Thanksgiving began as a way to share in the bounty of the fall harvest and give thanks for the year’s blessings. But the holiday has changed through the years, as Americans moved off the farms and into other occupations.
Today it offers an opportunity for Americans to reflect on more than just a successful harvest, including the blessings of living in a democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders.
As we pause this year to give thanks, it is worth noting that beginning next year, that right to vote will be extended to a new group of young citizens in Illinois. When voters cast their ballots in the 2014 primary election in March, they will be joined by some 17-year-olds.
House Bill 226 allows anyone who will turn 18 before the November general election to vote in the primary in March, even if they are not yet 18 at that time. It is among the many new laws that will become effective on Jan. 1.
This new law gives young voters an opportunity to get more engaged in the political process by giving them the chance to help pick the candidates in the primary that they will choose from in the general election. Illinois will join 18 other states in allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries.
“Small Business Saturday” is November 30
The Illinois Senate has officially declared Nov. 30, as “Small Business Saturday” in Illinois. Senate Resolution 672 urges Illinois citizens to support small businesses and merchants on the day as well as throughout the year. The resolution was adopted by the Senate on Nov. 7.
The resolution was drafted in recognition that several advocacy groups and both public and private organizations across the country have endorsed the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday.
House Speaker Sets Session Dec. 3
As has been widely anticipated, lawmakers will return to Springfield Dec. 3 for a special session.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan sent the first official notice to legislators, declaring that the House would come into session at 11:00 a.m. on Dec. 3. The Speaker also indicated there would be committee hearings Dec. 2.
Senate President John Cullerton announced Nov. 27 that the Senate would convene at 11:00 a.m. on Dec. 3.
Legislative leaders have been meeting to try to work out final details of a proposed pension reform that could be voted on during the first week of December.