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Illinois ballot could include election security, property tax and IVF questions

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(The Center Square) – Illinois voters could see three non-binding referendums on the November ballot once it’s certified next month.

The Illinois State Board of Elections said the ballot is set to be certified Aug. 28. Alongside candidates for president, Congress, Statehouse seats and other elected offices, the Illinois General Assembly approved three non binding referendums to ask voters. State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, explained.

“First would be an Election Worker Protection and Candidate Accountability Referendum Act,” Hoffman said on the House floor in May. “The second, the Property Tax Relief and Fairness Referendum Act. The third, the Assisted Reproductive Health Referendum Act.”

Senate Bill 2412 originally started as a measure concerning child welfare but was gutted and replaced with provisions impacting the November election and approved in the House within hours.

Republicans in the House voted present before walking off the House floor in protest. State Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said there was no transparency on the last-minute non binding referendums. He said other questions should have been approved.

“In a binding way that is meaningful and genuine, whether that is term limits or redistricting reform or challenging the sanctuary state policies,” Spain said.

Illinois law prohibits local and state law enforcement for assisting federal immigration authorities with immigration detention orders if that is the sole violation against someone. Spain said such policies are hurting people throughout the state of Illinois.

Instead of such questions, Spain said instead Democrats advanced advisory questions that do voters no good.

When the amended measure reached the Senate President Don Harmon explained the non-binding referendums.

“The first questions relates to election interference, the second would adopt a 3% surcharge on income over a million dollars to provide property tax relief and the third would ensure that health insurance policies cover access to in vitro fertilization,” Harmon said.

The language of the advisory questions are as follows:

“Should the Illinois Constitution be amended to create an additional 3% tax on income greater than $1,000,000 for the purpose of dedicating funds raised to property tax relief?”

“Should all medically appropriate assisted reproductive treatments, including, but not limited to, in vitro fertilization, be covered by any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides coverage for pregnancy benefits, without limitation on the number of treatments?”

“Should any candidate appearing on the Illinois ballot for federal, state, or local office be subject to civil penalties if the candidate interferes or attempts to interfere with an election worker’s official duties?”

Pritzker signed the bill just days after it surfaced.

State Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, said the measure is ironic.

“That a motion that contains a referendum on election interference actually interferes with a pending election,” McClure said. “That’s what this bill does.”

The provision of the measure prohibiting the slating of candidates for the November 2024 election that didn’t run in the primary is on hold per court order pending further review by the Illinois Supreme Court. Republicans said that provision interfered with the rules for the current election cycle.

The election is Nov. 5.

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