Text Size
Login

Harmon

  • harmon 031517SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) plans to introduce a measure aimed at tackling the opioid crisis by providing medical alternatives to prescription painkillers.

    The Alternatives to Opioids Act would allow people who have been prescribed opioids for a medical condition to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card instead. Harmon plans to introduce the legislation during the second week of the Illinois Senate’s veto session.

  • Harmon03032016SPRINGFIELD — School districts from Oak Park to Addison stand to receive more than $15 million in additional funding under a bipartisan budget proposal to be voted on when senators return to Springfield this week.

    The education funding bill is part of a broader series of measures to keep the state running as the current budget year winds down. State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) noted that the measure clearly establishes education funding as a top priority for the state."

    “This is the clean education bill that the governor wanted.” Harmon said. “We have listened to his feedback regarding earlier proposals. I hope the governor will sign this bill into law as soon as possible so that our schools open on schedule and teacher and administrators have time to plan for the year ahead.”

    Under the proposal, $760 million in additional money is provided so that every school in the state receives state foundation level funding. As it stands, that means several school districts in the 39th District will receive more than $1 million in additional funding for the upcoming school year, and every school in the district will receive more this year than they did last year. 

    “This is a great step forward. With increased support and certainty from the state, every single student, no matter the ZIP code, will have a better chance of receiving a quality education,” Harmon said. “It’s the right thing to do.” 

    The Illinois Senate returns to Springfield on Wednesday.

  • harmon 031518SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement on his intent to override the governor’s veto of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act:

    “I wasn’t able to move to override the governor’s veto today, because the Senate has yet to receive his veto.

    “Assuming we receive it by the time we return on April 10, I will move to override it, and I am hopeful that my colleagues will join me in making sure this commonsense measure becomes law.”

    The Gun Dealer Licensing Act passed the Senate last April and passed the House in February with bipartisan support.

  • harmon 052617SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement urging the State Board of Elections to withdraw from the controversial Crosscheck voter registration program:

    "In the past weeks, scrutiny has grown regarding the use of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program. I have read with grave concern the allegations of misuse of private data by other states, ostensibly to prevent voter fraud, but actually to suppress votes.  

    Anti-fraud mechanisms employed in Illinois must protect and preserve, rather than threaten, the sacred right to vote.  That is non-negotiable. 

    We have multiple tools at our disposal.  I urge the State Board of Elections to withdraw from Crosscheck so we can ensure other states' election authorities won't use Illinois' data to suppress voters in their states." 

  • harmon 031218State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) today joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson, fellow legislators, gun violence prevention advocates and victims of gun violence in calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

    The measure would allow Illinois to license gun dealers, holding corrupt dealers accountable and cracking down on straw purchases. According to a 2014 report from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, almost 20 percent of all guns recovered from crimes scenes in Chicago from 2009-2013 came from three of the state’s 2,400 dealers.

  • harmon giffordsCHICAGO — Illinois State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday called for greater accountability from Illinois gun dealers in an effort to curb violent crime with illegally purchased guns in Chicago and elsewhere in the state.

    Harmon is the Senate sponsor of legislation that would give state authorities and police agencies the tools they need to encourage better business practices by federally licensed gun dealers, while holding corrupt gun dealers accountable.

  • harmon silverstein 062817

  • harmon 042518Gun dealer licensing to be reintroduced on existing bill; work will continue

    SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today on his decision not to call a vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act:

    “Today, I made the difficult decision not to ask the Senate to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of the gun dealer licensing bill.

  • harmon 020817SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after automatic voter registration was signed into law:

    “I am pleased that automatic voter registration is now law in Illinois. This is a concept that benefits everyone. It saves the state money, it strengthens the integrity of the electoral system by cleaning up voter rolls and it makes it easier for Illinois residents to participate in the democratic process.”

    The new law establishes an automatic voter registration system in Illinois by July 1, 2018. Harmon was a chief co-sponsor of the measure, which passed the Senate on a vote of 48-0.

    Qualified voters will be automatically registered to vote when they visit the Illinois Secretary of State and other state agencies for services. Voters can opt out of the system, and a series of checks will protect against fraud.

    Illinois currently has an opt-in voter registration system in which adults who are 18 or older must find, fill out and submit a voter registration form to an appropriate government agency. Voters frequently forget to update their voter registrations when they move, change marital status or go to college, causing confusion at the polls and inaccuracies on the state’s voter rolls.

    Automatically registering voters when they do business with the state enables government to do away with redundant paperwork, streamline bureaucracy and be more cost effective for taxpayers.

