Thank you for reading this edition of “Schmidt’s Spotlight.” I’m grateful for the opportunity to share with you what I’ve been up to as I serve as your state representative. Remember, this is just a sampling of what’s going on in our district. For even more up to date news, please visit RepSchmidt.com or follow me on Facebook.
Around the District
Pictured at a St. Clair County Precinct Meeting
Pictured at a St. Louis Regional Freight Tour
Pictured with representatives of Caritas Family Solutions
Pictured at a Lebanon Chamber meeting
Thank You for a Successful Blood Drive
I hosted a blood drive recently in O’Fallon. It was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came out and made a difference.
Rep. Schmidt Proposes 2024 Back-to-School Tax Break to Provide Relief for Families (With Fox 2 News Video)
State Representative Kevin Schmidt says families are being hit hard with rising inflation and has introduced new legislation to help them better afford school supplies.
House Bill 4114 establishes a sales tax holiday period for certain school supplies from August 2, 2024, through August 11, 2024. The bill, if passed, would reduce the sales tax on school supplies from 6.25% to 1.25%.
“Inflation is hitting area families hard,” Schmidt said. “The cost of groceries, gas, and everyday household needs is out of control. We need to provide some relief to help combat inflation and that is exactly what this bill does.”
Schmidt noted Missouri is set to offer a back-to-school tax holiday this weekend. He hopes to reinstate the back-to-school tax holiday that was offered in Illinois last year.
“Education is the bedrock of our society, and we need to support working families,” Schmidt said. “I urge my colleagues in the House and the Senate to put kids and families first by enacting House Bill 4114 into law.”
Statement on Governor’s Veto of SB76
Last week, Governor Pritzker vetoed SB76, a bill that would have allowed for the construction of new nuclear power plants in Illinois. Following this veto, I released the following statement:
“Last week, Governor Pritzker vetoed SB76, a bill that would have allowed new construction of nuclear power plants in Illinois. This bill would have created many new jobs for our region, something our people desperately need. It also would have lowered energy costs by providing truly sustainable long term reliable energy. I’m saddened to hear it has been vetoed, and I will continue to support legislation that leads to job creation.”
Statement on Illinois Supreme Court Gun Ban Ruling
Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to uphold legislation enforcing a gun ban in Illinois. I released the following statement following the ruling:
“From day one my Republican colleagues and I have challenged the constitutionality of the Democrats’ broad gun ban, advocating for a focus on law enforcement and crime prevention instead. This rushed gun restriction unfairly impacts responsible gun owners while doing little to deter criminals. We remain steadfast in our belief that the Constitution’s principles must be upheld, and we urge the Governor and Democrats to prioritize effective solutions rather than infringing upon citizens’ rights.”
Rep. Schmidt Supported Legislation Signed into Law Makes Insulin and EpiPens Affordable
State Representative Kevin Schmidt (R-Cahokia Heights) has taken a significant stride towards enhancing healthcare accessibility for families as two bills he supported have been signed into law. Rep. Schmidt’s co-sponsoring of HB2189, known as the Access to Affordable Insulin Act, and his yes vote on HB3639, a measure aimed at ensuring affordable access to EpiPens, highlights his dedication to improving the lives of his constituents.
“I am excited these two bills have been signed into law,” Rep. Schmidt said. “By reducing insulin costs and capping EpiPen expenses, we are taking concrete steps towards safeguarding the health and financial well-being of vulnerable families in our community.”
Understanding the mounting concerns surrounding the soaring costs of insulin, Rep. Schmidt decided to co-sponsor HB2189. The Access to Affordable Insulin Act introduces a discount program overseen by the Department of Insurance. This program empowers participants to purchase insulin at a reduced, post-rebate price. The newly enacted law takes a crucial step towards easing the financial strain on families grappling with diabetes, offering them more affordable options to manage their health. The program, set to take effect on July 1, 2025, demonstrates Rep. Schmidt’s unwavering commitment to championing affordable healthcare solutions.
In a similar vein, Rep. Schmidt’s yes vote on HB3639, an amendment to the Illinois Insurance Code, reinforces his dedication to healthcare affordability. Under the new law, insurers that provide coverage for medically necessary EpiPens are mandated to limit the cost to individuals. Regardless of the type of EpiPen, insured individuals will not be required to pay more than $60 for a twin-pack of these life-saving injectors. This ensures that families and individuals at risk of severe allergic reactions have access to critical medication without bearing an excessive financial burden.
