Spring 2013 Legislative Summary

Thanks to advocates like you, and in concert with our amazing Advocacy Network members, congregational organizers, and coalition partners, we have 7 major victories to report from this year’s session!

Criminal Justice

HB 1189, Gun Safety and Responsibility Act—Closes the loophole on background checks and requires the reporting of lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. This bill will enact two of the strongest common-sense regulations to stop the flow of illegal guns into our communities.
Action: Senate: PASSED 41-15 on 5/31/13. House: PASSED 70-48 on 5/31/13.

HB 3061, Illinois Sealing Criminal Records—Expands sealing of non-violent felony records to include Class 3 felonies so that thousands of people across our state will have the opportunity for employment, housing, and education, enabling them to put their lives back together, take care of their families, and be contributing members of their communities. Petitions to the court can be made four years after the individual’s release.
Action: House: PASSED 65-35 on 4/19/13. Senate: PASSED 42-13 on 5/22/13.

SB 1872, Eliminate Felony Enhancement for Prostitution—Passage of this bill makes Illinois a national leader of legal reforms that consider prostituted people as victims of human trafficking in need of services, rather than as criminal offenders. Amends the sentencing provision for prostitution in the criminal code to a Class A misdemeanor and deletes the felony sentence enhancement, which is a costly and ineffective penalty that has not reduced crime.
Action: Senate: PASSED 53-1 on 4/11/13; Concurrence PASSED 56-1 on 5/30/13. House: PASSED 82-33 on 5/27/13.

Economic Justice

HB 2262, Eliminate the Asset Limit on TANF—Saves Illinois nearly $1 million annually, while removing a significant barrier that prevents Illinois’ families who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from saving money and becoming financially independent. The “asset test” is part of the eligibility standards for TANF in Illinois, and means that a family of three cannot own more than $3,000 in savings.
Action: House: PASSED 62-55 on 4/16/13. Senate: PASSED 32-21 on 5/21/13.

SB68, Increase the Minimum Wage—Raises Illinois’ minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to just over $10 per hour over the course of three years with adjustments every following year to keep pace with the rising cost of living. Passage of this bill will inject billions of dollars in new consumer spending into the state’s economy.
Action: Senate: Postponed by Executive Committee.

SB1159/HB390, Close Corporate Tax Loopholes—Generates over $400 million for the state’s General Revenue Fund by ending three corporate tax breaks. This bill would move Illinois in the right direction by taxing foreign dividends, decoupling from the Federal Domestic Activities Production Deduction, and requiring “combined reporting” of “parent” corporations and its subsidiaries in a single, combined tax return.
Action: Senate: Re-referred to Assignments Committee. House: Held on second reading; 5/31/13 re-referred to Rules Committee.

Fair Tax/A Better Illinois—PCG and CRS believe that the current constitutionally-mandated flat income tax rate is inadequate and unfair. It fails to raise enough revenue for state services, including education and human services, and it generates a higher effective tax rate for low- and middle-income taxpayers than wealthier individuals. The multi-year fair tax campaign, “A Better Illinois,” is currently focused on working with legislators and building public will for significant tax reform in Illinois through a constitutional amendment and approval of the voters.

Health Care Justice

SB 26, Expand Medicaid Eligibility—Closes the historic eligibility gap in Medicaid and provides health care to over 342,000 Illinoisans who are currently uninsured. SB 26 will save our state $953 million in uncompensated care costs over the next ten years and bring in $4.6 billion in federal funding over the next three years through the Affordable Care Act. This bill will also improve health outcomes and lower the cost of care in the Illinois Medicaid Program.
Action: Senate: PASSED 40-19 on 2/18/13; Concurrence PASSED 39-20 on 5/28/13. House: PASSED 63-55 on 5/27/13.

HB 1, Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act—Creates a four-year program during which individuals with serious diseases could buy limited amounts of medical marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries.
Action: House: PASSED 61-57 on 4/17/13. Senate: PASSED 35-21 on 5/17/13.

Hospital Financial Assistance—Sets forth the administrative rules, recommended by the Illinois Attorney General and published in the Illinois Register on March 8, 2013, that govern the implementation of the 2012 charity care legislation requiring that all Illinois hospitals use a universal application and standards of presumptive eligibility for un-insured, under-insured, low-income persons who need free or reduced hospital services. Members of the Fair Care Coalition—community activists, labor groups, and policy organizations—submitted recommendations to the Attorney General and testified at the public hearing held on April 17, 2013. Final rules will be issued in June 2013.

Environmental Justice

SB 1715, Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act—Creates some of the most stringent regulations on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the nation and contains comprehensive provisions to protect water quality, assure transparency, and promote public involvement. Currently there are no regulations in Illinois for fracking.
Action: House: PASSED 108-9 on 5/30/13. Senate: PASSED 52-3 on 5/31/13.

Updated June 12, 2013