  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today regarding his vote in support of House Bill 40, legislation that would ensure women in Illinois continue to have access to important reproductive health care:

    “It’s 2017. Women make up just over half of the population in Illinois, and 70 percent of them are in the labor force,” Harmon said.

    “But today, rather than paving the way to lift women out of poverty, close the gender wage gap, make child care more affordable or enable all parents to take time off to care for sick kids, the Illinois Senate had to debate whether it’s appropriate to reassure the women who live and work in our communities that they are legally entitled to access the medical care of their choosing without government interference.

    “How 1960s of us.

  • harmon 020817SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement regarding today’s movement toward a grand bargain budget deal:

    “Governing is messy. So is negotiation. Yet, today we passed three good-government measures, negotiated by both parties, in our drive toward a budget grand compromise. Saying yes to government consolidation, procurement reform and financing relief for municipalities all in one day is no mean feat.

    “Clearly, the Senate has more work to do on this bipartisan grand compromise of ours, but I cannot stress enough that time is of the essence. We need to pass the remaining components of the deal as soon as possible, because the fallout from the state’s fiscal crisis will continue to worsen.

    “Every day, Gov. Bruce Rauner spends $11 million more than the state has available to spend. I hope he will stop his allies from opposing our compromise, engage in honest negotiations and begin to use his office to lead – not to interfere with the Senate’s efforts.”

  • harmon 041118CHICAGO – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s announcement today that he plans to veto Harmon’s legislation regulating gun dealers:

    “The governor took two steps forward today by signing bills that create firearm restraining orders and extend the waiting period to buy handguns to 72 hours. Unfortunately, he also took a giant step back by saying he will veto legislation regulating gun dealers.

  • afscme3SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and a bipartisan group of Springfield lawmakers today called for renewed contract negotiations between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the union that represents 38,000 Illinois state workers.

    Harmon noted his support of a measure that would have allowed interest arbitration in the event of an impasse between Rauner, whose anti-union sentiments are well documented, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

    “Twice I passed a bill that would provide for interest arbitration. Twice the governor vetoed that bill, and twice the General Assembly failed to override the veto,” Harmon said. “The governor’s rationale at the time was that he was willing to stay at the bargaining table and negotiate a deal. That sentiment appears to have vanished.”

    AFSCME – the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – is the largest union representing state government employees. No contract negotiations between the Rauner administration and the union have occurred since Jan. 8, 2016, when the administration claimed the parties were at impasse.

    More than 30 state lawmakers of both parties and both houses of the Legislature gathered for a news conference Wednesday to show their support for continued good-faith negotiations between the administration and union representatives to avert a labor disruption and bring about an acceptable compromise.

    “I think it is critically important to the people of Illinois that we try to reach an agreement that is fair to everyone and enables us to continue to provide vital services,” Harmon said, adding that Gov. Rauner is not practicing what he preaches when he refuses to participate in negotiations.

    “The governor is demanding that the legislative leaders join him at a bargaining table every day to discuss his agenda and its impact on our state budget,” Harmon said. “I would hope that he would hold himself to that same standard in negotiating with the union and return to the bargaining table immediately.”

  • harmon sb1657

  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today after voting to override the governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, which creates evidence-based school funding reform:

    “I voted today to uphold Senate Bill 1, a tested, evidence-based plan that will fix our state’s broken education funding formula, not temporarily patch it.

    The governor’s plan is short-sighted. It may promise low-income districts money in the short term, but it hides provisions that would gravely injure them in the long run, like tying funding to enrollment and counting TIF district wealth as property value.”

  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today in response to the violent white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville this weekend:

    “It is vital that we stand in total opposition to the hatred, bigotry and violence displayed by the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville this past weekend. They are the heirs to the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. We fought two bloody wars in opposition to their ideologies. We must continue to fight those same twisted ideologies today.

     

  • harmon 050516

    Senator Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto another appropriations bill from the Legislature:

    “Gov. Rauner’s stubborn refusal to propose a balanced budget – a duty outlined in the Illinois Constitution – has left Illinois to drift like a ship with no captain.
     
    “In the absence of actual leadership from the governor’s office, the General Assembly for months now has been forced to act unilaterally as we try to propose budget bills that the governor might sign to help residents who have been left to suffer without the state’s assistance. It’s a frustrating exercise.

  • harmon 032817SPRINGFIELD – Illinois requires less accountability be a gun dealer than a dog groomer, Senator Don Harmon said Tuesday while defending a commonsense proposal to license gun dealers at the state level in an effort to curb Chicago violence.

