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

TaxReturnCurrencySPRINGFIELD – U.S. presidential candidates would be barred from appearing on the ballot in Illinois until they release five years of their income tax returns under legislation introduced today by Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston).

The measure is designed to ensure Illinois voters have important information about the financial interests of candidates who seek the most powerful and influential job in the world.

“As voters are called upon to vote for the best possible candidate for president, they should have as much information as possible about their options,” Biss said. “Donald Trump ran for president in large part by boasting about his business prowess, but he refused to make his tax returns public and deprived voters of the opportunity to check up on that record.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 982, also requires vice presidential candidates to release their returns. Candidates would file copies of their returns with the Internal Revenue Service at least five days prior to certification of the general election ballot.

Biss cited a recent New York Times report that paints an alarming picture of the financial conflicts of interest that entangle President Trump, including several that could sway his foreign policy decisions. The article noted that the extent of Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear because he has released neither his tax returns nor a list of his lenders.

“In other words, without seeing President Trump’s tax returns, we can’t even figure out what conflicts of interest may be out there,” Biss said. “This situation is dangerous, and it is wrong. It’s our right as Americans to demand the highest ethical standards from those who seek the presidency and ask us to put our trust in them.”

Category: Latest

EVANSTON – Evanston, Chicago and other Illinois cities are doing the right thing in vowing to stand strong against President Donald Trump’s efforts to shame and coerce them for offering sanctuary to immigrants, state Senator Daniel Biss said Thursday.

“President Trump’s actions this week are further evidence that he lacks a moral compass,” said Biss, an Evanston Democrat, in denouncing the president’s executive order pledging to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities around the nation.

“I am incredibly proud of Evanston’s record of reassuring immigrants that they are welcome in our community,” he added. “It’s shameful that a local decision now is under attack by a U.S. president who is committed to dividing people rather than bringing them together.”

Trump signed the executive order Wednesday. Evanston has been a sanctuary city since 2008 but strengthened its local ordinance in November following the presidential election. Chicago has been a sanctuary city since 1985. Cook County also has a sanctuary ordinance.

It’s unclear how much federal funding could be at stake for more than 300 U.S. sanctuary cities, states and counties as a result of the executive order.

“President Trump has presented these municipalities with a choice between money and morality,” he said. “We’re going to stand up to his threats and any attempt to strip them of federal funds. But if they do lose federal dollars, at least they can sleep at night knowing they did the right thing.”

Category: Latest

Biss and Tichenor 01252017 350SPRINGFIELD – Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s state of the state address today:

“Gov. Bruce Rauner just finished his annual State of the State address, heralding bipartisanship and calling on our moral obligation to work together on behalf of the people of Illinois. Those are powerful words. Unfortunately, the last two years have shown us that they are just words to him.

“On the governor’s watch, Illinois has undergone a crisis unmatched in our nation’s history. Years without a real budget have taken a terrible toll on our state. Without a real budget our economy has weakened, and our citizens have less opportunity. In fact, the only thing that has increased is the number of people leaving Illinois.

“Bruce Rauner campaigned on the promise to fix Illinois, but he's done the exact opposite. Instead, by refusing to back down from his polarizing political agenda, Gov. Rauner has harmed the very people he was sent to represent.

“I invite the governor to put aside the rhetoric and join me in discussing the issues that will make a difference for all Illinoisans. We must begin by balancing our budget with a fair tax system that gives a break to the middle class while asking billionaires to pay their fair share.

“If we do this right, then next year Gov. Rauner will be able to give a state of the state address that, rather than dodging the hard truths and evading responsibility, can proudly explain that our state is strong, prosperous and improving.”

 

Illinois has not had a full annual budget since June of 2015. Some consequences of the impasse in 2016 included:

  • Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the state’s largest social service provider, announced mass program closures and layoffs because of the stalemate.
  • 55,000 fewer children of low-income working parents were able to take advantage of the state’s Child Care Assistance Program because Rauner slashed funding for the program.
  • More than $1.1 billion was cut from higher education funding for state universities and community colleges – a more than 70 percent reduction in state support.
  • State payments to K-12 schools for transportation, special education and free and reduced-price lunches were delayed by months, causing a ripple effect for staff and families in districts across the state.
  • Illinois’ bill backlog climbed to $11 billion.

 

Pictured above: Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) talks about Wednesday's state of the state address with Jak Tichenor, host of WSIU-TV’s “Illinois Lawmakers,” during a live broadcast from the House chamber.

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

Email:
biss@senatedem.illinois.gov

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.