Noland pleased tax for education referendum supported

Published: Thursday, November 06, 2014 01:34 PM

noland-sign-goSenator Mike Noland (Elgin) released the following statement on the Tax for Education Referendum Act, a statewide advisory question on amending the Illinois Constitution to require that each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3% tax on income greater than $1,000,000.

“The ballots have been cast, and the people of Illinois have decided, through a small tax increase on the wealthiest among us to increase the funding of education in our state,” said Senator Noland. “The millionaire tax will help strengthen education in Illinois without saddling average taxpayers with a burden too cumbersome to bear. This is a real opportunity for the people of Illinois to make a meaningful investment in our children's future.”

"It must be recognized that this was an opportunity for the people of Illinois to stand for a stronger, more responsible investment in the next generation of leaders, and we stood tall."

Martinez: Illinoisans overwhelmingly vote to protect birth control access

Published: Wednesday, November 05, 2014 03:44 PM

110514martinezSenate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) said today that voters’ overwhelming support for the advisory Women’s Health Referendum creates the momentum necessary to protect Illinois women’s access to birth control in the face of attacks such as this summer’s Hobby Lobby ruling. Yes votes on the question outnumbered no votes by a margin of 65.9 percent to 34.1 percent.

“The Supreme Court’s outrageous ruling allowing some employers to decide, based on their own beliefs, whether or not female employees can access basic health care made it critical for lawmakers to hear from the public on this issue,” Martinez said. “We have heard them loud and clear.”

Martinez sponsored legislation placing the statewide, nonbinding question on the ballot. The referendum asked voters whether any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage should be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage.

Currently, thanks to a law Martinez sponsored in 2003, any group or individual health insurance plan in Illinois that offers prescription drug coverage must cover all outpatient contraceptive services, drugs and devices with the same co-insurance, deductibles and co-payments that apply to other prescriptions. Beginning in 2012, federal law kicked in; under the Affordable Care Act, most employers that offer health benefits must choose plans that cover contraception with no deductibles or co-pays. In July, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that closely held companies whose owners have religious objections to birth control cannot be required to pay for contraceptive coverage for their employees.

“I look forward to continuing to pass legislation that improves health care access for all Illinoisans and safeguards the hard-won freedoms of women in the workplace and the doctor’s office,” Martinez said. “Yesterday’s result gives us the resounding support we need to keep fighting for the rights of individuals over corporations and the right of women to chart their own destiny.”

New facility for La Casa Norte

Published: Monday, November 03, 2014 12:59 PM

103114DelgadoSenator William Delgado (D-Chicago) will be visiting the La Casa Norte facility in Chicago over the weekend to celebrate the capital grant the organization will be receiving on behalf of the state.

La Casa Norte is located on Chicago’s West Side and provides services and housing to homeless families and youth. Their mission is to serve families and youth confronting homelessness by providing access to stable housing and delivering comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities.

“La Casa Norte does exceptional work for the homeless individuals in the area, and this grant is a testament to the value of their service,” Sen. Delgado said.

The grant will help with the construction of their new facility, which will be replacing the current facility on 3533 W. North Avenue.

In addition to increasing their housing capacity, the new facility will allow La Casa Norte to open health and wellness clinics, a nutritional food pantry and community garden, a youth drop-in center and facilities for job readiness training.

Sen. Haine praises $23.5 million construction investment for SIU Edwardsville

Published: Monday, November 03, 2014 12:58 PM

haine-siueSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) applauded a recently announced investment that allocates $23.5 million to construction projects on SIU Edwardsville’s campus. The investment will help with renovation of an existing science building reconfiguring approximately 80,000 square feet of space, and will complete the construction of a new $81.3 million science center.

The project creates offices, classrooms and laboratories, including upgrading the climate control, mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as replacing existing windows with more energy-efficient designs. The finished project will be considered for a LEED Silver designation, a testament to its energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly design.

“It’s important that we continue to invest in higher education in our state, and doing it in a way that is environmentally friendly supplements the benefits for the students and staff,” Sen. Haine said.

Work will begin around the first of October and should be completed by spring 2016. The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) will manage the construction project.

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