Harmon05262017Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement about the Senate’s votes Friday to significantly reform Illinois’ workers’ compensation system:

“Senate Democrats sent a strong message today that, while we are open to working our partners in the business community to reform the state’s workers’ compensation system, we are not willing to do so entirely on the backs of Illinois workers. We were able to identify sensible reforms on both sides of the equation – the employer side and the employee side – that will help to bring costs down without inflicting additional and unnecessary financial harm on injured workers.

“Workers’ compensation reform is one of Governor Rauner’s demands to sign our balanced budget. We have delivered on that demand and many others. It’s time for him to deliver on ours – that he signs our budget so we can move the state forward.”

Category: News

Harmon05252017It’s not the most provocative topic at the Statehouse, but the process for determining how new laws will be implemented by state agencies briefly took center stage in the Senate Thursday afternoon.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) seeks to correct a few problems that have arisen in the General Assembly’s bipartisan rule-making review process, which is carried out by a 12-lawmaker panel known as the Joint Commission on Administration Rules – or JCAR.

Harmon is a co-chairman of the commission. He said the legislation is a response to actual problems the commission has encountered, not a backdoor attempt to hamstring a governor – an accusation levied by at least one Republican senator.

But Harmon added that the commission wants to demand accountability of state agencies and increase efficiency and transparency in the rule-making review process.

“There is nothing saucy here. These are ministerial and mundane things. This is simply an attempt to help us maintain balance between the executive and legislative branches,” Harmon said. “The executive branch has only the rule-making authority that the General Assembly delegates to it. This is not about Democrat or Republican, or about this governor or that governor. This is about the Legislature protecting its domain from executive overreach.”

JCAR seldom gets much public attention, but its work is vitally important because it oversees how rules are promulgated by state agencies and it facilitates public comment about rules and regulations.

The problems Harmon’s measure seeks to address include agencies asking for rules to be pushed through on an “emergency” basis when there is no emergency, just poor planning on their part; clarifying that JCAR may review standardized forms for policy content; and updating a guideline about how frequently JCAR may evaluate existing agency rules.

The measure, House Bill 3222, passed 36-21 in the Senate Thursday.

Category: News

Harmon05192017Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement regarding today’s Senate vote to advance a balanced budget proposal and establish desperately needed fiscal stability in Illinois:

“Gov. Rauner often brags about how he’s causing a crisis to create “opportunity.” What he’s really doing is inflicting pain every day on the good, hard-working people of Illinois who eventually have to pay for the cost of his mismanagement.

“Today, Senate Democrats passed a balanced, responsible, full-year budget that offers stability and attempts to blunt the pain of Gov. Rauner’s hostage-taking. We cut $3 billion in government spending and added no new programs – because that’s the right thing to do when asking taxpayers to kick in a little more.

“Having witnessed last week that Republicans won’t even support their own budget plan, Democrats put forth a budget that better reflects our priorities and those of our constituents, including health care for the poor, funding for public schools and universities, tax credits for the working poor and for teachers, and vital services for those who need our help the most.

“And because we also passed a series of good-government reforms – including my government purchasing reform bill, a government consolidation bill and a term limit rule for Senate leadership –this is a budget Gov. Rauner should be able to sign into law when it gets to his desk.

“I look forward to the day when we can move on to addressing other important matters facing state government and put this ugly chapter in Illinois history behind us.”

Category: News

HarmonIverson05172017Grace Iverson, a third-grader at Longfellow Elementary School in Oak Park, joined State Senator Don Harmon at the Illinois Capitol in Springfield last week as his page for the day.

Grace, daughter of Kevin and Amy Iverson of Oak Park, accompanied Harmon to committee hearings and to the floor of the Senate while it conducted business on Wednesday, May 17. She plays softball, takes dance classes, acts in musical theater and plays piano. She also enjoys reaching and playing with her friends.

Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, is president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate.

Category: News

Saying the governor needs time to reconsider his pledge to veto House Bill 40, legislation that protects women’s reproductive rights in Illinois, Senator Don Harmon Wednesday night slowed the bill’s trek to the governor’s desk.

“This measure is too important to immediately put it in the hands of a governor whose public opinions about women’s access to safe, affordable reproductive health care have been inconsistent at best,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate.

Harmon is the chief co-sponsor of House Bill 40. Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, is the lead sponsor. Gov. Bruce Rauner has threatened to veto the measure, even though he pledged to support it when he was a candidate for governor.

“Wednesday night, in consultation with Senator Steans and the advocates, I filed a motion to reconsider the Senate’s vote to pass House Bill 40, which means we will temporarily hold the bill in the Senate,” Harmon said. “This motion merely allows the Senate to protect the bill from Gov. Rauner’s threatened veto until he comes to his senses. It does not jeopardize the bill’s ability to become law.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Senate voted along party lines to approve the measure, which would protect women’s rights in Illinois in the event the U.S. Supreme Court should strike down or alter the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. House Bill 40 also bars insurers from refusing to cover reproductive health care for women on Medicaid and state workers on the state’s health insurance plan.

Steans said she supports Harmon’s move to hold the bill and encourages Rauner to rethink his position.

“I want to give this legislation the best possible chance of becoming law. I know the governor has reservations and is feeling pressure from opponents to veto it,” she said. “But signing this bill into law is the right thing to do, and I urge Gov. Rauner to remain true to himself on this matter. Sen. Harmon’s motion generously gives the governor time to remember all the reasons why he originally supported it.”

Terry Cosgrove, president and CEO of Personal PAC, a reproductive rights advocacy group, said holding the legislation for now is preferable to an immediate veto, as promised by the governor.

“Illinois lawmakers sent a strong message of support for women’s reproductive rights by approving HB40. It would be careless to waste their votes by sending the bill to Gov. Rauner’s desk today only to watch him veto it,” Cosgrove said.

“In the meantime, I urge the men and women of Illinois to contact the governor to let him know why it’s important that he sign this bill into law and remind him that it will help to ensure generations of women have access to reproductive health care free of government interference.”

Category: News

Contact Me

Email Senator Harmon

Springfield Office:
329 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176
(f) 217.558.6013

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
(f) 708.848.2022

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