I’m very proud of the General Assembly’s hard work over the past session, and I wanted to give you some highlights on our major accomplishments.
We passed a strong, balanced, fiscally responsible state budget for the upcoming year that funds key state programs and makes sure our public schools receive the funding they need and deserve. I was especially pleased that our budget expands the Business Interruption Grant for Illinois businesses that are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget also fully funds appropriate pay rates for staff who care for people with developmental disabilities, as recommended by Guidehouse Inc., a well-regarded independent consulting firm. I’m also hopeful that our appropriation of $100 million dollars to violence prevention programs statewide will increase everyone’s safety.
While I supported the FY22 budget bill as a whole, I was disappointed by some of the line items it included. I did not favor the increase in legislators’ pay, at a time when so many of our constituents are still trying to recover from the personal and economic impacts of COVID-19. I will continue to donate any pay increases to local organizations that are working to strengthen and rebuild our communities.
The House and Senate came together to pass a number of reforms that we hope will expand voter participation in Illinois. Under these new laws, we are making Election Day a holiday, creating universal voting centers, and moving the 2022 primary election to June.
We also fulfilled our constitutional responsibility to draw new legislative district maps. I voted to support these maps, and I do believe they are fundamentally fair. However, we still need a better system for engaging public input in our legislative remaps, and I will continue to advocate for reforms that will make the redistricting process more transparent and community-based. You will find my full statement about the redistricting bill on my website here.
New Ethics Laws
We passed several new ethics reforms that I hope will help increase voters’ trust in our legislature and the work that we do. Our new ethics bill will stop the “revolving door” by prohibiting legislators from becoming lobbyists immediately after they leave office. The new law also empowers the Legislative Inspector General to initiate investigations without prior approval of the Legislative Ethics Commission –which means powerful legislators can’t stop an investigation before it even begins. These reforms passed the House with broad bipartisan support, and the Senate approved them unanimously. I’m incredibly proud we were able to come together across party lines and acknowledge that we all must hold ourselves to a higher ethical standard.
Green energy bill – still to come…
Like so many of my colleagues, I am disappointed that the General Assembly failed to pass a comprehensive green energy bill before the session ended. I remain committed to passing new environmental legislation, and I know that the people of our district support us in our efforts to fight climate change by making Illinois a greener, cleaner place.
to passage this session:
- HB12: Expands the Family Medical Leave Act to make FMLA more accessible to hourly employees of our public schools, community colleges, and university systems
- HB19: Amends the Children and Family Services Act to expand membership of the Direct Child Welfare Service Employee License Board
- HB842: Updates the process for the allocation of Guardian Ad Litem Fees
- HB3277: Requires judges to appoint a special advocate to protect children’s best interests in all DCFS court cases throughout Illinois
- HB3595: Creates new protections for children who are leaving foster care and being reunited with their families
- SB80: Empowers the court to extend temporary guardianship by 60 days before a permanent guardian is appointed
- SB317: Makes additional units of local government eligible to receive certain tourism grants from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
- SB593: Provides the right to confidentiality in voting for any survivor of human trafficking
- SB1892: Imposes a mandatory minimum prison term for possession of child pornography when the victim is a family member or lives in the offender’s household
- SB1904: Authorizes state’s attorneys to receive records of unfounded investigative reports of child abuse or neglect in certain juvenile court proceedings, including records related to the child’s family or household members
As we move into the summer, everyone in my office is looking forward to talking with people face-to-face, hosting community events, and serving as a resource for our constituents.
If you ever need help dealing with a state agency, or if you have ideas or questions about legislation, don’t hesitate to contact us at (630) 812-9292 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also invite you to follow me on Facebook and Instagram.