6/16/17 Town Hall Meeting of IL Reps Robyn Gabel & Laura Fine – Notes

Lynn B. attended the Town Hall meeting of IL State Reps Robyn Gabel and Laura Fine in Glenview on June 16th. If you were not able to attend and you are interested in what was discussed, here (below) is a summary written up by Lynn:

Laura Fine (17th) and Robyn Gabel (18th)
attended by Lynn B.

Passed 490 bills in this session, most with bipartisan involvement.

• Automatic voter registration (2 million eligible voters who are not registered in Illinois)
• Regulate trampoline parks
• Medicaid will allow second pair of glasses within a two year period after corrective eye surgery
• Immigration – local agencies are not required to enforce federal immigration laws
• Funding program to replace lead poisoned windows
• $15 minimum wage by 2022
• HB 3539 Equal Pay for women – will the governor sign it?

Health Care (Insurance committee-Fine chair)

If the ACA is overturned, try to have policies in place to protect those who would lose insurance. Bills passed this session

• Illinois children are covered until age 26
• Insurance sold in Illinois is required to cover per-existing conditions
• Better coverage for eating disorders
• Law enforcement will be required to have 8 hours of mental health training every three years
• Prescription synchronization – pharmacies are allowed to arrange patients prescriptions to all be filled at same time
• HB 40 – if Roe is overturned, abortion will remain legal in Illinois and will be covered by Medicaid and employers health insurance. GOVERNOR IS NOW SAYING HE WON’T SIGN

Environment

• Great Lakes Restoration – resolution to keep 300 million in funding from federal government
• Now filing resolution to continue to follow the Paris Climate Accord
• Solar panels allowed on homes and businesses and open lots for communities
• Last year passed Clean Jobs Bill – Gabel (Chair of the Green Caucus) noted that under this bill, communities can buy 100% renewable energy for electricity aggregation. Evanston has done so. WHAT ABOUT OUR COMMUNITIES?)

Education

Current proposed bill is based on an evidence based formula with 27 aspects of students being considered to determine spending per student.
Governor says it gives too much to Chicago (Chicago has 20% of the students, 15% of the funding and has to fund their pension unlike the rest of the state)

Criminal Justice reform – now spend more in Illinois on prison than schools
Passed bail reform – if minor offense and low bail (which they are unable to pay), release to await trial

Term Limits

Gabel supports term limits on leaders but not members

In studies of other states with term limits, found that is there were term limits of members they were more often “professional politicians”, had fewer constituent meetings and mid-level bureaucrats had much more power (not elected)

Taxes

Illinois the 5th wealthiest state and about 50th in education funding

We have a flat income tax unlike most states. Need a constitutional amendment to change it, requires 2/3 vote and then 60% in general election to pass

Workman’s Compensation

Reform bill in 2011 expected a 18% drop in insurance costs to employers that never happened.
Recently passed a bill to give insurance board more authority to regulate costs.
Also passed a bill to form public-private partnership and a $10million insurance pool for Workman’s Compensation (like Missouri) still waiting for signature of Governor

Other bills

To allow for sale of Thompson Center
Procurement reform to allow agencies to purchase supplies more easily
Government consolidation – allow some of our 7000 forms of government to consolidate (townships, road districts, etc)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Il-9) Leads Town Hall in Rep. Peter Roskam (Il-6) District

Author: Wendy Rosen

The Coalition for a Better Illinois 6th (CBIL6) presented Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) with a “Certificate of Adoption” Saturday after she led a town hall meeting at Fremd High School in Rep. Peter Roskam’s 6th congressional district. Seven hundred people swelled beyond the high school auditorium’s capacity and filled an overflow room, according to CBIL6. The town hall was also live-streamed on Facebook, with 17,000 views and counting.

“I want to thank Donald Trump,” said Schakowsky. “Because I think that what he did was awaken a sleeping giant – a giant that knows its power.”

Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, who hasn’t held a large town hall meeting in the 6th district since he was elected in 2007, never responded to the invitation to attend. Roskam calls town hall meetings, “big circuses.”

But this was no circus. Schakowsky responded to questions about Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, DeVos’ proposed education cuts, racial and religious harassment, freedom of the press, health care cuts, and the Trump-Russia investigations.

Schakowsky encouraged the audience to combat their fears by staying informed and engaged. “I have never seen a mobilization like this before – ever,” said Schakowsky. “And I’m talking larger and more powerful than when the Tea Party was at its height … this is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen. You call a town hall and it’s standing room only, so we just have to keep it up.” Schakowsky encouraged concerned citizens to run for local office and get involved in local elections.

Roskam, a high-ranking republican who votes in line with Trump’s positions nearly 97 percent of the time, will be facing strong headwinds in 2018. The CBIL6 is a network of 20 grassroots groups who are laying the groundwork now to elect a democrat in their district in 2018. They are organizing voter registration drives, door-to-door canvassing, and phone banks which will begin this summer. Given the mobilization of democrats as evidenced by the turnout at this town hall, and the fact that Clinton carried the district in the recent election, a strong democratic candidate could turn Roskam’s seat blue.

Education and Funding Reform & Budget Townhall

State Rep Carol Sente:
Attend State Rep Carol SenteTown Hall next week Tuesday June 20 to hear more about the Education Funding Reform bill that passed both chambers as well as current information about the state budget.

There is a great deal of misinformation about SB 1 that creates a new education funding model for Illinois. Via our constitution, the state is supposed to provide more money to our public schools. The Governor and both parties are interested in finding a fair and equitable new funding model. The bill sponsor spent four years working on a formula. All IL public schools get more money. Schools are divided into four categories, the poorest schools get a higher percentage of new funding to bring them closer to the new “adequacy target”. Schools that are better funded locally receive less state funding. We want all students to get a great education regardless of zip code. While prior iterations of this concept created “winners and losers”, that bill was never called and I did not support. This bill brings District 59 schools collectively over $1 M in