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The Majority Report 7/6/18 - July means new laws for Illinois

 

July means new state laws in Illinois

With July comes the beginning of a new fiscal year for Illinois state government, and several measures passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor take effect July 1.

Two of the new laws – both initiatives of Senate Democrats – address public education. One reaffirms the importance of learning cursive writing, and another addresses the statewide teacher shortage.

Cursive handwriting will continue to be taught in Illinois thanks to the Senate’s action in overriding the governor’s veto of a measure requiring public elementary schools to offer at least one unit of instruction in the subject. Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) led the initiative, saying it promotes the practical and fundamental values of cursive writing.

“Cursive writing is a skill children will need throughout their lives,” Lightford said. “You cannot write a check, sign legal documents or even read our Constitution without an understanding of cursive writing.”

Learn more about new laws in Illinois.

Rollout of automatic voter signup under way

State officials continue to fine tune the roll-out of automatic voter registration in Illinois, an initiative advanced by Senate Democrats with bipartisan support.

Under the newest phase of the law’s implementation, which began July 1, those who contact the secretary of state’s office through its driver services facilities will be notified of their current voter registration status and will be asked whether they would like to update their information.

Illinois must implement standards laid out by the federal Real ID law before AVR can be finalized – a process Secretary of State Jesse White has said will be complete in October.

State Senator Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat and a sponsor of the measure, has said automatic voter registration is needed in Illinois.

“There’s simply no reason to require people to jump through hoops to register to vote every time they move, when it just as easily can be done automatically when they update their driver’s licenses. That’s good government,” he said after voting in favor of the new law.

Learn more about automatic voter registration.

Manar: Rural Illinois bearing cost of Rauner axe

The announced closure of a central Illinois nursing home that offers skilled care for Alzheimer’s patients is the latest example of downstate Illinois bearing the brunt of the Rauner administration’s unrelenting drive to achieve savings at any cost, State Senator Andy Manar said this week.

Pleasant Hill Healthcare, which has been operating in Girard since 1905, announced it will close by September. The backlog of Medicaid determinations under the Rauner administration is a factor in the decision to close. The state owes Pleasant Hill more than $2 million in pending and approved Medicaid payments.

“The backlog of Medicaid determinations under the Rauner administration will continue to push rural nursing homes that already face significant financial pressures to extinction. Some of these facilities are barely hanging on as it is because of the state,” Manar said.

“The governor needs to understand the effects of his policy decisions on real families, real people in the rural communities he visits from time to time. With every nursing home closure on his watch, fragile residents will be uprooted, their families will go through emotional upheaval and more downstate workers will be on the unemployment line.”

Private nursing homes in Illinois are fronting the state $300 million for residential care for residents who are caught up in the state’s Medicaid determination backlog. According to the state comptroller’s office, 15,000 people are waiting for Medicaid eligibility determinations from the state. That’s nearly triple what the backlog was in August 2014.

Illinois at 200

To mark the countdown to Illinois’ bicentennial on Dec. 3, all this year the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus has published daily tributes to the people, places and events that have helped forge the state’s rich history.

From inventors and entertainers to our communities and the Capitol, Illinois has a lot to celebrate.

This week’s bicentennial countdown featured the completion of the Illinois Capitol in 1888, the Columbia paddle steamer disaster on the Illinois River in 1918, and the birth of Illinois’ 17th governor, John Lourie Beveridge, in 1824.

To find all of our historical vignettes, visit I Like Illinois online, on Facebook and on Twitter. #IllinoisProud

Members in the news

State Senator Iris Martinez, Chicago: Democrats push back on Trump immigration hard line

State Senator Daniel Biss, Evanston: Editorial: The effort to balance health care and conscience

State Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Manar criticizes governor’s Medicaid policy

State Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: North suburban residents rally against border separations

State Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Memorial service honors victims, survivors of riverboat disaster