Text Size
Login

Reform

  • Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantPLAINFIELD— To help put a stop to political waste, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) filed legislation today that would prohibit appointed short-term legislators from receiving taxpayer-funded stipends.

    Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 112, changes the General Assembly Compensation Act so that any member of the General Assembly who is appointed to the House of Representatives or Senate after May 31 of an even-numbered year may not receive additional salary for service as a chairman or minority spokesperson.

    “Doling out frivolous taxpayer funded stipends is a blatant abuse of the public’s trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We cannot afford to waste a single dime in our state’s budget. Tax dollars should be directed toward funding vital programs, not lining the pockets of political insiders.”

  • hastings 0418 prefSPRINGFIELD – With many troubling questions surrounding its governing board, the Illinois Tollway will get a much-needed ethical makeover thanks to the support of State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).

    Hastings last week helped push through the Illinois General Assembly important legislation that would restore accountability and integrity at the Illinois Toll Highway Authority. Media reports have chronicled multiple examples of jobs and contracts being awarded to unqualified political insiders and well-connected businesses through non-competitively bid processes.

    Hastings supported Senate Bill 1298, which ends the terms of the currently appointed members of the Tollway Board and requires the Governor to appoint new Board members by Feb. 28, 2019. The legislation also requires the Tollway Board’s by-laws to direct members to avoid potential conflicts of interest and requires these by-laws to be posted to the Tollway Authority’s website.

    “The time to restore accountability and integrity to the Illinois Tollway is long overdue,” said Hastings. “The Illinois Tollway Authority needs to start putting the needs of the working people of Illinois ahead of political insiders and corrupt special interest groups.”

    Hastings said he will continue his work to reform state government and restore faith in its ability to move Illinois forward.

    “As we start the 101st General Assembly, it’s important to me to continue to take a closer look at aspects of state government that are in dire need of reform,” he said. “I look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure government is working for the people of Illinois.”

    The bipartisan reform passed without opposition in the House and Senate and awaits the Governor’s signature.

  • tc 050918VILLA PARK – Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Illinois will have a new law on the books to fight the misuse of taxpayer dollars.

    The law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will eliminate severance packages for employees that have been fired for misconduct and limit government-paid severance packages to an amount no greater than 20 weeks of compensation.

    “This commonsense law will protect Illinois taxpayers from being on the hook for the actions of discredited public officials,” Cullerton said. “This will help put a stop to the state handing out blank checks to those who fail to do their jobs.”

    The law was brought forward by Cullerton in partnership with the Better Government Association.

    The Daily Herald reported that suburban taxpayers are often hit the hardest by this practice. Government administrators are frequently advised to grant rich severances in an attempt to head off employment litigation, so the law is aimed at counteracting these actions.

    Some of the employees who were fired for misconduct have received severance pay packages.

    Cullerton’s new law will be known as the Government Severance Pay Act and is expected to save taxpayers millions of dollars over the next decade.

    “The days of handing out bloated severance packages to disgraced public officials are coming to an end,” Cullerton said. “Our state cannot afford to waste a single penny, especially to help folks who treat taxpayers like their own personal piggy bank.”

    Senate Bill 3604 passed the Senate and House with unanimous support. Cullerton will continue to work to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the 101st General Assembly which is scheduled to start at the beginning of the new year.

  • holmes 111418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) this week overrode a veto of a measure to address the election of trustees for the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District. Senate Bill 2830 requires the trustees be elected rather than appointed. The bill had been vetoed by the governor in August and Holmes successfully overrode that veto today in the Senate.

    “I believe it is important that those who represent the citizens of our communities should be elected and not appointed,” Holmes said. “This bill provides for trustee candidates to go on the ballot during consolidated elections. It represents government reform that will better serve water quality needs in the future for people in the Fox River Valley.”

    The Water Reclamation District was created in the late 1920s and today serves nearly 300,000 residents in Aurora, North Aurora, Boulder Hill, Montgomery, Oswego, Sugar Grove and portions of Yorkville and Batavia, according to the Board’s website.

    Senate Bill 2830 provides that trustees will be elected at consolidated elections, rather than appointed by members of the General Assembly, beginning with the 2019 consolidated election. Current members of the Board can continue to serve until their terms expire, at which time an elected trustee will take their place on the Board. Trustees will be elected to staggered 4-year terms. The Board will continue to have 5 total members. 

    Approved on a vote of 50-5 by the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for concurrence.

  • Sen. Patricia Van PeltSPRINGFIELD – Use of controversial gang databases by police would be reformed under legislation introduced today by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt.

    “My goal is to reform the use of gang databases so that we can ensure the data is accurate and can be effective in helping reduce gang-related activity while still protecting people’s rights.” Van Pelt, a Chicago Democrat, said. “We need to make sure people aren’t being added to the gang database when they shouldn’t be, something that has proven to be problematic for countless Chicagoans over the years.”

