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It’s just a bill

Friday, Mar 24, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Patrick Keck

The Illinois General Assembly, facing upcoming deadlines to advance bills to the next chamber, held several lengthy floor debates this week resulting in hundreds of bills passed in the House and Senate.

As of 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, a total of 320 bills had passed over a three-day stretch collectively in both chambers. The majority of the bills - 284 - were from the House while the Senate, who had not passed any bills this week until Thursday, passed 36. […]

The deadline to pass bills onto the Senate is on Friday, while the Senate has until March 31 to advance their bills to the House.

* Comptroller…

Democratic and Republican members of The Illinois House of Representatives voted 112-0 Thursday for Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza’s Act of Duty bill to provide duty-disability benefits for Chicago first responders severely stricken by COVID-19 in the days before vaccines were available.

The bill now moves to the State Senate, where State Sen. Bill Cunningham is the chief sponsor.

“Our police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, often sacrificing their own safety to ensure the safety of others,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs. “As we’ve learned, this legislation is simply the right thing to do for the emergency first responder community and I look forward to sponsoring the bill in the Senate.”

Officers killed by COVID-19 in the days before vaccines were available are considered to have died in an “Act of Duty” under state law, so their families get full benefits. But the city of Chicago’s police pension board has been denying Act of Duty benefits to officers including Comptroller Mendoza’s brother, Chicago Police Det. Sgt. Joaquin Mendoza, who lived through the disease but were left severely disabled.

* Sen. Preston…

Recognizing the current archaic testing and promotion procedure for Chicago firefighters, State Senator Willie Preston passed a measure today to streamline the process and ensure a more equitable system.

“The brave firemen and women of Chicago risk their lives to protect their community every day,” said Preston (D-Chicago). “I’m happy to give back to those who serve by improving this tedious process.”

Under Senate Bill 1707, which was passed in the Senate today, Chicago firefighters would no longer be exempt from the Fire Department Promotion Act – changing the current promotion process for Chicago firefighters. The purpose of the measure is to create a more standardized process of promotions to align with every other fire department in the state where the Fire Department Promotion Act has worked.

* Freshman Rep. Syed passed her first bill yesterday…

* Sen. Cappel’s bill passed the Senate 57-0…

To continue her fight to address the teacher shortage, State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel championed a measure that would remove the number of days short term substitute teachers can be in the classroom and application fees for teaching licenses, which passed the Senate Thursday.

“As a former special education teacher, I know the struggle of finding substitute teachers, especially with the ever-growing teacher shortage,” said Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “I’ve heard from superintendents in the 49th District and across the state that are desperately trying to find substitute teachers. This is one step we can take to further address the teacher shortage.”

Senate Bill 2236 would remove the number of days for short-term substitute teachers to teach in the classroom – allowing them to spend more time in the classroom if needed. Current law prohibits short term substitute teachers from teaching more than 15 consecutive days per licensed teacher.

* Cool beans…

* Sen. Simmons’ bill heads to the House…

In May 2022, three residents of a Rogers Park senior living complex tragically died of suspected heat exhaustion. In direct response to this tragedy and to improve the quality of life for current affordable housing residents, State Senator Mike Simmons advanced Senate Bill 2013 out of the Senate on Thursday.

“Residents of affordable housing deserve the same respect and care afforded to everyone in an environment that is safe, accessible, clean, and provided with proper cooling and heating systems,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “This bill will hold housing providers accountable in making sure our neighbors, both in the 7th district and across the state, live in safe, humane housing.”

Senate Bill 2013 requires any residential building that is state-funded to meet minimum standard of living conditions to continue receiving funding from the program.

The measure would require specific air-conditioning and heating provisions to be included in all state-funded affordable housing. Air-conditioning must be operating when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees and must be operable by residents. It also clarifies language in regards to maintenance, upkeep and laundry access.

* State Journal-Register

A bill opening the process for Illinois to create a new state flag advanced out of the Senate on Thursday, but not before a brief debate between Springfield’s two senators.

Senate Bill 1818 from state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, passed 39-16 during floor debate and will now move to the House. Her bill, still pending House approval, would create a 21-person committee tasked with deciding whether the state needs a new flag. […]

So far, Turner said her office has received hundreds of calls from middle schools and high schools wishing to participate.

