KWQC - Illinois will have a new governor by Monday afternoon. J.B Pritzker is taking over today and inaugural festivities last throughout the day Monday. Pritzker moves into the office today after beating out former Governor Bruce Rauner. His inauguration is giving Democrats some hope for big changes moving forward.
A few items on Pritzker’s agenda is the minimum wage hike, gun dealer licensing, transportation infrastructure and legalizing recreational marijuana.
The minimum wage increase was vetoed by former Governor Rauner in late 2017 and Pritzker is hoping to get this passed and signed. While this is a priority for him, he's also looking out for small businesses. Pritzker says, “It's a $15 minimum wage hike and it would be phased in over time and we want to add to it some help for small businesses to make sure they aren't badly affected by the raise we think everyone should get in the state.” That help will be providing tax creditors some other alleviation to ease the burden on them through the minimum wage hike. Pritzker says job creation is very important to him and he recognizes that small businesses play a big role in that.
The Quad Cities could be looking at transportation upgrades within the future. The new governor says this is important for passengers who are looking to get around but this would also bring more jobs to the state. Pritzker says, “We want to get an infrastructure bill passed early. Working through this first session of the legislature and then we'll be looking at the rail opportunities, bringing rail to the Quad Cities, Rockford, and other areas and maybe making that part of the infrastructure.” It's unclear how long it will actually take for this all to come to fruition but Pritzker is very confident that they'll get an infrastructure bill introduced and passed early in his term.
Another priority for the new governor is legalizing recreational marijuana. He says this will not only make it safe for the public but it will also bring jobs and money to the state. If this gets passed, that will also mean criminal justice reform. “We also want to make sure for criminal justice reform purposes that we're commuting sentences, that we're providing pardons or other commutation incentives for people who were convicted of something that would no longer be a crime,” said Pritzker.
Pritzker’s inaugural ceremony, service, and celebration will take place throughout the day today, in Springfield, Illinois.