The following was released by the office of Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-7th):
This week we resumed session in Springfield on Wednesday, March 19, less than 24 hours after the Primary Election. Once again, I want to thank everyone for trusting me to serve as your State Representative. It is truly an honor and a privilege that I cherish each and every day. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly to address the many critical issues that face our great state.
Surcharge Tax on Millionaires…As many of you know, I have a deep passion for education, and this week, I was proud to join Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan as a co-sponsor of HJRCA 51. This bill provides that an additional income tax shall be imposed on individuals in an amount equal to 3% of the portion of the individuals income that is greater than $1,000,000 for the taxable year. The bill further mandates that this additional tax be distributed directly to school districts on a per pupil basis. Illinois has over 8 million residents, and over 13,000 of those residents are millionaires. This additional tax, if approved by the General Assembly and by the voters in November 2014, would generate an additional 1 billion dollars for our school districts. This is much needed revenue for our schools. To view the complete text of HJRCA 51, please go to www.ilga.gov.
Elimination of Charter School Commission…This week the House approved HB3754 on a vote of 78-33. HB3754 would abolish the State Charter School Commission, and transfer all powers and duties of the commission to the Illinois State Board of Education. I was a strong supporter of this initiative because I think the State needs to focus on improving our public school districts across our state and get away from funding privately run charter schools with public money. Charter Schools have not proven to be better than local public school districts. HB3754 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Referendum Needed to Overturn Local School Board Decision on Charter School Denial…I am also proud to be a co-sponsor of HB4237. HB4237 provides that if the State Charter School Commission or any other State entity to which an appeal may be submitted under the Law reverses a local school board’s decision to deny, revoke or not renew a charter, the reversal may not be implemented unless the question of whether a charter school shall be established or continue operating has been submitted to the electors of the school district at a regular election and approved by a majority of the electors voting on the question. This bill made it out of committee on a vote of 11 to 1, and is now on the floor of the House for consideration.
Minimum Wage Increase Passes Senate…Earlier this week, Senator Kimberly A. Lightford was successful at reviving the minimum wage debate. Her bill to increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $10.65 per hour over a two year period passed out of the Senate’s Executive Committee on a 10-5 vote, and it is now headed to the full Senate for consideration. I am a strong supporter of this initiative, and I am a co-sponsor of a similar bill in the House, HB3718.
Governor’s Budget Address…On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Governor Pat Quinn will address a joint session of the General Assembly where he will give his annual budget address. I will be paying close attention to the address as we continue to face tough challenges. Despite these challenges, we cannot afford cuts in education, social services, and public safety. I will be listening intently, and I will report back to you following the Governor’s address.
Finally, next week is deadline week for bills in the House to make it out of committee. I will be presenting at least two of my bills this week in committee including HB4425, a bill to allow the residents of River Forest to decide via a referendum whether to merge Village and Township government into one. HB4425 has picked up over 30 sponsors and has strong bi-partisan support in the House. HB4778 creates a Fair Tenant Screening Act. This bill is designed to help poor and underprivileged persons find housing in a fair and equitable manner. I will share more detailed information on my bills as they progress. In the meantime, please feel free to visitwww.ilga.gov or www.emanuelchriswelch.com.
The House has reconvenes on Monday, March 24, 2014 at 1pm. I will share my next Legislative Report with you on Friday, March 28, 2014.
Emanuel “Chris” Welch
State Representative, 7th District