Harmon

  • Illinois yoga instructors to continue teaching without regulation

    harmon yogaYoga instructors in Illinois will be able to practice freely without state regulation under legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) that was signed into law Friday.

    Senate Bill 2743 garnered bipartisan support in the legislature as a pro-business measure that curbs government regulation where it’s unneeded.

    “As we work to make Illinois a more business-friendly state, there’s simply no reason to impose unnecessary regulation on something like yoga instruction, which for most people is a personal pursuit or at most a small, independent business venture,” Harmon said.

    The measure exempts yoga teacher training from state oversight as a trade, occupation, vocation or professional school. The legislation was prompted by news earlier this year that several yoga teacher training programs in Illinois were notified by the Illinois Board of Higher Education that they would be subject to state regulation as vocational schools and that they must obtain IBHE approval to operate in the state.

    Representative Daniel Burke (D-Chicago) sponsored the measure in the Illinois House.

  • Harmon pro-business legislation becomes law

    harmon 050516Businesses will find it easier to operate in Illinois under legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) that was signed into law Thursday.

    House Bill 4361 is a broad, comprehensive modernization of Illinois’ Limited Liability Company Act, which last was rewritten in 1994. The law had been updated in a piecemeal fashion since then, but it was due for a sweeping update.

    The measure, which had bipartisan support in the legislature, is another effort to make Illinois a more business friendly state.

    “This update to Illinois’ LLC Act not only modernizes some of our laws, it also eliminates unclear or contradictory rules that can be frustrating for companies to navigate,” Harmon said. “It makes our laws more consistent with those of other states and enables Illinois to be a more attractive and inviting place for businesses to set up shop.”

    The legislation was the result of a six-year project by the Institute of Illinois Business Law to update the state’s LLC Act. The project was prompted by the 2006 publication of the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

    Joliet attorney Michael Hansen is past chairman of the Institute of Illinois Business Law, a group of about 40 corporate lawyers in Illinois who oversee the state’s business and corporate laws.

    “Limited liability companies are now the favored business entity,” he said. “The changes to the Act will mean the formation in Illinois of more LLCs, while still providing necessary protections to the members of the LLC.”

    Representatives Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) sponsored the measure in the Illinois House.

  • Harmon statement from regarding death of Abner Mikva

     Harmon statement from regarding death of Abner MikvaSenator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today regarding the death of Abner Mikva, a former congressman, federal judge, presidential adviser, lawyer, mentor and public servant from Chicago:

    “For a man with perhaps the most impressive resume in politics, Abner Mikva was the kindest, most gracious and generous politician I’ve ever met.

    “When I took his seminar on legislative process at the University of Chicago Law School, even at the end of his storied career, Ab’s enthusiasm for government and politics was contagious. He loved the process and he loved engaging young people in it.

    “When I confessed my quiet interest in running for office, he said, “Do it. Don’t wait!” He was a great mentor and a wise counsel.

    “Even in the last few months, he was pushing us hard to move forward on juvenile justice reform — all with a heart set on good policy and a keen appreciation for the evolving politics. He was a gentle giant and he will be missed by all he touched.”

    Mikva died Monday in Chicago. He was 90.

  • Shared priorities, common ground yield budget action (AUDIO)

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  • Harmon to pass increase in education funding

    Harmon03032016SPRINGFIELD — School districts from Oak Park to Addison stand to receive more than $15 million in additional funding under a bipartisan budget proposal to be voted on when senators return to Springfield this week.

    The education funding bill is part of a broader series of measures to keep the state running as the current budget year winds down. State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) noted that the measure clearly establishes education funding as a top priority for the state."

    “This is the clean education bill that the governor wanted.” Harmon said. “We have listened to his feedback regarding earlier proposals. I hope the governor will sign this bill into law as soon as possible so that our schools open on schedule and teacher and administrators have time to plan for the year ahead.”

    Under the proposal, $760 million in additional money is provided so that every school in the state receives state foundation level funding. As it stands, that means several school districts in the 39th District will receive more than $1 million in additional funding for the upcoming school year, and every school in the district will receive more this year than they did last year. 

    “This is a great step forward. With increased support and certainty from the state, every single student, no matter the ZIP code, will have a better chance of receiving a quality education,” Harmon said. “It’s the right thing to do.” 

