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  1. Lt. Governor

2013 Legislative Agenda 


Marriage Equality
Senate Bill 10 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago); Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago)

Senate Bill 10, Amendment 2 would create the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act allowing same-sex couples to marry in Illinois. This would make same-sex couples eligible for a variety of benefits they do not currently qualify for under a civil union including Social Security survivor benefits, family leave and veteran’s benefits. The legislation would not require any denomination to perform, solemnize or recognize same-sex relationships.

“Passing a marriage equality bill in Illinois is the right thing to do, and we should do it now,” said Simon, a longtime advocate for marriage equality and LGBT rights. “People across Illinois recognize the importance marriage plays in protecting and recognizing families, and we need to ensure that our legislators hear that message, too.”


Ethics & Transparency
Senate Bill 1361 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge)

Senate Bill 1361 would overhaul a financial disclosure form – known as the Statement of Economic Interests – filed by constitutional officers, elected officials and certain high-ranking public employees every year. The new form would require filers – for the first time – to list outside sources of income, lobbyist relationships and loans made or accepted on terms not available to the general public. It also closes loopholes that allow filers to answer “not applicable” to almost all of the questions on the current version of the form, which was introduced 40 years ago.

“At over 40 years-old, it’s time our financial disclosure forms get a facelift," said Lt. Governor Sheila Simon. "This legislation is about making our Statement of Economic Interests more understandable for the people who fill them out, and making them more transparent for those who want to get information from them.”


Senate Bill 337 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Kankakee)

Senate Bill 337 requires the Illinois Department of Revenue to provide a taxpayer receipt to each Illinois individual income tax filer who filed an electronic income tax return. The taxpayer receipt should help taxpayers understand the state's growing pension obligations and the strain that places on other areas such as Medicaid and the state's backlog of unpaid bills. A sample receipt can be found here

"When you buy groceries, you automatically receive a receipt outlining how your money was spent,” Simon said. “Taxpayers deserve the same clear information on how the state spends their money on education, prisons and pensions.”


Domestic Violence
House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Lou Lang (D-Chicago)

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 amends the section of the Illinois Bill of Rights concerning crime victims. Currently, the Bill of Rights outlines certain protections for crime victims, but fails to offer any sort of remedy if a right is violated. The amendment enables crime victims to ask that their rights be enforced and requires the court to act promptly on such a request. Illinois is the only state in the union that does not provide such a remedy for its crime victims.

"The criminal justic system affords many protections for crime victims, but unless they are enforced, those individuals continue to be victimized," Simon said following passage of the resolution in the House. "By adopting this resolution, representatives are giving crime victims a voice. I urge members of the Senate to pass this amendment and allow voters to weight in."


Military Affairs 
House Bill 2563 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-DeKalb)  

House Bill 2563 requires the Secretary of State to waive the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) skills test for any applicant who has military commercial vehicle experience.  

“We need to do everything we can to help our veterans returning from combat overseas,” Simon said. “They have sacrificed for us, the least we can do is make sure they have the tools they need to help them get jobs as they move back into civilian life.”  


House Bill 3346 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville)  

House Bill 3346 creates a Women’s Veteran Task Force within the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The task force would be charged with publishing an annual report that offers solutions on issues related to compensation, rehabilitation, outreach, and health care among female veterans.  

“The women who serve our country oftentimes return to fight new battles, such as earning a lower wage than their male counterparts,” said Simon. “This is an important bill that will help us address the needs our female veterans face when they come home.”  


Education Reform
House Bill 2267 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria); Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)

House Bill 2267 is the result of three recommendations from Lt. Governor Simon’s Classrooms First Commission, which explored ways to increase school efficiency and educational opportunity. The legislation would reduce barriers to voluntary school district consolidation by allowing non-contiguous school districts to consolidate, certain small districts to use an expedited reorganization process, and school districts to tie consolidation dates to capital funding.

“It is important that school districts throughout the state have the tools they need in order to help students succeed,” said Simon. “This legislation will put our students – not bureaucracy – first.”


Public Safety
House Bill 2934 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg)  

House Bill 2934 expands the provisions of the Internet Dating Safety Act to websites that provide a database that helps connect customers with providers of child care services, senior care services and home care services. This would require providers to either conduct a criminal background check on the businesses listed on the website or to state clearly on the website that background checks are not conducted.  

“When people go to the Internet in search of professionals to care for their loved ones, they should feel confident that those individuals have been vetted,” said Simon. “I urge the General Assembly to pass this legislation to help protect online consumers.”  


House Bill 1247 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago); Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago)  

House Bill 1247 bans the use of a cell phone while driving unless it is used with a headset. The ban would not apply to the use of a GPS or other device integrated into a motor vehicle such as a radio. Cell phone distractions were the primary or secondary cause of more than 1,100 crashes in Illinois 2010 according the Illinois Department of Transportation.  

Lt. Governor Simon has been an advocate for prohibiting  not text while driving as part of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign. “Texting is one of the leading causes of distracted driving, an epidemic that causes far too many accidents and deaths on our roadways,” Simon said. “I have taken a pledge to not text while driving because there is no text message important enough to risk your life – it can wait.” 

Local Foods
House Bill 3319 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Charleston)  

House Bill 3319 will allow farmers in rural areas to accept food scrap, crop residue, livestock waster, agricultural landscape waste, uncontaminated wood waste, yard waste and landscape waste for use in composting without the need for a permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. This change will give farmers access to new materials to create high quality compost.  

Lt. Governor Simon chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, which works to expand access to healthy, locally-grown food. “This legislation will reduce barriers for rural organic farmers and help strengthen the state’s local food system,” said Simon. “Reforms like this move Illinois closer to being a leader in building a more sustainable food system.”    


House Bill 2335 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston)  

House Bill 2335 will allow urban and suburban farms to have a composting exemption similar to the one contained in HB3319. The legislation will open new opportunities for urban agricultural operations and help strengthen efforts to improve sustainable agriculture.  

“Urban gardens are a critical part of expanding access to local foods in urban areas which are often considered food deserts,” said Simon. “By supporting urban gardens, we are making it easier for city dwellers to eat healthy and eat locally.”  


House Bill 1272 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Round Lake Beach); Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria)  

House Bill 1272 designates the first Saturday of each month as Eat Local, Buy Illinois Products Day in Illinois. This is in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Illinois Product Logo Program, which promotes the sale of Illinois food and agribusiness products.  

“As a state, we export more than 95 percent of our food dollars,” said Simon. “Increasing awareness of our state’s vast agricultural resources can help keep more of our food dollars in our local communities improving the health of our citizens and our economy.”