Despite the challenges we face as a General Assembly as the budget impasse wears on, there have been a number of significant bills signed into law since the end of the Spring legislative session. My colleagues in the General Assembly and I have worked to improve the civil rights, human rights, environmental integrity, and criminal justice system of the State of Illinois.
We are committed to equal opportunities for Illinois minorities. House Bill 5756, signed into law by Governor Rauner on July 15th, provides that there shall be no unlawful discrimination in the National Guard or the Reserve. The State Construction Minority and Female Building Trades Act, which requires no less than 20% of apprenticeship hours to be completed by employees who fall under minority designation, has been amended to include penalties for violations of the Act.
We strive to make our state better for disabled individuals. If a public employee has been previously compensated by the county for a disability, they are allowed to waive physician’s proof of disability. (SB2817) Once the IRS has issued final regulations, the State Treasurer may accept contributions for ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. (SB2268) The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (article of Illinois Pension Code) has deleted the one-year limit on backdating a survivor benefit.
We are also dedicated to fair housing practices in Illinois. Managerial board meetings are open to condominium unit owners to provide more transparency and accountability for tenants in condominium housing. Additionally, the State is required to prepare a comprehensive housing plan that is consistent with the affirmative fair housing provisions of the Illinois Human Rights Act through 2026 (a date extended by ten years).
We continue to fight for the integrity of Illinois’s environment. Owners of public water supplies are now required to comply with the recommendations on optimal fluoridation levels as proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Commission on Environmental Justice now reviews any state implementation plan to ensure compliance with the US EPA Clean Power Plan. An aluminum can recycling program has been implemented in all state buildings.
Steps have also been made towards rehabilitative justice. A person who has successfully completed alcohol or drug addiction treatment must file a motion to vacate the judgement of conviction to a date no more than 60 days after the discharge of the probation.
In an effort to make Illinois safer, the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act has been amended to require that the notice be posted in airports, motels, hotels, and other public places susceptible to trafficking.
These are just some of the 60+ bills signed into law by Governor Rauner since the end of the Spring legislative session. To view more, visit the Illinois Government News Network: http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=2&RecNum=13692