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Holmes measure would allow local school districts to make decisions on charter schools

holmes 041119 3SPRINGFIELD – Right now, a state agency can overturn a local school board’s decision to deny a charter school application in their school district. Under a proposal from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), that decision would remain in local hands.

Senate Bill 1226 would change the charter school application process to abolish the State Charter School Commission and ensure locally elected school boards and parents would decide if a charter school is good for their community. The plan puts all existing charter schools authorized by the commission under the authority of the Illinois State Board of Education beginning June of 2020.

“This proposal is about local control and accountability for charter schools as they exist for public schools,” Holmes said. “The existing commission has overturned local school boards and I believe those decisions belong in the community, not at the state level.”

A local appeal process for charter schools already exists, eliminating the need for a state commission. Local voters also have the option of considering a charter school on the ballot of an upcoming election.

With bipartisan approval in the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for consideration.

Holmes animal welfare bill addresses fees, fosters and feral cats

holmes 032519SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation in the Senate Agriculture Committee to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs.

Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees under the Department of Agriculture for the first time since 1971. It also changes rules regarding adopted dogs and cats and the facilities that provide foster homes and transport pets for adoption.

“This group of animal welfare measures brings several rescue and shelter issues up to date for Illinois,” Holmes said. “So many pets find their forever homes through these facilities and fostering arrangements. This legislation can serve to increase the potential for that to happen while providing the Department of Agriculture with more resources to oversee these programs and facilities.”

In addition to increasing license fees and administrative fines, Senate Bill 61 does the following:

  • Changes definitions of terms related to animal shelters, rescue and transport groups and their functions;
  • Changes sterilization and microchip exemptions for adopted pets based on their age;
  • Addresses programs for sterilized, vaccinated feral cats in barn cat and college campus settings, often used for pest control;
  • Clarifies the limits of four foster pets or two litters in foster homes.

Senate Bill 61 includes input from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Best Friends Animal Society, Illinois Humane Society and the Illinois Animal Control Association.

With a unanimous vote in the Agriculture Committee, Senate Bill 61 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Holmes measure bans testing cosmetic products on animals

beagle 032119SPRINGFIELD – A measure regarding animal welfare sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed the Illinois Senate.

Senate Bill 241 amends the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to prohibit importation or sale of cosmetic products or ingredients that use animal testing after January 1, 2020. Modern testing alternatives are less expensive, faster and more predictive of human reactions than past practices of painful tests on animals to assess the safety of chemicals used in cosmetics.

Senate approves Holmes’ measure to require election of Fox Metro Water Reclamation trustees

holmes 032119SPRINGFIELD – A measure to require the election of trustees for the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District has been passed by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). Senate Bill 100 requires the trustees be elected rather than appointed. The bill was vetoed in August 2018 and came back to and was approved in the Senate Wednesday.

“This public body should be elected rather than appointed to best represent the citizens of our communities,” Holmes said. “Trustee candidates would go on the ballot during consolidated elections if this bill becomes law. 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 100 provides that trustees will be elected at consolidated elections, rather than appointed by members of the General Assembly, beginning with the 2021 consolidated election. Trustees will be elected to staggered 4-year terms. The Board will continue to have 5 total members. 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.

Approved by the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for consideration.

Sen. Linda Holmes

holmes-15

42nd District

Years served:
2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Executive; Labor; Local Government (Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.

Associated Representatives:
Linda Chapa LaVia
Stephanie A. Kifowit