Illinois Policy Action bills poised for passage

Heather Weiner

Heather Weiner is formerly the Illinois Policy’s Government Affairs Staff Attorney.

Heather Weiner
May 9, 2015

Illinois Policy Action bills poised for passage

From criminal justice to crowdfunding, Illinois Policy Action is pushing four bills with a great shot of making it to the governor’s desk.

The Illinois General Assembly is approaching a few significant deadlines for the passage of bills before transitioning to budget negotiations. The week of May 15 marks the deadline for bills that originated in the House of Representatives to move out of Senate committees and onto the Senate floor. On May 22, each chamber needs to pass bills that originated in the other chamber if the bills are to move forward before the end of spring session.

As these deadlines approach, many bills on Illinois Policy Action’s legislative agenda are poised to move through their second chamber and toward becoming law. Here is an update on some of the exciting pieces of legislation Illinois Policy Action has worked on that have the momentum to make it out of the General Assembly and to the governor’s desk in the following weeks:

  • Local-government transparency: House Bill 2717 requires units of local government to post various documents and information on their websites so that taxpayers know how their local governments and school districts spend money and make decisions. This bill has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee, where it is continuing to gain bipartisan support as it did in the House. HB 2717’s success so far this session represents the recognition that taxpayers have a right to information on their government, as well as the tools to keep it accountable.
  • Crowdfunding: House Bill 3429 has been assigned to the Senate Financial Institutions Committee. This legislation would allow small investors to pool resources to fund entrepreneurship in Illinois, an innovative investment strategy that would stimulate economic growth across the state. After passing out of the House unanimously, this bill has 14 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and appears to be ripe for passage.
  • Right to Try: House Bill 1335, which would allow patients with terminal diseases to access investigational drugs and treatment options, is currently on the Senate floor. Since the Senate passed an essentially identical bill last month, the House version was able to bypass committee. The Senate equivalent of HB 1335 passed unanimously, so this bill should not see any significant obstacles to passage.
  • Criminal-justice reform: House Bill 494 has already passed out of the Senate Criminal Law Committee and will be voted on by the entire Senate. This opportunity bill restores local control to schools’ hiring decisions with respect to job applicants with criminal records. It would be a significant step toward reducing recidivism rates and promoting the right incentives for ex-offenders to demonstrate rehabilitation. With 32 current co-sponsors in the Senate (and only 30 votes needed to pass in this chamber), HB 494 is well-positioned to make it to the governor’s desk.

The next weeks in Springfield will see a flurry of activity, and Illinois Policy Action will be in the middle of it all advocating for the bills that set the stage for Illinois’ comeback story.

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