Senator Holmes disappointed about state government shutdown

holmes-shutdown-stmtSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Linda Holmes issued the following statement as Illinois state agencies faced shutdown for lack of a 2016 budget.

“I’m disappointed that Illinoisans will go without the services for which they have paid due to needless arguments over issues unrelated to the state budget,” Holmes said. “I have joined my colleagues in the Senate in presenting a budget to Governor Rauner in the hopes of reaching a compromise.”

“I ask the Governor now to set aside political matters and focus on fiscal matters. Every day he does not, our childcare centers face closure, our seniors face the possibility of having to leave their homes and all taxpayers face disruptions in their daily lives.”

Holmes voted in favor of a one-month provisionary budget that would keep essential state services in operation as lawmakers continue negotiating a full 2016 budget. The measure passed the Illinois Senate but failed in the House.

Holmes votes to fund schools at highest level ever

holmes-ed-fundingIncreased MAP grants also passes Illinois Senate

SPRINGFIELD — As Aurora students celebrated the end of the semester, State Sen. Linda Holmes today joined fellow senators in passing a spending plan that would ensure their schools reopen on time this fall, provided Gov. Rauner approves it.

“This spending plan is another step toward adequate, equitable funding for our schools,” the Aurora Democrat said. “I urge Governor Rauner to approve these proposals, and not to play politics with our schools.”

The plan provides for $10 billion in education spending, including roughly $3 billion in federal matching funds. The proposal provides a $295 million increase over the current fiscal year, including $207 million in additional funds to General State Aid and $85 million directed toward schools with low resources.

Holmes also supported an increase in college grant funding that passed the General Assembly. The proposal would increase MAP Grant funding by $32 million to $397 million.

“As the cost of college education is rising, we can’t let some students be left out,” Holmes said. “We’ve known this funding has been inadequate, and I’m pleased to see an increase pass the General Assembly.”

The K-12 spending plan comprises House Bills 3763 and 4151. Legislation regarding MAP Grants is HB 4146.

Holmes votes to fully fund local government

holmes-lgdfSupports full funding of promised state income tax funds to municipal government

SPRINGFIELD — Acting at the urging of local mayors, State Sen. Linda Holmes (D – Aurora) joined her colleagues in the Illinois Senate to vote in favor of full funding for local governments.

“Springfield should not seize the revenue that local governments use to fund vital local services like police and fire protection,” Holmes said. “I’m calling on Governor Rauner to approve a plan that keeps these funds intact.”

Under a budget proposal by Gov. Bruce Rauner, Local Government Distributive Fund payments to municipalities would have been cut by half. Holmes joined Senate Democrats in rejecting that plan earlier this week. LGDF revenue is drawn from the state income tax that workers pay.

“The State is facing a serious budget crisis,” said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “As the State continues to work towards solutions, Naperville asks that all municipalities share equally in any proposed reductions to the Local Government Distributive Fund. As a AAA bond rated community, we urge the State not to jeopardize Naperville’s standing by asking our community to bear a larger burden than others across Illinois.”

The funds help to keep Oswego’s budget balanced, said Gail Johnson, Village President.

“Municipalities should be rewarded for sound fiscal practices, tough decisions, and planning for our community's future. The loss of nearly 10 percent of our operating budget will have consequences affecting the services we provide to our residents,” Johnson said. “Oswego has been a fiscally proactive community and we strive to remain a strong advocate for our residents."

Mayor Dale Berman of North Aurora said his village desperately relies on the funds to provide some of the most important services to citizens.

“This money allows us to provide the necessary services to our community. It provides street maintenance, street lighting, snow plowing, police safety and protection, and many other services,” Berman said. “We operate on a very modest budget and monitor our expenses very closely.”

“Nobody can better judge how to provide local services than local government,” Holmes said. “The governor claims to want to reduce property taxes, but this would force our cities to consider raising them just to make up for money they’ve already been promised.”

General Assembly approves expanding women’s health care coverage

holmes-womenhlthcareSenate Democrats argue for greater insurance coverage, 3-D mammography

SPRINGFIELD — Women should not face cost barriers when considering whether to undergo a more thorough 3-D imaging process that can more accurately detect breast cancer, say Illinois Senate Democrats as new legislation passes the General Assembly to address women’s health needs.

“Increased access to more thorough, more modern forms of medical technology will mean fewer of our mothers and daughters and sisters taken from us by breast cancer,” said Senator Linda Holmes, D-Aurora.

House Bill 3673, which passed the Senate today, would require 3D mammograms to be covered under women’s comprehensive health insurance plans. A related proposal, Senate Bill 54, sponsored by State Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago 10th, requires annual three-dimensional mammograms to be covered under women’s insurance plans.

Currently, insurance companies must cover an annual, flat image scan at regular intervals for women over 40. Such scans can potentially miss abnormalities, particularly in women with denser breast tissue. Three-dimensional scans find 40 percent more invasive cancers than 2-D scans and better visualize any abnormalities, according to the American Cancer Society.

Using the newer method gives doctors a clearer view and could eliminate mistaken diagnoses, Mulroe said.

“Breast cancer is deadly and devastating to families. Early detection not only saves lives and the related cost of future treatment, but it also eliminates the anxiety women experience waiting for the call back date,” Mulroe said.

The measures have met with broad support among Senate Democrats.

“It is critically important that women have access to breast cancer screenings,” said Senator Iris Y. Martinez, D-Chicago 20th. “Women have a much better chance of surviving from breast cancer if it is detected early.”

“It’s always important to me to support legislation that improves women’s access to health care,” said Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, D-Chicago 16th, a co-sponsor of both measures. “Breast cancer is a leading killer of Illinois women, and early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, so I applaud these efforts to connect all women – particularly those who are low-income – to regular screenings and the highest quality of care.”

“These proposals make cutting edge medical technology more accessible for more women,” said Senator Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake. “In the long run, that’s not just going to save money, it’s going to save the lives of our mothers and daughters.”

House Bill 3673 and Senate Bill 54 await concurrence votes in their respective chambers before going to the governor.

Sen. Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader
42nd District

Years served: 2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Commerce and Economic Development (Chairperson); Executive; Labor; Local Government (Vice-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:
Barbara Hernandez
Stephanie A. Kifowit