Illinois Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady said sees several areas where his Republican caucus can work with Democratic Gov.-elect JB Pritzker, including on infrastructure.
The Illinois General Assembly ended its fall session last week as Democrats anticipate complete control of the state Capitol in January. Record Democratic majorities in both houses will watch Pritzker be sworn in Jan. 14. Brady and his Senate Republicans will again be in the minority.
“Illinois needs all the help it can get. We’ve got a great state, but we’ve underperformed. The people of Illinois deserve cooperation,” Brady said on GLT’s Sound Ideas.
Brady said had a “very nice conversation” with Pritzker recently.
“He realizes there are issues like increasing taxes on families and businesses that I can’t support because I think they don’t move Illinois forward. They’re more destructive than positive. But there are other issues, like an infrastructure program that creates a safer environment on our roads and bridges and invests in a better transit ability and creates jobs that I think we can work together on,” he said.
Brady said his priorities in a capital bill would be repairing roads and bridges, followed by projects like the long-delayed fine arts complex at Illinois State University.
On working with Democrats: “We’re going to work together, whether we support the end product or not. We’re going to give our input on the positives and negatives we see in specific legislation.”
Lawmakers in 2019 are expected to consider legalizing recreational marijuana, as 10 states have already done. Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2013 and decriminalized pot in 2016.
Brady noted that some Republicans are open to the idea. State Sen. Jason Barickman, also a Republican from Bloomington, has said he wants to be part of the negotiations.
Brady said he’s not quite there yet.
“I have grave concerns about the effects this has on our population,” Brady said. “It’s a very, very intense drug, I believe.”
Brady said he wants to see law enforcement, health care professionals, and the business community involved in any negotiations to legalize marijuana.
Pritzker said during the campaign he supported legalizing marijuana. A recent study said it could generate $525 million in annual tax revenue for state and local governments.
“I don’t know how firm Pritzker is with his agenda on that. That remains to be seen,” Brady said.
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