* Press release…
State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), has filed legislation to allow legislative assistants to unionize if they so choose.
House Bill 4587 would remove the prohibition of legislative assistants to join a union. The legislative assistants can then be free to join whichever bargaining unit they choose to join.
“I support individuals having the right to unionize and the Illinois General Assembly should embrace this for their own employees”, stated Kifowit ”I have been asked by some legislative assistants to allow them this right to collectively bargain for issues that are important to them, such as work environment and wages”.
Legislative assistants are bound to the decisions of the majority party’s leader. Recently disparity exists between the House legislative assistants and the Senate legislative assistants. Legislative assistants in the Senate have a higher starting salary and are assigned one Senator to support; whereas, the House legislative assistants have lower starting salary as compared to their Senate counterparts and are assigned three Representatives to support.
“I believe in leading by example,” Kifowit continues, “and this is just commonsense legislation that further shows our commitment to hard-working individuals that play an important role in supporting us as legislators in Springfield”.
* Press release…
Pets are part of two out of three households in America, including 72 percent of renters. Restrictions in public housing can prevent a family from keeping a pet based on its size, weight or breed. That results in pets being surrendered to already-burdened animal shelters.
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes is introducing Senate Bill 2973, which would allow any tenant living in housing acquired, constructed or rehabilitated with state funds for low-income housing to keep a pet dog or cat regardless of its size, weight, or breed.
“A leading reason pets end up surrendered to shelters is housing issues that force some pet owners into a position of choosing between keeping their pet or keeping a roof over their head,” Holmes said. “Pets are part of our families, regardless of the family’s income level.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets have positive effects at nearly every stage of life. They influence social, emotional, and cognitive development in children and promote an active lifestyle. They provide emotional support, improve moods, and contribute to the overall morale of their owners, including among the elderly and disabled. Studies reveal that people with pets tend to have lower blood pressure.
“There is a shortage of affordable housing for families in Illinois, and that is exacerbated for pet-owning families,” Holmes said. “On the animals’ side, in shelters they may be adopted, or they may be destroyed. And there is an emotional toll on a family if they have to give up their beloved cat or dog. With this legislation I’m seeking a way to address both sides of this situation and keep pets with their families and out of shelters.”
According to Best Friends Animal Society, renters with pets stay longer than those without; do no more damage statistically than non-pet renters; and 90% of renters have never lost a security deposit due to a pet.
Senate Bill 2973 has been assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee.
* Hannah Meisel at the Daily Line…
A coalition of Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups on Tuesday introduced a package of bills aimed at reducing plastic consumption and waste, including banning Styrofoam and imposing a statewide 10-cent fee on plastic bags.
The other bills in the package would require restaurants to make single-use plastic silverware, plates, bowls and cups available to customers upon request or at self-serve stations, in addition to tweaking Illinois’ procurement laws encourage the use of recyclable and compostable materials. Another measure would make Illinois the 11th state to create a statewide bottle deposit program, giving glass, aluminum and plastic bottles, jars and cartons a 5-cent value for deposit.
State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) said she and her colleagues introduced the bill package because “plastic never really goes away” and gets into both air and waterways, in addition to making its way into the food system.
“Based on the average of plastic particulate in our air and water and food, the average person consumes the equivalent of a chunk of plastic the size of a credit card every year,” said Williams, who is the lead sponsor of several bills..
* Marie Fazio at Chalkbeat Chicago…
Backers of a bill that would establish a 21-member Chicago school board say they are building momentum again, this time in the Illinois Senate.
If the bill passes the legislature, Chicago could hold school board elections starting in 2023.
The bill has supporters, including Sen. Robert Martwick, a Democrat who represents Chicago’s Northwest Side and some adjacent suburbs. But it has had its share of detractors, too, who say that a 21-person board would dwarf that of any other major urban school district’s governing body and would be too large to govern effectively.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who currently appoints the school board, opposed the bill last year. Speaking with reporters Tuesday in Springfield, she said she briefly discussed the bill with Martwick during her visit to the Capitol and agreed to meet “at another time” to discuss it further.
…Adding… I’m pretty sure that this was last year’s plan during the veto session. The mayor’s people told me yesterday that nothing new is on the table at the moment…
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot came to Springfield on Tuesday armed with a new plan to lure a big casino operator to Chicago while still helping out casinos and tracks statewide.
She proposed extending the time a casino or track would have to pay its reconciliation fee — the charge that would amount to 75 percent of a casino or track operator’s best year in gaming revenue over a three-year period. The fee could be paid over six years and without interest — instead of the current two-year payment period with interest. The casino (or track) operator still could deduct the up-front licensing fees from the payment.
How it works: If a casino in its third year has gaming revenues OF $100 million, for example, it would pay the state a fee equal to $75 million less its previously paid upfront fee over six years.
The adjustment to the current law — paying over six years and interest-free instead of two years with interest — would be available to all new casinos in the state. That includes Chicago, Rockford, Waukegan, Danville and any other town with a new casino planned or track that elects to have casino gaming.