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Holmes: Repeated mistakes will not solve crisis

holmes locgovsSPRINGFIELD — In response to the recent announcement from the comptroller’s office that Illinois will skip its November pension payments, Senator Linda Holmes (D–Aurora) has issued the following statement:

“I am deeply disappointed to see this administration repeat the same mistakes that got us into the budget crisis we are currently in with respect to the State's pensions,” Holmes said. "We cannot ignore our legal obligation to make our full pension payment. We need to resolve the budget impasse. We cannot continue to hold the budget hostage over non-budget items and incur more financial burden on the state down the road. I oppose this measure and I hope Comptroller Munger reconsiders.”

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, 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.”

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