Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Policy staff reports on the status of our policy initiatives.

Our last issue of the Common Good News was published one day before the end of the Illinois spring legislative session. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of activity on that final day and we want to give you with a quick wrap-up.

A new process for charity care--free and reduced-cost care for uninsured and under-insured individuals at nonprofit, tax-exempt hospitals in Illinois--has emerged from the General Assembly. This important step forward for health care justice is tempered by the expansion of the provisions of tax exemption for hospitals across the state.

PCG and other members of Raise Illinois expect that SB 1565--the bill calling for an increase in the minimum wage--will be heard and voted on in the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday, May 16th. You can join our PCG train riders to make your voice heard through calls or e-mails to your legislators.

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.


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