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  • Sen. Toi Hutchinson

    SPRINGFIELD – An estimated 1.5 million Illinois workers would benefit from a plan that passed the Senate today guaranteeing paid sick time for every Illinois worker. The plan, contained in House Bill 2771, is sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights).

    “Every day, too many Illinois workers who are sick are essentially forced to go into work because they cannot afford to stay home and get better,” Hutchinson said. “Healthier workers are good for our families, our communities and our businesses. I’m proud to have worked with advocates over the past two years to guarantee paid sick time to every Illinois worker.”

    Hutchinson’s plan, contained in House Bill 2771, would provide up to five paid sick days per year to full-time and part-time employees, accruing an hour at a time for every 40 hours worked.

    While Hutchinson’s proposal would greatly benefit workers, businesses also stand to benefit. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, lost productivity caused by sick workers costs the economy $160 billion annually. Having an overall healthier and more productive workforce, as well as reducing illness from the transmission of contaminated food by sick workers, all add up to big savings for employers.

    “Under this plan, employers would have more productive workers with reduced transmission of disease and reduced turnover,” said Wendy Pollack, Director of the Women’s Law and Policy Project at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.  

    House Bill 2771 passed the Senate today and will now head to the Illinois House for concurrence. If passed by the House and signed by the governor, Illinois would become the eighth state in the nation to require some form of paid sick time.

  • blk caucus 052517With the end of session looming, the Senate Black Caucus led the charge on presenting and passing a full balanced Senate budget. When it became apparent that partisan lines were drawn and the governor wanted to further hurt our state’s most vulnerable populations, the Senate Black Caucus stood together to provide the necessary votes.

    Assistant Majority Leader Caucus Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), joint chairwoman of Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, said in a statement, “We made an effort today to prevent the governor from causing more suffering to our most vulnerable populations with a plan that gives our state stability.”

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  • hutch 051917SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) joined her colleagues in Springfield today expressing their concern with fraudulent information being reported on a school funding reform proposal by a political group associated with the governor.

    “Children in Kankakee County deserve nothing less than the best that we can give them,” Hutchinson said. “When false information is reported by a political group posing as a legitimate news organization in an effort to derail years of work to properly fund all school districts, it’s the children who ultimately suffer.”

    Earlier this week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, which will dramatically reform the way Illinois funds public schools. The provision included a “hold harmless” provision, meaning that while some school districts will receive increased state aid, no school district would lose money under the plan.

    This morning, Hutchinson joined five of her colleagues in signing a letter to the Executive Inspector General calling for an investigation into how state documents regarding school funding reform made their way to a political group associated with the governor.

    “I will meet anyone on the merits. But don’t lie,” Hutchinson said. “The information that was published is not even based on the bill that was voted on. In a time of great angst and division in our state, this does nothing to advance the kind of solutions our communities are begging for us to deliver.”

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  • hutchinson 031517Nearly two years ago, Governor Rauner made drastic cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), eliminating safe and affordable child care for tens of thousands of working Illinoisans. While some of those cuts were later reversed, families with parents enrolled in education or training programs remain ineligible.

    State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) passed Senate Bill 1705 out of the Senate Human Services Committee recently that would restore child care eligibility for these families.

    “Every child requires someplace safe to be so their parents can be full and active participants in our economy,” Hutchinson said. “It makes no sense for us on one hand to advocate for training and educational opportunities, which will have long-term financial benefits for families, while taking away any helping hand that would support that parent in achieving their goal.” 

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  • Senators Harmon, Steans and ManarSenate Fiscal Heads Repeat Demand for Rauner to Get Out of the Way

    A state financial report released this week by the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) projects that state FY18 revenues are $329 million less than Governor Rauner’s estimates of $32.7 billion. The drop means that Rauner’s budget blueprint is unbalanced by nearly $5 billion.
     
    The Senate’s budget and revenue committee heads say the new estimates aren’t impossible to overcome, so long as the governor ends his behind-the-scenes antics that have derailed the Senate’s bipartisan compromises.
     
    Senator Toi Hutchinson (Chair of Senate Revenue Committee)
    “We know today that the governor’s budget is wildly out of balance - by $5 billion. That’s an alarming figure. What is abundantly clear is that not telling the truth about Illinois’ revenue crisis is disingenuous at best. The simple fact is part of the solution requires straightforward honesty with the public about the need for revenue.”   
     
    Senator Heather Steans (Chair of the Senate Appropriations I Committee)
    “There remains a determination to strike a compromise to provide what Illinois needs more than anything else right now: stability. Fiscal stability, stability for countless service providers and stability for our business community. Taking another few hundred million dollars out of the formula is a hurdle, but I’m confident we can complete the task to address Bruce Rauner’s $5 billion out-of-balance budget design. To make that task easier, it’s helpful if the governor ends his ideological meddling.”
     
    Senator Andy Manar (Chair of the Senate Appropriations II Committee)
    “The drop in revenue makes Bruce Rauner’s phony budget $5 billion out of whack and counting. Every day Bruce Rauner interferes, it adds $11 million dollars onto the growing pile of debt and makes his budget even more out of balance. The Senate remains committed to doing the job to fix the chaos the governor’s created.”

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  • ilbc presserAfter three years of the governor failing to fulfill his constitutional obligation to introduce a balanced budget, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus assembled for a press conference to say enough is enough. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is a collection of black legislators from both the House of Representatives and Senate.

    "I am not sure what could be said about the governor's three years of inactivity," said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), chairwoman for the Joint Legislative Black Caucus. "Before he was sworn in he stated he wanted to shake things up in Springfield; in the process, he has shaken a hole in our state."

  • Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black EducationSenators comment on this year's Black History Month theme, “The Crisis in Black Education.”

    Over the years the crisis in black education has grown significantly. In urban neighborhoods, public schooling systems lack resources and have overcrowded classrooms, which result to students of color reaping the disproportionate shortfalls of the racial achievement gap.

    In the past, whether by laws, policies, or practices, racially separated schools remained the norm in America. Because of that, black students today are underperforming and are not advancing like their white counterparts.

    This year’s national theme, The Crisis in Black Education, focuses on the evolution of black education and its meaning as it empowers students to grow, achieve and prosper.

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  • HutchinsonCommitteeA state income tax credit that supports the development of affordable housing units will expire at the end of December if it is not renewed by the General Assembly.

    Earlier this week, State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) led a hearing of the Senate Revenue Committee in discussing the importance of the credit and a proposal by State Senator James Clayborne (D – Belleville) that would extend the tax credit for five years.

    “Affordable housing projects are not developed by just one entity,” Hutchinson said. “It takes a combination of businesses, non-profits and government agencies to all come together to make important projects like these a reality.”

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  • HutchinsonMaySPRINGFIELD – A proposal to require insurance coverage for FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and products in Illinois is now law after State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) passed the plan out of the Senate earlier this year.

    “Nearly every woman in this country utilizes birth control at some point in their lives for varying reasons,” Hutchinson said. “Some women require birth control for health reasons, while others rely on it for family planning. Requiring insurance coverage for birth control is a medical issue, and neither the government nor insurance bureaucrats should have a voice in denying coverage to women.”