by Dan Frey, Director of Government Relations
Quick update on a busy at the Capitol.
Friday marked the deadline in both houses for substantive bills in their original house to be heard, so there was a great flurry of activity going on on the floor of each house. The bills AFC has been working on with partners include:
HB 2800 (Flowers – Chicago) - Mandates a second HIV test in the third trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. This bill passed the House unanimously on a vote of 112-0-0 and now moves to the Senate, where Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) will be the lead sponsor.
HB 311 (Harris – Chicago) – Creates the Network Transparency Act which would help to ensure that health insurance providers maintain an adequate network of providers and have that information easily accessible to their members which will make it easier for people living with HIV to understand where they can seek care. This bill passed the House 110-2-1 and now moves to the Senate, where it will be led by Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).
HB 40 (Feigenholtz – Chicago) - This bill strikes a dangerous “trigger” provision in the Illinois abortion law and affirms that Illinois will not go back to the pre-Roe v Wade days of illegal abortion. By removing the anti-choice “trigger” language from the 1975 Act, HB 40 ensures that women’s health care will be protected in Illinois, regardless of what happens to the Supreme Court in a Trump administration. HB 40 also would allow Illinois to use state funds to provide women with health assistance funds that cover the full range of pregnancy-related care, including a woman’s decision to end a pregnancy. HB 40 passed the House on a vote of 62-55-0, and now moves to the Senate with Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) leading the effort. Gov. Rauner, though pledging to support these legislative proposals during his 2014 campaign for governor, has recently pledged that he would veto the measure should it reach his desk.
HB 1785 (Harris – Chicago) Amends the Vital Records Act. This bill is a modernization of Illinois’ law that allows transgender individuals to change their gender designation on their birth certificate to reflect their lived gender identity without necessarily undergoing surgery. Many transgender individuals must undergo costly surgery before being allowed to change their birth designation. This legislation was not called for a vote before the deadline due to concerns with the roll call, but we remain hopeful it will be granted an extension to be called in the coming weeks.
There was not much in terms of budget progress this past week. The Senate did not immediately take up HB 109, the House’s Lifeline Budget for Human Services and Higher Education, though they could do so in the coming week. Stay tuned.
One call for measured optimism was that Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Rauner met for a private meeting last week, something that had not occurred in months. Hopefully that conversation will lead to more and continued fruitful discussions.
The governor over the last several weeks made continual claims that the Senate was close to passage of its Grand Bargain. While that would be cause for much optimism and enthusiasm, members on both sides of the aisle did not share the governor’s appraisal of the deal’s imminent positive prospects.
ACA Repeal Efforts
Republicans in Washington continue to work toward a bill that would receive a majority of support among their own caucus to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as soon as this week. The amendments being proposed are still just as awful as the original American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was pulled from a floor vote due to a lack of support. Protect Our Care IL continues to lead efforts on the Illinois front to make sure that does not happen. Please visit the website to sign up for the coalition and get involved in the fight to save our health care.
AFC is hosting our next Advocacy Day on Wednesday, May 17. Please click here to register and come make your voices heard loud and clear that we must #Fight4HIVLives and Pass a Positive Budget NOW.
The Senate reconvenes in Springfield tomorrow, Tuesday May 2 through Friday, May 5. The House is in recess this week and will be next returning to session on Tuesday, May 9.
About the blog
BudgetWatch is a weekly update from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's on-the-ground team in Springfield about the state's longstanding budget impasse. Follow along at aidschicago.org/budgetwatch.