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Holmes

  • 3D mammograms to be more broadly covered by insurance policies

    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.

  • As road, gaming funds pass, Holmes calls for MAP grants funding

    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.

  • Aurora domestic violence shelter finally gets funding under Senate budget plan

    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.”

  • Automatic voter registration moves forward in Illinois (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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  • Biss right of conscience legislation heading to governor (AUDIO)

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  • Celebrating Women's History Month (VIDEO)

    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.

  • Entrepreneur learner’s permit program passes Illinois Senate

    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.

  • Few specifics, missed opportunities in governor's budget speech (VIDEO)

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  • Governor vetoes MAP, community college funding for Illinois students

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  • Harmon clears way for governor to sign House Bill 40

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  • Holmes appointed to state’s Human Trafficking Task Force

    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 backs legislation to cut government waste

    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 calls on state lawmakers to pass higher ed, IMSA funding

    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.

  • Holmes demands budget answers

    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 hosts Aurora Latino business, social service leaders

    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.

  • Holmes responds to consolidation task force report

    holmes locgovs mrCalls for review of unfunded mandates on local government

    CHICAGO — State Sen. Linda Holmes, a member of the Lt. Governor's Task Force on Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner's Monday unveiling of the task force's findings.

    "It is unfortunate Gov. Rauner has chosen to inject highly politicized items like repealing prevailing wage and making collective bargaining optional for local governments into the discussion of these other common sense approaches to spending reductions," Holmes said. "I worked with Lt. Governor Sanguinetti to put forth a number of other proposals that could benefit taxpayers, such as granting the power to consolidate units of government with careful local input and examining the unfunded mandates state government imposes on local government. These other items reflect the governor's continued insistence on an anti-union and anti-middle class agenda."

    Holmes was one of several members of the task force. She has repeatedly voiced her support for more government consolidation powers to be given over to local governments with proper oversight and taxpayer input. She voted against the task force’s recommendations on the prevailing wage repeal and collective bargaining changes.

    Unfunded mandates are laws or rules that require local units of government to perform services or meet regulatory standards, but do not provide the funding to do so. Holmes, D-Aurora, will file legislation that would review such mandates on local government.

    The commission's full report can be read here.

  • Holmes statement on override of Heroin Crisis Act veto

    holmes womenhlthcareAURORA — State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement as members of the Illinois House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of House Bill 1, the Heroin Crisis Act, on Wednesday.

    “Law enforcement, medical professionals and the public have demanded action on this urgent issue,” Holmes said. “Governor Rauner delayed this plan, even as we know people are dying daily. I will vote to override this veto and urge my colleagues in the Senate to join me.”

    The Heroin Crisis Act would create addiction treatment programs, public awareness and education campaigns and expand local pharmacy access to fast-acting heroin antidotes.

    The legislation is House Bill 1. It proceeds to the Senate, where it requires a three-fifths supermajority vote to override the governor’s veto.

  • Holmes supports restoration of child care services

    holmes womenhlthcareSenate passes measure to fully fund day care assistance

    SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement following a Wednesday vote in the Senate to restore funding and original entry requirements to the Child Care Assistance Program:

    “Governor Rauner’s decision to roll back accessibility to the Child Care Assistance Program is harmful to families who are doing all they can to work and ensure their children are cared for,” Holmes said. “Delays in funding have already caused the closure of a day care center in my district earlier this year. We can’t tell our working families that it’s better to just stay home. That’s why I support this measure and call on the House to pass it.”

    The legislation is Senate Bill 570. It proceeds to the House for consideration.

  • Holmes, Attorney General’s initiative to protect workers signed into law

    holmes 15budgetSPRINGFIELD — The governor signed a law today to crack down on unlicensed employment agencies, enacting a plan put forth by State Senator Linda Holmes and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

    “There are big businesses out there bending the rules and abusing workers in some of the lowest-paid jobs,” Holmes said. “I’m gratified for the opportunity to work with Attorney General Madigan to toughen enforcement and protect working men and women in Illinois.”

    The law addresses regulations that have not seen substantive updates in decades and that currently provide inadequate tools for the Attorney General’s Office to enforce compliance.

    Workers who have been placed by such unregulated agencies have alleged numerous instances of abuse at the hands of employers, including being made to work 6-day work weeks of 12-hour shifts to pay off referral fees. They have alleged being referred to jobs that pay below the minimum wage, being housed in crowded and substandard conditions and being denied medical treatment for on-the-job injuries.

    “My office initiated this legislation after uncovering instances of low-income and immigrant workers being subject to dangerous and often illegal working conditions. They were placed in those conditions by employment agencies that were frequently operating without licenses,” Madigan said.

    In addition to providing civil penalties for such violations, Senate Bill 1859 directs the Department of Labor to create and maintain a database of employment agencies with suspended or revoked licenses, requires employment agencies to keep records of their placements longer and provides whistleblower protection to employees who report misconduct.

    Senate Bill 1859 was signed into law today and goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

  • Holmes, Bush vote on social services, college grant funding legislation

    mapgrant moneySPRINGFIELD — State Sens. Linda Holmes and Melinda Bush issued the following statements on their support of legislation dealing with social services and higher education grant funding.

    Holmes and Bush voted in favor of House Bill 2482, which would maintain the current threshold individuals must meet in order to qualify for social services like in-home elder care. Gov. Rauner proposed increasing the threshold, which would disqualify thousands of applicants.

    “We are not a state that denies care to the elderly and the sick by claiming they are magically no longer in need,” Holmes said. “Services like the Community Cares Program, which helps seniors continue to live in their homes, actually save the state money down the road. Kicking people off of these services is the wrong thing to do for so many reasons.”

    “I oppose taking such a callous approach to finances,” Bush said. “By making it harder to qualify for social services, the governor is attacking an important social safety net for a vulnerable population, all for cuts that we know will cost us more in the foreseeable future.”

    Bush and Holmes also voted in favor of MAP grant funding at the same level proposed by Gov. Rauner, which would constitute a 2.25 percent increase over the previous year. The governor vetoed an earlier spending plan that included a higher level of funding.

    “For families sending their proud high school graduates off to college this month, these grants are absolutely crucial,” Holmes said. “We’re meeting Governor Rauner halfway by adopting funding at these levels. Today I took action to ensure the grants are there for the middle class families whose students have worked hard to get into college.”

    “Governor Rauner made the right call when he proposed an increase to these grants, and the wrong one when he held these funds hostage during this budget process,” Bush said. “Though I would have preferred to fund them at the higher level the Senate approved earlier, it is more important that they are released to the families whose students need them to get a quality education.”