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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 58

Photo of Scott Drury

Scott Drury

Democratic
Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law, Illinois State Representative
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Work in a bi-partisan manner to enact a truly balanced budget that reverses Illinois' trend of fiscal irresponsibility
  • Enact strong consumer protection laws and criminal justice reform laws
  • Implement tough ethics laws that build trust between Illinois' elected officials and the public they represent

Experience

Education

Northwestern University School of Law Juris Doctor, Law (1998)
University of California, Berkeley Bachelor of Arts, Political Economy of Industrialized Societies (1995)

Questions & Answers

Questions from Chicago Sun-Times (15)

Do you support term limits for legislators? Do you support term limits for legislative leaders? Please explain.
Answer from Scott Drury:

In general, I support the idea of term limits for elected officials.  However, the devil is in the details, and I would need to thoroughly evaluate a specific proposal before reaching a final conclusion.  As for term limits for legislative leaders, not only do I support the idea, I have repeatedly proposed a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on legislative leadership positions (most recently, HJRCA 6).

Who do you think bears responsibility for the budget stalemate? Do you have your own ideas on how to resolve it?
Answer from Scott Drury:

It is not productive to place blame for the budget stalemate.  It is the job of the General Assembly and the Governor to enact a budget.  For the past two years, Illinois government has not carried out its job duties.  In July 2015, I published an op-ed in another publication in which I proposed a viable, and publicly-popular, solution for ending the budget standoff.  Recognizing that the budget standoff is little more than each side trying to blame the other for necessary drastic cuts or additional revenue, I proposed that both sides be required to simultaneously present to the public truly balanced budgets – i.e., budgets balanced with tangible dollars.  Each side would also be free to include additional legislative proposals that it wanted passed along with the budget.  Once proposed, the budgets would be publicly-debated and voted upon.  Notwithstanding the popularity of the proposal, it did not gain traction in Springfield – highlighting the disconnect between what the public wants and what Springfield does.  Instead of proposing and passing an actual budget, the General Assembly has repeatedly championed piece-meal budget legislation that has mainly served to prolong the impasse and inflict harm amongst the state's citizenry.

A June 3 New York Times op-ed was headlined “Higher Education in Illinois is Dying” because of significant funding cuts. Do you agree or not with Gov. Bruce Rauner that additional large cuts could be necessary?
Answer from Scott Drury:

Illinois’ failure to properly fund higher education will likely result in consequences for years to come.  Beyond any university not having sufficient funding in a given year, Illinois’ mistreatment of its universities has likely led to top-rate professors choosing to teach elsewhere and Illinois students choosing to attend other universities.  If Illinois continues its cycle of not passing a budget, its public universities will likely continue to see cuts.  In a properly prioritized budget, Illinois can, again, commit to public higher education and begin reversing the devastation caused to date.

How should the state’s school funding formula be changed to give all children a better chance at a quality education?
Answer from Scott Drury:

Every child in Illinois should have access to a quality public education.  Presently, this is not the case.  While school funding plays a role in the quality of the education delivered to a student, it is not the only factor.  As an example, North Shore School District 112 is a well-funded district.  Yet, Oak Terrace Elementary School repeatedly fails to make "Adequately Yearly Progress."  Thus, while it is important to make sure schools receive adequate funding, it is also important to be cognizant of the fact that money alone will not guaranty quality education.  With this in mind, any change to the school funding formula must be focused on improving education, not merely providing additional funding.  Further, any change in the formula should not financially benefit certain school districts at the expense of others or result in consequences such as a reduction in critical programs like special education.  The goal should be to improve the overall quality of education.  Cutting funding to certain school districts is inconsistent with this goal.

Without a budget, Illinois is spending much more than it takes in, leading to an ever-growing stack of bills, underfunded services and a growing deficit. What new revenue sources do you support to help fix this problem?
Answer from Scott Drury:

For the last two years, neither Governor Rauner nor the Democrats have proposed a truly balanced budget.  Every proposal has contained billions more in proposed spending than anticipated revenue.  The inability of either party to present a budget that is balanced based on current revenue or proposed spending reductions indicates a shortage of revenue.  Due to the lack of fiscal transparency in Illinois, the total amount of Illinois' fiscal hole is not entirely clear.  This makes it difficult to pinpoint the total amount of spending reductions and/or new revenue needed.  I am committed to working in a bi-partisan manner to find real solutions to Illinois' fiscal woes.

A constitutional amendment is on the ballot that would require money raised for transportation not be spent elsewhere. Do you support this concept? Also, transportation planners say more money is needed for roads and bridges, Metra, CTA rail services and the like. Do you agree and, if so, where would you get the funding?
Answer from Scott Drury:

For years, Illinois has “balanced” its budget by borrowing or sweeping from what are known as “special funds.”  Special funds are creatures of statute that have a dedicated revenue source, such as fees or fines.  Special funds are only supposed to be used for their intended purpose.  However, that is not the case.  Illinois has come to rely on the special funds as a type of “rainy-day” fund that can be raided whenever the general revenue fund runs short.  While a total overhaul of Illinois’ special funds is needed, the proposed amendment will at least prevent funds dedicated to ensuring the safety of Illinois’ transportation infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, and mass transit) from being raided.  Any discussion of additional revenue should take place as part of the overall discussions regarding the budget and how to balance it.

