A measure designed to narrow the gender wage gap in Illinois advanced out of the Senate’s Labor Committee Wednesday.

Senate Bill 981, sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), would prohibit Illinois employers from asking job applicants about their salary history, a practice that perpetuates gender discrimination and wage inequality.

“If you’re an employer who prides yourself on not discriminating against your workers but you base starting pay on what they earned at their last job, they may be perpetuating the wage gap,” Biss said.

Women in Illinois make up nearly half of the workforce but earn just 79 cents for every $1 that men earn. For women of color, the wage gap is wider – Black and African-American women earn 63 cents on the dollar to white men; Hispanic and Latina women earn just 48 cents.

Illinois women who work full-time lose nearly $20 billion every year because of unequal pay, meaning less money for their savings, for spending on basic goods and services and for investing back into the local economy.

“We have a troubling wage gap in Illinois and across the country that is unfair and unacceptable. This legislation attempts to confront the problem at its source – during negotiations between a job applicant and a potential employer,” Biss said. “Every time an employer bases a woman’s starting salary on what she made at her previous job, they’re ensuring that she never catches up and that we never close the gap.”

Wednesday was International Women’s Day.

Biss also is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1721, the Family Leave Insurance Act, which would offer up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for employees to recover from serious health conditions, care for a child or other family member, or spend time with a newborn or adopted child within any 24-month period. Employees would receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage, which would be funded through a 0.3 percent payroll deduction.

The legislation is assigned to the Senate Labor Committee.

Category: Latest

WeThePeopleFor many Americans, this is a time of unprecedented political uncertainty and fear.

Every day, we hear new reports of constitutional rights under attack. We're seeing discrimination based on skin color or gender, on religion or mother tongue, or simply based on a cruel guess about who is vulnerable and unable to fight back. Many of these threats originate with the very people who were elected to protect and uphold our constitution.

It’s as important as ever that we understand our civil liberties and know how to fight back against attacks like these – for ourselves and for those who need our protection.

Please join me for an important public seminar next week about the major challenges and threats to our civil liberties today and to learn what we can do to protect our rights under the new federal administration.

What: Protecting Our Civil Liberties free public seminar
When: 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27
Where: Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge Ave., Evanston

I am co-hosting this event with state representatives Robyn Gabel and Laura Fine. Joining us will be representatives from civil rights organizations the American Civil Liberties Union, the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights, Equality Illinois and Planned Parenthood.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and we strongly suggest that interested guests reserve a spot by calling my district office at 847-568-1250 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

I hope you will join me for this important discussion and spread the word to others who may be interested.

Category: Latest

SPRINGFIELD – When it comes to the state budget crisis, Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to be unwilling to lay out a clear plan, Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) said today after the governor’s budget address to the General Assembly.

“Gov. Rauner’s top priority has been to protect billionaires like himself who refuse to pay their fair share. This leaves him with only unpalatable options like harmful cuts to key programs and tax increases on the middle class,” Biss said. “Faced with this choice, Gov. Rauner has decided to duck responsibility and deflect blame.”

Biss noted that Illinois is at a fiscal crossroads after two years of Rauner’s budget stalemate with the legislature.

“The pressure on the governor to act is immense, but it’s clear to me that he has no ideas about how to proceed. He’s hoping the legislature will do his job for him,” Biss said.

“It’s time to move forward. We must demand that Gov. Rauner and his billionaire friends stop running government for their own benefit and pay their share so that we can all prosper.”

Category: Latest

BissSB142402072017SPRINGFIELD – The only way to blunt the influence that wealthy donors maintain over government is to return power to the people by amplifying the voice of small donors through public financing of elections, Senator Daniel Biss said Thursday.

Biss, an Evanston Democrat, is sponsoring Senate Bill 1424, which creates the Small Donor Democracy Matching System for Fair Elections Act.

The legislation would establish a small donor matching system for statewide races in Illinois, including governor, attorney general, comptroller, treasurer, secretary of state, state senators and state representatives.

Small donor matching empowers average people to compete financially and ideologically with special interests and wealthy donors. It also opens up the playing field to more diverse candidates for office and offers more options at the ballot box.

“This is about who decides,” Biss said. “Life is getting harder for more and more Americans every day because people who are already doing well have all the power in government – powerful people who are shamefully out of touch with the people they represent.

“We’re only going to fix this problem if we weaken the connection between money and political power and make it easier for small donors’ voices to be heard.”

Read more: Illinois needs small donor matching to amplify local voices

Category: Latest

Contact Me

District office:
3706 Dempster St.
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 568-1250
(847) 568-1256 FAX

Springfield office:
417B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119


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