“People talk all the time about disconnected the citizenry is with government,” she said during the floor debate. “I think this is a great opportunity to give people a reason to get excited about Illinois again.” […]

State Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, rose in opposition to his fellow Springfield legislator. He said he appreciated Turner bringing the bill to the table, even saying the new designs could be “spectacular,” but said the legislature should spend its time with more pressing matters.

* SB195 moves to the House…

State Senator Celina Villanueva advanced legislation that prevents students from changing their legal guardianship in an effort to qualify for need-based financial aid for college.

“When it comes to furthering education with limited resources, students will go to extreme measures to ensure a brighter future for themselves,” said Villanueva (D-Chicago). “However, no one should ever be put in a position where they have to decide between changing their guardianship and receiving financial aid in order to go to college.”

Senate Bill 195 is a direct response to previous public reports that Illinois students became eligible for need-based education financial assistance through the practice of “opportunity hoarding.” Opportunity hoarding is the practice of exploiting a loophole in the Probate Act by transferring legal guardianship from a parent to a relative or friend in lower income brackets or by declaring financial independence.

* Chicago Tribune

A measure that would allow multiple occupancy public restrooms to be labeled gender-neutral was passed by the Illinois House on Thursday with the bare minimum of votes.

The bill, which now moves to the Senate, would amend the Equitable Restroom Act of 2019, which required all single-occupancy public restrooms to be available to all genders. The amendment would only allow restrooms with two or more toilets to be available to all. […]

The bill passed with 60 yes votes, with all but one of the 40 House Republicans voting no.

* HB4021. Fox Chicago

A northern Illinois lawmaker is proposing new legislation that would lower the state’s minimum drinking age to 18.

The bill would amend the Liquor Control act of 1934, which was the law passed after prohibition that set the drinking age at 21. […]

“What we’d really like to have eventually passed is if you go into an establishment at 18 with your parents or guardian that you’ll be able to have an adult beverage,” said Illinois Rep. John Cabello.

Cabello told FOX 32 that the bill won’t get out of the Rules Committee any time soon, but he says he wants to start the conversation.

* Capitol News Illinois

Lawmakers are considering bills that would create a new tax credit for affordable housing, referred to as the “Build Illinois Homes Tax Credit.”

The legislation, contained in the identical House Bill 2044 and Senate Bill 1737, would mirror a federal program administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority and Chicago Department of Housing which helps finance affordable housing across Illinois. […]

“Our state is facing an affordable housing crisis, stemming from years of housing under-production,” Allison Clements, executive director of IHC, testified in a Senate committee. “Our state’s housing deficit has grown 64 percent since 2012, meaning we have more people needing homes than are available.”

A 2023 IHC report showed Illinois still has a deficit of low-income housing despite the federal program. According to the report, Illinois has lost 13 percent of its low-rent units since 2011. Additionally, while there are more than 450,000 extremely low-income renters in Illinois, there are only about 150,000 affordable and available rental units, creating a deficit of about 288,000.


  1. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 10:34 am:

    ==but said the legislature should spend its time with more pressing matters.==

    I hate this argument by legislators. I think they should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Grow up, be a big boy, and have a better reason for opposing a bill.

  2. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 10:35 am:

    =Freshman Rep. Syed passed her first bill yesterday…=

    and then there is this one…

    =Senate Bill 2236 would remove the number of days for short-term substitute teachers to teach in the classroom – allowing them to spend more time in the classroom if needed.=

    Do you think even one legislator ever considered the fact that they keep piling responsibilities on to schools and educators (without any power to make it happen) that is getting people to leave or not go into education? Probably not.

    Syed’s bill seems nice, and it just one more thing (/s) but it is indicative of the problem.

    Maybe someday they will pass legislation holding parents accountable for the children the bring into this world? LOL, but I kid.

  3. - Corruption Committee - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 11:07 am:

    I went to northern Wisconsin with my 19 year old son earlier this month and he was served beer at the restaurants we had dinner at but he was not welcome at a bar we wanted to visit. There was a sign on the door that made it clear you had to be 21 to enter.

  4. - DuPage - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 11:27 am:

    ===State Senator Celina Villanueva advanced legislation that prevents students from changing their legal guardianship in an effort to qualify for need-based financial aid for college.===

    ===When it comes to furthering education with limited resources…no one should ever be put in a position where they have to decide between changing their guardianship and receiving financial aid in order to go to college.”===

    Some students do this because they don’t want to put their parents into bankruptcy or to lose their house. How is the Villanueva bill going to “help” students?

