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Holmes move to allow local school districts to make decisions on charter schools passes General Assembly

holmes 053119SPRINGFIELD – Right now, a state commission can overturn a local school board’s decision to deny a charter school application in their school district. Under a plan 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 by July 1, 2020, and transfers most of its duties to the Illinois State Board of Education. Locally elected school boards and parents would decide if a charter school is good for their community.

Charter schools currently in the renewal process would be transferred to ISBE. The bill also provides that a local school board may not revoke or not renew a charter except for obvious justifying circumstances.

“This proposal is about ensuring 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 the Senate’s vote to concur on a House amendment, the measure will head to the governor’s desk.

Holmes ban on testing cosmetic products on animals passes General Assembly

holmes 053019SPRINGFIELD – A measure regarding animal welfare sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) 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 the effective date of the act. 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.

This ban does not include cosmetic products or ingredients that have been tested on animals but are currently being sold before the implementation date.

Holmes passes stalking, civil and domestic violence no contact order measure

holmes 013119SPRINGFIELD – A measure from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) would require more rapid response by the courts and law enforcement in issuing stalking, domestic violence and civil no contact orders. House Bill 3396 passed the Illinois House on concurrence today.

“If someone is being stalked, they deserve immediate response from the courts and law enforcement,” Holmes said. “A no-contact order needs to be moved swiftly from the courts to law enforcement no matter what day or time it is granted when someone’s safety and peace of mind are being threatened.”

House Bill 3396 changes the Stalking No Contact Order Act, the Civil No Contact Order Act and the Illinois Domestic Violence Act to provide that when an emergency no contact order is granted on a court holiday or evening, the court will immediately file a certified copy with law enforcement officials who maintain State Police records. Currently, those orders aren’t filed until the next court day, possibly delaying relief for victims.

The bill makes the same changes in all protective order acts so that there is procedural consistency among the three orders.

A no contact order makes it illegal to contact the victim without their permission. If the order can be enforced more quickly it may relieve the associated fear and distress sooner.

House Bill 3396 passed both chambers on bipartisan votes and will now head to the governor’s desk.

Holmes measure updates animal welfare law for shelters, foster groups

dog 052419SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation in the General Assembly to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs.

Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees and fines 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 as amended does the following:

  • Changes definitions of terms related to animal shelters, rescue and transport groups and their functions;
  • Addresses licensed animal groups’ Trap, Neuter, Release/Return (TNR) programs for sterilized and microchipped feral cats;
  • Clarifies the limits of two litters of animals under eight weeks old in foster homes;
  • Removes a permit fee of $25 for 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 bipartisan approval in the House today, Senate Bill 61 now moves to the governor for his signature.

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