Notes from the Field...

Febuary-March 2012

2012 Legislative Update

Legislative advocacy is one key way that United Way of Illinois translates its public policy agenda into action. More than 3,500 House and Senate bills have been introduced during the 97th session of the General Assembly, which is currently underway in Springfield. A number of bills are related to our four issue areas: Education, Income, Health and Human Service Sector Strengthening.

At the same time, legislators must approve a balanced FY13 state budget under continued fiscal constraints that challenge our efforts to work for the common good. Policies adopted in Springfield have a significant impact on the individuals, families and communities we serve across the state. That's why United Way of Illinois closely monitors what happens during the spring legislative session.

Keep in mind that your voice on behalf of the work we do is extremely important. On bills where we take a stand, we ask that you join our efforts to make sure the state adopts sound policies that advance our goals in Education, Income, Health and Sector Strength and advocate with us!

The following are bills we are watching most closely:

WE SUPPORT:

Bill: HB 4495
Sponsor: Rep. Keith Farnham
Summary: Amends the School Code. Provides that school guidance counselors, teachers, school social workers and other school personnel who work with students in grades 7 through 12 shall be trained to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior (instead of just suicidal behavior).

Bill: HB 5591
Sponsor: Rep. Sara Feigenholtz
Summary: Creates the Illinois Human Services Commission to undertake a systematic review of human service programs with the goal of ensuring their consistent delivery in the state. Requires the Commission to make recommendations for achieving a system that will provide for the efficient and effective delivery of high quality human services.

Bill: HJR 42
Sponsor: Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia
Summary: Urges school districts to improve support resources for involvement of parents in their education of their children.

Bill: SB 3803
Sponsor: Sen. Kimberly Lightford
Summary: Creates the College Completion Report Card Act. Provides that within 3 months after the effective date of this Act, the Illinois P-20 Council shall collaborate with the Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board, and consortia of private colleges and universities to convene a committee headed by the chairperson of the Joint Educational Leadership Committee. The purpose of the new committee shall be to advise the Illinois P-20 Council on the development of a template for a college completion report card. Provides that after development, the Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board shall collaborate to collect data annually and publicly report college completion metrics, as well as report to and advise the Illinois P-20 Council on progress. Provides that the report card must be clearly linked to performance funding metrics and the goals of the Public Agenda and must be simple to read and clearly indicative of minority and low-income student access, student progress and progress towards increasing college completion.

WE OPPOSE:

Bill: HB 3940
Sponsor: Rep. Naomi Jakobsson
Summary: Amends the General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986. Provides that an officer or director of a nonprofit corporation organized under the Act and receiving state funds may not knowingly hire or seek to influence the employment or promotion of a relative for a compensated position in the corporation. Defines "relative" very broadly.

Bill: SB 3773
Sponsor: Sen. Martin Sandoval
Summary: Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Expands the definition of "public body" to include not-for-profit organizations that receive State funding.

WE'RE MONITORING:

Bill: HB 1685
Sponsor: Rep. Edward Acevedo
Summary: Amends the Medicaid Revenue Act so that, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Family Services would establish a Basic Health Program for individuals earning between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty threshold. The new program would be within existing Medicaid managed care and care coordination programs.

Bill: HB 3985
Sponsor: Rep. Dwight Kay
Summary:Amends the State Finance Act. Provides that within 25 business days after a state agency receives a vendor's bill or invoice for goods or services payable from the General Revenue Fund, the state agency must either submit a voucher to the Comptroller for payment of the bill or invoice or return the bill or invoice to the vendor to correct specified errors or inaccuracies in the bill or invoice. Within 5 business days after the Comptroller receives the error-free voucher, the Comptroller must approve or deny the voucher. Within 2 business days after approval of a voucher, the Comptroller shall post the payment transaction or the accounts payable transaction in aggregate for vouchers payable from the General Revenue Fund on the Comptroller's website.

Bills: HB 4501 / SB 3365
Sponsors: Rep. William Davis / Sen. Toi Hutchinson
Summary:Creates the Endow Illinois Tax Credit Act and amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Requires the Department of Revenue to authorize an income tax credit to taxpayers who provide an endowment gift to a permanent endowment fund.

Bills: HB 4621 / SB 3259
Sponsors: Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia / Sen. Kimberly Lightford
Summary:Amends the School Code. Increases the compulsory school age from 17 to 18 years old.

Bill: HB 5363
Sponsor: Rep. Robyn Gabel
Summary:Transfers various programs, powers and funding to the Department of Public Health. Creates the Office of Community Health, Prevention, and Wellness within the Department of Public Health. Repeals certain provisions of the Department of Human Services Act. Repeals the Prenatal and Newborn Care Act and the Problem Pregnancy Health Services and Care Act.

Bill: HB 5500
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony DeLuca
Summary:Amends the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that any proposal for the expenditure of municipal funds on a charitable or nonprofit organization shall be listed as a separate item on the council's agenda.