Biss sponsors bill releasing federal dollars to support human services

biss idtheft passesSPRINGFIELD -- Today Senator Daniel Biss (D - Evanston) and his colleagues in the Illinois State Senate passed SB 2042, a measure to release federal funds previously withheld due to the state budget impasse. Under the legislation, the state would be authorized to send along almost five billion federal dollars to programs that help feed women, infants and children, provide energy assistance to low income families, support victims of domestic violence, food banks, child care and individuals living with disabilities, among other programs.

"This game of chicken over the state budget is completely unnecessary and unconscionable," said Sen. Biss. "I'm glad to join senators from both parties in supporting this bill that at least allows us to pass along federal funds. We have no business letting sick infants go hungry simply because we can't agree on ideological issues that have nothing to do with our state's fiscal stability. It's time to look at the rest of the budget with this same lens and stop withholding services from the people of Illinois."

If the measure is approved by the House and governor, federal dollars will be released to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Department of Human Services, Veterans' Affairs, the Department of Public Health, the Department on Aging, Military Affairs and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Tens of thousands forced from their homes, left without care

Tens of thousands forced from their homes, left without careSPRINGFIELD — Substantial and detrimental changes to state-provided in-home or long-term care may be on the way under a new plan proposed by the governor. If it is enacted, nearly 40,000 seniors enrolled in the Community Care Program alone will be forced out of their homes and into nursing home facilities.

To decide whether or not a person is eligible to receive services, such as a home health aide or admission to a nursing home, state agencies use a Determination of Need (DON) score. It’s a tool designed to assess the level and type of need in order to provide the best and most efficient care to older adults and persons with disabilities.

The governor has proposed raising the threshold citizens would need in order to receive care from state programs. With these changes in place, the minimum score to qualify for assistance would increase to 37 from 29. Many people who rely on these services to live and provide for their families are fearing for the future and the future of their families.

Biss: Government shutdown unnecessary, destructive

biss-shutdownSPRINGFIELD: State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) released a statement today in response to starting the new fiscal year without a state budget:

Today we put an unnecessary and completely avoidable burden on our state workers, community service providers, and the most vulnerable Illinoisans -- indeed, on the whole state. When people lose their jobs, we can count on less state revenue to fund critical services, while more Illinoisans will need state services.

As people are deprived of social services, we can expect to provide higher cost care such as emergency room visits and nursing home admittance, putting even greater pressure on our already diminishing revenues in addition to the real danger many will face without a safety net.

This is not hypothetical. People lost their jobs today. People have already been told they can no longer get the services they depend on to make it from one day to the next. Without swift and meaningful action, we have failed our citizens, putting Illinois into a state of crisis.

We need real leadership now more than ever. We need a leader who is interested in protecting the state and its citizens, not using the most vulnerable as human shields or a state of crisis as a bargaining chip. We needed leadership months ago. But today the state pays the price. I stand ready to work with anyone to resolve this responsibly and swiftly.

Biss lauds Supreme Court decision to uphold health care subsidies

Ruling allows 232,000 Illinoisans to maintain affordable coverage

Biss lauds Supreme Court decision to uphold health care subsidiesSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this morning in King v. Burwell that subsidies to help eligible individuals pay for health insurance are available under the Affordable Care Act, including in states, such as Illinois, where the federal government administers the insurance exchange:

I'm thrilled the U.S Supreme Court has ruled to uphold health care subsidies for all states under the Affordable Care Act. Even though the law is relatively new, millions of Americans have come to depend on it for their health care, and the subsidies provide critical support -- both to individuals and to the overall functionality of the law. More than 232,000 low- and moderate-income Illinoisans benefit from today's ruling, and we should all celebrate this victory for their standard of living and peace of mind.

Senator Daniel Biss


9th Senate District

Years served: 2011 - 2012 (House); 2013 - 2018 (Senate)

Committee assignments: Education; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Human Services; Labor (Chairperson); Revenue.

Biography: Full-time legislator; former University of Chicago math professor; doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Served one term in the House before his election to the Senate. Resides in Evanston with his wife, Karin, and their children, Elliot and Theodore. Co-chair of a bipartisan pensions working group in the House and chair of the Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee.