Legislative

 Legislative Liaison Director: Sonja Faulkner League of Women Voters Glen Ellyn

Latest Report: March 2019

                                               LWVGE LEGISLATIVE LIAISON

 STATE OF ILLINOIS

LEGISLATIVE INTERVIEWS:

We will be meeting with State Representative Terra Costa Howard on Monday, March 18, in her office in Lombard.   LWVIL has requested that the interviews this year focus primarily on Fiscal Policy, specifically revenue sources and

discretionary funding.  Among other issues we may discuss are healthcare, affordable housing, gun violence prevention, and redistricting.  In addition, Amy has suggested that we discuss possible legislation designating Election Days as school holidays to enable more people to serve as election judges and to allow for more polling places (e.g., schools).

 I have also been in contact with State Senator Suzy Glowiak’s staff and with State Representative Deb Conroy, who represents residents living in the northern area of  Glen Ellyn.

FISCAL POLICY:

Governor J.B. Pritzker has proposed that the State of Illinois move from a flat-rate income tax, as presently provided for in the IL state constitution, to a graduated (“fair”) income tax rate.  He has proposed a tax structure that would provide small decreases in tax rates for those earning less than $100,000, and increased rates for those earning  higher incomes, particularly the wealthiest 3%.

To effect this change, 3/5s of each chamber of the General Assembly would need to approve the constitutional change.  Following that action, the proposed amendment would appear on the 2020 statewide election ballot and would need to be approved by 60% of the voters.

The current tax rate is 4.95 %, regardless of income.

Under Governor Pritzker’s proposed plan, the tax rates would be:

$0- 10,000:  4.75%

$10,000- 100,000:  4.9%

$100,000- 250,000:  4.95%

$250,000- 500,000:  7.75%

$500,000- 1 million:  7.85%

The proposed plan also includes an increase in property tax credit for homeowners.

Retirees would not be affected, as IL is one of a few states that do not tax retirement income.   

Facts to Consider:

*All but 6 of the 41 states with broad-based income taxes have graduated tax rates.

*Iowa’s top tax rate is 8.53% (kicks in at $73,710).

 *Wisconsin’s top rate is 7.65% on those with income over $252,150 (individual)

 *Minnesota’s top rate is 9.85%

 *California, Hawaii, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Washington D.C.           all have tax rates higher than the top rates proposed under IL plan.

*Top marginal  federal income tax rates, historically:

1932:   63%

1953:    92%

Fell to pre-1932 rate in 1982

The LWV supports a constitutional amendment that would replace the present flat-rate income tax  with a graduated income tax rate.  The League views the graduated income tax rate, that is, taxing those who are the wealthiest at a higher tax rate than those with more modest incomes, as more equitable.

PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS SEXUAL ABUSE IN SCHOOLS:

State Senator Tom Cullerton (represents Glen Ellyn residents living in north Glen Ellyn) and Representative David McSweeney have drafted legislation to address the issue of sexual abuse of children by teachers and other school employees.

Their proposed legislation provides for:

*Swiftly revoking the licenses of educators found to have abused children.

*Making discipline more transparent to the public.

*Increasing public access to disciplinary records of school employees in cases of sexual assault by amending the State Personnel Review Act, the Criminal Code and the Freedom of Information Act.

*Making it a crime for school employees to have sexual contact with a student regardless of age. (Current law: sexual contact is legal if student is over 17 and no force is involved.)

Additionally, legislation has been reintroduced that would significantly limit the ability of teachers accused of sexual assault to collect government pensions. 

STATE MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE:

The General Assembly has approved, and the Governor has signed, legislation that increases the minimum wage from its present rate of $8.25/hr. to $15/hr. by 2025.

Increases will be as follows: 

$9.25/hr. on 1-1-20; $10/hr. on 7-1-20; then will increase by $1/hr. on January 1 of each year until 2025.

State Representative Terra Costa Howard voted against the measure.  Explaining her vote, as reported in the Daily Herald, she said that the vote was ‘one of her hardest decisions’.   Her concerns related to the effect on the budgets of schools, park districts, municipalities and libraries.  She also stated that she received many calls from constituents asking her to oppose the bill.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS:

Bills to control the increasing costs of prescription drugs have been proposed:

·      HB 3493:  Regulating some drug prices similar to the way the state regulates utility rates.

·      HB 2880:  Taxing drug price increases that exceed the rate of inflation.

·      HB156:    Requiring more disclosure re: drug prices including how much is  spent on marketing.

·      HB 1414: State becoming a licensed wholesaler of cheaper drugs from Canada.

REDISTRICTING:

LWVIL supports SJRCA4 (Senate bill) & HJRCA15 (House bill)-

 constitutional amendment to change the present approach to drawing legislative districts.