    The legislation was crafted after experts, advocates and community members voiced their concerns at an April 20 Senate committee hearing about the Chicago Police Department’s use of gang databases and its effect on communities.

  • Sen. Don Harmon

    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois taxpayers, public universities and state agencies will benefit from Senator Don Harmon’s (D-Oak Park) bipartisan measure to streamline the state’s purchasing rules.

    Senate Bill 8, which was signed into law yesterday, changes the way state government purchases goods and services.

    “This new law streamlines the state purchasing process, cuts red tape and saves taxpayer dollars,” Harmon said. “State universities will now be able to purchase products without having to jump through unnecessary and costly hoops.”

    The legislature enacted a series of strict procurement reforms in the aftermath of the George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich administrations because of questions over how they handled contracting, bid-letting and transparency for state business.

    But the rules may have gone too far, sacrificing some efficiency and savings in an effort to deter corruption, Harmon said.

    “Strict state purchasing rules have created more red tape in government and led to more harm than good,” Harmon said. “Rather than save money for the state, the rules frequently have caused them to waste more money and time than an average business would.”

    Procurement reform is one of several measures Harmon sponsored that would streamline government processes and save taxpayer dollars.

    Senate Bill 8 is effective immediately.

  • Sen. Michael E. HastingsTINLEY PARK - Illinois now has a more efficient and transparent procurement process, thanks to a new bipartisan law championed by State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).

    Senate Bill 8, a structural reform to the way state government purchases goods and services, was signed into law today after passing the House and Senate earlier this year with support from Hastings.

    “Our local businesses are the heart of our economy,” Hastings said. “This new law will cut red tape and eliminate barriers to streamline the state procurement process. These changes will make it easier for Illinois businesses to bid on state contracts to help grow our economy and put our state back on track.”

  • hastings052017SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) worked to pass bipartisan and bicameral structural reforms that will make the procurement process more efficient and more transparent for Illinois’ taxpayers.

    Hastings passed Senate Bill 8, a plan to improve the way state government purchases goods and services.

    “This legislation is the product of bipartisan negotiations,” Hastings said. “I’m proud that the Illinois General Assembly came together to work in the best interests of our residents. The next step is to pass a bipartisan budget.”

    Hastings continues to hear from residents across the Southland that procurement rules can be difficult for vendors, state agencies and universities to navigate.

    “Removing red tape and streamlining the process will make it easier for local businesses to bid on state contracts,” Hastings said. “Our local businesses are the heart of our economy. And they will lead us back to prosperity.”

    This measure expands the ability of state universities to purchase needed products and services without going through the procurement process. Illinois would be allowed to enter into joint purchasing agreements with other governmental units. Vendors would also be given more flexibility when registering or submitting a bid.

    Procurement reform was a structural reform requested by Governor Bruce Rauner. Hastings hopes now that the Senate has acted to address the governor’s structural reforms he will work in a bipartisan and bicameral manner to work toward passing a state budget.

    The Illinois Senate has passed structural reforms in hopes the governor will compromise and pass a bipartisan budget that will be kind and compassionate toward the residents of the Southland. 

    “The time to act is now,” Hastings said. “The Illinois Senate has held up their part of the deal. We have passed local government consolidation, workers’ compensation reform and now procurement reform. It is time for the governor to help us help the people of Illinois. Our children, seniors and most vulnerable cannot afford to wait any longer.”

  • proptax house

  • harmon 031517SPRINGFIELD – The most meaningful reform Gov. Bruce Rauner can sign into law after two years of gridlock in Springfield is a balanced budget, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said.

    “Citizens and businesses in Illinois need predictability, stability and certainty, and Senate Democrats are offering that with a balanced budget,” Harmon said. “They’ll know what they are in for, they’ll know the state will pay its bills, and they’ll know that the state will be here to provide the services that everyone relies upon us to provide.”

    Harmon elaborated on a series of reforms the Senate passed last week in conjunction with a balanced budget at the behest of Gov. Rauner and others to make the state more business friendly. The reforms include workers’ compensation reform, procurement reform, local government consolidation reform and school funding reform. Senate Democrats also have indicated a willingness to enact a two-year property tax freeze.

    “Nobody likes property taxes. We’re proposing a freeze in property taxes. We’d like to hit the pause button so that we can implement state financial reforms and protect local property taxpayers from increase at the local level,” Harmon said.

    He noted that the Senate most recently enacted major reform of the state’s workers’ compensation system in 2011.

    “Those reforms are paying dividends, but we aren’t seeing those benefits being passed down from the insurance companies to the local businesses that buy their insurance,” he said. “The reforms we’re advancing this session will attempt to deal with that, will attempt to ensure that the premiums, the rates people pay for their workers’ compensation reflect the strides we’ve made in reforming the system.”

