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  • holmes consolSPRINGFIELD — To further ensure insurance coverage on a critical women’s health issue, the governor signed legislation today co-sponsored by State Sen. Linda Holmes that builds off broad 3D mammography legislation enacted last year.

    “This builds further on lifesaving measures we took last year to combat a disease that takes so many women from us every year,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “This continues pushing for important changes to how insurance covers the cutting edge treatments that will save lives.”

    Under the previous measure, insurance companies were required to cover 3D mammography, but only Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield covered the screening. Other insurance companies followed suit, but not quickly enough.

    The new law closes loopholes in last year’s legislation that would have rendered some mandated coverage null.

    The legislation was Senate Bill 466. It is effective immediately.

  • holmes 120715Authorization passes Senate, will head to governor

    SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement after voting Yes today on an authorization that will release funding for the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, winter road maintenance funds and gaming revenue to local governments.

    The vast majority of funding in question is either federal pass-through dollars or the local shares of motor fuel and gaming taxes to which municipalities are already entitled.

    “Today, we were able to ensure that funds that rightly belong in our universities and local governments are put to use,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “Yet, thousands of students throughout the state are still waiting for Monetary Award Program grants. Inaction on the part of the governor is putting the college educations of these students in doubt. I call on him and on my colleagues in the General Assembly to approve these vital funds.”

    Besides releasing motor fuel taxes that help local governments buy road salt and authorizing federal money for state community colleges, the funds released today would:
    •    reimburse lottery winners who have gone unpaid.
    •    ensure Driver Services Facilities continue operation.
    •    provide the Attorney General’s Office with funding for victim advocacy and support for domestic violence survivors, among other programs.
    •    fund domestic violence shelters, 911 services, breast cancer research and veterans’ homes throughout the state.

    Senate Bill 2039 passed the Senate 53-0 after it passed the House with near-unanimous support last week. It awaits Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature to take effect.

  • Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – An Aurora domestic violence shelter that has suffered through layoffs and service cuts amid the state’s financial crisis, could finally see stable state funding that could restore vital services to abused women under a plan the Illinois Senate recently approved.

    “Mutual Ground and those that they serve have already paid a steep price for inaction and gridlock in Springfield,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “The plan that I voted for would fully fund Mutual Ground, giving them the certainty that they need to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

  • holmes 022718AURORA – Aurora schools will receive over $20 million in new funding thanks to the school funding formula overhaul supported by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). Last week, the Illinois State Board of Education issued funds under the new formula to school districts around the state.

    The distribution is based on detailed enrollment figures, district-specific student learning needs, the availability of local resources and other data. Intended as a first step toward fairer state support for every school district, the formula ensures no schools will ever receive less state funding than they do today under the new plan.

    “Aurora school districts will see some of the largest increases in state funding, allowing them to correct inequalities caused by Illinois’ old, unfair funding model,” Holmes said. “For far too long, a student’s ZIP code has dictated the quality of education that he or she will receive. I look forward to seeing this trend reversed as Illinois dedicates more resources to its schools.”

    Under the new formula, over $20 million in new, additional funding from the state will be sent to school districts serving Aurora. Aurora East Unit School District 131 will receive over $12.6 million, one of the largest funding increases in the state. Aurora West Unit School District 129 will receive $6.4 million and Indian Prairie School District 204 will receive over $700,000.

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  • Celebrating Women's History Month

    Women have always worked, but have often gone unrecognized for their influences within American culture. this video, members recognized individuals who have successfully challenged the role of women in both the labor force and business. By honoring trailblazing women in labor and business, various women were highlighted by their efforts to diminish the inequalities women face in the workplace.

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  • holmes 042617SPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan measure to help first-time business owners in Illinois was approved by the Illinois Senate today. The entrepreneur learner’s permit program was introduced by State Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora.

    “There has been a lot of talk about making Illinois more business friendly, but not enough action,” Holmes said. “This legislation encourages first-time small business owners to set up in Illinois by giving them incentives. It is important that we as lawmakers do whatever we can to strengthen Illinois’ economy in real and tangible ways.”

    The entrepreneur learner’s permit would encourage small business growth by reimbursing first-time business owners for certain costs paid to the state for licensing and permits. The Illinois legislation creates a pilot version of a similar program established by the Connecticut State Legislature in July of 2016.

    The measure, Senate Bill 1462, has been approved by the Illinois Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives.

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  • holmes 071916AURORA — To research, investigate and determine the full scope of the problem of human trafficking in Illinois, the Illinois Senate President named State Sen. Linda Holmes to a newly formed task force today.

    “Illinois is a travel hub and a melting pot for the United States, and as such it’s our duty to fight to uncover a crime that thrives on exploiting people by hiding them in plain sight,” Holmes said. “I’m eager to begin this important work, not just for Illinois, but as a part of the international community.”

    President John Cullerton named Holmes, D-Aurora, and two other Democratic senators to the Human Trafficking Task Force, which was formed as a result of House Bill 2822, passed earlier this year. Per the enacting legislation, the task force will consist of 14 members that include three appointed by each caucus leader of the General Assembly and two appointed by the governor.

    The task force is charged with providing the General Assembly a comprehensive report on human trafficking, including recommendations for action, by June 30, 2017.

     

  • holmes 022817SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, issued the following statement in support of a measure to streamline local government:

    “The property owners in my district have suffered under an increasingly large property tax burden,” Holmes said. “Property taxes rise for numerous reasons, but one common-sense way to control and lower them is to grant local governments the ability to consolidate and eliminate unnecessary and wasteful units. This legislation gives local voters the power to cut waste.”

