biss0417SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) convinced a key Senate committee today to advance his plan to abolish the electoral boards that decide whether challenged candidates stay on the ballot. If signed into law, Senate Bill 1689 would assign the controversial panels' duties to county election officials.

"Our ballot access process should be as transparent and easy to navigate as possible, so newcomers and outsiders don't find themselves at a disadvantage," said Biss, whose interest in election reform also prompted him to co-sponsor a resolution urging the overturn of the Citizens United campaign finance decision. "The current system, with its unnecessary and inefficient proliferation of boards stocked with incumbents, favors candidates who already know how to play the game."

Leading up to this spring's municipal elections, the Chicago Tribune weighed in on some of the more questionable decisions made by local electoral boards. These ranged from disqualifying a new political party whose name contained an ampersand to removing a candidate whose petitions were deemed too loosely bound together with a paper clip. Seated on local electoral boards are long-serving incumbents prone to conflicts of interest that may not violate state law but could still affect the outcome of a ballot access dispute. Current school board members rule on school board challengers, for example, and current aldermen rule on challenges brought against town council candidates.

"It makes no sense to leave a candidate's fate in the hands of people with vested interests in the future makeup of a board or council," said Biss, who worked with Cook County Clerk David Orr to craft the legislation. "The change I've proposed will weaken the role of partisanship in ballot access decisions and promote a more streamlined, professional process."

The Senate Executive Committee recommended SB 1689 to the full Senate, which could vote on it as early as this week.

Category: Press Releases

biss0403Senator Biss, along with state Rep. Robyn Gabel, will hold a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. April 4 in Evanston. They will update constituents on what's happening in the General Assembly and discuss the state's major issues before heading back to Springfield for the second half of the legislative session. Here are the event details:

  • What: Legislative town hall meeting
  • When: 7 p.m. April 4
  • Where: Parasol Room, Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston


Reservations aren't necessary, but feel free to contact Sen. Biss at (847) 568-1250 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Category: Latest

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) discusses Senate Bill 35, the pension bill he sponsored, on Wednesday at the Capitol.SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding today's Senate action on public pensions:

Today members of the Illinois Senate seriously and openly debated the most immediate threat facing our state: the rising pension payments that are crowding out spending on our top priorities, from education to public safety. I am grateful to my colleagues for their contributions to this conversation and for their serious consideration of my comprehensive reform proposal, Senate Bill 35. Although the measure did not have enough votes to pass, I tremendously appreciate the significant and bipartisan support it received and believe the debate on SB 35 was a constructive one.

While I feel that the framework I presented would fix the structural problems that perpetuate our unmanageable pension liability, I also supported Senate Bill 1, which the Senate passed today. Senate President John Cullerton has worked diligently to craft a bill that satisfies one widely held interpretation of the pensions clause while still achieving significant savings. Senate Bill 1 is a step in the right direction, and I hope it will open the door to further meaningful action in both chambers.

As I told my colleagues today on the Senate floor, our constitution includes a strong protection of public pension benefits. We also have constitutional obligations to fund education, provide for public health and safety and promote the well-being of all our residents. I believe those of us who voted "yes" – on either bill – understand clearly that our actions today constitute an admission that we've failed to keep our promises. But we have reached a point where there are no easy answers and no easy votes. I'm cautiously optimistic that in the coming weeks we'll take further action resulting in sustainable retirement systems, balanced priorities and solutions that are as equitable as possible to public employees, retirees and all citizens of Illinois.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) testifies in favor of Senate Bill 35, his pension reform bill, in front of the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday in Room 212 of the Capitol.SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement after the Senate Executive Committee recommended his comprehensive pension reform plan (Senate Bill 35) to the full chamber for a vote:

As our rising pension payments threaten education and the social safety net, we need a solution that stabilizes the state's finances while guaranteeing retirement security for the people who teach our students and keep state government running. I think the plan I've proposed strikes this balance.

My aim is to end the long, bitter impasse over pension reform by combining the best of existing proposals, adding a few innovative features and guaranteeing the state will never again shirk its obligations. SB 35 is designed to protect people with smaller pensions and those closest to retirement while putting in place structural changes to stabilize the pension systems and restore them to fiscal health.

I'm looking forward to an energetic debate of the legislation's merits, and I'm optimistic that a renewed sense of purpose will drive our deliberations now that we've begun grappling with the unforgiving numbers in this year's budget.

Projected savings from SB 35:

  • Unfunded liability immediately reduced by 29 percent, from $95 billion to $67 billion
  • Total state pension contributions from 2013 through 2045 reduced by 41%, from $397 billion to $238 billion
  • Next year's required state contribution reduced by 27 percent, from $6.7 billion to $4.9 billion (this year's payment is $5.7 billion)

Click here for a summary of SB 35's main features and an explanation of its projected effects on Illinois' finances.

Category: Press Releases

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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