House Republicans oppose freight train bill
The Illinois House passed a bill last week that requires two-person crews on freight trains when crossing through Illinois.
Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) sponsored Senate Bill 24 in the House, and Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) was among those who spoke in opposition.
"What’s the point of your bill? What is the problem?" Batinick questioned. "This is collectively bargained. We do this across state lines. This just seems like more regulations and it's not our decision. I urge a No vote."
Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Frankfort) said the bill attempts to do the work of union representatives.
"Once again the Illinois General Assembly is being asked to weigh in on one side of an arrangement by two private entities that have the power to regulate themselves," McDermed said. "I absolutely hate being put in the position over and over and over again to weigh in on one side of a special-interest group. We should be here for the welfare of all the people of Illinois and not just some special group who wants to use our power to get what they want."
McDermed said she wondered what the plan would be when every business has been driven out of Illinois.
"We’ve driven every job provider out of the state," McDermed said. "Vote No. It’s a special preference and it’s bad. Stop the flood of bad bills."
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-North Aurora) also opposed the bill, saying it would mean trains would have to pick up another crew member when entering Illinois and then drop that crew member off when leaving Illinois, or would have to account for adding an extra crew member onto their train whenever they knew they were going through Illinois at any time during their trip.
"If we pass this it affects other states," Wheeler said. "I urge my colleagues to vote No."
The bill passed with 77 Yes votes, 36 No votes and one voting Present.