    With over 7,000 units of local government, Illinois has more than any other state in the country. The cost of operating some units of government is often costly and provides minimal benefit to the taxpayer. By allowing local voters to cut and consolidate units of government, this legislation will streamline government and improve services.

  • holmes 022718SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) joined colleagues from Illinois and across the country at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) International Trade Legislative Conference in Quebec City.

    Canada is Illinois’ top export customer and second largest import market, with the country importing $13 million in Illinois goods in 2016. Holmes emphasized the importance of Illinois officials working to maintain a trade relationship during times of uncertainty surrounding trade policy.

  • holmes consolAURORA — Ahead of the end of the Illinois fiscal year Thursday, State Senator Linda Holmes voiced her support for legislation that would release $1 billion in funding to state universities and community colleges.

    The funding includes $5 million in funding to the Illinois Math and Science Academy for operational expenses and $151 million to pay out the remainder of Monetary Award Program grants to college students for the 2016 school year.

    “The same week we take up funding for K-12 education, we must address the promise of higher education in Illinois,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “Our next generation of workers have waited long enough for this fight to end. We need to do right by our brightest young students and our hardest-working college aspirants and pass this legislation.”

    Senate Bill 2056 also includes funding for adult education and career and technical education programs, as well as various other grant programs through the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Student Assistance Commission, and Illinois Community College Board.

    The General Assembly reconvenes June 29 to consider the legislation.

  • Senator Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — In a Senate hearing with Acting Director Anna Hui of the Illinois Department of Labor, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked what cuts could be made in the Department of Labor to close the $4.6 billion hole in Gov. Rauner’s out of balance budget proposal.

    “Being that the governor’s proposed budget was $4.6 billion out of whack and we’re now finding that that number might be more optimistic than it’s going to be, I would appreciate hearing from the department itself where you would be most willing to make those cuts,” Holmes said. “Where would you like to see those cuts if we are in a position where they have to be made?”

    “We are not in the position to speculate about where those cuts might come from,” Hui said, to which Holmes replied: “Okay. Let’s call that nonresponsive.”

    This week, Sen. Holmes and her fellow Democrats in the Senate have asked more than ten heads of state agencies what they would do should they be asked to cut their agencies’ budgets. In this year’s budget proposal, Gov. Rauner put forward a plan that spends $4.6 billion more than it collects in revenue. Rauner’s FY 18 budget proposal relies on the General Assembly to close this $4.6 billion gap by proposing new revenues or making cuts.

    “Gov. Rauner has been asking the General Assembly to give him the authority to make budget cuts for months. I would expect the governor’s agency heads to have some cuts already in mind,” Holmes said. “Clearly that is not the case.”

    Director Hui is one of at least ten other state agency directors who have appeared before the Illinois Senate this week. None have suggested ways to close the $4.6 billion gap.

  • holmes latino councilSenator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) called a meeting including State Reps. Stephanie Kifowit and Linda Chapa LaVia and Latino leaders in the Aurora area to discuss everything from access to social services to the challenges facing prospective Latino-owned small business.
     
    In a wide-ranging talk hosted in Sen. Holmes' Aurora office, the group's conversation touched on affordable housing shelters, assistance to the elderly, programs that support small business owners. They discussed lack of Latino management leadership in local non-profit organizations and how to build the Latino business community.
     
    Participants included representatives of the Aurora-based Foundation for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, Waubonsee Community College, the Hispanic Advisory Board of Aurora and Rush Copley Hospital.

  • ivory 051018SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) advanced legislation to ban sales on ivory through a key Senate committee earlier today. 

    “By stopping the sale of ivory here in Illinois, we can help prevent the brutal, illegal poaching of rhinos and elephants abroad,” Holmes said. “It’s our responsibility to do what we can in Illinois to protect these remarkable animals.”

    According to the World Wildlife Foundation, tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks. In the 1980s, it is estimated nearly 100,000 elephants were killed each year and up to 80 percent of herds were lost in some areas. Holmes’ proposal, House Bill 4843, charges individuals caught selling ivory with a Class A misdemeanor and fine of up to $1000.

    “Decades of senseless poaching have totally decimated the populations of these animals across the world. Only with time and commonsense measures like this will we ever see their numbers recover,” Holmes said.

    Guns and knives that are older than 100 years and less than 20 percent ivory are exempt from the ban. Musical instruments older than 1975 and made from less than 20 percent ivory are also exempt from the ban. If signed into law, Illinois will join California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington in banning the sale of ivory.

    Holmes’ proposal passed the Illinois Senate Environment and Conservation Committee with a vote of 5-0. It will now head to the Senate floor for a vote.

  • holmes 022718SPRINGFIELD – Voters in the western suburbs would have local control over the makeup of the Fox Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board under legislation advanced today by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).

    Holmes’s proposal, Senate Bill 2830, would allow voters in the areas served by the Fox Metro Water Reclamation Districts to elect their own trustees. These areas include Aurora, North Aurora, Boulder Hill, Montgomery, Oswego, Sugar Grove and portions of Yorkville and Batavia. 

    Under current state law, Fox Metro Water Reclamation District trustees are appointed by members of the General Assembly, instead of being selected by voters in their area.

    “Water Reclamation Boards make decisions that affect people’s lives every day. Voters, not politicians, should be allowed to choose who makes these decisions,” Holmes said.

    Under Holmes’s proposal, members of the board will be elected beginning in the 2019 consolidated election. The board would continue to have five total members. Current members would continue to serve until their terms expire.

    “Allowing politicians to fill these roles increases the potential for corrupt dealing and government waste, and there is little the public can do about it,” Holmes said. “This proposal allows voters to hold these public servants directly accountable through the electoral process.”

    Holmes’s proposal passed the Senate with a vote of 54-01. It will now head to the Illinois House of Representatives.