As we head into what’s expected to be the final month of the spring legislative session, I’d like to provide you with a short update on where things stand in Springfield. Read on to learn a bit more about what I’ve been working on, the big issues in Springfield and also news from the 39th Senate District.
I encourage you to visit my recently revamped website, www.DonHarmon.org, to like my page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter.
I also want to know what you think. Please take a short survey to weigh in on some of the most important issues facing the state by clicking here.
Sincerely,Senator Don Harmon39th District – Illinois
We’re in the middle of working on the state budget, addressing pension reform and going about the normal yearly business of state government.
We’ve already acted on some other top issues. We’ve expanded Medicaid to give more working families access to health care (paid for by the federal government), voted in the Senate to extend the right to marry to all loving couples (a measure awaiting House action) and beaten back a Republican attack on voting rights.
Another initiative I’m working on is a plan to help ensure that young people who have been sentenced to life without parole get a chance to turn their lives around. Former Judge Abner Mikva and DEA administrator Peter Bensinger wrote an op-ed about my legislation. You can read it here.
I’m also working on a gun-safety measure to make it more difficult for people with criminal records and mental illnesses to bypass background checks. Watch a video where I discuss my views on firearm regulation here.
Finally, I have worked with my colleagues across the aisle to create a DuPage County Caucus in the Senate. DuPage County is Illinois’ second-largest county. Like Cook County, it has unique issues that need unique legislative solutions and is now represented by a diverse bipartisan group of legislators.
The big issues...
Once again, the biggest issue facing Illinois is the budget. Illinois government simply does not bring in enough money to meet all of our obligations. I know that we will be looking at a wide array of cuts again this year, and I will do whatever I can to protect important priorities like education.
Another issue closely related to the budget is Illinois’ pension debt. The state simply does not have enough money on hand to pay current and future retirees all that they are owed. Each year, we have to spend more and more of the state budget on pensions just to avoid falling behind. The issue is extremely complicated, so read this op-ed I wrote if you want to learn a little bit more about my position on the issue.
In the district...
Our area has been hit hard by the recent flooding. If you have been affected and need help, want to volunteer for relief efforts or are just looking for a list of road closings, I encourage you to visit my website. I’ve put together a helpful list of resources. You can also contact my district office if you have any further questions or concerns. I have been in touch with all of the mayors and village presidents in my district to see if I could be of any assistance securing state aid. I will continue to work closely with them until the situation is completely resolved.
Earlier this year, I read to children at the Holmes School in Oak Park. Because early childhood education has always been one of my top priorities, I always appreciate the chance to see interact with students and see the effects of our policy decisions first-hand.
Finally, because I’ll be stuck in Springfield for much of the next several weeks, I’m planning to hold a telephone town hall on May 14 at 6:30 pm. We’ll be reaching out to people throughout the district, but if you want to be sure you’re included, click here to sign up.
6933 W. North Avenue • Oak Park, Illinois 60304
708-848-2002 (Phone) • 708-848-2022 (Fax)
329 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-8176 (Phone) • 217-558-5013 (Fax)