The Illinois General Assembly passes a state budget after a two year impasse, while advocates continue to defend against the latest attacks on the ACA and Medicaid. Find all this and more in the July Policy Update.
State Budget Update:
Yesterday, the IL House took the final step to enacting a full year state budget with new, permanent revenue by voting to override the Governor's budget and revenue vetoes (over the July 4th holiday, the IL Senate had already voted to override the Governor's budget and revenue bills' vetoes).
While EverThrive Illinois does not support the cuts to health and human services contained in the budget bill (SB6), we want to sincerely thank the IL House and Senate legislators who voted, in a historic bipartisan vote, to end the 2-year state budget impasse by passing a full-year budget with new, permanent revenue. Through their vote for the budget bill (SB6), the Budget Implementation Bill (BIMP, SB42), and the Revenue bill (SB9), these IL House and Senate legislators took a momentous and responsible first step in stopping the carnage the state budget impasse was causing and getting back to the business of serving Illinois' families and communities.
We want to thank YOU for your tireless advocacy efforts calling for a full-year state budget with new, permanent revenue. We ask that you take another minute today to call your state representative and senator and thank them for making the responsible decision by voting for the state budget, BIMP, and revenue bills (SB6, SB42, and SB9 respectively). To find out who your state representative and senator is, click here, and to learn if they voted to pass the state budget and revenue bills, click here and here.
Lastly, join us for a webinar next week on Wednesday, July 12th at 1 p.m. to learn more about what's in the budget, what it means for the health of Illinois children, women and families, and where do we go from here.
Non-Budget State Policy Updates:
There are a few pieces of legislation that have passed both chambers and are now awaiting the Governor's signature:
HB3709 aims to remove barriers to counseling services for at-risk youth by increasing the number of counseling sessions available to minors 12 years and older from 5 to 8, and permitting the counselor to provide additional sessions if it is in the minor's best interest and parental notification would be detrimental to the minor's wellbeing. Find more information on this bill here.
HB2800 amends the Perinatal HIV Prevention Act by adding a third trimester HIV test for pregnant women in addition to the current first trimester test. The CDC recommends a repeat test for women in the third trimester of pregnancy if women are determined to be at high risk for HIV, or live in an area with high prevalence of HIV. Illinois is on the CDC’s list of high-prevalence areas, because our statewide prevalence of HIV is 1% or greater. Find more information on this bill here.
HB3211 utilizes flexibility offered by the federal program to extend SNAP eligibility to low-income adults pursuing a “Perkins Pathway” career and technical education (CTE) certificate or degree program at a community college. Find more information on this bill here.
HB2907 removes barriers to providing telepsychiatry services by eliminating the requirement that a physician or other licensed health care professional must be physically present in the same room as the patient for the entire telepsychiatry service.
Other EverThrive IL State Policy Priorities Include:
HB3691 automatically opens a 529 college savings account at birth for every child born in the state. The account will be seeded with an initial $50. Low- and moderate-income families will be encouraged to save through savings incentives—a one-to-one dollar match up to $75 per year. The bill is awaiting concurrence in the Illinois House. Find more information on this bill here.
HB40 strikes a dangerous "trigger" provision in the Illinois abortion law and affirms that Illinois will not go back to the pre-Roe days of illegal abortions. This bill cleared the IL House of Representatives and the IL Senate on a partisan vote. It is currently sitting in the IL Senate waiting to be sent to the Governor's desk. The Governor has so far indicated that he would veto the bill, though advocacy efforts continue to push the Governor to do the right thing and sign HB40. Find more information on this bill here.
HB2771 mandates that employees, both full- and part-time, can earn up to 5 paid sick days (or 40 hours) per year, accrued hourly, and can begin using them 180 days following commencement of employment. The bill is awaiting concurrence in the IL House. Find more information on this bill here.
HB3895, the Happy Healthy Babies bill, creates a program that supports Illinois families living in deep poverty with a monthly diaper allowance of $80 toward the purchase of diapers for each child under age three. The state-funded allowance would be distributed on an EBT card and restricted to the purchase of diapers. A subject-matter hearing on this bill took place in mid-May in the IL House Human Services Appropriations Committee and EverThrive IL submitted written testimony in support of the bill. While this bill did not clear the legislative process this session in order to become law, EverThrive IL and the Shriver Center will continue to champion this bill until it becomes IL law in order to keep babies healthier, protect public health, promote maternal and toddler health, and increase early education and care participation. Find more information on this bill here.
Federal Budget Update:
The White House issued the budget proposal for FY 2018 in mid-May, which contained devastating cuts that would decimate health and human services that millions of Illinoisans rely on, including over $600 billion in cuts to Medicaid. You can view the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) statement on the administration’s budget proposal here.
Non-Budget Federal Policy Updates:
We are now in the final, crucial days of the fight to save health care. The Senate Republicans released their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), calling it the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA). The bill, which will strip millions of their health insurance, leave millions more with flimsy, expensive plans, and makes devastating and permanent cuts to Medicaid, is supposed to be taken up for a vote after Congress returns to DC from their July recess. Find more information on this bill here and what you can do today and the rest of this month to advocate against the AHCA and the BCRA!
The Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition has decided to invest in a full-time staff person to help support the coalition’s work. The position, the PoC IL Coalition Manager, will be a permanent staff person housed at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights and will work to coordinate our activities, provide training and field support, and help grow the profile and membership of PoC IL so that we are ready for whatever threats come our way in the coming months and years. You can view the job posting here. Interested parties should apply for the position through the usual Heartland Alliance process linked at the bottom of the website. Big thanks to our many donors who have made generous contributions towards hiring this staff!
Other EverThrive IL Federal Policy Priorities Include:
The Hallways to Health Act would provide federal support for high-quality comprehensive healthcare and mental health services to students at school health centers (SHCs) across the country.
The Trauma Informed Care for Children and Families Act (S.774/H.R.1757) would equip teachers, health care providers, and other adults serving children to recognize the signs of trauma, integrate this knowledge into their practice, and make the policy changes and workforce investments needed to provide support to those who need it. School Health Centers (SHCs) are designated as an eligible entity for grant funding opportunities provided in this bill.