More than 100 people gathered to speak out for justice and compassion for all people in Illinois on Lutheran Day, April 14, 2015. Following a morning of speakers and a panel discussion, participants met with legislators in the afternoon. The day concluded with a prayer service followed by the presentation of the Paul Simon Courage in Public Service Award given to State Sen. Dan Kotowski and posthumously to State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who also had served in the State Senate and House of Representatives.
Thanks to the event's sponsoring organizations: Advocate Health Care, Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Bethel New Life, Concordia Place, Holy Family Ministries, Lutheran Advocacy Illinois, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI).
Visit LSSI’s Facebook page to see photos from the Lutheran Day 2015.
The Illinois legislative session is set to end on May 31, but it looks like it will go into overtime. Regardless of when the legislative session ends, there is still plenty of work for us to do!
The following is the list of bills that Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois is supporting. Please call your legislators to ask them to support these bills as well.
Call your legislators and ask them to vote YES for the following bills. Find your legislators’ contact information.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner presented his proposed budget for FY2016, which included huge cuts to Medicaid and Human Services. Below are some of the cuts that were proposed in the Governor’s budget that we are working on this legislative session as budget negotiations continue:
The following programs were completely eliminated FY 2016 in the Governor’s proposed budget:
Budgets are choices. It's time for politicians to choose Illinois children, families, and communities. Call or send an email to your legislators.
This legislation would prevent local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances that penalize tenants or landlords for calling the police in response to domestic or sexual violence, criminal activity, or other emergency situations. This law will also provide impacted tenants and landlords with a right to seek an order invalidating that provision of the unlawful ordinance, compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs. For more information: http://housingactionil.org/2015/03/09/action-alert-support-senate-bill-1547-because-calling-the-police-should-not-be-a-crime/
Current Illinois laws make it illegal for employers in industries such as schools, park districts, and transit authorities to hire candidates they feel are the best fit for a given job. As a result, employers are not allowed to hire qualified candidates with old offenses on their criminal record. This bill would reduce the waiting period between a felony conviction and a job application from the current 7 years to 2 years, change the current prohibition for drug convictions from a lifetime barrier to 5 years, and remove prostitution and cannabis possession from the list of barring offenses. It passed the House, now call your Senator and ask them to pass it as well! For more information: http://www.communityrenewalsociety.org/sites/communityrenewalsociety.org/files/HB%20494%20Fact%20Sheet%20032615%20rev%20400915.pdf
Removes lifetime bars to employment in the schools and the park districts for individuals with old drug, prostitution, and public indecency convictions so schools have the freedom to hire applicants with old convictions if the school deems it appropriate (HB 3931 will be amended to be the same). For more information: http://www.communityrenewalsociety.org/key-issues/force-employment-campaign
Allows people to petition the courts to be re-sentenced if the penalty for the offense they were convicted of is modified by the Illinois General Assembly in some way so that their sentence will be consistent with what is current law.
Expands the eligibility for Certificates of Good Conduct to include people who have committed non-sex-related forcible felonies. This gives people who have made grave mistakes at least one avenue beyond clemency to demonstrate they've turned their lives around so that they can care for themselves and their children.
Allows men and women with past mistakes to petition the courts to limit who can look at their old, non-violent or misdemeanor convictions three years after they complete their sentence rather than four years (decreasing the waiting period by 1 year).
This bill doubles the EITC from 10 percent of the federal credit to 20 percent of the federal credit. It does so in a financially responsible way, in 2 percent increments spread out over the next five years. Each 2 percent increase over the next five years costs about $44 million. That’s $44 million per year that goes right back into local economies because low-income workers spend money locally (high-income earners are more likely to save extra cash or spend it outside of their local communities).
Doubling the EITC is good for both lower-wage working families and small businesses. Particularly for working families with children, the EITC is a step up and out of poverty. For small businesses, the EITC is a way to keep working families as customers by boosting after-tax income and stimulating consumer spending. In 2006, the Brookings Institution found that every dollar a family saves through the EITC translates into $1.58 put back into local economies. See this fact sheet for more information.
Silver Alert is a mechanism for public safety officials to utilize in the pursuit of a wandering person with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia to aid in their safe return. It is similar to the AMBER alert program for missing children.
Our positions are grounded in the ELCA social statements.
If you would like to schedule a follow up advocacy Sunday on any issue, contact Jennifer DeLeon at Jennifer.Deleon@LSSI.org.