The Majority Report 05/08/16 - Protecting education, children


Senate votes to restore more money for colleges

Senate votes to restore more money for collegesIn an effort to further ease the financial pressure on Illinois colleges and thousands of students, Senate Democrats last week voted to restore an additional $453 million in overdue state funding for higher education.

Included in the appropriation is $45 million for the MAP tuition assistance program, which helps students afford the cost of pursuing a college degree.

The funding should help Illinois universities and community colleges, which face layoffs and program cuts because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget stalemate with the legislature. The legislature in April approved a $600 million emergency appropriation for higher education, which Rauner signed into law.

The latest measure, Senate Bill 2048, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, now goes to the House for consideration.

It comes on the heels of Senate Democrats’ efforts to provide funding to Illinois’ contracted human service providers, whose state payments have been cut off since July 2015. That legislation is waiting for a vote in the House.

Last week, more than 60 of the providers banded together to sue Rauner in Cook County Circuit Court for $100 million in overdue payments. The Pay Now Illinois coalition includes providers from throughout Illinois that offer services for senior citizens, children, families, rape victims, the homeless, addicts and more.


Senate Democrats working to protect children

Senate Democrats working to protect childrenChildren in police custody for certain crimes would have greater protection when being interrogated by police under legislation advanced this week by Senator Patricia Van Pelt of Chicago.

Senate Bill 2370, which passed in the Illinois Senate with bipartisan support, would require any child 15 or younger to have an attorney present during custodial interrogations by police for murder and sex offenses. It also would require police to recite a simplified Miranda warning for youth.

In addition, Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign is sponsoring legislation that would do away with the statute of limitations on sexual abuse of children.

And Senator Iris Y. Martinez of Chicago is sponsoring a measure to extend to 2019 the expiration of Illinois’ Covering All Kids health insurance program, which is set to expire in July. Extending the program would prevent more than 40,000 children from losing their health insurance coverage.



Collins: Credit scores shouldn’t factor into insurance rates

Collins: Credit scores shouldn’t factor into insurance ratesSenator Jacqueline Y. Collins of Chicago is pressing for Illinois to bar the use of credit scores as a factor in determining auto insurance rates.

The practice, which currently is legal in Illinois and elsewhere in the nation, leads to greater racial and socioeconomic disparities and also fuels a cycle of poor credit.

“It’s absurd and unacceptable that in Illinois today a person with poor credit but a perfect driving record pays, on average, substantially more for car insurance than a person with great credit and a drunken driving conviction,” Collins said.

“That certainly doesn’t make our roads safer or create incentives for responsible driving, and it makes it even harder for people who are in debt to drive to work so they can get out of debt.”

California, Massachusetts and Hawaii have already banned credit-based insurance pricing. Collins hopes to secure passage of Senate Bill 2208 so Illinois can join them.


In case you missed it


Illinois mothers who are concerned about gun violence and safety thanked Senator Julie Morrison of Deerfield for her leadership on gun-related issues at the Capitol last week.

Morrison, a mother of three, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 549, which would expand alerts to local police and other authorities when a dangerous person tries to access a firearm. The measure would help to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.

“When someone who isn’t legally allowed to have a gun – because of a criminal conviction, a domestic abuse incident, or a dangerous mental illness – tries to buy one or applies for a FOID card, and fails a background check, that’s a red flag, and it’s also a crime,” said Marie Newman, a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action.

“These so-called lie-and-try offenses are rarely prosecuted, even though evidence shows prohibited people are more dangerous after failing a background check.”


Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: State funding pending for Lincoln’s Challenge operations (Rantoul Press)

Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Bertino-Tarrant works to fund substance abuse programs (Naperville Patch)

Senator Daniel Biss, Evanston: Young man subjected to sexual conversion ‘therapy’ shares his story (Univision Chicago)

Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, Chicago: Legislation gives park districts discretion to hire some ex-offenders (The Chicago Citizen)

Senator Tom Cullerton, Villa Park: Government transparency bill advances (WAND-TV, Decatur)

Senator Bill Cunningham, Chicago: Bill inspired by Robbins ‘travesty’ would create sexual assault investigation oversight (Daily Southtown)

Senator Gary Forby, Benton: Illinois Senate approves more money for higher education (WSIU-FM, Carbondale)

Senator Bill Haine, Alton: Gas tax ‘lockbox’ constitutional amendment to appear on Nov. 8 ballot (Chicago Tribune)

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Waukegan residents rally in Springfield for Earth Day (Lake County News-Sun)

Senator Toi Hutchinson, Chicago Heights: Illinois Senate passes $454 million more for colleges (Fox 32 Chicago)

Senator Terry Link, Vernon Hills: Stevenson High students pushing for more political rights (Daily Herald)

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Farmington parents rally to call for action on school funding (Peoria Journal Star)

Senator Iris Y. Martinez, Chicago: Panel endorses bill easing student trustee standards (Champaign News-Gazette)

Senator Pat McGuire, Joliet: Illinois Senate finds bipartisan spirit for higher education (Decatur Herald & Review)

Senator Ira Silverstein, Chicago: Local Jewish health and human services leaders visit Springfield (Jewish United Fund)

Senator Heather Steans, Chicago: Local groups serving autistic children, others counting on stopgap state funding plan (The State Journal-Register, Springfield)


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