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The Majority Report 06/03/19 - Senate passes balanced budget, first capital bill in a decade


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Senate passes balanced budget, first capital bill in a decade

Senate President John J. Cullerton

The Illinois Senate took decisive action in the final days of the legislative session to pass both a balanced budget and a $45 billion capital construction plan.

This year’s budget continues Illinois’ path toward stability by meeting the state’s pension obligation for the seventh year in a row while investing in our future by funding programs to benefit middle-class and working families.

The bipartisan capital construction plan will create jobs, modernize Illinois’ infrastructure and make meaningful investments in every community in the state.

The last time Illinois had a major investment in capital projects was in 2009, and roads and bridges are in desperate need of modernization. Continue reading.

 

 


Lightford protects consumers from misleading utility plans

Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

To protect consumers from being taken advantage of due to misinformation from alternative retail electric suppliers, Senate Majority Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is leading legislation that now awaits the governor’s signature.

Senate Bill 651 prevents alternative electric and gas suppliers from converting enrolled participants of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Percentage of Income Payment Plan from their current utility provider to an alternative supplier unless certain requirements are met.

“The data clearly demonstrates that alternative suppliers focus their signup efforts on low-income neighborhoods, those where English is a secondary language and communities of color,” Lightford said. “I am proud to stand with Attorney General Raoul to protect our most vulnerable residents from unknowingly signing contracts that will result in rate hikes they cannot afford.” Continue reading.

 

 


Fair tax question to be placed on November 2020 ballot

Asst. Majority Leader Don Harmon

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) joined colleagues and Gov. JB Pritzker last week to announce the passage of a proposed constitutional amendment allowing for a fair tax and the creation of a property tax relief task force.

The proposed constitutional amendment would remove language requiring a flat tax and allow the General Assembly to set lower rates for those making less and higher rates for the wealthiest Illinoisans.

The question of whether to amend the Constitution will now be placed on the ballot in November 2020. It will take effect if 60 percent of voters approve it. Continue reading.

 

 


Steans passes legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis

Sen. Heather A. Steans

After two years of work, hundreds of meetings with stakeholders and over a dozen public hearings, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation that would make it legal for adults 21 and older to purchase and use cannabis.

The legislation includes some of the most comprehensive restorative justice measures of any state that has legalized cannabis, seeking to combat the disproportionate harm prohibition caused to minority communities.

The measure allows for the automatic expungement of convictions dealing with amounts of cannabis under 30 grams. For convictions dealing with amounts of 30-500 grams, state’s attorneys or individuals can petition a court to vacate the conviction.

It invests significantly in communities harmed by discriminatory drug law, creating the Recover, Reinvest and Renew Program (R3) program to provide grants and assistance to those areas. Continue reading.

 


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