Amendment would:

*Remove politicians/sitting legislators from drawing their own maps.

*Establish an independent redistricting commission to draw maps.

*Create a commission to be comprised of citizens who demographically, politically and geographically represent the state.

*Require releasing all communications by the commission, as well as the

 data used to create the proposed maps.

*Provide for public comment (including, minimum of 30 public hearings) and allow the public to submit its own maps. 

NATIONAL

HR 1:

‘For The People Act’, a comprehensive democracy reform bill, was passed by the House of Representatives.  Among many important provisions, it restores the Voting Rights Act, modernizes voter registration, including same day registration for which LWV advocated, provides for public financing of elections through small donor matching funds, and ends gerrymandering.

The bill now moves on to the Senate where there is little expectation that it will be considered.

CIVIC EDUCATION:

HB 2265 would require every public elementary school to include civic education in its 6th, 7th or 8th grade curriculum in March.

GUN CONTROL:  The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019

The House of Representatives has passed two bills to address gun safety.  The first requires that ALL firearm purchases must include a background check.  In the past, private sellers, including some who sold regularly at gun shows, could skip background checks.  (IL is an exception in that we have stricter background check  requirements.)  One fifth of all gun sales are made though private dealers.

Secondly, The House passed legislation that would extend the deadline for completing background checks at the time of sale.  Presently, background checks must be completed within 3 days.  Once the deadline passes, the sale can be made, even if the background check is incomplete.   This legislation extends the deadline to 10 business days with a provision that an extension of an additional 10-days is permitted.    

GE STATE LEGISLATORS:

State Senator District 23:  Thomas Cullerton (Dem., reelected)

State Senator District 24:  Suzy Glowiak  (Dem., defeated Chris Nybo)

State Representative District 46:  Deborah Conroy (Dem., reelected)

State Representative District 48:  Terra Costa Howard (Dem., defeated Peter Breen)

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR STATE LEGISLATORS:  LOCAL OFFICES

 State Senator Thomas Cullerton, District 23:

338 South Ardmore Ave., Villa Park 60181

senatortomcullerton.com

630-903-6662

 

State Senator Suzy Glowiak, District 24:

Office Space and local contact Information TBA soon.

senatorsuzyglowiak.com

217-782-8148 (Washington D.C. office)

 

State Representative Deborah Conroy, District 46:

28 S. Villa Ave., Villa Park 60181

repdebconroy@gmail.com

630-415-3520

 

State Representative Terra Costa Howard, District 48

913 S. Main St., Lombard  60148

reptch48@gmail.com

630-812-9292

MEMBER OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH STATE LEGISLATORS:

Every spring, local Leagues are asked by the LWVIL to meet with

their state legislators.  The purposes of these meetings are:

1) To develop or reinforce a positive relationship with our legislators, and

2)  To determine each legislator’s opinion on topics representing League positions, which may or may not have ‘legislative consequences’ for the spring session.  These are considered to be fact-finding meetings.

If you have an interest in participating in one of these meetings, please email, Sonja Faulkner, LWVGE Legislative Liaison, at:  jtf-slf@sbcglobal.net.

CONSTITUENT OUTREACH:

On Monday, January 7th, State Representative Terra Costa Howard held open meetings with constituents to gain input from them as to what issues they felt need to be addressed.  Two meetings were held, one in the Glen Ellyn Library in the morning and an evening meeting in Lombard.  Thirty to forty people attended the meeting in Glen Ellyn and spoke about a wide range of issues, including gun control, voter rights, public education, affordable housing, the opioid crisis and the state budget.

Representative Costa Howard stated that she greatly appreciated the input and plans to continue holding constituent meetings in the future. 

GOVERNOR JB PRITZKER SIGNS GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION

On January 19, Governor Pritzker signed SB 337, a bipartisan bill that is designed to combat illegal gun trafficking.  The bill requires firearm dealers to:

1) Be licensed by the IL State Police, rather than the state agency that regulates professions and occupations;

 2) Obtain a $1500 state license and install video surveillance;

 3) Train employees to recognize those who try to make straw purchases (i.e., buy guns for those who can’t legally own guns).

GOVERNOR SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER ON FIRST FULL DAY IN OFFICE

Governor Pritzker signed an executive order on his first full day in office that forbids state agencies from asking job applicants how much money they earned in previous jobs.  Advocacy groups, including the League of Women Voters, state that basing a newly hired employee’s salary on previous salary compensation perpetuates salary disparities between women and men.  Women may have previously earned lower salaries due to past practices of underpaying women.  In addition, women are more likely to take time off or work reduced hours during their careers in order to care for children, or other family members.  This, too, may affect prior salary levels.

