Harmon

  • Senate overrides veto, protects workers' rights

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    SPRINGFIELD –Today the Illinois Senate voted 42-13 to protect workers’ rights and override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago). The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act blocks Gov. Rauner’s campaign to engage municipalities in creating right-to-work areas in support of moves to boost corporate profits at the expense of workers.

    Sen. Silverstein released the following statement: "Illinois’ future success depends on its support of the middle class. Workers and employers should not be restricted from bargaining collectively as they continue building our economy, and local governments have no place enforcing a rule that constrains this freedom.

    "The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act upholds the rights of hard working Illinoisans to expect good wages, benefits and working conditions in exchange for their labors. This veto rejects restrictions of those rights and rejects the governor’s continuing efforts to undermine organized labor in a state that relies on it to operate and extend our economy and our future. In spite of efforts by the governor and his pro-corporate profit supporters to squelch these rights, we will not grow our economy by taking part in a race to the bottom in wages earned by Illinois families."

    Senate Bill 1905 passed both houses initially in July with bipartisan support, and was vetoed by the governor on September 29. It now goes to the House for their consideration.

    Other Democratic senators spoke in support of the veto override:

    Senator Cristina Castro (Elgin): “I am happy to see that my colleagues helped protect the people of Illinois by working together to defeat Governor Rauner’s corporate agenda. We can’t let companies profit at the expense of our workers.”

    Senator Scott Bennett (Champaign): “Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families. This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

    Senator Tom Cullerton (Villa Park): “Illinois businesses will only thrive if we treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve. Governor Rauner’s harmful boardroom tactics benefit his friends at the expense of Illinois residents. Rauner’s extreme anti-worker agenda has no place in Illinois.”

    Senator Bill Haine (Alton): “The facts are clear: right-to-work policies do nothing but reduce workers’ wages and make workplaces more dangerous. The governor’s veto was yet another attempt to decrease wages for working families and ensure higher profits for his wealthy friends.”

    Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills): “At a time when workers’ rights are under constant attack, it is important that we protect the rights of Illinoisans by ensuring that local governments can’t take away those rights. Dismantling collective bargaining rights would lead to lower wages and a loss of benefits for Illinois workers, and I refuse to let that happen.”

    Senator Laura Murphy (Des Plaines): "Since taking office, the governor has attempted to roll back employees’ rights and weaken the unions on the backs of which this state was built. All employees benefit from collective bargaining, even those that do not participate in organized labor. I hope this vote sends a strong message to the governor that I will not support his attack on the middle class.”

    Senator Iris Y. Martinez (Chicago): “Once again, the governor showed that he cares more about big businesses than the citizens of Illinois. Right-to-work laws lower wages, something that would disproportionately harm lower-income Illinoisans. I am glad the Senate stood up to the governor today and protected the hard-working men and women of our state.”

    Senator Bill Cunningham (Chicago): “Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois. Right-to-work and other anti-union measures are designed to do nothing more than lower workers’ wages to pad corporate profits.”

    Senator Don Harmon (Oak Park): “This issue has been litigated several times already, and we have our answer – only the state, not local governments, can create right-to-work laws. The governor’s veto was nothing more than a continuation of his radical anti-union agenda. Today’s override will ensure that workers across the state retain the fair representation they deserve.”

    Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago): “The governor likes to claim that he’s pro-business, but he supports measures that are anything but. Everyone loses when right-to-work laws are in place. We cannot improve the business climate of Illinois if we implement laws that lower wages and strip away workers’ rights.”

     

     

  • President Cullerton, Senate Dems laud signing of women's choice measure

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  • Harmon clears way for governor to sign House Bill 40

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  • New Harmon law seeks to end ‘policing for profit’

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  • Senate brings historic education funding reform across the finish line (VIDEO)

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  • Harmon: Trust Act reaffirms state’s commitment to welcoming immigrants

    harmon 032817SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after the Illinois Trust Act was signed into law:

    “Illinois has a long tradition of welcoming people from all nations, cultures and backgrounds, and today we reaffirmed that commitment with the signing of the Illinois Trust Act. In a time when many immigrants are living in fear and uncertainty, it is important that we take steps such as this to foster trust between local authorities and the immigrants who are a welcome part of our communities.”