  5. - H-W - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 11:31 am:

    I actually love our current flag design. It reminds me of the flag from my original state, Virginia.

    At the same time, if people want to change the flag to make it more appealing to younger citizens, by all means do so. I never “pledged allegiance to a flag.” My allegiances are to the people, not the cloth.

    As to Syed’s bill, it is wholly consistent with the purpose of education - creating citizen scholars. It is wholly ethical and morally righteous for schools to foster voter registration. Indeed, not doing so is contrary to the reason we require a foundation in the social sciences, history and government.

  6. - Homebody - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 11:41 am:

    I’ve been thinking about “_______ shortages” recently. Teachers, nurses, doctors, bus drivers, waiters, whatever. I am not an economist or anything, but I think we as a society just have not grappled with the widespread economic consequences of the information age.

    Technological change has allowed tech based or influenced industries to achieve significant gains in efficiency and profitability over the last few decades. This is true whether we’re talking about fintech, retail (think online shopping), logistics, even entertainment due to the widespread ability to reach audiences over the internet that was never possible before. This has had two major effects that I can see:

    First, wealth has been quickly and massively concentrated at the heads of these industries with a speed and efficiency that was unheard of even during the prior gilded age.

    But second (and this is my main point) it has radically changed the supply and demand calculus for almost everything. Every new disruptive industry that is successful pulls new employees into new sectors that previously just didn’t exist. This has a trickle down effect throughout all employment sectors, as now the total work force is being spread out over even more industries.

    However, many industries that we rely on (including education, nursing, bus driving, wait staff) simply cannot benefit from the increasing technological efficiency that other industries (retail, entertainment, etc) can. So those fields are the ones feeling the biggest strain.

    It seems to me the only solutions are (1) pay more to so that someone would rather be a teacher in a rural school district instead of a cushy sales or marketing job at random tech company, or (2) massively increase immigration to ensure there is a sufficient workforce to fill all positions.

    I’m sure there are far more nuanced factors to be considered as well, but ultimately the extensive impact of the changes in our national (and international) economies simply have not yet been grappled with.

  7. - unafraid - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 1:19 pm:

    If you can vote at age 18 you should be able to purchase alcohol and have a FOID card.
    Personally I believe that one should be 21 for any of those activities/responsibilities.
    But we need to remove the disconnect on these issues.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 1:22 pm:

    ===Personally I believe that one should be 21 for any of those activities/responsibilities.===

    And *there* it is… taking away rights.

    It’s “sneaky-subtle” but using the drinking age to take rights away is a “thing”

  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 1:23 pm:

    ===But we need to remove the disconnect on these issues. ===


    Nice try. Next!

  10. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 1:25 pm:

    “To continue her fight to address the teacher shortage…”

    Every bit helps, but my teacher friends tell me one of the main problems today is discipline. School boards and administrators are terrified of lawsuits, so students are getting away with lots of bad behavior. Students act up because teachers have few effective tools at their disposal to correct them.

    And, the Right is convinced public schools are out to corrupt their children. No, Illinois classrooms are not Marxist LGBTQ indoctrination centers.

    Understandably, college graduates are not attracted to teaching as they once were.

  11. - unafraid - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 1:33 pm:

    Rich, NO disconnect. Just using the tired LOL deflection does not cut it. If you can vote you can drink you can have a FOID card. Rational people understand this. Hope this does not get lost in cyberspace.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 1:35 pm:

    ===If you can vote you can drink you can have a FOID card.===

    And you chose 21, disenfranchising 18-21 year old voters?

    ===Personally I believe that one should be 21 for any of those activities/responsibilities.===

    Yeah, no… no.

  13. - cermak_rd - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 1:56 pm:

    Another option in addition to paying more for these positions and immigration is to train people in prison to do these jobs and when they get out provide career counseling to get them into a job in those fields. We wind up throwing away a lot of human capital as a result of our incarcertation and incarceration-adjacent policies.

  14. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 2:53 pm:

    ==Rational people understand this==

    Your argument is “because of this, then we must do that.” That is anything but a rational argument. So, no, rational people don’t understand it.

  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 24, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    Again, get back on topic.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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