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As we head into the last week of the legislative session in Springfield, I would like to share with you some legislative successes, issues still pending and information about a few events coming up this month and in June.
We are collecting food to be distributed to families in need. During the summer, school lunch programs are not available so there is a greater need for food distribution. You can drop off canned and packaged food at our office, 820 Davis, Suite 103. For more information, you can contact Matt at 847-424-9898.
Evanston Green Ball
The Second Annual Evanston Green Ball will be held on Friday, May 31 from 7-11 pm at the Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave. Evanston. Last year, I attended and was impressed with the delicious array of delicacies and the warm crowd. Although, this year I will be in Springfield voting on last day legislation, I encourage everyone to attend. Proceeds support the Evanston Ecology Center. Please click on the link below for reasonably priced tickets.
100 Years of Illinois Women’s Right to Vote
In 1913, Illinois women won the right to vote and influenced the rest of the country to move forward on suffrage. Come and celebrate at three different events in June – films, lectures and a big rally. Click on the link below for all the information.
Last week, the issue of concealed carry was passed by the House on a vote of 85-30-1. I did not support the bill because it prohibits municipalities from regulating firearm possession, carrying, transporting and licensing. Concealed carry would not be allowed in 20 sensitive locations and 16 hours of training would be required before a conceal carry license would be permitted. The bill now heads to the Senate where it is unclear whether it will be called for a vote this week.
There was progress on some high profile bills last week. A number of key health related bills have passed both houses and are awaiting the Governor’s approval. They include the Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Bill that creates a standard for existing sexual health education courses in grades six through 12 and provides medically accurate and age-appropriate information.
Also on the Governor’s desk is the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act that will allow patients to have an alternative option for pain relief where other medications have failed. Another bill, the Tanning Facility Bill, that protects the health of young people passed both houses and is on the Governor’s desk.
Many big issues are still pending as we enter the last 5 days of session.
Pension Reform– Two different bills have passed the House and the Senate and are waiting to be called in the other chamber. SB2404, passed by the Senate, is a bill that was negotiated with the labor unions and provides a choice for employees. SB1, passed by the House, is similar to a proposal sponsored by Rep. Nekritz that reduces some benefits and provides for the state’s pension system to be fully funded by 2045. In order to fix the fiscal problems in the state, I believe that we need to pass pension reform as well as other fiscal policy reforms.
Marriage Equality, SB10, has passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote on the House floor. I am hopeful that this bill will pass the House and look forward to voting to give everyone the right to marry who they choose.
Affordable Care Act Implementation, SB26 and HB3227, are two crucial bills for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Illinois. Yesterday, the House passed SB 26, which will give Medicaid coverage to over 300,000 uninsured low income adults who do not have children under the age of 18. It now returns to the Senate for concurrence. HB3227, of which I am the sponsor, creates a state health care marketplace for the purchase of affordable health insurance for those who are uninsured and for small businesses (under 50 employees). I am hopeful the House can pass it this week.
Budget – This past week much progress has been made in preparing a state budget that is balanced and provides adequate funding for education and human services. Particular attention was given to ensure that bills can be paid in a timely manner.
After session ends on May 31, I will send out a legislative summary and a list of events I will be hosting this summer.