State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) told Gov.-elect JB Pritzker Tuesday to slow down with his push to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois, making him the first Democrat to publicly throw up a roadblock. Meanwhile, the Illinois Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow for the dissolution by referendum of road districts in Lake and McHenry counties.
- Moylan: marijuana won’t ‘solve all of Illinois’ problems’ — Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they’re eager to decriminalize marijuana with the support of pro-recreational pot Gov.-elect JB Pritzker, but the new governor won’t be able to count on everyone in his party. State Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) told The Daily Line that he’s far from the only Democrat who is opposed to the idea altogether — or against the fast track that Pritzker and other lawmakers have indicated they want to take to legalize marijuana. Moylan called for more studies on the issue, and in a statement Tuesday said the legislature should be “cautious” and that the state needs to “understand the repercussions our community will have to face.” The Democrat alleged that studies from Colorado show traffic accidents and homelessness have increased in the state since officials legalized pot in 2014. Moylan and said he is “worried that the benefits [of legalizing marijuana] will not outweigh the societal cost. Experts debate the validity and significance of those findings. On the campaign trail, Pritzker promised a boost in state revenues from legalizing the drug. A new Illinois Economic Policy Institute study estimated that decriminalizing the drug would create some 2,600 businesses and 24,000 jobs, plus tax revenue of $525 million annually, but other estimates are much lower. Moylan isn’t alone in opposing legalizing marijuana; House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) has also come out against it. Moylan on Tuesday said legalizing recreational marijuana “to generate more tax money is just irresponsible. Marijuana isn’t this miracle product that will solve all of Illinois’ problems; it is a drug that has consequences.”
- Local government consolidation bill OK’d — Democrats in the Illinois Senate on Tuesday pushed through a bill that would allow residents of Lake and McHenry counties to vote to dissolve road districts in an effort to bring down Illinois’ highest-in-the-nation units of local government. The bill, HB 4637, passed over Republicans’ objections that the bill might unfairly burden other municipalities after a district was dissolved. The measure passed the House with 80 votes in April, but didn’t get a hearing in a Senate committee until the first part of veto session earlier this month. Republicans on Tuesday criticized the bill as being short-sighted, questioning what would happen if residents voted to dismantle a road district that was in debt. But State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) said he promised to work with Republican opponents on a trailer bill to fix any shortcomings. Link told The Daily Line after the vote that he wasn’t sure how many road districts in Lake and McHenry counties were indebted versus ones with assets, but said that one local road district in Lake County only had six miles of roads, and employed “umpteen” people, which wastes tax money. “This is ridiculous the amounts of local government we have in this state,” Link said. “We’re only touching the tip of the iceberg with the amount we have. I’m tired of everybody talking about it and not doing something about it…this is a step forward and I think people want consolidation.”