The end of the state legislative session brings about a number of budget and programmatic bills of interest, and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs responds to the Trump Administration budget.
The spring state legislative session typically ends on May 31st each year, though nothing about the past several years in Illinois has been "typical". While the IL Senate took action on the Grand Bargain bills they've been working on for the past several months, the IL House was not able to reach agreement on a budget or revenue bill, not even amongst the democrats in the House. The IL House and Senate will remain in continuous session through the summer.
What the IL Senate passed in mid-May within the Grand Bargain package of bills included three bills relating directly to the state budget. Senate Bill 6 contains FY17 supplemental appropriations and FY18 full appropriations; Senate Bill 42 is the budget implementation bill (BIMP) that makes the statutory changes needed to effectuate the budget; and Senate Bill 9 contains increases in revenue in order to fund the budget appropriations in SB6.
During the week of May 15th, SB 6 passed, SB 42 failed and SB 9 was not called for a vote in the Senate. The Senate Democrats stated that this was their last attempt at having budget and revenue bills up for a vote that contained exactly what their Senate Republican colleagues identified as their priorities. However, no Senate Republican voted for the budget (SB6) or BIMP (SB42) bills. Therefore, the following week (week of May 22nd), the Senate Democrats amended the budget (SB6) and BIMP (SB42) bills to reflect their own priorities and called them for a vote, along with the revenue bill (SB9). All three bills passed out of the Senate on a partisan (Senate Democrats only) roll call. These bills are now in the IL House on 2nd Reading.
EverThrive Illinois commends the courage of Illinois Senate Democrats in passing a year-long budget with substantial new and permanent revenue needed to fund our shared priorities like health and human services. The IL House should improve on the Senate’s work by raising additional revenue needed to reverse harmful cuts to health and human services contained in the Senate budget and to begin paying down our state's mountain of back bills. We also call on Governor Rauner to do his job and sign a fair and fully funded budget without preconditions before the end of the fiscal year (June 30th). Illinois' communities are counting on our elected officials to do the right thing.
Non-Budget State Policy Updates:
HB3709 aims to remove barriers to counseling services for at-risk youth by increasing the number of counseling sessions available to minors 12 years+ 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. The bill passed on a bipartisan roll call out of the IL House and Senate and will soon be sent to Governor Rauner to be signed into law. We urge the Governor to sign this important legislation as soon as it arrives at his desk. 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 of high prevalence for HIV. Illinois is on the CDC’s list of high-prevalence areas, because our statewide prevalence of HIV is 1% or greater. The bill passed on a bipartisan roll call out of the IL House and Senate and will soon be sent to Governor Rauner to be signed into law. We urge the Governor to sign this important legislation as soon as it arrives at his desk. 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 towards 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 Illinois 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 Illinois 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.
Check out the progress of some of EverThrive Illinois' other state policy priorities below:
HB3691: This bill automatically open 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 IL House. For more information on this bill, click here.
HB40: This bill strikes a dangerous "trigger" provision in the Illinois abortion law and affirms that IL 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: This bill mandates that employees, 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.
HB3211: This bill 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. The bill cleared the IL House and Senate on a bipartisan vote and will soon be sent to Governor Rauner to be signed into law. We urge the Governor to sign this important legislation as soon as it arrives at his desk. Find more information on this bill here.
Around mid-May, the White House issued the Administration’s first full budget proposal for all federal programs for FY 2018. It contained devastating cuts that would decimate health and human services that millions of Illinoisans rely on, including over $600 billion in cuts to Medicaid. Find the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, AMCHP's, statement on President Trump's FY18 budget below. Also, read more about how safety-net programs like Medicaid and SNAP would be slowly dismantled in the President's FY18 budget in CLASP's statement here.
While the President's FY18 budget will likely not be passed by Congress as is, it does reflect his administration's priorities and raises alarms and major concerns amongst those of us fighting to ensure a strong safety-net system for low and moderate income children, women and families is sustained in the near and far future. EverThrive Illinois urges Congress to set aside the President's FY18 budget proposal and work together in a bipartisan fashion to make real, equitable investments in the health and safety of all children, women and families.
Non-Budget Federal Policy Updates:
Weeks after voting on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), House Republicans finally know how much it will cost and how it will affect access to health insurance. In late May, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed what we already knew–the AHCA is dangerous and will strip health coverage from 23 million people. The CBO also confirmed that premiums will still increase by 20% next year. Read Protect Our Care Illinois' statement on the CBO score here and find out what you can do to advocate for the defeat of the AHCA.
As always, the best way to stay informed and find out how you can help defend against potential threats to Medicaid and the ACA is by joining the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition. Make sure to check out the website, and stay up to date by following the PoC IL Coalition on social media:
The Hallways to Health Act was re-introduced in February, which would provide federal support for high-quality comprehensive health care and mental health services to students at school health centers (SHCs) across the country. It would increase access to health care through SHCs, expand the reach of SHCs through community health workers and telemedicine technology, and provide technical assistance to improve care in medically underserved areas. In addition, the bill would ensure that all public health insurance programs reimburse SHC providers for services covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to guarantee the long-term financial stability of the SHCs. Read a section by section analysis of the bill here, and ask your Member of Congress to co-sponsor here.
Legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate to address the psychological, developmental, social, and emotional needs of children, youth, and families who have experienced trauma. The Trauma Informed Care for Children and Families Act (S. 774/H.R. 1757) seeks to reach kids where they are—in schools, at home, with health and social service providers, and during after-school programs, among other locations. The bill 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-based health centers are designated as an eligible entity for grant funding opportunities provided in this bill. Find more information on this bill here.