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The Majority Report 05/04/18 - Senate pushes for government accountability, protects students

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Manar urges governor to sign executive payroll accountability measure for Illinois taxpayers

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Sen. Andy Manar and Rep. Christian MitchellState Senator Andy Manar is calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to make a lasting, positive mark on Illinois government by outlawing the practice of concealing governor's office salaries within state agency budgets, a practice known as "offshoring."

The Illinois Senate approved the Truth in Hiring Act with bipartisan support this week. The accountability and transparency measure, sponsored by Manar in the Senate, will be sent to the governor's desk.

"Offshoring didn't start under this governor's watch, but certainly he can be the governor who puts a stop to it," Manar said.

The Truth in Hiring Act simply says that every employee who works in the governor's office will be paid from the governor's payroll. Their salaries will be counted in the governor's budget and will not be pulled from agencies that are supposed to protect children and the elderly or put state troopers out patrolling highways.

The measure was an initiative of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. It was approved with no opposition in the House.

"Signing the Truth in Hiring Act shouldn't require much soul-searching by Gov. Rauner when it lands on his desk," Manar said. "I urge him to enact it and join lawmakers of both parties and the comptroller in claiming a victory for Illinois taxpayers."

Read more HERE.

IN THE NEWS
State Journal-Register: Bill preventing ‘offshoring' of governor's office salaries heads to Rauner's desk
Illinois Business Journal: Truth in Hiring measure headed to governor's desk

 


Bennett measure to protect college graduates approved by Senate

Sen. Scott BennettState Senator Scott Bennett is working with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to protect student loan borrowers from losing professional licenses as they work to pay off their debt.

Senate Bill 2439 would prevent Illinois licensing agencies that regulate 38 professions from denying, revoking or suspending licenses to individuals who are in default on their student loans.

"There are many things we can do to collect debt for student loans, but taking away someone's livelihood is counterproductive, to say the least," Bennett said. "This bill will end this punitive practice and protect licensed professionals from becoming trapped in insurmountable debt."

Under the current law, state officials reserve the right to suspend or revoke a person's occupational license for defaulting on student loan payments. Teachers, dieticians, marriage and family therapists, veterinarians and engineers are among the dozens of occupations affected by this law.

Watch Senator Bennett discuss his legislation below.

 


Stadelman stands up for students subjected to 'lunch shaming'

Sen. Steve StadelmanIn many school districts, students who are unable to pay for lunch can be stigmatized with a special wristband or handstamp and, in some cases, even denied lunch.

To stop this practice known as "lunch shaming" in Illinois, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) passed Senate Bill 2428 through the Illinois Senate.

"Forcing students to go without lunch is punishing them for the mistakes of their parents," Stadelman said. "All students, regardless of their parent's status or income level, deserve to have a hot lunch."

Under Stadelman's proposal, every school will be required to provide a meal to a student that requests one. While the school can contact the parents directly to request they pay for the child's lunch, they are prevented from throwing the meal out, forcing the student to wear a wristband or otherwise stigmatizing them. If the school district is owed $500 by a student's parents and they have made a reasonable effort to collect the debt, the district can request the Illinois Comptroller withhold tax refunds from parents to pay off the debt.

"As a state, we can't force students to sit through class hungry and expect them to learn," Stadelman said. "This plan ensures all students will be given an opportunity to succeed instead of being forced to learn on an empty stomach."

The proposal passed through the Illinois Senate on a bipartisan vote. It is now in the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.

Watch Stadelman discuss this legislation below.

 


Fallen officers honored at annual police memorial

Police Memorial 2018Each year, law enforcement officers from across the state come to the Illinois State Capitol to pay tribute to officers who were killed in the line of duty during the previous year. The annual event is usually at the police memorial statue on the Capitol lawn, but inclement weather put this year's ceremony in the State Library.

"I was honored to commemorate Illinois Police Memorial Day in Springfield with Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham and my former colleagues in the sheriff's office," said Senator Bill Cunningham. "Although poor weather forced the ceremony indoors at the State Library, where officers lined the balconies, the police memorial statue is one of the most poignant spots on the Capitol grounds."

Survivors and friends of the fallen officers joined their law enforcement colleagues and state officials for the services, which included honor guards, a rifle squad, and CPD pipes and drums.

Here are the 2018 honorees (E.O.W. = End of Watch):

  • Officer Raymond Murrell, Bloomingdale Police Department, E.O.W. 01-19-2017
  • Trooper Ryan Albin, Illinois State Police, E.O.W. 06-28-2017
  • Officer Bernard Domagala, Chicago Police Department, E.O.W. 09-05-2017
  • Correctional Officer Kevin Brewer, Will County Sheriff's Office, E.O.W. 10-14-2017
  • Officer Andre Van Vegten, Chicago Police Department, E.O.W. 11-02-2017
  • Officer Jaimie Cox, Rockford Police Department, E.O.W. 11-05-2017

Click below to view video of the ceremony and see more pictures.

police memorial video

 


In case you missed it

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

Senator Cristina Castro, Elgin: VW Settlement: Draft plan for cash disappoints activists, lawmakers | Chicago Tonight WTTW

Senator Tom Cullerton, Villa Park: Bill that would rein in severance payments clears Illinois Senate | The State Journal-Register

Senator Bill Cunningham, Chicago: Illinois Senate passes bill to crack down on juvenile carjackers | Chicago Sun-Times

Senator Bill Haine, Alton: IL Senate approves tougher sentences for violent attacks committed in a place of worship | WJPF News Radio

Senator Terry Link, Vernon Hills: Proposal would let Illinois veterans groups gamble | The Associated Press

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Rx for Failure Part 2 - Sen. Manar 'Open Up' state contracts | WAND

Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: Legislation would increase tobacco-purchase age to 21 | Illinois Business Journal

Senator Laura Murphy, Des Plaines: Senate advances Murphy's lotto winner identity protection law | Des Plaines Journal & Topics

Senator Kwame Raoul, Chicago: Illinois debates effectiveness of racial profile data | The Associated Press

Senator Martin Sandoval, Chicago: Illinois Senate approves plan that would allow police to monitor large crowds with drones | Chicago Tribune

Senator Heather Steans, Chicago: LGBT history requirement for public schools passes Illinois Senate | The State Journal-Register

Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Backlash growing against Chicago Police gang database | Patch

 


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