Local lawmakers tackle controversial topics at forum - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local lawmakers tackle controversial topics at forum

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MT. VERNON, Ill. -- Southern Illinois lawmakers spoke on some hot-button issues with residents of Jefferson County Monday night. 

Senator Paul Schimpf, (R) Waterloo, and Representatives Dave Severin, (R) Benton, and Terri Bryant, (R) Murphysboro, talked about gun control, abortion and proposed tax increases. 

This town hall comes one month after nearly 500 people gathered in Marion to discuss similar topics at a forum with lawmakers.

About 80 people filed into the theater inside Mt. Vernon High School to listen to legislators.

As residents walked in the door, they were handed a survey with ten questions touching on those important topics. 

"We have an opportunity to do some things right in the state of Illinois," Severin said. "We have done things wrong for a long time."

Mt. Vernon resident and council member Donte Moore showed his concern about about legislation containing abortion. 

"I don't care what anybody says in America," Moore said. "When it comes to my kids, I know my kids the best and do not take that away from me. I want to make sure my kids are doing the right thing."

Moore brought up a House Bill 2495, which would allow pregnant minors to have an abortion without parental consent. 

"It's very important when it comes to kids under 17-years-old and it comes to abortion," Moore said. "Do not leave out the parents. The parents do have the best interest for these kids."

There is a similar bill (SB 1942) in the Senate sponsored by Democrats from the Chicagoland area. 

During the discussion about gun control, Schimpf told his constituents how he is fighting for southern Illinois. 

"Law enforcement is not minutes away in rural areas," Schimpf said. "You have to be able to defend yourself with the Second Amendment."

Severin said these new gun laws make criminals out of law abiding citizens. 

"I should be allowed to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors," Severin said. "Allow me to do that. Don't make me a felon for doing it."

The town hall ended with the topic of Governor Pritzker's idea of proposed tax increases on cigarettes, plastic bags and a gradual income tax. 

Bryant says she disagrees with Pritzker in making this state the most progressive state in the country. 

"Don't take winning an election as a mandate to do anything you (Pritzker) want to do," Bryant said. "We have folks here that have a total different opinion."

Lawmakers will be holding another town hall on Monday, April 1. at Hamilton County High School in McLeansboro at 6 p.m. 

Senator Dale Fowler, (R) Harrisburg, and Representatives Patrick Windhorst, (R) Metropolis, and Dave Severin will be there talking and answering questions about what's going on in state government. 

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