Senator Harmon

June 6, 2013

Dear Friends,


The 2013 spring session of the Illinois General Assembly is over. We had some major successes, such as enacting a state budget that for the first time in four years holds education funding steady, while also avoiding major facility closures and layoffs and setting aside some money to pay down overdue bills. We also brought Illinois into the 21st Century by allowing people to register to vote and request absentee ballots online.


But we did not get the job done on perhaps the session’s biggest issue – passing a fair pension reform measure to free up more funding for priorities like education and public safety. Like my Senate Democratic colleagues, I remain committed to passing a fair pension reform plan within the next few months.


I will keep you updated about other legislative matters and local events as the summer progresses.


Don Harmon
Senator Don Harmon
39th District – Illinois


In Springfield...


As I already mentioned, I passed legislation that will allow the people of Illinois to register to vote and request absentee ballots online once the governor signs it into law. Other states have seen great success with similar programs. Arizona, for example, saw a 9.5 percent increase in voter registration. In addition to expanding the electorate, this law will save money, as the cost of processing an online application is only 3 cents as opposed to 83 cents for a paper application. I want to thank everyone who signed my online petition and helped me move this measure forward. You can read more here.


Senator Harmon speaks on the floorI also passed a measure that builds on my previous successes in stripping the fathers of children conceived by rape of parental rights. It allows mothers who can provide clear and convincing evidence that they were raped to remove the rapists’ visitation, custody and inheritance rights – even if there is not yet a criminal conviction. Read more here.


Another accomplishment I’m proud of was helping to open privately held natural areas to climbers, kayakers, fishers, bird watchers and hikers. Due to a complicated legal matter, Illinois had become the only state in the union that did not provide liability protection to landowners who open their natural areas to the public for free. Out of fear of lawsuits, many had stopped doing so. My legislation will restore their liability protection once it is signed into law. Read more in this Sun-Times article. Note, however, that the measure passed the House after the story was written and awaits the governor’s signature.


The big issues...


Despite passing a solid state budget, we still have significant budgetary pressures because no pension reform solution passed both chambers of the General Assembly. Although we passed my preferred plan in the Senate, Senate Bill 2404, the House never even called it for a vote. I believe we have to strike a balance between achieving significant savings while also honoring our constitutionally required obligations to state employees. After a special session on June 19, the General Assembly formed a conference committee to try to resolve the differences between the House and Senate. I am hopeful that a fair compromise will materialize soon.


I also was disappointed with the resolution of two non-budgetary issues: marriage equality and legislation allowing people to carry concealed handguns. I support marriage equality and will continue to work with my colleagues to find a way for the marriage quality bill that we passed in the Senate to pass the Illinois House. I also was disappointed with the concealed carry. I voted against it because I believe it does not go far enough to promote gun safety and prevent violence in our communities.


Thank you for your interest in these issues and I encourage you to visit my website,, to like my page on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter for more updates.



District Office

6933 W. North Avenue • Oak Park, Illinois 60304

708-848-2002 (Phone) • 708-848-2022 (Fax)


Springfield Office

329 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8176 (Phone) • 217-558-5013 (Fax)


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Category: E-Newsletters

053113br0050rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) is refusing his food and lodging reimbursement for Wednesday’s special session of the General Assembly.

“Families across Illinois have made sacrifices to balance their budgets for years. We should do the same thing,” said Harmon, who has voted to cut his own pay four years in a row.

Legislators receive $111 per day for food and lodging reimbursement during special session days called by the governor.

Category: News

052813br0117rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) won Senate approval of a measure to allow voters to register online, a move that has helped other states register more people to vote and cut costs. It also makes changes to state law to make it easier to vote early and with absentee ballots and to fix several problems with Illinois’ electoral system.

“Our democracy is strengthened when more people participate,” Harmon said. “We can buy plane tickets, research stock options and even open our garage doors and start our cars online. There’s no reason in this day and age that a person shouldn’t be able to register to vote online.

“We also keep trying to find ways to save our cash-strapped state money. This is an easy way. Processing a paper registration costs 83 cents. Processing an online application costs 3 cents.”

Read more ...

Category: News

051513br0225rSPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) won Senate approval of legislation that will ensure that victims of rape who choose to carry a child to term don’t have to share parental rights with the men who violated them.

“When a woman is raped, becomes pregnant and chooses to carry the child to term, she shouldn’t have to worry about her rapist or his family pushing for parental rights,” Harmon said.

The proposal, House Bill 3128, establishes that rapists and their families are not entitled to visitation, custody or inheritance rights. It also gives the mother the right to refuse child support.

Read more ...

Category: News

041113 dh 0098rSPRINGFIELD – As parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy looked on, Illinois Senator Don Harmon used his position as chair of the Senate Executive Committee to help a measure that would limit the number of bullets in a gun magazine make it to the Senate floor.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this tragedy," Harmon said. "And this legislation is one step we can take to avoid such tragedies in the future. Every time a gunman stops to reload, it gives his victims a chance to get away and gives law enforcement a chance to disarm him.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 1002, limits the sale of gun ammunition feeding devices to units that can hold 10 bullets or less. While it does not prohibit owning a large ammunition magazine, it does increase the criminal penalties for using a high capacity magazine while committing a violent crime. The Sandy Hook murderer used large capacity magazines to commit his crime.

Read more ...

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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