Harmon

  • Senate President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon has canceled the Illinois Senate’s scheduled session days for next week. The 59-member Senate was scheduled to be at the Capitol on March 31 and April 1 and 2.

    Harmon informed Senate Democrats on a caucus conference call Wednesday, part of an ongoing effort to keep members and staff informed during the COVID-19 public health emergency. He said senators and staff continue to examine legislative and procedural priorities so that when the legislative session resumes, the Senate is prepared to act efficiently and effectively.

    “We are going to have to figure out what is critical and what is time-sensitive,” Harmon said.

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    SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon canceled next week’s Senate session days as part of a public health effort to limit exposure and hopefully slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Senate was scheduled to be at the Capitol next Tuesday through Friday, March 24-27.

    Senate President Don Harmon’s statement:

    “The Senate will not be in session next week. We remain in contact with members regarding legislative and scheduling priorities so that when we return to the Capitol we can act quickly and efficiently.

    For now, we are taking it day by day and urging everyone to heed the advice of health care professionals by practicing social distancing, regularly washing hands and avoiding unneeded travel.”

  • harmon 031120SPRINGFIELD —Illinois Senate President Don Harmon today announced the cancellation of next week’s Senate session days as part of a public health initiative to limit exposure and hopefully slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Senate President Harmon’s statement:

    “When the state association for emergency doctors cancels its Capitol visit citing public health concerns, it should give us all reason to re-examine our schedules and priorities.

    Given the recommendations for social distancing as a safeguard to slow the spread of this virus, the Illinois Senate is going to do its part. The Friday, March 20 session day had already been cancelled. The Senate will also cancel the March 18 and 19 session days.

    We will constantly monitor the situation and make future decisions based on best practices and advice from the state’s public health and emergency preparedness professionals.”

  • harmon 031020Senate President Don Harmon praised the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s announcement that local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies will be able to compete for $80 million to improve local economies.

    “This is an investment in local communities throughout our great state,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon. “These projects will build a better Illinois. The bipartisan success we’ve seen with Gov. Pritzker shows what we can do when Illinois works together.”

  • Senator CunninghamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham was named president pro tempore of the Illinois State Senate Tuesday by Senate President Don Harmon.

    “I’m honored to have the opportunity to continuing serving in the Illinois Senate as a part of President Harmon’s leadership team,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This is an exciting new role for me and I look forward to the new challenges it brings.”

    As Senate president pro tempore, Cunningham will serve as a trusted advisor to the Senate President and a senior member of his leadership team.

  • Harmon 012920SPRINGFIELD —Illinois Senate President Don Harmon echoed Gov. JB Pritzker’s call for ethics reform in the wake of ongoing federal investigations.

    In his State of the State address Wednesday, Pritzker said he wanted Illinois to adopt a revolving door prohibition to prevent elected officials from retiring one day and then immediately lobbying their former colleagues.

    Harmon offered his support for the idea.

    “I’ve long been troubled by the appearance of someone serving as a member of the General Assembly on Friday and becoming a lobbyist on Monday. That’s a problem and one we should tackle,” Harmon said. “You shouldn’t be a lawmaker one day and a lobbyist the next.”

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  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker vetoed his legislation changing rules for court reporters:

    “Today, at my request, Governor Pritzker vetoed my Senate Bill 2128, a bill intended to improve the practice of court reporting in Illinois.

    “After the bill passed the General Assembly, I became aware of consequences unintended at the time that would be very disruptive to pending litigation and the practice of trial law if the bill became law.

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  • Sen. Don HarmonState Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) joined advocates at a press conference yesterday to voice his support for legislation that would prevent local law enforcement officers from taking part in immigration enforcement.

    The Keep Illinois Families Together Act would give immigrants and their families the confidence to report crimes to police officers without fear of being deported.

    “I represent people back home in my district who are scared,” Harmon said. “The toxicity coming out of Washington D.C. is horrible. We should take steps locally to tell the people we represent: ‘we’re sorry you’re scared. We’re going to try to do whatever we can to make you a little bit less scared today.’”

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  • fair tax

    As outlined by Gov. Pritzker in his budget address this year, we have three viable options to fix our state’s finances:

    • Raise taxes by 20% on everyone. In order to raise the needed revenue to pay down our bill backlog, we would have to raise taxes on everyone by 20% within our current flat tax system.

    • Make drastic, 15% across the board cuts to state agencies. If we are not going to raise revenue, we have to cut spending in order to pay down our bill backlog. The kind of cuts necessary to save that kind of money would be devastating to public safety, public education, transportation and social services.