In the last session, the governor and Legislature turned their attention away from pension reform. What initiatives do you support to reduce the costs of pensions?
Answer from Scott Drury:

As a member of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee, my attention is regularly focused on Illinois’ pension issues.  The Illinois Supreme Court's pension decision does not leave a large opening to address Illinois' excessive pension liability.  In an ideal world, a true consideration model – one in which those with pensions could freely negotiate with the state – would seemingly fit within the parameters set by the Supreme Court.  A subset of the true consideration model is allowing those with pensions to negotiate for the buyout of their pensions with current dollars.    

Do you support measures to reduce Illinois’ prison population and divert more money into community-based services?
Answer from Scott Drury:

As a commissioner on the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, I am committed to finding ways to reduce Illinois’ prison population while keeping our communities safe.  Diversion programs that seek to treat those with mental health and addiction issues are a key component to this plan.  

There are calls to reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture system, which allows police and prosecutors to seize and take – permanently – property from someone who has not been convicted of a crime? What is your view?
Answer from Scott Drury:

Concern has arisen that civil asset forfeiture laws have resulted in so-called “policing for profit.”  This is not something Illinois should condone.  To the extent this is occurring, Illinois should look into amending its current forfeiture laws to make sure this does not happen.  Further, Illinois should consider consolidating its asset forfeiture laws, which currently are spread out in different code sections. 

Do you support allowing transgender persons born in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery first?
Answer from Scott Drury:

Illinois should look into adopting the standards already being utilized by the Social Security Administration and U.S. State Department with respect to Social Security cards and U.S. Passports, respectively.  

What is your view on so-called “death with dignity” — physician-assisted suicide — which has become a contentious issue in other states? California’s End of Life Option Act took effect on June 9.
Answer from Scott Drury:

Physician-assisted suicide is not a topic that has yet been debated in the Illinois House of Representatives.  The topic encompasses numerous ethical, human rights and legal issues, requiring careful and thorough consideration.  Should the issue ever come before the General Assembly, I would reach out to interested parties on all sides of the issue to learn their respective views.  I would also independently research how other national and international jurisdictions have approached the issue and the corresponding results.  

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Scott Drury:

Reducing gun violence will require efforts from various levels of government.  During my time as a federal prosecutor, my colleagues and I worked closely with state and local governments to remove guns from high crime areas as part of a program called Project Safe Neighborhoods.  Studies indicate that the project resulted in decreased gun violence and recidivism.  The project took a broad-based approach to the problem – education, law enforcement presence and prosecutions.  Notwithstanding the project’s successes, Chicago still grappled with gun violence.  Evidence has shown that regardless of the gun regulations passed by Chicago, guns continue to flow into the city from other states.  It will take federal legislation to address the cross-border gun trade.  In Illinois,  I am a co-sponsor of House Bill 1016 (Gun Dealer Licensing Act) which, if passed, would require the licensing of Illinois gun dealers.  This type of legislation will help prevent firearms from getting into the hands of the wrong people.  Additionally, there should be a greater focus on community policing and neighborhood programs.  This means more than simply providing funding to any organization that requests it.  There must be tough accountability standards and strong oversight.

A number of states and local jurisdictions (including Chicago) have recently increased the minimum wage. Do you support or oppose a statewide increase in the minimum wage? If so, what should the new minimum be, and by when? Should local jurisdictions be prohibited from passing their own minimum wage laws?
Answer from Scott Drury:

Illinois’ working families deserve to earn a living wage.  A uniform minimum wage throughout the state will not necessarily allow for this due to differences in the cost of living in various regions.  In determining the appropriate rate, attention must be paid to unintended consequences, such as implementing a rate that is so high that it results in fewer jobs.  A high rate of pay that results in fewer jobs is not the goal.  One way to address this concern is to phase-in any increase, as was done in legislation passed by the Illinois Senate.  

In the past couple of legislative sessions, there has been a proposal to add a 1 cent tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Illinois. Do you support or oppose such a measure, and why?
Answer from Scott Drury:

For the last two years, neither Governor Rauner nor the Democrats have proposed a truly balanced budget.  Every proposal has contained billions more in proposed spending than anticipated revenue.  The inability of either party to present a budget that is balanced based on current revenue or proposed spending reductions indicates a shortage of revenue.  However, due to the lack of fiscal transparency in Illinois, the total amount of Illinois' fiscal hole is not entirely clear.  As such, it is difficult to discuss any revenue proposal in a vacuum.  A concern with the “sugar tax” is that it encourages people to drink beverages with artificial sweeteners, which some would argue cause more health problems than natural sugar.  Additionally, the “sugar tax” is truly regressive in nature and, therefore, could have a disparate impact on low income families.  

In recent years, there has been a growing push to increase the development and use of renewable energy sources. Do you support or oppose these preferences?
Answer from Scott Drury:

I strongly support efforts to increase the development of renewable energy sources.  Indeed, I am a co-sponsor of the Clean Jobs Bill, in addition to being a member of the General Assembly’s Green Caucus.

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