It is anticipated that the General Assembly will pass legislation banning salary history questions during the hiring process (‘No Salary History’ laws) to all employers in the state.  Governor Rauner twice vetoed similar legislation.   Lawmakers have indicated legislation will be reintroduced.

SENATOR TOM CULLERTON PROPOSES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT SCHOOL CHILDREN

Senator Thomas Cullerton, who represents a portion of Glen Ellyn voters, has crafted legislation with State Representative David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, which would help protect children from sexual abuse in schools.  The McSweeney –Cullerton proposal would include revoking the licenses of educators who abuse children, increase transparency, require reporting of all credible cases of assault or abuse to the State Board of Education, and provide protection for school students no matter their age.

REDISTRICTING LEGISLATION RE-INTRODUCED

Legislation has been proposed which would take authority to draw the boundaries for legislative districts out of the hands of the General Assembly and governor.  Instead the state Supreme Court would have this authority.  The chief justice and the most senior justice of the opposite political party would select a sixteen- member commission, seven from each political party and two independents.  This commission would draw the legislative boundaries.

The redistricting change would require a constitutional amendment.

 A 3/5’s majority of both houses of the General Assembly would need to approve the measure and then 60% of voters would need to give their approval.  

 NEW STATE LAWS, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1

 More than 250 new state laws took effective January 1. 

 Of these, several relate to addressing the issue of GUN VIOLENCE. 

Among these laws are: 

(1) a required 72-hour cooling-off period for those who wish to buy firearms, expanding a requirement that formerly applied only to the purchase of handguns; 

(2) a mandate that schools conduct an active shooter drill that is observed by law enforcement within 90 days of the start of school;

(3) the Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act that allows family members, acquaintances and law enforcement to petition a court to allow authorities to temporarily remove firearms and FOID card from an individual who poses an immediate and present danger to one’s self or to someone else. 

 New laws relating to SEXUAL HARASSMENT are:

(1) the creation of a new General Assembly office to oversee and handle sexual harassment complaints in Springfield;

(2) a requirement that companies who do business with the state, or that receive certain tax breaks, must provide copies of their anti-harassment policies;

(3) anti-harassment training must be part of continuing education required to  renew professional licenses.

 A law specific to the DUPAGE COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION:

Legislation passed and signed by Governor Rauner gives DuPage County the authority to dissolve the independent Election Commission, effective January 1.

It was anticipated that the County Board would take action to complete the dissolution and merge the election commission with the county clerk’s office in January.  However, it was recently reported that County Board Chairman Dan Cronin has had initial conversations with newly elected DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek who may favor delaying the merger until after the General Consolidated   Election in April.   

 Also effective January 1 is a change in the State Election Code:  gender neutral “chair” will replace “chairman”.

2019 LEGISLATIVE CALENDARS

 FEBRUARY  5, 6, 7, 19, 20 & 21  

February 15: Deadline for Substantive Senate Bills;

February 20: GOVERNOR’S BUDGET ADDRESS

MARCH 5,6,7,12,13,14, 19,20, 21, 22, 26,27,28

March 22:  Deadline for Substantive Senate Bills to be Out of Committee

APRIL 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 30

April 12:  Deadline for Third Reading of Substantive Senate Bills

MAY 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

May 31 ADJOURNMENT

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101st GENERAL ASSEMBLY- ILLINOIS HOUSE CALENDAR 2019

 Dates House is scheduled to be in SESSION:

 FEBRUARY 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13,14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

February 15:  Deadline for Introduction of House Bills

 MARCH 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14,19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

March 29:  Deadline (Committee) for Substantive House Bills

APRIL 2, 3, 4, 9,10, 11, 12, 30

April 12:  Deadline for Third Reading of House Bills

MAY 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

May 24: Deadline for 3rd Reading of Senate Bills

May 31:  ADJOURNMENT

NATIONAL

 LEGISLATION:

HB1:   A broad coalition of organizations, including The League of Women Voters, has worked with legislators to draft legislation to reform voting rights and strengthen our democracy.   HB1 is anticipated to be one of the first pieces of legislation introduced in the House.  Comprehensive reforms would include restoring the Voting Rights Act, improving Automatic Voter Registration, creating a public financing system through small donor matching funds, overturning Citizen United, and ending gerrymandering.  LWV worked to include Same Day Voter Registration, which would address issues including errors in the registration process and inaccuracies in voter rolls, and would reduce the number of provisional ballots and increase voter participation.

LWV urges all League members to call their Representative, asking for their support of HB1.

Call our recently elected Congressional Representative Sean Casten, 202-225-4561.

 GUN CONTROL:  

·      Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has announced that legislation will be introduced in the House to expand background checks for sales and transfers of firearms. 

·      The Trump administration has banned the use of bump-stocks, attachments that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.  Gun owners have until the end of March to turn in or destroy these devices.