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  • McGuire votes to protect Illinois’ most vulnerable

    mcguire 15budgetSPRINGFIELD— Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) joined a majority of his Senate colleagues in voting to prevent a shutdown of services to children and adults with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities and mental illness. The Senate passed SB 2046 by a vote of 36-19, the bare minimum of “Yes” votes needed. All “Yes” votes were cast by Democrats.

    “While 90 percent of the state budget is effectively enacted, the stalled 10 percent is needed by organizations such as Cornerstone and Trinity Services to continue providing absolutely necessary services,” McGuire said. “I’ve been advocating for legislative action to help the children and adults who desperately need this help. This week’s Senate action is the important first step in doing so.”

    SB 2046 seeks to fund autism programs, early intervention services for infants with developmental delays, supportive housing for persons with disabilities, and other services not funded via court orders or consent decrees.  The legislation now moves to the House. If it is approved there, it goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his approval.

    “I beseech the governor to end the distress uncertain funding is causing people already beset with numerous physical and mental challenges,” McGuire said.

  • Martinez stands up for the Latino community

    martinez 090115SPRINGFIELD — Today, Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) joined members of the Latino Caucus at a hearing regarding how the absence of a state budget is impacting Latino-serving providers and their clients.

    “We heard riveting testimony about how the lack of a state budget is impacting Latinos,” Martinez said. “I am troubled by what I heard today. The governor needs to focus on solving the state’s budget impasse so that human service providers helping our children, seniors, the disabled and other vulnerable populations can stay in business.”

    Martinez provided introductory remarks at the hearing, which featured testimony from representatives of Gads Hill Center, Latino Organization of the Southwest, La Casa Norte, El Valor, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Corazon Community Services and other organizations.

    Senator Martinez’s participation in today’s hearing is part of a broader effort she is undertaking to help Latinos. This year, she encouraged Latinos to become blood donors and discussed the importance of Latinos being adequately represented in state government.

    Martinez has also spoken out about the necessity of the state funding Welcoming Centers, which serve as lifelines to our state’s newest residents by offering classes and providing information on topics such as employment training and home ownership.

  • Biss demands clarity on state payments from Comptroller's Office

    biss munger

  • First-ever state agency performance metrics released

    Kotowski on floorSPRINGFIELD- In 2010, State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) led the charge in passing  legislation creating the non-partisan Budgeting for Results Commission, which seeks to reform the spending of taxpayer dollars by collecting data on state-funded programs to measure performance, increase transparency and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

    Now, after years of trial and effort from the governor's office, state employees, legislators and private sector volunteers, data from Illinois Performance Reporting System (IPRS) is now available in real-time through 65 online reports that evaluate state agencies and their funded programs: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Pages/PerformanceReports.aspx.

    "This is an historic day in the state of Illinois: budget decisions can now be based on actual evidence of impact.  This performance data will allow taxpayers and policymakers to see for the first time the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of each program so that we can fund what works and get rid of what does not," said Kotowski.

    Under Kotowski's leadership, the commission worked with state agencies to identify important investment outcomes and priorities within the state budget, such as improving school readiness for all, access to higher education for low-income students and protecting children with special needs, and established specific criteria to evaluate programs in these priority areas.

    The Agency Performance Metric reports can be found here: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Pages/PerformanceReports.aspx. As more data is gathered from other state agencies and their programs, these reports will increase and play a major role in future spending decisions by the governor and members of the General Assembly.

  • Senate Democrats update budget numbers; stress need for negotiated agreement on finances

    FY16 Budget Outlook ($ in millions)

  • Collins votes to release federal funds and keep WIC offices open

    collins fedfundAlso funds cancer screenings, LIHEAP, job training, addiction services and more

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on budget legislation the Senate passed today to allow $4.8 billion federal funding to be used for purposes such as energy bill assistance, infant nutrition, cancer screenings, substance abuse treatment, developmental disabilities services and job training:

    As a public servant, I uphold and fight for the democratic values that define this state and nation. Justice and equality demand that the people and their representatives not ignore the needs of those who cannot care for themselves or advocate for themselves.