    The Illinois Senate returns to Springfield on Wednesday.

  • Senator Harmon on Campaign Finance Reform

    Senator Harmon spoke as a featured panelist Tuesday June 21, 2016 at a campaign finance discussion in Chicago, sponsored by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.


  • Harmon: Illinois a ship without a captain

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    Senator Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto another appropriations bill from the Legislature:

    “Gov. Rauner’s stubborn refusal to propose a balanced budget – a duty outlined in the Illinois Constitution – has left Illinois to drift like a ship with no captain.
     
    “In the absence of actual leadership from the governor’s office, the General Assembly for months now has been forced to act unilaterally as we try to propose budget bills that the governor might sign to help residents who have been left to suffer without the state’s assistance. It’s a frustrating exercise.

  • Harmon supports measures to aid autism community in Illinois

    harmon hb580Children and adults with autism would benefit from two measures that passed out of the Illinois Senate with the support of Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).

    Senate Bill 345, which Harmon sponsored, acknowledges that autism is a whole-body disorder that affects more than simply a person’s neurology and behavior. The legislation would empower physicians to approach their diagnoses more effectively and would prohibit health insurance companies from restricting covered treatments for patients who have autism.

    Studies have shown that medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and immunodeficiency problems, commonly occur in people on the autism spectrum. When properly diagnosed and treated, not only do these medical conditions improve, so, too, do the autism symptoms.

    “It is not uncommon for medical providers to dismiss underlying medical symptoms simply as autism and miss the opportunity to adequately evaluate and treat patients,” Harmon said. “Senate Bill 345 eliminates a bureaucratic barrier and encourages providers to be more thorough with their medical evaluations and recommendations for treatment.”

    The legislation creates the Autism and Co-Occurring Medical Conditions Awareness Act. It passed unanimously in the Senate and in the House. It now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner to be signed into law.

    Laura Cellini, a parent advocate from Springfield, supports the legislation. She noted that people with autism have a mortality rate that is 10 times that of their peers of the same age.

    “Often this is due to their inability to receive accurate diagnoses and treatment for their underlying health issues,” she said. “That is why this legislation is so critical to improving health outcomes for people with autism.”

    In addition, Harmon supported House Bill 4257, which would allow people on the autism spectrum to be issued state-issued wallet cards that identify them as autistic. The cards can be shown to police officers, firefighters and others during high-stress encounters in which the cardholder is unable to communicate effectively.

    Individuals with developmental disabilities, autism and mental illness can have difficulty communicating with other people, especially during heightened situations, prompting law enforcement professionals and others to mistake them as simply being difficult or defiant. The wallet card would be a signal for authorities to de-escalate the situation.

    The cards would be issued by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

    The legislation was sponsored by Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego). Harmon was a co-sponsor in the Senate.

    “As we continue to learn about the causes and symptoms of autism – a disorder that affects thousands of Illinois families and individuals every day – it is critical that we do whatever we can to offer people the kinds of resources they need to thrive,” Harmon said. “Ensuring they are not denied needed medical treatment and giving them the ability to communicate effectively when the stakes are high are just two ways we can help.”

  • Harmon passes legislation to fund fire, police line-of-duty awards

    Harmon03032016Scholarships for the children of Illinois firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty would be funded again under legislation that passed in the Illinois Senate on Thursday.

    Senate Bill 2051, sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), would appropriate $975,000 for college scholarships for children of deceased police officers, firefighters and correctional officers, as well as $5 million for payment of line-of-duty awards.

    The payments have been held up because of the state budget stalemate.

  • Plan to bar regulation of yoga teacher training heads to governor

    Harmon03032016A measure prohibiting new state regulation of training for yoga teachers will head to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk to be signed into law.

    Senate Bill 2743, sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Representative Daniel Burke (D-Chicago), garnered bipartisan support as a pro-business measure that curbs government regulation where it’s unneeded.

    “There’s simply no reason for Illinois to regulate something that, for most people, is a personal pursuit, not a profession or a career,” Harmon said. “It makes no sense from a business standpoint, from a government standpoint or from a practical standpoint.”

