The lack of a budget and several other legisltive matters were discussed at Towns Hall meetings in Iroquois and Livingston counties. State Rep. Tom Bennett hosted the events this past week in Watseka and Pontiac.
Matching the diversity of topics was the diversity of public opinion on issues such as marijuana legalization, protections for persons with disabilities, a potential income tax increase and the hiking of the minimum wage.
Constituents expressed enthusiasm toward the decriminalization and eventual regulation of recreational marijuana, arguing that a legal purchase of it would create new tax revenue for the state’s ailing coffers. Others, however, felt its legalization should be restricted to medicinal usage only.
Another issue that those in attendance largely agreed on was their opposition to a proposed increase to the minimum wage, up to $15 per hour. Among the common refrains was how this would negatively impact businesses as well as the existing budget hole.