    Harmon’s Senate Bill 1657 would allow Illinois to license gun dealers and encourage better business practices while holding corrupt dealers accountable as authorities try to get a handle on the violence epidemic that continues to plague Chicago neighborhoods. Gun dealers also must be licensed by federal authorities.

    The proposal passed out of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee Tuesday in a 7-5 vote after a great deal of debate about whose responsibility it is to monitor gun dealers and find solutions to gun violence.

    “Gun violence in Chicago is a huge problem. For people to sit around in the Capitol and say, ‘Let someone else take care of it and enforce the laws on the books,’ is incredibly frustrating,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat. “Twenty-six other states license gun dealers. This is not breaking new ground. It’s a modest proposal. It’s harder to be a dog groomer or a hair stylist in Illinois.”

    Senate Bill 1657 would establish two types of licenses: dealer and dealership. A dealer would be any person engaged in the business of selling, leasing or otherwise transferring firearms; a dealership would be a person, firm, corporation or other legal entity that does the same.

    Applicants for each license would have to meet a series of requirements before receiving a state license. Violating the terms of the license can resulting in penalties.

    The legislation also would establish a gun dealer licensing board to recommend policies, procedures and rules under the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which would license gun dealers.

    “I want to be clear: There is no evidence that the gun violence problem is being caused by law-abiding gun owners. We need to focus on the real problem, which is illegal guns getting into the wrong hands,” Harmon said. “Somewhere between a gun manufacturer and a crime scene is a person who is pretending to be a law-abiding gun owner but is not. That is the problem this legislation seeks to address.

    “Senate Bill 1657 does nothing more than impose industry standards for best practices that should be observed by every gun dealer already but unfortunately aren’t.”

    A recent study showed that 40 percent of guns used in crimes between 2009 and 2014 came from Illinois and that nearly 17 percent – or roughly 3,000 – of all guns used in crimes in Chicago were sold by just three of the Illinois’ more than 2,400 gun dealers. All three are near Chicago.

    The Gun Dealer Licensing Act would sunset on Jan. 1, 2027, under Senate Bill 1657.

  • harmon yogaYoga instructors would continue to be free from state government regulation under legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).

    Senate Bill 2743 exempts yoga instruction and yoga teacher training from state regulation as a trade, occupation, vocation or profession.

    “Over-regulation of yoga training disproportionately would impact small, women-owned businesses and advantage large chain fitness clubs,” Harmon said. “That’s not good for business in Illinois.”

    The Illinois Board of Higher Education has discretion in determining what types of programs and courses it considers to be occupational or vocational in nature. For example, IBHE regulates training for nurse aids, dental assistants, accountants and HVAC technicians, all of which clearly are vocations.

    However, teaching yoga typically is a personal pursuit, not a profession or a career path, Harmon said, noting that the state does not regulate certain ballet, karate or pilates instruction.

    Yet several yoga teacher training schools in Illinois recently were notified by IBHE that they are subject to state regulation for training programs and that they must obtain IBHE approval to operate in the state.

    “Yoga has been practiced successfully for thousands of years without government regulation. I see no reason to intrude now,” Harmon said.

    SB2743 unanimously passed out of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee and will head to the Senate floor for a full vote.

  • harmon 052617SPRINGFIELD – It’s not the most provocative topic at the Statehouse, but the process for determining how new laws will be implemented by state agencies briefly took center stage in the Senate Thursday afternoon.

    Legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) seeks to correct a few problems that have arisen in the General Assembly’s bipartisan rule-making review process, which is carried out by a 12-lawmaker panel known as the Joint Commission on Administration Rules – or JCAR.

    Harmon is a co-chairman of the commission. He said the legislation is a response to actual problems the commission has encountered, not a backdoor attempt to hamstring any governor – an accusation levied by at least one senator.

    But Harmon added that the commission wants to demand accountability of state agencies and increase efficiency and transparency in the rule-making review process.

    “There is nothing saucy here. These are ministerial and mundane things. This is simply an attempt to help us maintain balance between the executive and legislative branches,” Harmon said.

    “The executive branch has only the rule-making authority that the General Assembly delegates to it. This is not about Democrat or Republican, or about this governor or that governor. This is about the Legislature protecting its domain from executive overreach.”

    JCAR seldom gets much public attention, but its work is vitally important because it oversees how rules are promulgated by state agencies and it facilitates public comment about rules and regulations.

    The problems Harmon’s measure seeks to address include agencies asking for rules to be pushed through on an “emergency” basis when there is no emergency, just poor planning on their part; clarifying that JCAR may review standardized forms for policy content; and updating a guideline about how frequently JCAR may evaluate existing agency rules.

    The measure, House Bill 3222, passed 36-21 in the Senate Thursday.