Wrapping Up The Legislative Session; Zakat

June 03, 2019
 
Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, outlines a $39.9 billion state budget plan to the House Executive Committee, Saturday, June 1, 2019.

Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, outlines a $39.9 billion state budget plan to the House Executive Committee, Saturday, June 1, 2019.

AP Photo/John O’Connor

It took two extra days, but the Illinois General Assembly has wrapped up its spring session. And there are big changes on the way: sports betting, legal cannabis, infrastructure spending, and a whole lot more. We’ll check in with Democratic and Republican leaders about what they did and why. Plus, Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer and charity for Muslims. The holy month concludes tonight. We’ll speak with imams here in Illinois about how their mosques are giving back.

Governor Pritzker took office this January with a super-majority in the Statehouse and a very ambitious agenda. And he achieved pretty much everything he said he would: raising the minimum wage, legalizing recreational marijuana, expanding gambling, adding further abortion protections - and making significant steps towards changing our tax structure.

Let’s not forget the largest capital program in Illinois history - and oh, by the way, a balanced budget too.

Lawmakers did all of this by extending the session into a frenetic weekend of activity. We spoke with legislators from both parties: House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and House Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer (R-Dixon). 

But lawmakers weren't the only ones involved last week -- there were all kinds of organizations advocating for their interests and trying to make sure their priorities were reflected in the final bills that got voted on. We heard from two: Mark Denzler, president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, and John Bouman, president of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law.

Also--

The holy month Ramadan ends starting tonight - it’s been 30 days of fasting from sunup till down for many muslims here in Illinois and around the world.

But, Ramadan is about more than just fasting for the muslim community. One of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat, is a specific form of charity and every year, mosques and muslim communities around the world raise hundreds of millions of dollars for charity.

To tell us more about Zakat and how it fits into Ramadan, we were joined by Imam Hasan Aly, the Imam and Director of the Mecca Center in Willowbrook.

Also on the line was Osama Alrefai, curriculum director at the Daarul Uloom Quaran Academy in Peoria.