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The Majority Report 12/22/17 - Illinois Senate Democrats: A year in review



2018 ushers in new state laws

More than 200 new state laws are set to take effect Jan. 1 that improve government operations, enhance public safety, reflect citizens’ advocacy in Springfield and address changing times and needs.

For example, the Debt Transparency Act requiring monthly reports to the comptroller about bills that state agencies are holding becomes effective Jan. 1. The law, which will bring added transparency to the state’s finances on behalf of taxpayers, was sponsored in the Senate by Democrats Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, Pat McGuire of Joliet, Iris Y. Martinez of Chicago, Don Harmon of Oak Park, Melinda Bush of Grayslake, Omar Aquino of Chicago and others.

Veterans who are ordered to deploy or relocate will be able to avoid the financial inconvenience that comes with cancelling contracts with service providers, such as gyms, cable companies and cell phone providers, under a new law sponsored by Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) that goes into effect Jan. 1.

Servicemen and women will be able to cancel or suspect certain contracts without fear of penalties.

“The brave men and women serving our country shouldn’t be penalized when they have to relocate or are deployed,” Castro said. “They are putting their lives on hold to protect and defend our country. The least we can do is make sure they have an easy way out of a binding contract when circumstances arise.”

And a new law sponsored by Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) requires state officials to publish information online to help educate people about heroin and prescription opioid abuse.

Among the information that must be published are warning signs, helpful tips for parents about how to discuss the dangers of addiction with their children, available treatment and service options, and other valuable information.

“Opioid addiction does not see age, socioeconomic class, race or religion,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is vital for our families, friends and neighbors to have resources readily available to help their loved ones kick this deadly habit.”

Learn more about additional new and interesting laws that become effective Jan. 1.


Illinois Senate Democrats: 2017 in video

Highlights of 2017

Members of the Senate Democratic caucus passed numerous pieces of landmark civil rights and reform legislation in 2017.

Watch the them talk about the importance of their legislation in this video.

A historic overhaul of the state's school funding formula will prioritize districts and students with the greatest needs for the first time ever. The Illinois Trust Act limits the role of local police in enforcing federal immigration efforts. Women’s rights to safe reproductive health care, free of government intrusion or interference, will be protected in Illinois.

The Safe Neighborhoods Reform Act will establish recovery centers for victims of violent crime in an effort to curb additional violent crime. And a gun dealer licensing proposal that has failed to gain traction in the General Assembly every year for the past 15 years passed in the Senate by one vote this year – a victory for sponsor Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park and an incentive to press forward with his efforts to quell gun violence in and near his district.


The year in pictures

Sen. Terry Link

High-profile legislative accomplishments naturally receive the most media attention, but the less visible day-to-day operations of the Illinois Senate are just as important and meaningful.

Senators spend time every day meeting with students, constituents and advocacy groups, listening to their concerns and discussing possible solutions. Senate committees hear testimony from citizens and experts about proposed laws. Advocacy days for schools, parks and other issues bring thousands of visitors to the Capitol throughout the year.

View this gallery of photos for a look at how your state senators worked in Springfield and in districts throughout Illinois in 2017.




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