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Hunter: This is about dignity and personal hygiene

hunter 052517SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect women’s healthcare, economic security and justice, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) passed legislation that would make all feminine hygiene products free at school for students grades 6-12.

“One of the reasons girls miss many days of school is because they do not have access to these products,” said Hunter. “Young women do not plan on having a menstrual cycle, it’s something that just happens. It’s an absolute necessity to supply our younger women with the resources they need.”

House Bill 3215 is an initiative of “Illinois Moving Women Forward” a group that aims to remove gender inequalities in order to help women achieve their full potential. Of their three principles, the group’s main focus is to protect and improve the access to affordable healthcare for women.

“This is not only about personal hygiene but about dignity as well,” Hunter said. “Our younger women deserve to be taken care of and we as a state can do so at a small expense.”

The legislation passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Bertino-Tarrant: New drug abuse information website will save lives

jbt 052517SPRINGFIELD— Information regarding heroin and prescription opioid abuse could become more readily available due to legislation that passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday.

“We need to every possible way to address the heroin and opioid addiction problems our state faces,” State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said. “Families are being destroyed by addiction and we need to make information and resources more readily available.”

The legislation, House Bill 3161, would require the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to create and maintain a website to educate people on heroin and prescription opioid abuse.

“This new website will allow people to get information and important resources,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Under House Bill 3161, the website developed and maintained by DHS would include the warning signs of heroin and opioid addiction, helpful tips for parents on how to discuss the dangers of addiction with their children, available treatment options and services and other related information.

Will County saw a record number of heroin related-deaths in 2016, an increase of more than 40 percent from the previous year. According to the Will County coroner’s office, 77 people died in Will County due to opioid overdoses in 2016.

Bertino-Tarrant has actively tried to combat addiction-related problems in her district. She served as the co-chairwoman of the Young Adults Heroin Use Task Force and hosted heroin prevention forums in her district.

Bennett ensures Senate budget includes funding for Lincoln's ChalleNGe Academy

bennett 052517SPRINGFIELD – The budget passed by the Illinois Senate includes funding for a popular program managed by the Illinois National Guard, according to one Illinois state senator.

The Lincoln's ChalleNGe Academy, funded through the Illinois Department of Military Affairs, is a youth intervention program based in Rantoul at the former Chanute Air Force Base. The academy seeks to help high school dropouts gain job and life skills that will lead to a better future.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) represents Rantoul and voted for the budget in large part to keep programs like the ChalleNGe Academy open.

“Some of the young people who go Lincoln's ChalleNGe Academy just need a second chance,” Bennett said. “The best way for the state to guarantee at-risk youth have a future chance at success is to invest in programs like the Academy that give them the necessary skills to do so.”

Lincoln's ChalleNGe Academy was started as a pilot program after the passage of the 1993 National Defense Reauthorization Act. Currently, 29 states have ChalleNGe Academies.

The Rantoul-based facility will also receive funding to prevent another shutdown of their facility upgrade, saving taxpayers the expensive costs of restarting the project. The academy employs a number of people in Rantoul.

Biss, Senate say no to lucrative tax loophole for wealth managers

biss 031517 2SPRINGFIELD – A measure that would bring fairness to Illinois’ income tax system, close the wealth divide and help to resolve the state’s budget crisis passed in the Senate this week.

Senate Bill 1719, sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), would close the carried interest loophole that enables ultra-wealthy hedge fund and private equity managers to avoid paying millions of dollars in Illinois taxes.

“Wealthy hedge fund managers are exploiting an archaic tax loophole and profiting off the backs of Illinois taxpayers,” Biss said. “We have a corrupt tax system in which ordinary people aren’t receiving the government services they help to pay for because the state is broke, in part because of a tax loophole that helps the rich get richer.”

The legislation would establish a 20 percent privilege tax on a former of compensation known as carried interest beginning July 1, 2017. The tax is on the fees earned from the investment strategy of the investment manager, not on the investment itself.

Estimates are that the legislation annually could generate between $473 million and $1.7 billion for the state.

Amisha Patel, executive director of Grassroots Collaborative, a Chicago-based organization, commended Biss and the Illinois Senate for passing the legislation.

“This is great news for Illinois residents who have been languishing under an extended budget impasse,” Patel said. “Illinois needs new revenue. Senate Bill 1719 generates significant revenue, raising it from those who have profited for years off a rigged tax system, instead of asking for more sacrifices from our most vulnerable residents.”

Biss said this is just another step toward correcting inequities that are baked into Illinois’ tax system.

“There is no reason for the State of Illinois to aid billionaires in finding ways to shelter their income,” he said. “Everyone should have to pay their fair share of income taxes. And if lawmakers in Congress won’t help us right this wrong, we’ll have to do it ourselves.”