Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) said Friday that he will continue to champion efforts to expand access to voting in Illinois, despite the governor’s veto of bipartisan legislation that would have made Illinois the fifth state to enact automatic voter registration.

“I am troubled that Gov. Rauner chose to veto a measure that had bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature because of its promise for streamlining government, cutting costs for taxpayers and modernizing one aspect of the voting process,” Biss said.

“At a time when things are so polarized in Illinois government, it’s important that lawmakers and the governor find issues we can agree on and act on them. If we can’t agree on this – the importance of eliminating barriers to voting and saving taxpayers a little money in the process – then I worry that there are very few things we’ll ever agree on.”

Biss was a sponsor of Senate Bill 250, which would have initiated an opt-out voter registration system instead of Illinois’ current opt-in system. Under the proposal, eligible voters would have been automatically registered to vote when they visited the Illinois secretary of state and other similar state agencies for services.

The system would have curbed redundant paperwork, streamlined a government function, helped the state to clean up its voter rolls and saved money for taxpayers.

The measure garnered bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature this spring. The Senate voted 42-16 for the legislation, and the House voted 86-30 for it.

Four states, including California, Oregon, West Virginia and Vermont, implemented automatic voter registration systems and have realized significant savings for local and state governments.

Category: News

BissMayMedical patients – and women in particular – in Illinois will be better informed about their medical care because of legislation sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss that was signed into law Friday.

Senate Bill 1564 is an update to Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience law, which allows medical providers to refuse certain medical treatments based on religious objections.

Illinois’ law had been among the broadest in the nation and failed to adequately protect patients’ rights to information about their medical condition and treatment options.

“This measure enables Illinois to restore some balance to the patient-doctor relationship in Illinois. Providers have been able to withhold vital information from patients that could mean the difference between life and death, all because of personal objections,” Biss said.

“Indeed, medical providers should and do have the right to refuse to offer certain treatments that are inconsistent with their faith. But we have a moral obligation to ensure patients are protected and have rights as well. They are entitled to information about their health and about the treatment options available to them so that they make informed decisions and access the services they need.”

Senate Bill 1564 was sponsored by Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) in the Illinois House.

Category: News

Biss 05182016Police in Illinois will have better guidance about the use of cell site simulators — or stingrays — and the responsible collection of cell data because of legislation advanced by Senator Daniel Biss that was signed into law Friday.

The new law will regulate the police use of cell tower simulators for surveillance. These simulators, more commonly known as stingray devices, act as cell phone towers and trick phones in a particular area into thinking they are connecting to a phone tower operated by a service provider.

Police can use the fake tower to determine someone’s location, the serial numbers of phones in the area and more. In addition to collecting data on targeted individuals, police can collect data on dozens or hundreds of other innocent people in the process as well.

“I am pleased to see this measure become law in Illinois,” said Biss, an Evanston Democrat. "It is important that we take steps to enable police to effectively investigate and solve crimes using the latest technology, but it is equally important that we protect innocent people from unnecessary and unwarranted invasions of their privacy.”

Senate Bill 2343, sponsored by Biss, establishes the Citizen Privacy Protection Act to regulate the use of stingray devices by law enforcement so that they don’t become tools of mass surveillance.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the act into law on Friday. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Category: News

Biss06292016I am pleased to inform you that there was a breakthrough in the Illinois budget stalemate this afternoon.

While we are far from a comprehensive resolution, and while most of the work still lies ahead, this is an encouraging sign, both for the specific progress it includes, and also for the indication that collaboration is possible even in these challenging times.

The Illinois General Assembly voted on a stopgap spending plan that will ensure Illinois schools open on time in the fall, provide long-overdue money to struggling human service providers and protect jobs throughout the state.

The package is the result of negotiations between the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner. The governor has indicated he intends to sign the legislation and relieve some of the financial pressure that the state has inflicted upon human service providers, schools, universities, community colleges, and others who have been adversely affected by the yearlong budget stalemate. I encourage him to do so immediately.

The package includes the following components:

Read more: Update from Springfield: Budget deal shows progress is possible

Category: News

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

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