Caulkins explains his positions on proposed legislation, citing 'government overreach'
Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins (Decatur) expressed his disdain for government overreach in a March 15 press release highlighting some of the latest developments in Springfield.
Caulkins was clear in stating why he voted against House Bill 345, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.
“This was a difficult decision for me because obviously we don’t want 18-year-olds to become addicted to tobacco products, but I voted against the bill because it is another example of government overreach,” Caulkins said in the release. “We allow 18-year-olds to vote, to get tattoos, to serve in the military, and we give them emancipation from their parents. They should be free to make decisions for themselves.”
Caulkins remained consistent in his philosophy when it came to HB 246, legislation that would require history textbooks used in K-12 classrooms in Illinois to include LGBTQ content.
“This is another unfunded mandate and a big-time time government overreach,” Caulkins added in the press release. “If schools want to add this to their curriculum, the local school board has every right to do so. There is no reason to mandate every school in the state to teach this curriculum.”
Caulkins also took exception with legislation he thinks will make the state's lawsuit abuse even more rampant. Senate Bill 1596, which has now been sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, would strip away statute of limitations guidelines that have been in place as long as 25 years as part of the Workers' Compensation Act and the Workers' Occupational Disease Act.
Critics like Caulkins argue there could have been a way to find a compromise without sticking employers with a potentially massive liability that they could have never seen coming.
“Workers absolutely should be made whole, but there need to be reasonable limits in place to prevent our court system from being abused,” he said in the release. “This legislation opens up the door for virtually unlimited liability for every business operating in Illinois. The trial lawyers will have a field day with this.”
Finally, after meeting with several local pharmacists, Caulkins came out in support of legislation seeking to lower the costs of prescriptions and making it easier for independent pharmacists to compete in the marketplace. At the center of the debate is the role pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs, play in establishing prescription drug prices in the interest of insurance companies.
“The current system makes it tough for independently owned pharmacies to compete,” he said. “I was surprised to hear from local pharmacists on the negative impact the current system has on their bottom line. Hopefully, we can find a solution to create a fairer balance in pharmaceutical pricing.”