renewal process will be delayed further.
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