Update on CRS' 2014 Legislative Platform for Renewal

We are more than halfway through the Illinois General Assembly’s Spring Session, which is scheduled to adjourn on May 31, 2014. Thanks to your advocacy, momentum is building for CRS’ 2014 Legislative Platform.

Fund Specialized Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking

SB 3558 – to create new funding streams for specialized services for survivors of human trafficking – passed the Senate by an unanimous vote of 57-0 on April 9! Thousands of survivors of human trafficking and prostitution have no access to the specialized services that could help them find a way out. In fact, Illinois only has 12 beds for women and girls who have been exploited. This bill proposes fines against pimps, traffickers, and people who buy sex; expands forfeiture to those convicted of promoting prostitution; and creates a new fund at IDHSfor grants to support specialized services. SB 3558 is currently in the House Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a committee. CRS’ Policy staff will continue to advocate for SB 3558 as part of the End Demand Illinois coalition.

Support a Fair Tax

May 1, 2014 is the deadline for Illinois legislators to pass the Fair Tax constitutional amendment resolutions that would allow voters to choose a tax structure with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes on the November 2014 ballot. Neither the House nor the Senate has voted on Sen. Harmon’s SJRCA40 or Rep. Mitchell’s HJRCA49. SJRCA40 passed out of the Senate Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendments on March 28 and is currently on 3rd Reading. HJRCA49 is still being held in the House Rules Committee. Lobbying efforts by advocates, faith leaders, civic groups, and A Better Illinois (the Fair Tax coalition) will continue until the resolutions are passed. Contact your legislators now and and tell them you want a Fair Tax cut and a budget that has stable and sustainable revenue.

Reduce the Time to Preliminary Hearings

SB 3007 – to reduce the time from arrest to preliminary hearing – passed out of the Senate Criminal Law Committee on April 8. Currently, community leaders, advocates, and the bill’s Chief Sponsor, Sen. Harmon, are in negotiations with stakeholders. The bill is being held on 3rd Reading in the Senate pending amendments that may come from these negotiations. An extension for the bill to pass from the Senate has been filed for May 1.

Remove Barriers to Employment for People with Records

HB 4580 – to remove absolute lifetime bars to employment for people with records in health care facilities – passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on March 26. Community leaders and advocates are currently negotiating amendments with health care system stakeholders. We expect an extension to be filed when the House convenes after the spring break.

HB 4432 – to remove absolute lifetime bars to employment for people with records from schools – is currently being held in the House Rules Committee. An amendment has been filed but it has yet to be attached so that the bill can be assigned to a committee. During CRS’ Day of Faith at the Capitol on April 8, we delivered a letter to Speaker Madigan asking him to allow the bill and amendment to be assigned to a committee and get a hearing.

Raise the Minimum Wage

SB 68/HB 3718 – to raise the minimum wage to $10.65/hour, over three years – has not been called for a vote in the Senate or House. SB 68 advanced out of the Senate Executive Committee on March 20 by a vote 10-5 and is currently on 3rd Reading. HB 3718 is currently in the House Rules Committee. The House held Subject Matter Hearings on HB 3718 in March.