    Harmon’s legislation exempts yoga instruction and yoga teacher training from state oversight as a trade, occupation, vocation or professional school.

    Several yoga teacher training programs in Illinois were notified earlier this year by the Illinois Board of Higher Education that they were subject to state regulation as vocational schools and that they must obtain IBHE approval to operate in the state.

    The measure passed unanimously in the Illinois House on Wednesday. It passed unanimously in the Senate in April.

  • Automatic voter registration moves forward in Illinois (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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  • Senator Harmon on Automatic Voter Registration

    Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) voices his opinion in favor of colleague Senator Andy Manar's automatic voter registration proposal on the Senate floor.


  • Senate votes to restore more higher education funding

    mapoverridePublic universities and community colleges across Illinois would see a substantial portion of their state funding reinstated under legislation the Illinois Senate approved Wednesday.

    Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) led efforts to restore $453.4 million in higher education funding. Included is $46 million for the popular student assistance program known as MAP, which provides assistance for low-income college students.

  • Harmon advances measure to help bring broadband internet to rural Illinois

    harmon 050516Communities in rural Illinois would face one less obstacle in acquiring broadband internet access under a measure that Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) advanced Wednesday in the General Assembly.

    Senate Bill 2237, which passed in the Senate and now goes to the House for consideration, would allow broadband internet providers to use existing highway right-of-ways for laying fiber optic cable.

    These are the same right-of-ways that water and sewer utilities use for laying pipe. The property is not productive farmland, suitable for building or used for any purpose other than roadways, nor is it subjected to property taxes.

  • Senator Harmon on his Clean Jobs legislation

    Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) discusses his Illinois Clean Jobs proposal at a recent press conference.


  • Harmon, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords call for greater gun dealer accountability

    harmon giffordsCHICAGO — Illinois State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday called for greater accountability from Illinois gun dealers in an effort to curb violent crime with illegally purchased guns in Chicago and elsewhere in the state.

    Harmon is the Senate sponsor of legislation that would give state authorities and police agencies the tools they need to encourage better business practices by federally licensed gun dealers, while holding corrupt gun dealers accountable.

  • Senate sends higher ed funding bill to governor, social services to House (AUDIO)

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  • Harmon advances fair tax amendment in Senate

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  • Harmon proposes stronger protections for Illinois bobcats

    harmon bobcatSaying the state lacks adequate information about Illinois’ recovering bobcat population, Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) has proposed a prohibition on trapping the animals and selling their pelts.

    Senate Bill 2143, which passed out of a Senate committee on Thursday, does not repeal recently enacted state law that allows hunting of bobcats.

    “If it was up to me, I would take bobcats off the list of animals that can be hunted in Illinois,” Harmon said. “But under this legislation, folks still can hunt bobcats in an effort to manage the population in a responsible and humane way. They just can’t trap them.”

    Currently, bobcat pelts have a market price of about $35 in Illinois. Harmon said he is concerned that Illinois is creating a market for the pelts of an animal that not long ago was a threatened species here.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation in July 2015 allowing licensed hunters to kill one bobcat per season. The practice had been banned in Illinois for about 40 years because the population had dwindled. Bobcats were removed from the state’s threatened species list in 1999.

    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates there are 3,000 bobcats in southern Illinois, 2,000 in western Illinois and 1,500 in other parts of the state. More precise figures and other data about the state’s bobcat population are unknown, though. The animals are nocturnal and reclusive.

    “We don’t have the numbers, and we don’t have all the facts. Let’s slow down and not create a market for pelts of an animal whose population is still coming back,” Harmon said.

    “If we’re going to kill animals, I would like for people to use all of the resources those animals provide. That’s the responsible thing to do. But it troubles me that bobcat hunting rules are rushed and without the benefit of having all the facts.

    “Let’s not inadvertently create the incentives to hunt for sport only animals that were recently endangered and may still well be threatened.”

     

  • Harmon pushes to broaden school breakfast availability

    harmon bkfstFewer Illinois schoolchildren would start the school day hungry under legislation sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).

    Senate Bill 2393 would require every public elementary, middle and high school with a student low-income rate of at least 70 percent to offer breakfast to students after the instructional day has begun. The legislation had unanimous support in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday and will head to the Senate floor for a vote.