crowe floor 052220SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) supported legislation expanding coverage to horse racing industry workers while adding more protections for essential employees.

“Previously excluded from coverage, employees at horse racetracks like Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville will have protected collective bargaining rights,” Crowe said. “For the unique circumstances workers are experiencing, it’s crucial for them to have added security for themselves and their families.”

Last year's state gaming expansion created new licenses for horse racetracks to expand operations to include casinos, or “racinos.” With this expansion, increasing staff was necessary to meet the need. This legislation extends collective bargaining rights coverage from the state for employers and employees of the horse racing industry.

The legislation also adds protections for first responders and retail workers deemed essential. For injuries related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this measure gives an additional 60 days of paid disability leave to firefighters, law enforcement and other public sector employees.

“Thanking them for their sacrifices in the fight against the pandemic, offering first responders an extended leave is the least we can do to thank them for their bravery and willingness be in harms way for the sake of everyone’s safety,” Crowe said.

Also recognizing the important work of essential retail workers, acts of physical violence against employees performing duties such as relaying instructions for health care or safety will be enhanced to aggravated battery.

This initiative has the support of AFL-CIO, Local 881 UFCW and AFSCME.

Senate Bill 471 passed the Senate Saturday and now awaits the governor’s signature to become law.