2019 Legislative Session Recap

The Illinois General Assembly ended the spring legislative session on Sunday, June 2, after legislative leaders unexpectedly extended the session two extra days. Some have called this momentous session the most productive in a generation. Legislators passed a wide range of bills, including a balanced state budget and the largest capital program in Illinois history, legalizing adult cannabis, establishing the Reproductive Health Act, expanding gambling and legalizing sports betting. Community Renewal Society is excited to share two significant legislative victories from this session.

Fair Tax

Most notably the Illinois General Assembly passed SJRCA 1, the Fair Tax amendment, which puts the Fair Tax on the ballot next fall for voters to decide. We did it! Community Renewal Society has been working as part of the Responsible Budget Coalition for nearly ten years to fix our state’s financial crisis fairly. The Fair Tax is the answer.

In states with the Fair Tax, people with higher incomes pay higher tax rates and people with lower incomes pay lower tax rates—so that everyone pays their fair share. On June 5, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 687 into law. Public Act 101-0008 establishes the rate structure for the Fair Tax if voters approve the constitutional amendment. It will have to be approved by either 60% of voters who pick a side on the ballot question itself or more than 50% of those casting a ballot overall. Under the Fair Tax rates, 97% of Illinois residents would see no income tax increase.

This is a historic opportunity for reform. Thanks to the Illinois General Assembly, we are one step closer to the Fair Tax in Illinois! Let’s celebrate this victory by letting our legislators know we stand behind them in supporting the Fair Tax and will take our support to the ballot. Our work is not over. Stay tuned for next steps on mobilizing our communities to support the Fair Tax.

Housing as a Human Right

Housing as a Human Right, SB 1780 (HFA3), passed the Illinois General Assembly on May 31 with significant bipartisan support! This legislation is an initiative of the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI) and will amend the Illinois Human Rights statute to protect people with records from discrimination when seeking housing in the state of Illinois.

RROCI is a coalition of directly impacted community leaders, organizers and policy advocates from Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society and Heartland Alliance. This bill, Housing as a Human Right, is the 7th bill that RROCI has passed in the past 4 years!

Thank you for making these victories possible! We couldn’t have done it without your support along with powerful testimony from our leaders. Please take a minute to thank your legislators for their support of Housing as a Human Right or let them know you are disappointed if they did not support increasing housing opportunities for people with records. SB 1780 will soon be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature. We will keep you updated on opportunities to help spread the word about new protections for Housing as a Human Right.

The Illinois General Assembly is now recessed until Veto Session which begins on October 28. In the meantime, this summer is an ideal time for you to meet with your legislators and become involved in one of CRS’ issues teams.