Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Policy staff reports on the status of our policy initiatives.

Here are the logistics: Thursday, October 28th is the last day for early voting, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, November 1st, and the polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2nd. Please vote—and urge others to do the same.

The Put Illinois to Work program--funded through the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF)--is a win-win situation for low-income, out-of-work adults who have gotten jobs and for small businesses in which many of these jobs have been created. The ECF is set to expire on September 30, 2010 unless Congress votes to extend the program for another year. Time is running out, but it's not too late!

Back in May, I wrote about a bill that could be considered “the bit of good news” to come out of an all-around dismal legislative session. Well, three months later, we have the final good news – Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Safe Children Act (HB6462), taking a major step towards protecting juveniles who get caught up in the cycle of prostitution and sex trafficking.

Thousands of 30-hours-per-week jobs for low-income parents will end on September 30, 2010 unless the Senate includes the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund in the tax extenders bill that will likely be considered after Congress' August recess. There are indications of bipartisan support for the one-year extension of the TANF emergency fund, but--let's be clear--the tax extenders bill is the last chance for this important benefit for families and for the Illinois economy.

680,000 Illinoisans living in deep poverty, many of whom are children, will now have access to some much-needed income support and transitional services. They will be better able to pay for their living expenses--basics like utilities, rent, clothing, and transportation.

The 2010 legislative session in Springfield has ended - with mixed results. We achieved some important legislative victories, but our celebration is muted by the irresponsible 2011 budget that calls for additional cuts, more borrowing, and further delays in bill payments.

The Illinois General Assembly is on schedule to adjourn by May 31,
2010. A report on the results of the spring legislative session will
be sent out during the first week of June. Watch for it!

Some might say that this year’s legislative session was a difficult one… and they’d most certainly be right! When it came to passing bills or programs that required any kind of new revenue – we faced an uphill battle. Our work for a fair budget continues to be particularly challenging, and often discouraging. This might be enough to leave a normal person feeling a bit down; but thankfully, we can share with you at least one significant success story on a piece of legislation that will do quite a bit of good.

Springfield is a place of considerable discussion, debate, and, yes, disagreement. Finding common ground is often difficult, and coming to an agreement is almost always a matter of considerable compromise. Yet, this past week there was clear agreement on one point: fifteen thousand people came to Springfield on April 21st.

This is the written version of an oral testimony given on Monday, April 26, 2010, at the James R. Thompson Center before the Appropriations/Public Safety Committee, Chaired by Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough and authorized by the General Assembly; committee members present were Rep. Constance Howard, Rep. Marlow H. Colvin, and Rep. Eddie Washington. This work is the product of members and staff of the Adult Redeploy Illinois Oversite Board, joined by Chicago Metropolis 20/20, Protestants for the Common Good, and the Partnership for Reentry and Justice.

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