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  1. Lt. Governor

2014 Legislative Agenda 

 
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.”

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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.”

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Employees' Rights
House Bill 4665 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Esther Golar (D-Chicago)

House Bill 4665 expands the composition of the Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities to include representatives of the offices of the Lt. Governor, the Attorney General, the Comptroller, the Treasurer, and the Secretary of State. The Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities was created by statute in 1974 to represent the interests of employees with disabilities in Illinois state government.

"This measure has the potential to allow constitutional officers to better advocate for the rights and interests of employees with disabilities,” Simon said.

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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 justice 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."

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Minimum Wage
Senate Bill 68/House Bill 3718 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)/ Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago)

Senate Bill 68 raises the minimum wage in Illinois.

"A hard day’s work deserves a fair minimum wage. This legislation is a strong step in the right direction. By raising the minimum wage to $10.65 over the next three years we can help the many women and men who are doing some of our hardest jobs enter the middle class," said Simon.

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Public Safety
Senate Joint Resolution 62 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet)

Senate Joint Resolution 62 creates the Emergency Responder Roadway Safety Task Force to identify and recommend ways that the State of Illinois can increase the safety of emergency responders while they perform their duties.

"As chair of the 25-member Governor's Rural Affairs Council, I have worked tirelessly to expand access emergency medical services in rural areas. This task force is an important way to protect the first responders that protect us,” Simon said.

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Senate Bill 2202 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan)

Senate Bill 2202 prohibits smoking on all public university campuses in Illinois.

“This measure can improve public health by making sure our state university campuses are smoke-free. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, cigarette smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually. Anything we can do to prevent or dissuade young people from picking up this habit is a step in the right direction,” said Simon.

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Senate Joint Resolution 53 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Donne E. Trotter (D-Chicago)

Senate Joint Resolution 53 designates the month of April 2014 as Illinois Sarcoidosis Awareness Month in the State of Illinois. Sarcoidosis is the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of the body — most commonly the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin.

“Sarcoidosis is something my husband lives with every day. By spreading awareness and increasing the information available, we can take important steps toward finding a cure for a disease that impacts many families in Illinois," said Simon.

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Senate Bill 3380/House Bill 5657 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsors: Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria)/Rep. Michael Tryon(R-Crystal Lake):

Senate Bill 3380 establishes a framework for the regulation of food samples at farmers' markets, increases food safety and imposes disclosure requirements for specialty crops and raw agricultural commodities.

“As chair of the 25-member Governor's Rural Affairs Council (GRAC), I am tasked with improving delivery of state services to rural Illinois and expanding opportunities for rural residents to enhance their quality of life. This measure can help promote local farmers’ markets, increase rural economic development and encourage public health,” Simon said.

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House Bill 5742(98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston):

Allows the Illinois Department of Public Health to designate a hospital as an Acute Stroke-Ready Hospital upon receipt of certification and payment of an annual fee. Acute Stroke-Ready Hospitals are typically small facilities that often serve rural populations. These facilities often provide an initial diagnosis, stabilization and acute treatments.

“This measure has the potential to provide lifesaving care to often underserved rural communities. We can make a tremendous difference, if we can save one life by designating a hospital an Acute Stroke-Ready Hospital. I will continue pushing for new legislation aimed at providing top-notch health services to rural populations," Simon said.

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Senate Bill 3414(98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago):

Senate Bill 3414 allows the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to adopt current national education curricula so that EMS personnel in Illinois are educated, licensed and recognized by the same educational standards as adopted on a national level.

“Uniform EMS standards can help ensure Illinois residents are receiving the top-notch health services they deserve. Adopting national standards for emergency medical services has the potential to save lives and protect people,” Simon said.

Education
House Bill 5323 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock):

House Bill 5323 requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to undertake a study to determine the practical and fiscal impacts of adopting a program in Illinois similar to Pennsylvania's “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back program.” This program would aim to provide loans to eligible students to attend an institution of higher learning that are to be repaid, in part, according to the income of the student borrowers.

“Investing in education is an investment in our future. Looking at other states and programs that have been successful is an important way to increase college completion and improve affordability,” said Simon.

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Senate Joint Resolution 44 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Chicago):

Senate Joint Resolution 44 recommends the abolishment of the proration of General State Aid dollars and urges the members of the General Assembly to pass legislation that would equitably spread any education funding reductions among school districts by evenly cutting dollars on a per-pupil basis or using another non-regressive approach.

“Every child in Illinois should have access to a high-quality education. Pushing for equitable funding across Illinois can create a truly fair system, provide increased resources to students and improve education across the state,” said Simon.

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Senate Joint Resolution 49 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign):

Senate Joint Resolution 49 creates the Higher Education Prior Learning Assessment Task Force to improve college completion rates, explore successful education techniques being used in other states and assist Illinois students.

“As the governor’s point person on education reform, I am committed to seeking out ways to improve college completion and encourage innovation. This resolution looks at what is working in other states and how we can apply new techniques in Illinois,” Simon said.

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House Bill 4493 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb):

House Bill 4493 makes an appropriation of $400,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the State Board of Education for supplemental payments for district consolidation costs.

“This legislation provides much-needed funding to assist school district consolidation costs," said Lt. Governor Sheila Simon. "I hope that by providing adequate funding we can encourage cost-saving through voluntary consolidations.”br />

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Senate Bill 3412 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsors: Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Rep. William Davis (D-Hazel Crest)

Senate Bill 3412 allows for new Illinois student assessments that will be aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards that were updated in 2010. The new standards clarify the frequency and types of assessments while maintaining protections for special education students and English language learners.

“These new standards are aimed at being more rigorous and are intended to better prepare students for college and careers,” said Simon.

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House Bill 3939 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsors: Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson (D-East St. Louis) and Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake)

House Bill 3939 will align Illinois with national standards on the treatment of military students, many who transfer schools three times more often than their civilian peers.

“This legislation provides a chance for Illinois to strengthen our commitment to our brave military families,” said Simon, chairperson of the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee. “We want to make sure these students are prioritized and transition smoothly into their new classes. It’s right for our kids and important for keeping defense jobs in the state of Illinois.”

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Senate Bill 16 (98th General Assembly)
Sponsor: Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)

Senate Bill 16 aims to benefit rural students as well as other areas with smaller tax bases by streamlining the outdated current education funding system and making it more equitable. The legislation also includes a provision that helps consolidated districts afford transportation and creates incentives for dual credit students.

“This legislation updates an outdated and unfair funding system,” said Simon. “No matter if they live in a big city or small town -- every child in Illinois deserves access to a high-quality education.”

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Senate Resolution 1115/House Resolution 1047(98th General Assembly)
Sponsors: Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago)

Senate Resolution 1115 and House Resolution 1047 encourage schools participating in the School Breakfast Program to utilize alternative delivery models, such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab n' Go, and Second Chance Breakfast, to provide breakfast after the bell to all students at no cost to students. The measures also urge Congress to develop a 2015 Child Nutrition Reauthorization that protects and strengthens the federal food and nutrition safety net for children while opposing cuts in funding to federal food and nutrition programs for children and families through the annual federal budget process or any other measures.

“No Illinois child should go to class hungry or not know where their next meal is coming from,” said Simon. “This resolution calls attention to an important issue in our state. As chair of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, I am working to combat food insecurity and help low-income residents access healthy, locally produced foods.”