DIXON – As a freshman in a “very minority” party, state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, says he gets a lot of his information on state politics from the same place his constituents do – the media.
Nonetheless, Demmer gave an update on the happenings in Springfield during Tuesday’s Lee County Board meeting.
At this year’s legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill allowing concealed carry of guns, the 50th state to do so. Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed it, but the Legislature overrode him.
Illinois State Police have until Jan. 5 to carry out the concealed carry law, Demmer said.
“There’s a little dragging of feet by the state police,” Demmer said, “but, overall, they’re meeting their deadlines.”
Republicans, he said, disliked some parts of the law, but “it was a fair compromise. We’ll be able to exercise our Second Amendment rights more fully.”
As for the state’s pension crisis, a special committee of legislators has been meeting to seek an elusive compromise. Such a deal likely would include greater employee contributions, reduced cost-of-living increases and salary caps for pension benefits, Demmer said.
“We need to reform all five state pension systems,” he said. “All are terribly underfunded.”
County Board member David Gusse, R-Dixon, blamed the governor and Legislature for scaring away job-creating businesses.
“Caterpillar has been a big mover in this state,” he said. “Where has Caterpillar put all their new jobs in the last 30 years?”
Not in Illinois, Gusse said, answering his own question.
Demmer said he had no “misconceptions” about Springfield’s negative effect on business. Lawmakers, he said, have done a lot to handicap companies.
“We have to change the climate.”