December 4, 2014
Earlier today, the General Assembly wrapped up our annual session to consider the governor’s vetoes and any pressing issues that developed over the summer. I wanted to give you a quick update on some of the more significant developments.
Same day voter registration made permanent Last year, I passed a law creating a pilot program to allow people to register to vote or update their voting addresses on Election Day. It was a resounding success. Some same day voter registration sites had lines out the door. This week, we passed my plan to make it permanent.
The legislation also permanently extends early voting, gives the state more resources to keep its voter rolls clean and to prevent voter fraud, addresses concerns raised by the recent treasurer’s election (one of the closest in state history), and makes it easier for college students to vote.
I believe that anything we can do that encourages people to vote strengthens our democracy, so I have been working to update and modernize our election laws. Last year, I passed a law to allow people to register to vote online. This effort to make early voting and Election Day registration permanent is another important step in that process.
Minimum wage On Election Day, we asked voters if we should raise Illinois’ minimum wage to at least $10 per hour by January 1. They overwhelmingly told us yes. Statewide, 67% of voters favored raising the wage. In our area, that number was more than 80%. Given this mandate from the people, we knew it was important to take action. The Senate passed legislation to raise the wage, though it faces an uncertain future in the Illinois House of Representatives.
New retirement savings options We also passed legislation to create a first-of-its-kind program to help private sector workers save for retirement. The Secure Choice Savings Plan would offer portable plans similar to 401ks to workers who don’t have access to retirement plans through their employers. Program participants can choose how much of their paychecks to contribute and can opt out of the program at any time. Learn more about this important new retirement program by reading this article from Crain’s Chicago Business.
Sincerely,Senator Don Harmon39th District – Illinois
6933 W. North Avenue • Oak Park, Illinois 60302
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329 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
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