Friday, August 28, 2009

Senate Republicans Note Gov. Quinn Takes Action on Passed Legislation

From the Illinois Senate Republicans

SPRINGFIELD – Working to meet the deadline to act on more than 800 bills lawmakers approved this year, Gov. Pat Quinn was busy this week approving—and vetoing—the remaining legislation waiting his consideration, according to State Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria).

In his most signification action, Quinn vetoed a campaign finance bill Aug. 27 that had drawn criticism from virtually every major reform organization in Illinois, the media and many lawmakers.

Risinger commended the Governor’s decision, noting that House Bill 7 was a loophole-laden measure, with contribution limits that were too high and broad definitions that would hinder the legislation’s effectiveness. Republicans and reform groups noted that although the measure would have enforced the first limits ever on campaign contributions, the limits were so high that they would have been largely ineffective.

Under the provisions of House Bill 7, individuals would have been allowed to donate $5,000, businesses and associations could have donated $10,000 and political committees could advance candidates up to $90,000 a year—all significantly higher limits than those proposed by the Illinois Reform Commission, a panel established by Quinn to identify areas in need of reform.

He said that the Governor’s veto gives lawmakers an opportunity to craft campaign finance reform that shows the public they are serious about limiting political contributions and increasing transparency.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expected to work with the Governor and good government groups in the coming months to craft a new reform measure that incorporates ideas and suggestions from all parties. Senate Republicans are pushing for a number of additions to the reform package, including more stringent campaign finance limits, legislation that would allow for a recall provision in the state’s constitution, revising how the state draws its legislative districts, and a special election to fill any future U.S. Senate seat vacancies.

Legislation recently signed into law includes:

Abuse (HB 3649/PA 96-0692): Requires the Department of Public Health to investigate every allegation of abuse, and requires hospital employees to report any suspected abuse.

Adoption (HB 756/PA 96-0661): Makes it easier for birth parents to access attorneys by allowing prospective adoptive parents to make payments to attorneys representing birth parents earlier in the process and before formal court approval.

Blind Vendors (SB 2045/PA 96-0644): Creates the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind, and requires priority be given to blind vendors in the operation of vending facilities on state property.

Child Protection (SB 145/PA 96-0651): Allows a parent who has a child with an order of protection to ask the clerk of the circuit court to send a certified copy of the order of protection to a daycare, school, etc. so they know not to allow access to the protected child’s records.

Counterfeiting (SB 1631/PA 96-0631): Strengthens penalties for those possessing, selling, marketing, and transporting counterfeit goods.

Credit Checks (SB 340/PA 96-0619): Requires the Department of Child and Family Services to conduct annual credit checks on children, to prevent and deter child identity theft.

Custody (HB 2283/PA 96-0676): Requires the court to consider the terms of a parent’s military family-care plan that was completed prior to deployment and prevents a parent’s inability to comply with a court order due to deployment from being the basis for modifying a custody order.

Dependent Insurance Coverage (HB 4241/PA 96-0756): Changes the age of dependent coverage for an unmarried child from 23 to 24 years old, and adds an unmarried child age 19 to 24 who is on a medical leave of absence from a college of university to the definition of dependent, for purposes of continuing life insurance coverage.

Disaster Preparedness (HB 3922/PA 96-0698): Requires the Department of Public Health to investigate the causes of dangerously contagious or infectious disease, and the health effects, health condition, or health ailments related to biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear event.

DUI (HB 881/PA 96-0667): Requires a person convicted of a DUI violation to pay an additional fee of $50 to the Roadside Memorial Fund.

Early Voting (SB 1801/PA 96-0637): Requires any permanent early voting polling place to stay open for at least eight hours on any holiday during the early voting period and for a minimum of 14 hours on the final weekend of the early voting period.

Eavesdropping (HB 1057/PA 96-0670): Expands the state’s eavesdropping exemption to allow in-car camera and audio recordings of situations where the officer has made an enforcement stop, or where the patrol vehicle lights have been activated or would have been activated if not for the need to conceal the patrol car’s presence.

Education Technology (SB 2277/PA 96-0647): Creates a pilot project for digital technology in the classroom.

Expulsion (SB 1718/PA 96-0633): Gives a school district more flexibility in expulsions, especially for look-a-like weapons.

Expungement (SB 1030/PA 96-0707): Allows expungement of a juvenile offender’s first offense when they turn 18 years of age, if it is a misdemeanor and certain other conditions are met.

Green Career Grant (HB 740/PA 96-0659): Requires the State Board of Education to establish a state grant program that develops two-year pilot programs to assist in the creation and promotion of green career and technical education programs in public secondary schools.

Medicaid Reimbursement (HB 415/PA 96-0743): Requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to annually update and adjust the nursing component of the Medicaid rate under the MDS payment methodology to provide Medicaid reimbursement to people in nursing homes on ventilators, and requires the MDS Medicaid payment methodology to provide a separate per diem ventilator rate based on days of service.

Mexican-American History (SB 1557/PA 96-0629): Requires the Study of Mexican-American History curriculum in every public elementary school and high school.

Mississippi River Port District (SB 1784/PA 96-0636): Creates the Upper Mississippi River International Port District, which has the power to issue certain permits, the power to locate, establish, and maintain a public airport, the power to acquire former military bases, the power of eminent domain, and the power to issue bonds.

RSDS Education (HB 9/PA 96-0605): Requires Department of Public Health to establish a Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Education Program to promote public awareness of the syndrome and the importance of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

Sexually-Transmitted Diseases (SB 212/PA 96-0613): Allows healthcare professionals to prescribe antibiotics to the partner of a patient with a sexually-transmitted disease without requiring an office visit by that partner.

Stalking (HB 2542/PA 96-0686): Changes the stalking and cyber-stalking laws to prohibit conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress.

Veteran Home Staffing (HB 3970/PA 96-0699): Provides that the Department of Veterans Affairs must employ and maintain a sufficient and qualified staff at veterans’ homes in order to fill all beds.

Victims Rights (SB 1770/PA 96-0635): Establishes that employers cannot discriminate against victims of domestic or sexual violence and requires employers to allow employees who are victims of domestic abuse to take unpaid leave to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning, and other assistance.


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