News from the Capital

This was a good year for CRS’ platform for restoring opportunities and building a just economy for safe communities. The General Assembly passed several of our priority bills.

We gained the support of many legislators thanks to your leadership on CRS’ Day of Faith, in-district meetings with your representatives and senators, your take action calls and emails, five trips to Springfield by the Restoring Rights and Justice Reform leaders, and our policy staff working in Springfield throughout session. Thank you for your advocacy!!

F.A.T.E. (Fair Access to Employment) Bill

HB 5341, House Floor Amendment 4 clarifies that fines and fees cannot be considered when determining whether a person can seal their record. Sponsored by Representative Gordon-Booth and Senator Don Harmon, HB 5341 passed the Illinois House on May 24 by a vote 63-39. It passed the Illinois Senate on May 30 by a vote 32-21-1. HB 5341 will now be sent to the Governor! Find out how your representative and senator voted, and send them a thank you message.

We worked on the F.A.T.E. bill in collaboration with the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI). RROCI is a coalition of leaders, organizers, and policy staff from Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society, and Heartland Alliance, who work on state legislation to remove barriers to life opportunities for people with criminal records. Read more about HB 5341 on our blog.

Combating the Illegal Gun Trafficking Act

SB 337, Senate Amendment 3 encourages better business practices among gun dealers and holds corrupt dealers accountable. It incorporates key provisions of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB 1657, which was vetoed by Governor Rauner in March), as well as provisions to better record and track private sales. Sponsored by Senator Don Harmon and Representative Kathleen Willis, SB 337 passed the Illinois House on May 29 by a vote 65-49. It passed the Senate on May 30 by a vote 35-20. Find out how your representative and your senator voted, and send them a thank you message. SB 337 will now be sent to the Governor for his signature!

Urgent: Take Action Now! Send a message to Governor Rauner to sign the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act into law.

We worked on the Combating the Illegal Gun Trafficking Act in collaboration with the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition (ILGVP), which advocates for common sense, evidence-based gun violence prevention measures that will save lives in Illinois. Read more about SB 337 on our blog.

State Budget

Unlike the previous few years, Illinois has a fully funded year-long budget signed into law before the end of the fiscal year on June 30! The fiscal year 2019 (FY19) state budget bill is HB 109 Senate Amendment 2 and Senate Amendment 3, and the Budget Implementation Bill (BIMP) is HB 3342 Senate Amendment 3. This budget passed both chambers with overwhelming majorities. We are glad that the Illinois General Assembly and Governor were able to put aside their political differences and pass a budget on time without non-budget demands holding the state hostage.

The FY19 budget will fund health and human services programs that were previously cut and provide million of Illinois families with much needed resources. However, there are still some cuts that were approved in the budget, as well as financial obligations that were excluded. The most concerning part of the budget is that it includes no funding to pay down the state’s mountain of unpaid bills.

Illinois needs a long-term solution to our state’s fiscal problems — now. We still need long-term change to our tax system to consistently provide support for programs that strengthen communities — education, human services, healthcare and public safety. We will continue to advocate with the Responsible Budget Coalition for a fair tax, with lower rates for the middle class and higher rates for higher incomes. An overwhelming majority of Illinoisans support the adoption of a fair tax because it could provide a tax cut to over 90% of taxpayers in Illinois, stabilize our state finances, reduce violence, and strengthen our communities.

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