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New leadership role for Hammond in Illinois legislature

State Representative Norine Hammond announced her reelection campaign in several communities, including this stop in Macomb.
Rich Egger
State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb).

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) has a new leadership role.

She previously served as an assistant leader for House Republicans. Now she will be Deputy Republican Leader in the House during the next session of the Illinois General Assembly.

Hammond said in that role, she will work with new House Republican Leader Tony McCombie and others in the party’s caucus to advance their priorities.

“I have known Tony since she first came to the General Assembly, and she has been by seatmate ever since she first came to the General Assembly,” Hammond said.

She believes McCombie will work with the entire Republican leadership team when making decisions such as committee assignments.

Democrats will continue to control the Illinois House, so Hammond said Republicans will have to work across the aisle to pass legislation.

“I think if our members are sensible and they can do math, they will understand that anything they need for their districts is going to require 60 votes,” Hammond said.

“Having 40 members on our side (means) you’ll need to find at least 20 people on the other side of the aisle to work with you.”

Hammond said she has worked with lawmakers on the other side of the aisle for a number of years. During her current term, she used that bipartisan spirit to help pass a measure creating an FFA decal for license plates.

“The money that is generated from the purchase of that (decal) goes into the Illinois FFA Foundation. And then all of the clubs throughout the state can apply for grants from that for particular things that are important to them,” she said.

She said a constituent suggested the legislation to her at a county fair.

The SAFE-T Act is one piece of legislation that Republicans and Democrats disagree on. Hammond said she is “not satisfied at all” with the changes made to the bill during the fall veto session.

“I think we start with the fact that the Republicans, neither in the House nor the Senate, were invited to the table to have discussions on changes that could’ve been made or should’ve been made,” she said.

Hammond said the SAFE-T Act began as a measure to eliminate cash bail, an idea she can support. But she said it “grew into this huge Christmas tree of things,” creating a flawed bill. She believes changes will be made as challenges to it move through the judicial system.

A lawsuit by state’s attorneys from across Illinois challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act got a hearing in court on Tuesday. Illinois Public Radio reported the judge plans to have a decision by the end of the month.

Hammond currently serves all or portions of eight west central Illinois counties in the 93rd District.

She will represent the new 94th District beginning next month. It includes all or parts of 13 counties.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.