    • Adopt a fair tax that raises taxes on only 3% of Illinoisans – the wealthiest, most prosperous among us. Under Gov. Pritkzer’s proposal, 97% of Illinoisans would either so no change in their tax rate or would see a decrease. Those who make less would be taxes less, and vice versa. Only the top 3% of earners in Illinois would see a modest increase in their tax rate, and we would bring in the revenue necessary to pay our bills.

    Why is a fair tax necessary?

    • After years of fiscal instability and with a $3.2 billion budget deficit this year alone, Illinois must act now to shore up our finances.

    • As a state, we can’t keep shortchanging students, undermining universities, decimating social services, watching our roads and bridges crumble.

    • With a flat tax in Illinois, lower-income may pay the same rate as higher-income people, but that amount places a greater burden on them than on those making more. A fair tax with lower rates for lower incomes and higher rates for higher incomes will bring tax relief for working families and produce stable and sustainable revenues in Illinois to get the state on stable financial footing.

      • Taking into account all taxes Illinois families pay, the lowest 20% of income-earners, or those making less than $21,800 a year, pay 14.4% of their income toward taxes. The top 1%, or those earning more than $537,800, pay only 7.4% of their income toward taxes.

      • This makes Illinois one of the most regressive tax states in the country – one of the Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy’s “Terrible Ten” states.

    • A fair tax combats growing income inequality by making sure the wealthy pay their fair share. Over the past decades, nearly all the income growth has been made by the top income levels. Nationally, income inequality is the worst it’s been since 1928 – the year preceding the Great Depression. The current tax system doesn’t allow Illinois to capture that growth because the same rate applies to high- and low-income earners.

    How do we implement a fair tax?

    • Currently, the Illinois Constitution prohibits the state from imposing a graduated income tax. In order to change that, three-fifths of both the Senate and the House must pass legislation that would place a question on the November 2020 ballot asking whether voters support a fair tax.

    • In order for the Constitution to be amended, the fair tax must receive support from either 60 percent of those voting on the specific question or a majority of all those casting votes in the election.

    • This means the current legislation (SJRCA 1 – sponsored by Senator Harmon) would not automatically change the Constitution if it passes. It would simply put the question of a fair tax on the ballot, allowing voters to decide.

    How do we set the rates?

    • SJRCA 1 does not set a specific tax rate structure; it only deletes the provision in the Constitution prohibiting a graduated income tax.

    • If the amendment is adopted following the process outlined above, the General Assembly may pass legislation setting specific rates.

    • Gov. JB Pritzker has announced proposed rates. These are being discussed with members of the General Assembly as part of ongoing negotiations to introduce legislation setting rates.

    Learning about the Fair Tax Plan:

  • AlcoholSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) advanced legislation today that would set a statewide standard for alcohol delivery from retailers.

    Senate Bill 54 would allow grocery stores and other licensed retailers to deliver alcohol to the homes of consumers if certain conditions, including age verification and training, are met.

    “More and more people are ordering their groceries online,” Harmon said. “We want to keep up with this modern way of shopping and make sure that any retailers who want to provide this service to their customers are confident that they will be able to deliver anywhere in the state.”

  • harmon 041019Plan would tax lower incomes at lower levels, higher incomes at higher levels

    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is one step closer to amending its Constitution to allow for a fair tax after Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) passed a Constitutional amendment out of committee today.

    The proposed Constitutional amendment would remove language requiring a flat tax and allow the General Assembly to set lower rates for those making less and higher rates for the wealthiest Illinoisans.

    “Our current tax system is punitive to middle class and working families in Illinois because it imposes a greater burden on them than on the wealthiest in our state,” Harmon said. “With a fair tax, we are simply asking top earners to pay their fair share.”

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  • harmon 040119SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) that will reinstate parole in Illinois for youthful offenders became law today.

    Gov. JB Pritzker signed Harmon’s measure allowing offenders who were sentenced for offenses committed under the age of 21 to petition the Prisoner Review Board for parole after serving 20 years for homicide or aggravated criminal assault and 10 years for all other offenses.

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  • harmon 053118CHICAGO – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order ensuring that House Bill 40, which protects a woman’s right to choose in Illinois, will be enforced:

    “I am thankful that, after years of hard work by advocates on this issue, we passed House Bill 40 and took what should have been an obvious stance: that women are capable of making their own decisions about their reproductive health.

    “And today we affirm that those decisions should not be limited by income level or place of employment. With women’s reproductive rights under constant assault at the federal level, I am thankful we have a governor ready to actively defend them in Illinois.”