Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Policy staff reports on the status of our policy initiatives.

We are in what I like to consider the "home stretch" of the legislative session. We have until May 31st, when the legislature is scheduled to adjourn (assuming they don't go into a lengthy summer session), to pass our bills out of both chambers and get them to the governor's desk.

Opposition to SB 1545--the Minimum Wage Bill--remains strong, but PCG's commitment to this important legislation is also strong. But we know we still have a lot of hard work to do. Here's where we are right now.

Last week Thursday, March 29th, 150 environmental advocates from across Illinois took to the Capitol in Springfield. They spoke to their representatives and senators about the importance of regulating hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) in Illinois as well as the need to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources receives adequate funding to maintain state parks, openlands, and their capacity to serve as regulators for various industries in Illinois.

We're almost halfway through the legislative session, and we thought it was about time we shared the full list of our prime legislative priorities. We've already had a lobby day for the Minimum Wage legislation, and Environment Lobby Day is next week, but there is work to be done on all of these issues so please contact us if you'd like to get involved.

HB 5723 would enhance the current law by making the additional nonviolent offenses sealable on petition in the Circuit Court after 4 years from release, where there has been no further contact with the criminal justice system.

Sen. Kwame Raoul has built on the advances made in the sealing and expungement legislation of the past several years by introducing SB3488.

The General Assembly's 2011 legislative year finally ended on December 13, 2011 after it passed two significant bills--one to give some tax relief to low-income, working families who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the other to grant highly-profitable corporations tax breaks.

It appears likely that some funding will be restored to several of the human service programs and facilities cut in the 2012 state budget. Whether it's a supplemental appropriation, as some say, or a budget reallocation, as other prefer to call it, this restored funding represents good news for some of the most vulnerable people of Illinois.

You'd think the irony of an income tax increase that's generating new revenue for Illinois while it's being derided in the press and hated by the public would be enough. But no, when it comes to Illinois politics, there are more ironies to be found at the 2011 Veto Session of the General Assembly.

Everybody loves to hate a tax increase. The 2011 Illinois income tax increase is no exception. It has attracted negative news articles and disgruntled constituents all across Illinois. Businesses have lined up to demand a reduction in the corporate tax or "we'll go somewhere else." The irony, of course, is that the income tax increase is working. It's contributing to a better Illinois.

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