    Harmon was a chief co-sponsor of the Trust Act in the Senate, which ensures that immigrants in Illinois can pick up their children from school or go to the hospital without fear of arrest. It also assures state and local police officers that they are not expected to enforce federal immigration laws. The Act:

    • clarifies that state and local police are not deputized immigration agents and therefore are not expected to expend resources enforcing or complying with federal civil immigration detainers and administrative warrants;
    • prohibits state and local police from searching, arresting or detaining a person based solely on citizenship or immigration status or an administrative warrant;
    • prohibits law enforcement agencies from using state resources to create discriminatory federal registries based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes; and
    • establishes safe zones at schools, medical facilities and properties operated by the Illinois secretary of state, where federal immigration enforcement would not be admitted without a valid criminal warrant.

    The Act does not bar state and local police from conducting valid criminal investigations or serving criminal warrants, nor does it bar them from working with federal immigration agents to serve valid criminal warrants.

    The Trust Act takes effect immediately.

  • Harmon: Automatic voter registration benefits everyone

    harmon 020817SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after automatic voter registration was signed into law:

    “I am pleased that automatic voter registration is now law in Illinois. This is a concept that benefits everyone. It saves the state money, it strengthens the integrity of the electoral system by cleaning up voter rolls and it makes it easier for Illinois residents to participate in the democratic process.”

    The new law establishes an automatic voter registration system in Illinois by July 1, 2018. Harmon was a chief co-sponsor of the measure, which passed the Senate on a vote of 48-0.

    Qualified voters will be automatically registered to vote when they visit the Illinois Secretary of State and other state agencies for services. Voters can opt out of the system, and a series of checks will protect against fraud.

    Illinois currently has an opt-in voter registration system in which adults who are 18 or older must find, fill out and submit a voter registration form to an appropriate government agency. Voters frequently forget to update their voter registrations when they move, change marital status or go to college, causing confusion at the polls and inaccuracies on the state’s voter rolls.

    Automatically registering voters when they do business with the state enables government to do away with redundant paperwork, streamline bureaucracy and be more cost effective for taxpayers.

  • Automatic voter registration initiative becomes law (VIDEO)

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  • Harmon measure giving ex-offenders fair access to employment, housing signed into law

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  • Harmon: Hatred on display in Charlottesville has no place in our society

    Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today in response to the violent white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville this weekend:

    “It is vital that we stand in total opposition to the hatred, bigotry and violence displayed by the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville this past weekend. They are the heirs to the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. We fought two bloody wars in opposition to their ideologies. We must continue to fight those same twisted ideologies today.

     

  • Harmon: Governor’s school funding plan is short-sighted

    Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today after voting to override the governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, which creates evidence-based school funding reform:

    “I voted today to uphold Senate Bill 1, a tested, evidence-based plan that will fix our state’s broken education funding formula, not temporarily patch it.

    The governor’s plan is short-sighted. It may promise low-income districts money in the short term, but it hides provisions that would gravely injure them in the long run, like tying funding to enrollment and counting TIF district wealth as property value.”

  • Harmon’s measure to cut red tape and streamline state purchasing becomes law

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    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois taxpayers, public universities and state agencies will benefit from Senator Don Harmon’s (D-Oak Park) bipartisan measure to streamline the state’s purchasing rules.

    Senate Bill 8, which was signed into law yesterday, changes the way state government purchases goods and services.

    “This new law streamlines the state purchasing process, cuts red tape and saves taxpayer dollars,” Harmon said. “State universities will now be able to purchase products without having to jump through unnecessary and costly hoops.”

    The legislature enacted a series of strict procurement reforms in the aftermath of the George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich administrations because of questions over how they handled contracting, bid-letting and transparency for state business.

    But the rules may have gone too far, sacrificing some efficiency and savings in an effort to deter corruption, Harmon said.

    “Strict state purchasing rules have created more red tape in government and led to more harm than good,” Harmon said. “Rather than save money for the state, the rules frequently have caused them to waste more money and time than an average business would.”

    Procurement reform is one of several measures Harmon sponsored that would streamline government processes and save taxpayer dollars.

    Senate Bill 8 is effective immediately.

  • Harmon, Silverstein urge Rauner administration to move cautiously with senior care pilot program (VIDEO)

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  • Senate Democrats pass fair funding for all Illinois schools

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  • Senate Democrats Balanced Budget vs. Rauner's Rhetoric (VIDEO)

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  • Senate approves two-year property tax freeze

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  • Harmon advances two-year ban on bobcat hunting in northern Illinois

    bobcatSPRINGFIELD – Illinois would halt bobcat hunting in most northern counties for two years to allow time for more scientific research about the animal’s population under legislation approved by the state Senate Monday.

