Rep. Welch’s Legislative Update: Condo Boards Empowered, Crime Victims Bill of Rights, Fair Income Tax Alive, And More

This week was yet another busy week in Springfield.  Legislators in the House of Representatives presented bills on the floor this week, and I was pleased that many bills that I have sponsored or co-sponsored have advanced on to the Senate.

Condo Boards Empowered…HB4782 passed the House on a vote of 115-0 and amends the Forcible Entry and Detainer Article and provides for circumstances under which a condominium board may lease a unit after the board is awarded a judgment for possession in an eviction proceeding.  Since HB4782 allows condo boards to lease a unit for up to 13 months in the first 8 months after the month in which a stay expired, it allows condo boards to lease units for standard 12 month terms without incurring the costs of obtaining a court order.  This matter now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Condo Owners Protected from Developers…HB4783 passed the House on a vote of 112-0 and amends the Condominium Property Act and provides that certain provisions of a condominium association’s bylaws are void.  This bill addresses the problem of when a developer writes the condo’s bylaws with language that the board of managers cannot sue without the consent of the unit owners.  When a condo building is newly erected, the developer often times retains ownership of some of the units until they are sold.  If a condo building was found to have a defect, the board would essentially have to get the consent of the developer to sue the developer. This matter now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Crime Victims Bill of Rights…HJRCA0001, a bill that I co-sponsored, proposes to amend the Bill of Rights Article of the Illinois Constitution concerning crime victim’s rights.  The bill provides that in addition to other rights provided in the Constitutional provision, a crime victim has the right to: 1) be free from harassment, intimidation, and abuse; 2) refuse to disclose information that is privileged or confidential by law; 3) timely notification of all court proceedings; 4) be heard at any proceeding involving a post arraignment release decision, plea, sentencing, post conviction or post adjudication release decision, and any post arraignment proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue; 5) receive a report related to the defendant’s sentence when available to the accused, and 6) have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered in denying or fixing the amount of bail.  This bill passed the House 111-2, and is now in the Senate for consideration.

Fair Income Tax Alive…The fair income tax, also known as a progressive tax or graduated tax, is still alive and well.  I continue to be co-sponsor of this initiative.  The new bill is HJRCA0049, and it is currently in the Rules Committee.  I will let you know more as this bill progresses.

Surcharge Tax on Millionaires…The millionaires tax that I co-sponsored along with Speaker Mike Madigan passed out of the House Revenue Committee last week on a vote of 6 to 4, and it is now headed to the full house for consideration.  Because this bill calls for a constitutional amendment, it will need 71 votes instead of 60 to pass out of the House.  As I mentioned last week in my legislative report, HJRCA51 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 only 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.

Voter’s Rights Amendment…Finally, I was proud to co-sponsor HJRCA0052 this week.  This bill proposes to amend the Suffrage and Elections Article of the Illinois Constitution.  Specifically, it provides that no person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, sex, sexual orientation, or income.  This bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee this week on a vote of 16-0, and it heads to the floor of the House for full consideration.

The House reconvenes on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 12 pm.  I will share my next Legislative Report with you on Friday, April 11, 2014.

Until then,

Emanuel “Chris” Welch

State Representative, 7th District

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