    Sen. Harmon talks about the budget:

     

  • raoul 040617 ftr

  • raoul 5yr dp

  • raoul 111716CHICAGO — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) joined a number of elected officials at A Safe Haven, a transitional housing facility, for the signing of legislation that ensures a person being released from Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice receives a state identification card. Raoul released the following statement on Senate Bill 3368:

    “We are taking a step forward into guiding ex-offenders upon release to successful reintegration by working in a bipartisan fashion to provide them a tool we all commonly use, an identification card.

  • Sen RaoulSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) lauded  the signing of several criminal justice reform measures he sponsored this year as part of a larger push for commonsense, data-driven approaches to law enforcement, sentencing, incarceration and the reintegration of ex-offenders.

    “Illinois is again pushing forward as a pioneer of criminal justice reform – because it saves money, because it saves lives and communities and because it’s the right thing to do,” Raoul said. “These new laws on juvenile justice, expungement, access to licensed professions and sex offender registration policies will help bring the realities of criminal justice in line with its aims of genuine public safety and lasting rehabilitation.”

  • CollinsApril2016Measures address expungement, park district employment and cost of inmate phone calls

    CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) announced today that the governor has signed into law several pieces of legislation she sponsored that are part of a larger criminal justice reform agenda in Illinois. The measures help people have their arrest records expunged for crimes they did not commit, give park districts greater discretion to hire non-violent ex-offenders and cap the cost of inmate phone calls to keep family members affected by incarceration in touch with one another.

    “By ending the practice of allowing for-profit contractors to charge exorbitant rates for inmate phone calls, we are enabling families to stay connected,” Collins said. “And by granting park districts discretion to hire more ex-offenders who have turned their lives around, we continue the process of opening up employment opportunities to a chronically unemployed sector of our population.”

  • tc suicideprevVILLA PARK – State Senator Tom Cullerton’s college administrative reforms were signed into law today.

    This reform package was advanced by Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, in response to the repetitive reports of abuse and misuse of taxpayer dollars at the state’s universities and community colleges, in particular the College of DuPage, located in Cullerton’s backyard.

    “These new laws are necessary first steps to stop waste, fraud and abuse at our state universities and community colleges, “ Cullerton said. “We need to put an end to the days of college administrators banking on executive perks at the expense of our college students.

    One of the new laws will prevent a lame duck community college board from entering into a new contract with a college administrator starting 45 days prior to Election Day through the rest of their terms.

    Cullerton knows that with these new laws we will be able to better protect taxpayers and tuition payers from future scandals

    The reform package would also require that community college and university boards be required to take four hours of professional development training in topics that include labor laws, open meetings act requirements, or ethics training.

    “We need to find ways to make a higher education more affordable in Illinois,” Cullerton said. “These new laws were a long time coming and will help keep some control on the rising costs of higher education.”

    Recognition Process (Senate Bill 2155) – Provides that for a  community college to be recognized by ICCB, the college must show compliance with applicable state and federal laws regarding employment, contracts and compensation.

    Community College Trustee Training (Senate Bill 2157) – Requires new college board trustees to complete four hours of professional development training that range from labor laws, open meetings act, freedom of information regulations, ethics and financial and accountability oversight.

    Preventing Lame-Duck Decisions (Senate Bill 2158) – Prohibits community college boards from entering into new employee contracts or changing existing employee contracts 45 days prior to Election Day for trustees and extends through the lame-duck period until the first meeting of the new board.

    In 2009, Former DuPage Community College President Breuder’s contract extension was approved by a lame-duck board.

    Transparency at Community Colleges and State Universities (Senate Bill 2159) – Promotes transparency by requiring contract terms, annual performance reviews of administrators and forbids contract buyouts in cases of pending criminal charges.

    University Board Training (Senate Bill 2174)-Requires every voting member of a public university governing board to complete a minimum of four hours of professional development leadership training that range from labor laws, open meetings act, freedom of information regulations, ethics and financial and accountability oversight.

    Cullerton looks forward to working with his colleagues next legislative session to further reform administrative costs at state institutions of higher education to move the state forward and protect Illinois’ college students.

  • jjc sb231SPRINGFIELD - Statement from Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton regarding approval of SB 231, which reforms the state’s classroom funding formula.

    “Today marks a significant step forward in creating a new classroom funding formula that recognizes the real needs of students across Illinois.

    For too many children in too many communities, their paths to excellence are blocked by the existing school finance system that shortchanges their schools and fails to provide needed resources. It’s an injustice we’ve tolerated too long.

  • edfund 051016

  • edfund losers 2016 ftr

  • cunningham hiedcompSPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, Senator Bill Cunningham urged his colleagues on the Higher Education Committee to pass legislation that would reform the financial practices surrounding how higher education administration is compensated.

    The reforms were launched after a report revealed inappropriate financial practices occurring at institutions of higher education, including the recent scandal at the College of DuPage.

    “Our institutions of higher learning throughout Illinois have continued to be plagued by controversies involving excessive compensation for college administrators, which only cost the taxpayers and the students more money,” Cunningham said.