Capitol News Illinois staff

SPRINGFIELD — The Senate this week sent to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill that would allow voters in McHenry County dissolve townships there.

The Senate on Thursday voted 44-3 to approve House Bill 348, which House sponsor Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said is aimed at lowering residents’ property taxes by eliminating some of the county’s 17 townships.

If the consolidation process goes well in the sixth most populous county in the state, McSweeney wants to expand the initiative to the rest of Illinois.

“If we want to permanently lower property taxes in Illinois, we have to do something to shrink the number of units of local government we have,” he said in a statement. “This bill is not a requirement. It is permissive. It puts the decision in the hands of the voters, and that is the way it should be.”

The bill lowers the threshold for a citizen-initiated petition to get the option on a ballot, and provides for a township board to submit a proposition to voters.

It was carried by Sen. Terry Link, a Democrat from Vernon Hills.

“I thank leader Link for his hard work in getting this bill passed in the Senate,” McSweeney said. “This is a bipartisan effort to help lower the property tax burden for residents, and I certainly appreciate his leadership in getting the bill passed.”

• • •

The Illinois Senate on Friday passed with a 48-1 vote a bill that would allow those who are elderly, disabled or homeless to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to purchase meals from restaurants.

House Bill 3343, sponsored by Rep. Sonya M. Harper, D- Chicago, goes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his signature. The House passed the bill March 29.

Known as the Restaurants Meal Program, the elderly and a spouse, disabled persons and those who are homeless have the option to purchase prepared meals with SNAP benefits. Those populations were selected because of the difficulties they may have when preparing meals.

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