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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’ push for building redevelopment heads to governor

holmes 053116SPRINGFIELD – Looking to continue parts of a successful building redevelopment program that will help repurpose an unused power station in Aurora, State Sen. Linda Holmes pushed for legislation that passed the General Assembly without opposition Sunday.

“The River Edge Redevelopment Zone program was designed to help developers take old, unused property and renovate it to meet today’s needs,” Holmes said. “We’re simply making sure developers have enough time to make use of these incentives. I urge the governor to sign this and extend the cost-sharing provisions to continue support for an important project.”

Sen. Holmes and Aurora-area state Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, and Stephanie Kifowit, R-Oswego, sponsored the legislation, which extends the expiration date of some cost-sharing arrangements under the development program.

“This legislation is an example of how the State and the City of Aurora can work together to continue the redevelopment of the downtown," Kifowit said. "The proposed developments will revitalize the city's core and surrounding neighborhoods and I'm happy to see this legislation passed.”

Developers hope to use it to help replace an old power station in downtown Aurora with a residential development along a 33-acre stretch along the Fox River.

“The plan is to move the downtown substation and replace it with a residential development that will create high-paid construction jobs, enhance the quality of life in Aurora and bring in additional property tax revenues,” Holmes said.

“The recession hit shortly after this portion of the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Act was passed and Aurora needs more time to complete possible residential projects in the downtown area,” Chapa LaVia said.

The relevant section of the law was set to expire in July of 2017, but the measure would extend it to August 1, 2020.

The legislation is Senate Bill 321. It must be signed by the governor to become law.

Holmes: We must act now to protect health care for children

holmes 051116Sponsors health insurance proposal in the Senate

SPRINGFIELD — Calling on her colleagues in the Senate and Gov. Bruce Rauner to act quickly to avoid the loss of crucial federal matching funds intended to provide health insurance to children, State Sen. Linda Holmes called for an extension to the Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act.

“This is a program aimed squarely at ensuring children are covered by health insurance,” Holmes said. “For the past decade, this program has been supported by both sides of the aisle, and it shouldn’t be at risk now. I urge the Senate to pass this measure extending the sunset date on this important and inexpensive program, and that Governor Rauner swiftly sign it.”

The program covers an estimated 41,000 children from working poor families, regardless of their immigration status, and is one reason Illinois has the second highest rate of health coverage for Latino children in the nation at 95.5 percent. It constitutes roughly one half of one percent of the state’s health insurance spending while bringing in $40 million in federal matching funds.

The Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act will end July 1 unless the legislation, House Bill 5736, passes the General Assembly and is signed into law. That proposal extends the sunset date to October 1, 2019.

Having passed out of the Senate Human Services Committee last week, the legislation is now before the full Senate for consideration.

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.

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