Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Policy staff reports on the status of our policy initiatives.

Thousands of 30-hours-per-week jobs for low-income parents will end on September 30, 2010 unless the Senate includes the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund in the tax extenders bill that will likely be considered after Congress' August recess. There are indications of bipartisan support for the one-year extension of the TANF emergency fund, but--let's be clear--the tax extenders bill is the last chance for this important benefit for families and for the Illinois economy.

680,000 Illinoisans living in deep poverty, many of whom are children, will now have access to some much-needed income support and transitional services. They will be better able to pay for their living expenses--basics like utilities, rent, clothing, and transportation.

The 2010 legislative session in Springfield has ended - with mixed results. We achieved some important legislative victories, but our celebration is muted by the irresponsible 2011 budget that calls for additional cuts, more borrowing, and further delays in bill payments.

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!

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