"ABATE Legislative Day is April 25th, 2018 - State House Inn, Springfield IL"


February 2018 Article 

I'd like to thank everyone who came out to the State Seminars in Springfield and learned more about our issues and our organization. I enjoyed meeting many of you over the weekend.  Now that seminar is over with, it's time to move on to the next event. 

ABATE of Illinois State Legislative Day will be April 25th, 2018 at the State House Inn in Springfield. Hotel Rooms are available from the State House Inn by calling (217) 528-5100, and telling them you are part of ABATE Legislative Day. We have blocks of rooms set aside at a reduced rate for both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, so reserve quickly to take advantage of that discount.

Traditionally, Legislative Day has been in March, but we wanted to make sure we held it on a day when both houses of the legislature were in session. After consulting with many people, the April 25th date was decided on. Let's hope for good riding weather, so we can give those legislators a proper biker welcome to our after party. 

Another change coming to the legislative department is how our alerts go out. We previously used OnDgo2 / Yahoo Groups. I have moved the alerts to MailChimp. The new service allows for a more newspaper type look to our alerts with different sections, and it allows me to track how far our message is reaching with stats. The new alerts can be shared easily across many different platforms and allows for easy subscriptions along with links to renew memberships / become new members. The best part is if you subscribed to OnDgo2, you're already on the new list. If you haven't seen at least one alert by now, please contact me to make sure you're on the list.

If you are the legislative contact for your Chapter, please email me your cell phone #, email address, and Chapter name. I plan on working more closely with Chapter level contacts to advance ABATE issues in the State. 

As part of that plan to work more with local contacts, I have asked a small team to step up and help coach legislative reps in their areas of the State. I'd like to thank Amanda Gotte - DuKane Chapter (NE), Neal Toepfer - Freeport Chapter (NW), "Hunter" John Harris - PeoTaz (WC), Darrell Best - Old River Chapter (EC), Bob Isaacs - Southern Illinois Chapter 27 (SE), and "Dollar" Bill Layman - St Clair Chapter (SW) for agreeing to help. Please feel free to reach out to these folks as well as myself if you have any questions about legislative issues or how to engage your local officials about our positions. 

And Speaking of our positions, here is your monthly update:

E15 - As mentioned at Seminar, IL ABATE is going to have to make a decision on how to approach Ethanol going forward. E15 is at the pumps now, so I believe our best approach is to protect against the use of blender pumps that may mix E15 & E10 without our knowledge. Of course, we will advocate that E10 and E0 blends need to remain available to the public as well. Please discuss this issue at your Chapter meetings and have your BOD reps ready to talk about it at the meeting in February.

Profiling - Johnson City has agreed to stop their profiling stops of MC members / vest wearing riders through their town. 

A few establishments in McHenry County have put up NO VEST signs at the door and claimed that local law enforcement has asked them to do so. I contacted local law and the county sheriff department, who have both assured me that this is not the case. Please continue to boycott any establishment that has a NO VEST / NO Colors policy. These businesses contribute to the negative stereotypes of motorcyclists and do not deserve our money. If you see a NO VEST / No Colors sign, take a picture of it & send it to me with the business information.

Also in McHenry County, the City of Harvard has an "anti gang" ordinance that prohibits the wearing of anything considered "gang related". They have taken to enforcing this unconstitutional ordinance against MC members and other riders who are wearing vests. I made contact with law enforcement involved in an incident that occurred at Harvard Balloon Days, and received a copy of the related police report. In other research, I found an Illinois Appeals Court decision finding this ordinance unconstitutional and striking it down in 1996. When I talked to legal and administrative persons with City of Harvard, they tried to claim that they changed the ordinance enough to keep it. I pointed out that the 1996 decision said the entire ordinance couldn't be changed enough & had to be stricken. They wanted to do their own research and get back to me. As of this writing, I'm awaiting a decision from Harvard as to how they're going to treat the ordinance going forward.

Driverless Cars - Another Autonomous Vehicle collided with a motorcyclist in California when the car shifted left, then decided it wanted to go back to the center lane while the motorcycle was shifting from right to center lanes. This time it was a GM vehicle, the same company which just announced it's intentions to make cars without steering wheels in the near future as they further advance AVs.  

A major motorcycle industry report addressed the rising threat of AVs stating " One of the biggest threats to motorcycling overall will be the incompatibility between autonomous vehicles and existing motorcycles. A lack of vocal participation in this conversation will forfeit our ability to speak up as technology further pushes self operated vehicles out of the transportation matrix, and not build the needed attention from the rider base. We cannot afford to wait to be seen"  

Basically, if we don't assert our rights to ride safely and freely on the roads against these half blind tin buckets, we may lose the right to ride all together. ABATE continues to oppose HB2747 until it addresses the safety and liability concerns of the motorcycle community. 

Off Road Funds - I was made aware of a rumor claiming the fund which provides for private commercial trail development grants may have been swept. The fund has not been swept at this time, but I will be monitoring it's progress thru the Illinois Comptroller Website. Don't forget, we have a bill, SB2233 pending in the Senate to release these funds. It's time for the legislature to honor it's commitment to off road riders in the state and release the money they have paid into for trail development. 


A Harvard Education on Motorcycle Profiling - January 25th

Late last year ABATE learned of an incident at the Harvard Balloon Days Festival where local MC members and friends were asked to leave because of how they were dressed. After contacting City of Harvard Police, and the McHenry County Sheriff's Office, ABATE obtained a police report confirming the following:

On September 3rd, a Deputy with the McHenry County Sheriff's Office made contact with a President of a local motorcycle club and 4 other persons with them. The deputy advised them of the City of Harvard Anti Gang Ordinance and according to an eyewitness asked them to remove their vests or leave the festival being held in a public park. 

Click Here to Read More

January Legislative Article

I'm Josh Witkowski aka "SKI" & I'm honored to have been elected your 2018 State Legislative Coordinator. I'll be making rounds trying to visit Chapters around the state, but for now I strongly encourage everyone to come out to the State Seminars and learn grassroots activism at it's finest.

By the time you read this, I hope to have announced your Legislative team. They will be helping recruit and assist Chapter Coordinators throughout Illinois. Please check Facebook and be ready for On-d-go type alerts to stay up to date with the latest.

Here's to 2018 ABATE, let's make it great.


Join or Renew Your Membership Online Now!

 A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois Inc. - 311 E. Main Street, Suite 418 - Galesburg, IL 61401
Phone: 800-87-ABATE - Local: (309) 343-6588 - Fax: (309) 343-6387