01302018CM0599The sub-minimum wages that workers with disabilities are paid for performing the same jobs as other employees would be prohibited under a plan introduced by State Senator Daniel Biss.

Under current law, employers are allowed to pay lower wages to workers with disabilities. This means that many receive pay below the minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.

The measure is Senate Bill 201. It awaits consideration in the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

BissParisPresser06092017In light of President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) joined representatives of the Sierra Club and other Springfield lawmakers today to announce legislation to block weakened environmental and worker protection standards in Illinois.

Biss’ legislation, Senate Bill 2212, would maintain existing environmental and worker safeguards in Illinois, even if they are weakened at the federal level.

President Donald Trump, his administration and leaders in Congress have signaled their intent to roll back federal environmental and labor protections, which in many cases would authorize Illinois to weaken its own standards. Senate Bill 2212 would bar Illinois agencies from following the federal government in lowering standards required by decades of federal statutes like the Clean Air, Clean Water, Safe Drinking Water, Endangered Species, and Federal Labor Standards Acts, among others.

“It’s time for Illinois to set a goal of 100 percent clean energy for our state. Just because the Trump Administration has declared it will lodge its head firmly in the sand and ignore the need for realistic environmental policy doesn’t mean we can’t act,” Biss said. “These efforts put us on track to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement here in Illinois. I hope it serves as an example to other states as Illinois begins to chart a path to a 100 percent clean energy future.”

Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club Illinois chapter, said Trump is beginning a race to the bottom by dismantling the EPA and rolling back protections for the nation’s air, water and natural resources.

“Illinois does not have to follow Trump backward when it comes to the health and safety of our environment and our workers,” Darin said. “We’re grateful that these leaders are taking steps to ensure our environment is protected and that Illinois steps up to lead on climate change, even as Trump opts out of the global movement to the clean energy economy.”

Category: Latest

Biss05312017600Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement on Senate Bill 81 and his vote on Wednesday, May 31 to raise the Illinois minimum wage to $15:

A $15 minimum wage is a common sense solution that will allow us to invest in our communities and invest in people. I was proud to cosponsor this measure that, if enacted into law, would improve so many lives. This moment represents a huge step forward for the Fight for Fifteen movement, and I thank Sen. Lightford and Rep. Guzzardi for leading this historic effort, as well as the many workers who have fought heroically to make this happen.

Unfortunately Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to fail to articulate any real plans to help low-income workers. Across Illinois, under the Rauner adminstration, communities have been hurting because of a system that works for millionaires and the machine but just isn’t working for the rest of us. Gov. Rauner has failed working people. He has failed low-wage workers. He has failed our state. But he now has an opportunity to take a step forward for workers across the state. He should sign this legislation, and let Illinois be a leader in securing a living wage for all workers.

Category: Latest

Biss05312017A measure designed to narrow the gender wage gap in Illinois was approved by the state Senate Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

House Bill 2462, 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.

“Most employers don’t discriminate, but some do. And if you are unlucky enough to have worked for a company that pays less based on gender, then that discriminatory wage may to follow you from workplace to workplace throughout your lifetime,” Biss said. “One way we can begin to stamp out gender wage discrimination is by barring employers from asking applicants about their salary history as a basis for setting future income.”

Women in Illinois make up almost half the workforce but earn 79 cents for every $1 paid to men. The wage gap is worse for women of color: black and African-American women earn 63 cents and Hispanic and Latina women earn 48 cents for every $1 that white men earn. Working mothers earn 71 cents while single mothers are paid just 58 cents for every $1 paid to fathers.

In total, Illinois women who work full time lose nearly $20 billion each year due to unequal pay, according to statistics. Lost wages mean families have less money to save for future expenses or to spend on basic goods and services – spending that helps drive the state and local economy.

Massachusetts adopted a law similar to HB2462 in 2016. So far it is the only state to ban employers from asking about salary history, but other states have introduced similar legislation, including California, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and others.

In addition, New York City and Philadelphia recently enacted ordinances banning salary history questions. And the federal Pay Equity for All Act has been introduced in Congress and would ban salary history questions nationwide.

Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) sponsored House Bill 2462 in the House. The legislation has passed in both chambers and now will go to the governor for consideration.

Category: Latest

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