    Yet in the ongoing state budget impasse, their needs have been ignored in shocking ways – frail senior citizens denied home care services, at-risk youth with nowhere to go after school but the streets, a day care center for children with HIV/AIDS threatened with closure and families whose medically fragile infants must have expensive, specialty formulas told that at the end of this week, they will be on their own.

    I was proud to vote my values today as the Senate, in an encouraging show of bipartisanship, passed legislation that releases federal funding for a wide variety of state programs, including those that serve our most vulnerable populations. I urge my colleagues to continue to push for a budget resolution that recognizes our shared moral responsibility to assist and uplift those in need.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 2042, must now be approved by the House before going to the governor’s desk.

  • Property tax relief passes Illinois Senate

    kotowski proptaxSPRINGFIELD – Skyrocketing property taxes have given Illinois the second-highest property taxes in the nation. A proposal passed by the Illinois Senate yesterday with a vote of 37-1-18 will provide meaningful relief for Illinois homeowners by freezing property taxes for two years. State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) was a chief co-sponsor of the legislation.

    "After speaking with thousands of people throughout my district, I know that meaningful property tax reform is the most important issue facing the suburbs," said Kotowski. "This relief will give hard-working families and seniors the opportunity to stay in their own homes and live in their communities."

  • Bush supports release of federal spending

    bush fedfundsCritical federal programs will continue after General Assembly vote Tuesday

    SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Melinda Bush issued the following statement Tuesday after a measure to release federal funds passed the Illinois Senate 57-0.

    “These funds include important programs that help veterans, mothers, seniors and so many others we have a duty to protect,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “I’m glad to see the Senate come together in a decisive move to release these federal funds, and I look to our colleagues in the House and to Governor Rauner to swiftly do the same.”

    Included in the federal funds dollars for homeless veterans and women’s health services like breast and cervical cancer screening, among a wide variety of others.

    Without its passage, the federal dollars in Senate Bill 2042 would not be available for use in the absence of a state budget. The legislation proceeds to the Illinois House for consideration, where it must pass and then be signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner to take effect.

  • Senate Democrats move to protect more than $5 billion in federal funding

    Senate Democrats move to protect more than $5 billion in federal funding

  • Steans’ federal funding budget passes with bipartisan support in Senate, keeps vital services afloat

    steans fed fundsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) presented a budget measure that won bipartisan support in the Senate today and, if it secures House approval and the governor’s signature, will allow federal dollars blocked by the state’s budget impasse to flow to programs that provide cancer screenings, energy bill assistance, infant nutrition and much more.

    “Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly, as well as the governor’s office, agree these funds need to be released for their intended purposes,” Steans said. “There is no reason to keep parents from accessing specialized formula for their medically fragile babies or to hold up federal disaster relief funds; we can continue negotiating the $7 billion portion of the state budget that is still contested while allowing the critical work funded by federal dollars to go on.”

    Senate Bill 2042, which passed without opposition, would allow $4.8 billion in federal money to be spent on functions such as the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program (WIC), utility bill assistance known as LIHEAP, community mental health, AmeriCorps volunteers working in schools and communities statewide, care for those with developmental disabilities, breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income women, a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence and more. With some of the offices that provide nutritional counseling and benefits through WIC set to run out of money and close their doors as soon as the end of this week, releasing federal dollars is pivotal in relieving some of the direst effects of the budget impasse.

    “I’m encouraged that we have reached agreement on another significant portion of the budget,” said Steans, who chairs the Senate Appropriations I Committee. “I’m confident we can overcome our remaining differences on budgetary matters without getting bogged down in non-budgetary issues.”

  • Sen. Link's Statement on the State Budget

    Sen. Link's Statement on the State BudgetState Senate Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link (D-Waukegan) issued the following statement on the passing of a set of bills that are part of the state budget for the next fiscal year:

    “I voted to approve parts of the state budget, because it is our duty to do so. My vote was aimed to contain the dramatic budget cuts proposed by Governor Rauner that will severely impact hundreds of residents within my district. I pledge to the Governor to embark in a constructive dialogue that will achieve a final product that is both a path to recover our fiscal footing and a tool to protect basic services our most vulnerable residents receive from the government.”