Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Policy staff reports on the status of our policy initiatives.

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.

It’s about equality in representation: Prison districts should take their finger off the scale and return parity to our districts and fairness to our Government.

Health care in America is finally a right, not a privilege, because enough of us understand: We are in this together.

Three bills -- important to PCG’s Common Good Agenda -- “made it out of committee” last week in Springfield and have been “reported favorably” to the Illinois House. Now the bills can be considered by all members of the House of Representatives. Each of these bills is likely to stimulate significant debate when called for a vote. Stay tuned!

A group of religious leaders held a press conference at the Chicago Temple on Tuesday, February 23rd, to call for three actions: that Governor Quinn delete video gambling from the state budget, that the Gaming Board call a moratorium on video gambling expansion until all costs are identified and addressed, and that each alderman in Chicago hold a discussion about the impact of video gambling in the ward before there is any vote in the City Council.

Popular wisdom in Illinois said that we would address the state's fiscal and revenue crisis after the primary, but in this first week of the 2010 Spring Session of the General Assembly, it appears that the new message is "Not yet."

The beginning of February means one thing for those of us in the advocacy world – our legislators are headed back to Springfield, and we need to go with them!

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