Community Renewal Society Blogs

Veto Session concluded on December 5, 2012 (a day early) and left a number of important legislative issues unresolved. Clearly, there's more work to be done in January, but, for how, we report the status of the bills on which we have been working.

Veto Session (November 27-29 and December 4-6, 2012) is in full swing in the Illinois General Assembly. PCG staff members are at the Capitol working actively for passage of several bills.

Currently, Illinois law only permits the sealing of nonviolent misdemeanor offenses and only three Class 4 felonies (possession of marijuana and controlled substances, and prostitution). Because so many offenses cannot be sealed, it is unlikely that most ex-offenders would ever be permitted to fully integrate back into society by being given a chance to work, to improve their education, or to have access to safe affordable housing.

The Republican and Democratic conventions are over, and it's going to be *November 6th* before we know it. This is a big election, not only because you will vote to determine our next president, but because all of Illinois' state legislators are up for re-election due to redistricting. You will vote for your federal representative as well. We want to make sure that everyone in Illinois is registered and ready to vote!

One of the hot button topics as the election approaches is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health reform law recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the ACA was enacted 2 ½ years ago and implementation has begun, there still is a lot of misinformation about the ACA. Americans still are asking “What does the law mean for me?”

We hear a lot of rhetoric about strengthening the middle class or moving people from poverty to gainful employment, but we don't hear anything about giving people with criminal records the opportunity to do the same.

Medicaid is a jointly funded state and Federal government program that pays for medically necessary services. With the passage of the Medicaid reform legislation, via SB 2840, in May 2012, Illinois will now pay for less medically-necessary health care services.

Nearly 49 million Americans—including more than one in five children — live in households that struggle to put food on the table. While PCG does not usually address federal legislation, we are deeply concerned about cuts to SNAP benefits, which significantly impact families living in poverty.

This week we want to focus on some of the specific issues that didn’t pass during the spring session but might be dealt with during the November veto session: Minimum Wage (SB1565), Fracking Regulations (SB3280), Comprehensive Sex-Education (HB3027), Criminal Record Sealing Bill (HB5723). Take a look and of course, feel free to contact us with any questions!

Our last issue of the Common Good News was published one day before the end of the Illinois spring legislative session. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of activity on that final day and we want to give you with a quick wrap-up.

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