Biss11152016Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement today following the state Senate’s vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of automatic voter registration in Illinois:

“Automatic voter registration is an issue that brought Democrats and Republicans together in the Illinois Legislature in the spring, and it continues to generate bipartisan support all over the country – Alaska being the most recent example.

“I was pleased to join my Senate colleagues in overriding the governor’s misguided veto of this important and sensible legislation. I hope lawmakers in the House will do the same.

“Every day that we carry on with our current, duplicative method of registering voters is another day that taxpayers foot the bill for unnecessary government bureaucracy. Senate Bill 250 has been thoroughly vetted, it makes sense and it should be the law in Illinois.”

Senate Bill 250, the automatic voter registration bill, garnered bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature in the spring but was vetoed during the summer by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Category: Latest

With so much attention focused on the past week's alarming national events, I want to take a moment to update you about developments in Springfield and to assure you that Illinois' pressing financial problems have not been forgotten.

State lawmakers will return to the Capitol this week to consider overriding some of the governor's vetoes of legislation we passed earlier this year.

But that's not the most important matter awaiting our attention. The six-month stopgap budget that we passed in June mostly runs out on Dec. 31. The stopgap spending plan for elementary and secondary schools covers the entire fiscal year, but essentially the rest of the measure was temporary and only guaranteed funding for state operations through the end of 2016 (and, by the way, much of this funding is wholly inadequate even for this calendar year).

If we enter 2017 without another plan in place, Illinois' universities, community colleges, human service providers, businesses and others will face renewed uncertainty, the state's mountain of debt will climb higher and our reputation likely will be further damaged. This is particularly alarming given the deterioration that all these entities have experienced during the long, grueling 18 months we've endured without a proper budget.

Illinois has been in turmoil for a year and a half, and it's not clear that we're any closer to a resolution than we were when the governor took office nearly two years ago.

The uncertainty has to stop. The unnecessary and self-inflicted wounds we're subjecting our social safety net and higher education system to are not only cruel, they are also likely to have extremely long-term negative consequences.

State leaders can’t address any of that until we start working together to find a different path forward. We need a responsible, long-term plan for spending and revenue that fuels the state’s economic engine without targeting working families and the social safety net. The governor has to set aside his radical anti-union agenda if he wants to move forward, and Democrats must come to the table in a spirit of cooperation on the fiscal issues that matter and will make a difference for the state.

My message to the governor is simple: "Let’s work it out. I'm willing to compromise where it's consistent with my basic principles — and you should do the same. We probably won't be able to convince each other on your union-busting agenda, and just as I respect your right to your opinion I hope you respect mine. In the meantime, to move our state out of this mess, let's find the areas where there's a chance at an agreement and tackle those first."

I'll keep you posted.

Category: News

Senator BissOn Sunday, President-Elect Donald Trump announced the appointment of white nationalist Stephen Bannon as a senior adviser in his administration. Bannon is considered to be an extremist who peddles racist viewpoints, anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic writings, misogyny, xenophobia and other divisive rhetoric.

Today, Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement condemning Trump’s choice and calling on others to urge the president-elect to withdraw the appointment:

“The White House is no place for bigots. I am outraged and deeply troubled by the president-elect’s choice of Stephen Bannon as a top adviser. This man has made it his mission to fan the flames of hatred, bigotry, sexism and intolerance in our country, and now he’s being rewarded with the ear of the leader of the free world.

“Bannon’s appointment is an insult to the people of this nation, to our ongoing struggle for civil rights and to the values held by Americans of both political parties. I enthusiastically support the right of the president-elect to assemble an administration that reflects his policy priorities, whether or not I agree with those policies. However, we must draw the line when it comes to bigotry.

“I am calling on him to withdraw the appointment and to do everything within his power to unite the country and to quell the racially charged attacks that have spiked since his election last week. I hope Democrats and Republicans in Illinois and across our country will join me in that call.”

Bannon is the former editor of Breitbart News, an alt-right website that, under his leadership, promoted material encouraging hate and intolerance.

For example, postings on the site labeled former Congresswoman and assassination survivor Gabby Giffords “the gun control movement’s human shield” and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.” In the aftermath of a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, Breitbart published a piece titled, “Hoist it high and proud: the confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.” Another headline asked, “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?”

Bannon also hosted a SiriusXM radio show during which he interviewed numerous anti-Muslim extremists and promoted Islamophobia. A former Brietbart employee called Bannon a “legitimately sinister figure.”

Category: News

BissOct17HrngCHICAGO – Christine Rivera cares for six men who are developmentally disabled and live together in a Downers Grove group home. The work can be grueling and physically demanding, but it also is gratifying, she testified Monday during a Senate Human Services Committee hearing in Chicago.

But after 15 years of caring for people who are developmentally disabled, Rivera makes just $11.90 per hour based on rates set by the State of Illinois. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation this year that would have given caregivers like her a long-overdue raise to $15 per hour.

Low salaries are largely responsible for a severe statewide staffing problem that prevents developmentally disabled residents from getting services they need and deserve. Organizations that offer the services on behalf of the state are unable to expand programs or hire more caregivers because people can earn more at many other jobs, including, for example, at a fast-food restaurant.

The result is a backlog of nearly 19,000 developmentally disabled Illinoisans in desperate need of services, with little hope of receiving them anytime soon.

Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), chairman of the Human Services Committee, said it’s time for the legislature to take a stand for workers like Rivera and the families that rely on them to care for their loved ones.

“Today we heard the best explanation we could ever hope for about why the legislature must override the governor’s veto,” Biss said. “This crisis is causing justifiable and extraordinary anxiety for many Illinois families. We have to offer decent living wages to these caregivers if we are to have any hope at all of resolving this problem.”

Read more: Biss: Lawmakers should override governor’s veto of caregiver pay hike

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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