Rep. Schmidt Congratulates Mascoutah Public Library on Receiving LSTA Grant
State Representative Kevin Schmidt is pleased to extend his congratulations to the Mascoutah Public Library for being awarded a $10,582 grant under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) program. Administered by the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, the LSTA grant will help the library fulfill its commitment to enhance the services it brings to the community.
The Library Services and Technology Act grant projects are designed to engage Illinois residents through innovative library technology, programs, and services that promote lifelong learning and address the needs of diverse individuals, including those who face challenges in using library resources. The grant aims to provide extended library services, access to information and ideas, and support for information fluency in order to empower residents across the state.
Mascoutah Public Library’s successful grant application exemplifies its dedication to advancing library services and technology for the betterment of its patrons. The grant funds will be utilized to further enrich the technology and services the library provides.
“Congratulations to the Mascoutah Public Library on securing this well-deserved LSTA grant,” said State Representative Kevin Schmidt. “Libraries are invaluable community resources that provide access to knowledge, promote learning, and foster a love of reading. This grant underscores the library’s commitment to meeting the diverse needs of its patrons and enhancing the technology and services it provides to the people of Mascoutah.”
The Mascoutah Public Library continues to play a vital role in promoting education, literacy, and community development. The LSTA grant will empower the library to expand its reach, offer innovative programs, and provide enhanced services that contribute to the enrichment of Mascoutah and the surrounding areas.
Professional Licensure Law Outdated and Stifles Job Growth: Rep. Schmidt Comments
The professional licensure system in Illinois is antiquated and outdated, and as a result industry professionals from nurses to barbers to roofers can experience wait periods of three to nine months to begin working. The system, which has a never-ending backlog, has not been upgraded since 1999. Republican lawmakers have fought for the General Assembly to pass needed legislation with funding increases, but the status quo remains. At least 40 different professions require state licensure to work in Illinois, and these lengthy delays leave people out of work and the state leaving taxable income on the table. And in many cases, professionals in seasonal and outdoor industries can miss out on an entire year of income waiting out the current licensing system.
Professional licensure is intended to ensure public safety and maintain professional standards, but it can also create barriers to stifle economic growth. Individuals are asked to meet specific education and training requirements, and that can create barriers to entry. If the supply of professionals is restricted, consumers see higher prices and rising costs for services. Strict licensure can also hinder innovation and restrict competition within industries, slowing down economic growth and impeding advancements.
To address these concerns, House Republicans have fought for regulatory reforms to provide alternatives, such as certification or apprenticeship programs. These approaches can maintain professional standards while reducing barriers to entry and facilitating economic growth.
Over one million people in the state need a professional license to work. Gov. Pritzker has been quoted as saying the number of processors at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has been increased from 20 to 45 since 2019, leading to what he claims are average license processing times being reduced from 10 to 12 weeks to four to five weeks. Quite simply, that is not accurate nor good enough. Republicans have worked with IDFPR officials on this issue, and with needed reforms and funding increases those wait times could be reduced even further to just one week in many cases.
These industry professionals have paid for their education and in some cases are transferring to Illinois from another state. These lengthy delays are not acceptable, but Democrats continue to push other initiatives while Republicans have brought real solutions to the table. These hard-working Illinoisans want to get to work, consumers deserve healthy competition and fair prices, and the state can benefit by collecting taxable income sooner.
“Getting licensed to earn a living and serve the residents of Illinois should not be require such a difficult and lengthy process,” stated Rep. Kevin Schmidt, (R-Cahokia Heights). “There are known ways to improve the problems with professional licensing, and the solutions are out there. House Republicans will continue to fight to pass needed legislation.”
Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton) is a member of the CLIMB Task Force which is reviewing professional licensing standards for certain fields. She added that the situation has not improved and there are still lots of people waiting a very long time.
“A limited supply of licensed professionals can result in cost increases for consumers,” stated Rep. Elik. “Why would we not do everything we can to get people to work in their desired industry as quickly as possible while also serving the needs of our constituents? These delays are hurting job growth and need to be addressed.”
Rep. Dave Severin recently convened a meeting between IDFPR and Minority Leader Tony McCombie about proposed solutions to the licensure delays.