Budget General350Dear friends,

After almost 700 days without a budget, Senate Democrats did what Gov. Bruce Rauner and the GOP would not. We passed a balanced budget.

Senate Democrats accepted the responsibility of putting together a combination of cuts, reforms and revenue that balance Gov. Rauner's proposed $37.3 billion budget and bring stability to a state in crisis.

Our budget restores certainty for students from preschool through college by re-establishing stable funding for universities and community colleges that have suffered without any state support since January and haven't had a full budget in more than two years. It ensures public schools can open in the fall and fully funds MAP grants for college students.

Some of the people most deeply affected by the budget crisis are those who need the state's help the most. Our budget fully funds vital human services, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, addiction treatment, early childhood intervention, domestic violence shelters, mental health programs, child care services and the Community Care Program that helps independent seniors stay in their homes.

Additionally, our budget reinstates important human service grant programs, including autism support, youth employment, Teen Reach, community youth services, immigrant services and addiction prevention services.

Lawmakers have a responsibility to put an end to the chaos that has gripped the state during the budget stalemate and begin restoring Illinois' reputation as a place worthy of putting down roots. Without a responsible state budget, Illinois can not have a strong economy, vibrant communities, well educated children, healthy families and long-term growth.

You'll have an opportunity to learn more about the state budget, ask questions and find out about some of my legislative initiatives during a series of upcoming town hall meetings. Read on in this newsletter for more details.
As always, I encourage you to stay in touch. Should you have any questions, please contact my office at 708-848-2002.

Sincerely,
Senator Don Harmon
39th District – Illinois

JOIN ME FOR MY JUNE TOWN HALL SERIES

Please join me and state representatives Camille Lilly and Kathleen Willis for a series of summer town hall meetings in June.

These events are free and open to the public, and they present an excellent opportunity for lawmakers and residents to discuss timely state and local issues, such as the state budget crisis, legislation we worked on in Springfield this spring, prospects for moving the state forward this year and other matters.

We invite you to join us for one or all of the following events.

 

Franklin Park town hall meeting with Sen. Harmon, Rep. Lilly and Rep. Willis

6:30 p.m. Monday, June 12

Franklin Park Community Center, 9560 Franklin Ave., Franklin Park

Questions? Call Sen. Harmon's office at 708-848-2002, Rep. Lilly's office at 708-613-5939 or Rep. Willis' office at 708-562-6974.

 

Oak Park town hall meeting with Sen. Harmon and Rep. Lilly

6:30 p.m. Monday, June 19

Oak Park Library, Veterans Room, 834 Lake St., Oak Park

Questions? Call Sen. Harmon's office at 708-848-2002 or Rep. Lilly's office at 708-613-5939.

 

Wood Dale town hall meeting with Sen. Harmon and Rep. Willis

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 21

Wood Dale City Hall, council chambers, 404 N. Wood Dale Road, Wood Dale

Questions? Call Sen. Harmon's office at 708-848-2002 or Rep. Willis' office at 708-562-6974.

 

AN UPDATE ON HOUSE BILL 40

This month the Illinois Senate voted to ensure women in our state would continue to have access to important reproductive health care in the event the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The legislation, House Bill 40, already had passed in the Illinois House.

As you probably know, the proposal has stirred controversy and political division in Springfield. It also garnered enormous support from men and women who see the need for state-level protection against the Trump administration’s threats to women’s access to safe, affordable reproductive health care.

I was pleased to support HB40; in fact, I was a chief co-sponsor in the Senate. As much as I hope my loved ones will never require certain types of reproductive health services, I would want that decision to be theirs, free of judgement and free of government interference or intrusion.

Some public officials are less clear-headed about their feelings on women’s reproductive rights.

Gov. Bruce Rauner as a candidate indicated he supported what HB40 aims to accomplish. He also is a longtime contributor to Planned Parenthood. But he recently stunned advocates when he said he would veto HB40 should it reach his desk.

Clearly, the governor needs more time to ponder his choice, so we decided to make sure he gets it. In consultation with chief sponsor Senator Heather Steans and advocates, I requested to hold HB40 in the Senate to prevent it from moving to the governor’s desk immediately.

The hold stops the clock and offers Gov. Rauner more time to reconsider his threat to veto the measure. It does not jeopardize the bill or prevent it from becoming law; it’s simply a pause in the process.

Although passage of HB40 in the House and the Senate was a victory for women’s health care, we haven’t made it across the goal line. Gov. Rauner needs to hear from you so that he can be reassured that signing HB40 is the right thing to do.

If you agree, call his office at 217-782-0244 and express your support. Write him a letter, or mail him a postcard. Send him an email. Tweet him. Ask your like-minded friends to do the same. HB40 deserves the best possible chance of becoming law.

Should you have any questions about this legislation or other matters, please feel free to contact my district office at 708-848-2002 or by email.

 

SENATE PASSES HARMON'S LANDMARK GUN DEALER LICENSING BILL

After more than a decade of building support for state-level gun dealer licensing, the Illinois Senate passed my latest version of the plan on April 27 in a 30-21 vote, with one suburban Republican signing on.

This was a difficult and a controversial bill, and the vote did not come easy for many of my colleagues. I appreciate the support of every senator who was able to put children and families ahead of the NRA.

Senate Bill 1657 would allow Illinois to license gun dealers and encourage better business practices while holding corrupt dealers accountable as authorities try to get a handle on the violence epidemic that continues to plague Chicago neighborhoods. Gun dealers also must be licensed by federal authorities, but agencies are understaffed and have trouble keeping up with the dealer inspections.

I did the best I could to eliminate opposition to SB1657, which is a good-faith effort to crack down on a handful of irresponsible gun dealers where a large number of the guns involved violent crimes in the Chicago area originate.

Even so, almost immediately following the bill's passage, my email, voice mail and social media accounts were flooded with angry, hateful and sometimes threatening messages from people opposed to this legislation — and really, it seems, virtually any move whatsoever to restrict the sale or transfer of firearms, no matter how sensible or needed it may be.

In fact, the Illinois State Rifle Association emailed a "special alert" to its members that weekend calling me "an enemy of the people" and an "urban elitist foot soldier." It ended by telling members it was up to them "to work tirelessly to neutralize Harmon and his gun-grabbing pals."

I share this not because I fear gun rights advocates but because I want my constituents to have a sense of what happens when a lawmaker proposes commonsense legislation designed to do nothing more than stop children from being gunned down in our neighborhoods.

Senate Bill 1657 remains under consideration in the House. There's still time to call your state representative to express support.

And you can read my "Wednesday Journal" column about the measure and why I think it will help stem the spread of gun violence.

 

Category: E-Newsletters

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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