    House Bill 3399 was sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and was the result of lengthy negotiations among Harmon, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Trappers Association.

  • Harmon: The most meaningful reform is a balanced budget (AUDIO)

    harmon 031517SPRINGFIELD – The most meaningful reform Gov. Bruce Rauner can sign into law after two years of gridlock in Springfield is a balanced budget, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said.

    “Citizens and businesses in Illinois need predictability, stability and certainty, and Senate Democrats are offering that with a balanced budget,” Harmon said. “They’ll know what they are in for, they’ll know the state will pay its bills, and they’ll know that the state will be here to provide the services that everyone relies upon us to provide.”

    Harmon elaborated on a series of reforms the Senate passed last week in conjunction with a balanced budget at the behest of Gov. Rauner and others to make the state more business friendly. The reforms include workers’ compensation reform, procurement reform, local government consolidation reform and school funding reform. Senate Democrats also have indicated a willingness to enact a two-year property tax freeze.

    “Nobody likes property taxes. We’re proposing a freeze in property taxes. We’d like to hit the pause button so that we can implement state financial reforms and protect local property taxpayers from increase at the local level,” Harmon said.

    He noted that the Senate most recently enacted major reform of the state’s workers’ compensation system in 2011.

    “Those reforms are paying dividends, but we aren’t seeing those benefits being passed down from the insurance companies to the local businesses that buy their insurance,” he said. “The reforms we’re advancing this session will attempt to deal with that, will attempt to ensure that the premiums, the rates people pay for their workers’ compensation reflect the strides we’ve made in reforming the system.”

    Sen. Harmon talks about the budget:

     

  • Harmon: Rule-making review must be protected from executive overreach

    harmon 052617SPRINGFIELD – It’s not the most provocative topic at the Statehouse, but the process for determining how new laws will be implemented by state agencies briefly took center stage in the Senate Thursday afternoon.

    Legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) seeks to correct a few problems that have arisen in the General Assembly’s bipartisan rule-making review process, which is carried out by a 12-lawmaker panel known as the Joint Commission on Administration Rules – or JCAR.

    Harmon is a co-chairman of the commission. He said the legislation is a response to actual problems the commission has encountered, not a backdoor attempt to hamstring any governor – an accusation levied by at least one senator.

    But Harmon added that the commission wants to demand accountability of state agencies and increase efficiency and transparency in the rule-making review process.

    “There is nothing saucy here. These are ministerial and mundane things. This is simply an attempt to help us maintain balance between the executive and legislative branches,” Harmon said.

    “The executive branch has only the rule-making authority that the General Assembly delegates to it. This is not about Democrat or Republican, or about this governor or that governor. This is about the Legislature protecting its domain from executive overreach.”

    JCAR seldom gets much public attention, but its work is vitally important because it oversees how rules are promulgated by state agencies and it facilitates public comment about rules and regulations.

    The problems Harmon’s measure seeks to address include agencies asking for rules to be pushed through on an “emergency” basis when there is no emergency, just poor planning on their part; clarifying that JCAR may review standardized forms for policy content; and updating a guideline about how frequently JCAR may evaluate existing agency rules.

    The measure, House Bill 3222, passed 36-21 in the Senate Thursday.

  • Senate gives Rauner more time to ponder choice

    Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Saying the governor needs time to reconsider his pledge to veto House Bill 40, legislation that protects women’s reproductive rights in Illinois, Senator Don Harmon Wednesday night slowed the bill’s trek to the governor’s desk.

    “This measure is too important to immediately put it in the hands of a governor whose public opinions about women’s access to safe, affordable reproductive health care have been inconsistent at best,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate.

    Harmon is the chief co-sponsor of House Bill 40. Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, is the lead sponsor. Gov. Bruce Rauner has threatened to veto the measure, even though he pledged to support it when he was a candidate for governor.

    “Wednesday night, in consultation with Senator Steans and the advocates, I filed a motion to reconsider the Senate’s vote to pass House Bill 40, which means we will temporarily hold the bill in the Senate,” Harmon said. “This motion merely allows the Senate to protect the bill from Gov. Rauner’s threatened veto until he comes to his senses. It does not jeopardize the bill’s ability to become law.”