A gun control bill that was supported and co-sponsored by the area’s Democratic lawmakers — including state Representatives Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) and Kathleen Willis (77th), and state Sen. Kimberly L. Lightford (4th) — is now headed to the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 || By Igor Studenkov/Wednesday Journal || @maywoodnews
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood and Melrose Park, has come out strongly against a proposal to increase the fees that currency exchanges charge every time a customer cashes a check.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews
According to a Chicago Sun-Times investigative report published on Oct. 24, more than 150 women have signed a letter “that describes harassment endured by elected officials, lobbyists, consultants and others in politics.”
Feature image: Wikipedia
A referendum to lower property taxes could possibly be one result of the new law to revamp state aid to education in Illinois.
Thursday, July 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
The Illinois House voted 71 to 42 on July 6 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a revenue bill “that will hike the personal income tax rate — while also voting to override two other budget bills,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Thursday.
For the first time in two years, Illinois has a full budget in place after after a two-year impasse, “the longest such impasse for any state in modern history,” according to a July 6 New York Times report.
“The decision to approve the budget, which includes an income tax increase expected to generate about $5 billion, came as Illinois was sinking deeper into fiscal misery,” the Times reports.
“The state is $15 billion behind in paying its bills; has delayed or stopped payments that have especially affected the elderly, poor and students; and has been warned that its credit rating could sink to junk status, the lowest for any state.”
In the run-up to, and after, the historic vote, local state lawmakers were vocal in their support of the measure.
After the State Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto earlier this week, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), (whose district includes Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood, along with other western suburbs and parts of Chicago), said that the plan “would give our neediest populations and decimated institutions a fighting chance.
“Families, our most vulnerable populations and businesses alike need consistency,” Lightford stated. “It is time for Governor Rauner to set aside his political antics once and for all and do what he was elected to do, enact a budget.”
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), whose district includes much of Proviso Township, praised the plan.
“The plan cuts state spending by nearly $3 billion, while protecting our seniors, supporting our most vulnerable citizens, revitalizing our violence prevention programs and funding our schools, colleges and universities,” he said.
In a July 6 Facebook post, uploaded as the House debated the governor’s vetoes, state Rep. Kathleen Willis (77th), (whose district includes all or parts of Bellwood, Maywood and Melrose Park), said that although the measure isn’t perfect, “we must do something. As one of my colleagues said last week the state hemoraging. This is a way to stop bleeding out. My view is that you must stop the bleeding before you can repair the damage.”
Sugary beverage tax blocked as budget cuts loom, says Preckwinkle
Now, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is warning that if the judge keeps the tax from taking effect by August, the county would have to cut 10 percent of its budget.
Per the Chicago Tribune, “In a letter dated Monday sent to all county elected officials, bureau chiefs and department heads, Preckwinkle budget director Tanya Anthony said analysts would be providing them ‘a recommended course of action’ to meet spending cuts needed if Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak doesn’t lift a temporary restraining order that’s preventing the penny-per-ounce tax from being levied.
“Kubasiak stopped the tax, which was supposed to go into effect Saturday, after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers sued the county to permanently block it on the grounds it is vague and unconstitutional.
“The county was counting on $67.5 million to be collected through Nov. 30 via the tax on pop and other drinks.”
Read the full Chicago Tribune article here. VFP
Maywood Bishop Willie J. Chambliss opens the Illinois House of Representatives in prayer on Feb. 9. Below, Chambliss with state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) | Photo courtesy: Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch/Facebook
Thursday, February 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Bishop Willie J. Chambliss, the founder of Miracle Revival Center in Maywood, delivered the opening prayer for the Illinois House of Representatives on Feb. 9.
‘Zombie Preparedness Month’ will be in October
A resolution filed by state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) last month proposing to designate October “Zombie Preparedness Month” unanimously passed the Illinois House of Representatives on Feb. 9.
The resolution (HR 0030) “urges all Illinoisans to educate themselves about natural disasters and take steps to create a stockpile of food, water, and other emergency supplies that can last up to 72 hours.”
The measure may provoke bouts of laughter when first heard, but what’s at stake is no laughing matter, Welch told the Chicago Tribune.
“I am told that if you are prepared for zombies, then you would be prepared to deal with a natural disaster like tornadoes, blizzards — natural disasters of any kind,” he said.
“Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, said while zombies bring levity to the conversation, the measure calls attention to the importance of natural disaster planning.”
The Tribune report notes that the resolution wasn’t without its detractors, with some lawmakers saying that these are no times for laughs considering the state budget’s fiscal condition.
