In the final days of the 2019 legislative session, Illinois lawmakers approved legislation making abortion a fundamental right, legalizing marijuana for recreational use, switching the state's income tax from a flat rate to a graduated rate and to be put before voters in November 2020, expanding gambling with up to six new casinos that include a site in Chicago, legalizing sports betting, doubling the gas tax, hiking annual license plate fees by 50 percent, and increasing cigarette taxes by a dollar a pack. Earlier in the year, legislators OK'd a measure to increase the state's minimum wage to $15 by 2025.
Executive Director Bob Gilligan discusses conscience protections afforded by new federal HHS rules with Greg Schleppenbach of the USCCB; religious freedom concerns associated with the federal Equality Act with Stanley Carlson-Thies of the Religious Freedom Alliance; and marijuana legalization with Andy Duran of the substance abuse-prevention organization LEAD.
Executive Director Bob Gilligan talks about extreme abortion legislation passed in New York State with Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference; physician-assisted suicide with Jennifer Briemann of the Maryland Catholic Conference; how marijuana legalization is progressing with Chicago Tribune reporter Robert McCoppin; and the federal First Step Act with Michael O'Rourke of the USCCB.
Host and Executive Director Bob Gilligan welcomes Alex Berenson, author of “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence;" Anthony Holder of Empower Illinois on Year 2 of the Tax Credit Scholarship program; Kevin Appleby of the Center for Migration Studies on the status of immigrants and refugees at the Mexican border; and recently retired state Rep. Jeanne ives on her tenure in the Illinois Legislature.