Legislative Round-Up May 21

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INCOME TAX

Some Democratic lawmakers in Illinois are pitching other options as it becomes increasingly difficult to get the 60 votes needed for the extension of the state’s income tax increase.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski is a Park Ridge Democrat and appropriations chair. He says the state needs to look at other areas of revenue other than extending the tax increase.
Some members of the House expressed similar sentiments Monday during a meeting with Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
The tax rate is currently scheduled to drop from 5 percent to 3.75 percent for individuals in January. That would reduce state revenue next year by about $1.8 billion.

Quinn backs a $38 billion budget that would increase funding for education and other areas but relies on lawmakers making the increase permanent.

A ballot referendum asking voters how they feel about keeping the income tax rate at 5 percent has been proposed, but could be a moot point if lawmakers act before the Spring session ends.

MINIMUM WAGE

The Illinois House has advanced House Speaker Michael Madigan’s plan to ask voters whether the state should increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
The plan to put a nonbinding question on the November ballot passed the House by a 71-43 vote Tuesday. It comes after Illinois Democrats struggled to find votes to increase the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65 per hour.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday said the referendum will help the Legislature “get the job done” as it works to build a majority to raise the minimum wage.
The ballot measure also may work to drive Democratic turnout in the Illinois governor’s race between Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.
The measure now heads to the Senate.

IHSA HEARING

The Illinois Senate has passed legislation that would make it illegal to use a degree obtained under a false name or other false pretenses to get a job or enter an advanced degree program.
The bill passed Monday doesn’t name former Symbionese Liberation Army member and current University ofIllinois instructor James Kilgore. But state Sen. Chapin Rose has said he added the language about false pretenses because of Kilgore.
Kilgore earned a degree in South Africa under an assumed name. He fled after taking part in a 1975 bank robbery that led to the death of a California woman.

Kilgore later served a six-year sentence for second-degree murder. He has worked at the University of Illinois since 2011.

SCHOOL SAFETY

Illinois high school students will have to learn how to conduct cardio pulmonary resuscitation and operate automatic external defibrillators under a new law passed by the Legislature.
The measure passed Tuesday was sponsored by State Sen. John Mulroe. The Chicago Democrat says the legislation could help save lives.
The legislation was prompted by the 2008 death of St. Charles High School student Lauren Laman during a drill team practice. Laman’s parents say her life may have been saved if her teammates were properly trained to use an automatic external defibrillator, or AED.
Gov. Pat Quinn says the legislation is “common sense” and makes sure high school students are prepared to handle life-and-death situations.
The measure is House Bill 3724

WORKPLACE PROTECTIONS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
The Illinois Senate has approved some workplace protections for pregnant women.

The bill is sponsored by State Sen. Toi Hutchinson. She says the bill is meant to ensure pregnant women aren’t discriminated against in the workplace.

Some of the accomodations included in the bill are allowing pregnant workers to sit down for part of their shift or take more frequent bathroom breaks.

Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign the bill, but the House must approve some changes first.

FAKE NAME BILL

The Illinois Senate has passed legislation that would make it illegal to use a degree obtained under a false name or other false pretenses to get a job or enter an advanced degree program.
The bill passed Monday doesn’t name former Symbionese Liberation Army member and current University ofIllinois instructor James Kilgore. But state Sen. Chapin Rose has said he added the language about false pretenses because of Kilgore.
Kilgore earned a degree in South Africa under an assumed name. He fled after taking part in a 1975 bank robbery that led to the death of a California woman.
Kilgore later served a six-year sentence for second-degree murder. He has worked at the University of Illinois since 2011.

(Some material is copyrighted by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

 Image courtesy of Deepak