Key Votes on Illinois Legislation
Engaged voters may want to know how their state legislators voted on key issues. Here are the roll call votes of Illinois House and Senate members on recent, key bills.
Civil Unions (Senate Bill 1716) – Allows same-sex and heterosexual couples to enter into a civil union. Passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor. View the House roll call, and the Senate roll call.
Comprehensive Sex Education (House Bill 2675) – Provides that comprehensive sex education classes in public schools shall include instruction on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The law does not apply to private schools. Passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor. View the House vote, and the Senate vote.
Covering All Kids Program (Reauthorization) (House Bill 5736) – The Catholic Conference supported the creation of the Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act 10 years ago, and backed its reauthorization since it was set to expire on July 1, 2016. House Bill 5736 extends the program for three more years, until Oct. 1, 2019. Commonly known as “All Kids,” the program allows parents of low- to middle-income families to purchase affordable health insurance for their children. View the House vote and the Senate vote.
Illinois DREAM Act (Senate Bill 2185) – Makes scholarships, college savings programs, and prepaid tuition programs available to undocumented students who graduated from Illinois high schools. A nine-member DREAM Fund Commission appointed by the governor will raise contributions for the Illinois DREAM Fund, establish a not-for-profit entity to administer the fund, publicize the availability of scholarships from the fund and select recipients. The DREAM fund does not use taxpayer money. Passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor. View the House vote, and the Senate vote.
Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act (Amendment) (Senate Bill 1564) – Creates an information protocol that says when a conscience objection is invoked, the patient’s condition, prognosis and treatment options will be discussed. Health care professionals and facilities can still refuse to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, pay for, recommend, refer or participate in any form of medical practice or health care service that is contrary to his or her conscience. Read our statement. View the Senate vote and the House vote.
Income Tax Increase (Senate Bill 2505) – Increases the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent – 67 percent, and the corporate income tax rate from 4.8 percent to 7 percent – 46 percent. Both increases are scheduled to gradually decrease beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor. View the House vote and the Senate vote.
Income Tax Increase, Again (Senate Bill 9) – Increases the personal income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, and the corporate income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.
Marijuana Legalization (House Bill 1438) – Allows for the recreational use of marijuana, yet permits only patients in the state’s medical marijuana program to grow cannabis plants. The measure also calls for the expungement of previous marijuana offenses from an individual’s criminal record.
Medicaid Expansion (Senate Bill 26) – Expands Medicaid – the state-federal health insurance for low-income children, their parents and the disabled – to single, childless adults come Jan. 1, 2014 as per the federal Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. SB 26 expands Medicaid to single, childless adults in Illinois as long as they earn no more than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor. View the House vote and the Senate vote.
Occupational Licenses for Former Inmates (House Bill 5973) – Eases re-entry concerns for former inmates by making it easier for ex-offenders to obtain occupational licenses for such professions as a barber, cosmetologist, funeral director or embalmer, roofer, hair braider, or nail technician. View the Senate vote and the House vote.
POLST (Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) (Senate Bill 3076) – Updates the state’s current, voluntary DNR/POLST form to define an “attending health care practitioner” as a licensed physician, advanced practice nurse, physician assistant, or licensed resident after completion of one year in a program. This practitioner is selected by or assigned to the patient, and has primary responsibility for treatment and care of the patient. This form does not, however, affect an individual’s ability to include instructions in an advance directive, such as a power of attorney for health care. Passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor. View the House vote and the Senate vote.
Redefinition of Marriage (Senate Bill 10) – Changes the state’s definition of marriage from “between a man and a woman” to “between two persons.” Passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor, with an effective date of June 1, 2014. View the Senate vote and the House vote.
Reproductive Health Act (Senate Bill 25) – The Reproductive Health Act goes further than Roe v. Wade in stripping rights from the unborn child with this single sentence: “A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this State.” The RHA also creates a fundamental right in Illinois to an abortion.
This final version of the RHA does include conscience protections for doctors, nurses, medical personnel and hospitals who refuse to participate in an abortion. SB 25 also restricts surgical abortions to physicians.
Scholarship Tax Credit (Senate Bill 1947) Creates a five-year Scholarship Tax Credit program that gives low-income and working-class students choice in the school they attend. Financial grants for students will be generated from corporate and individual donations to scholarship-granting organizations. Students will then use these scholarships to attend a Catholic or other private school of their choice. To encourage the financial donations required of the initiative, corporations and individuals will receive a 75 percent state income tax credit for their contributions.
The legislation also revamps the state’s school funding method into an “evidence-based” formula that ensures adequacy and equity to public schools across the state.
Taxpayer-funded Abortions (House Bill 40) Allows for taxpayer monies to be used to pay for elective abortions for participants in the Medicaid program and state employee health insurance plans. The legislation also removes the ban on state-funded grants to organizations that refer, counsel for or perform abortions. The measure also deletes so-called “trigger” language in Illinois law that states that if the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, abortion would be illegal in Illinois except to save the life of the mother.
Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses (Senate Bill 957) – Extends Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses (TVDL) to undocumented immigrants. TVDLs were originally created and issued to individuals with legal status who lack a Social Security Number. They are valid only for driving, and not for identification, and are good for only three years.
Undocumented immigrants wanting to apply for a TVDL must provide proof of at least one year of Illinois residency; pass vision, written and road tests; pay a fee; and purchase auto insurance. The legislation has an effective date of 10 months after the governor signed it, so applications will not be accepted until late November 2013, at the earliest.
Tuition Vouchers (Senate Bill 2494) – Allows elementary students in the 10 percent lowest performing schools in the Chicago Public Schools to receive general state aid in the form of tuition vouchers to be used at private schools. The Senate passed the bill. However, the House debated the bill and voted, but the sponsoring lawmaker then pulled the bill from consideration, thereby nullifying the vote. An official record of that vote is not available, but the following video shot of the House roll call board shows how lawmakers voted.