“This may sound like fun, but if you’re really concerned about disaster, the natural disaster that’s happening in Illinois is all economic,” Repulican Rep. Jeanne Ives told the Tribune.
“If we need to do something like Zombie Preparedness Month to get people’s attention to an important issue like preparing for a natural disaster, then so be it,” Welch countered.
To read the full Tribune article, click here.
Welch sponsors ‘Safe Zone’ bill
Members of the Melrose Park-based nonprofit P.A.S.O. demonstrating against mass deportations. | Photo courtesy P.A.S.O.
On Feb. 8, Welch co-sponsored HB 0426, which would “establish protections for immigrants from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) or agencies working with I.C.E.”
“The goal of this legislation is to protect people’s rights from invasive actions by the government,” Welch said in a recent statement. “We must stand with those who feel that their government is not fighting for them. Illinois should be a welcoming place to those who are trying to make a better life for themselves.”
According to the proposal, safe zones are defined as elementary and high schools, places of worship, colleges and universities, and health care facilities. If the legislation passes, governments would be “prohibited from entering the safe zones without a court-ordered warrant,” the statement notes. Additionally, students and their families will only be required to share their immigration status with schools,
“Additionally, students and their families will only be required to share their immigration status with schools, colleges and universities in a few instances.”
At a pro-immigrant rally in Oak Park last Saturday, a few days before that village passed an ordinance declaring itself a “Sanctuary City,” Welch led a chant.
“No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!”
“We are going to take this fight all the way to the state and make Illinois a safe zone,” Welch said. “We don’t believe your kid should go to school the day after the election, like they did last year, worried about getting deported. We don’t think you should go to the hospital and worry about those health officials reporting you to ICE … We believe that Illinois should be a welcoming state just like Oak Park is a welcoming city.”
In the statement, Welch said that, while the bill won’t require Illinois to become a sanctuary state, it would at least “acknowledges the fear of deportation many families face and provides them with somewhere they can go to feel safe.”
“While the bill does provide immigrant families with protections they need, it also puts in place policies that make our community stronger,” he said. “As we try to find ways to move the state forward, common-sense immigration policies like this need to be part of that conversation.”
HB 0426 is currently in the House’s Human Services Committee.
Lightford minimum wage bill hits snag
According to a report in the Southern Illinoisian, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford’s (4th) proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021 “will not be discussed as part of the Illinois Senate’s “grand bargain” until further negotiations are held.”
Lightford, the bill’s sponsor, said that the “Senate is still working on establishing a minimum wage proposal that different supporting groups can agree on.”
“It’s still part of the package,” she said. “We are just not ready to call it.”
To read the specific reasons for why negotiations may have hit a wall (at least temporarily), click here. VFP
Photo above right, Associated Press.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
A bill that would require students to undergo social and emotional screenings as part of the process for enrolling in school was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Jan. 20.
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), the bill’s primary sponsor, introduced the legislative proposal in 2015. State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (78th) was the bill’s lead sponsor in the house. Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) was also a co-sponsor of the legislation.
The new law (SB 0565), which takes effect this June, “requires the Department of Public Health to develop regulations to include age-appropriate social and emotional screening in the health examination that already includes other health and dental exams for all school children in the state,” according to a report published on the ACEs Connection Network.
“The rules will be developed in conjunction with statewide organizations representing school boards, pediatricians, and educators along with mental health experts, state education and healthcare officials, and others,” the report states.
“I want young people struggling with mental health to have the option to get help. I want families to know that if their child is battling a mental health issue, it is normal, they have treatment options, and it does not have to stand in the way of their greatness,” Lightford said in a recent statement.
Lightford added that the new law, while a good first step, needs to be reinforced with greater investment.
“Requiring screenings for our children is a good step forward, but we are going to have to invest more effort and resources to deal with these issues,” she said. “I will continue working with advocates and communities to bring more comprehensive solutions to mental health issues.”
Welch Named Chairman of House Education Committee
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, left. | Photo: Rep. Welch
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) was recently appointed chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education. Before this most recent appointment, Welch was the committee’s vice-chairman. He also serves on the House Appropriations Committees for Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education.
“Our colleges, universities and their students are facing challenges like never before,” Welch said in a recent statement. “I’m honored to lead this committee and be a part of the process that will oversee important legislation to increase access to higher education and make it affordable. We must protect institutions and put polices in place that help our state grow economically and foster tomorrow’s leaders.”
Welch noted that he also anticipates appointments to the House Committees on Cities & Villages, Judiciary – Civil and Labor & Commerce. VFP
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