The budget discussions were the primary focus of this legislative session.
Governor Rauner’s plan for the Illinois budget includes severe budget cuts to health and human services, such as cuts to mental
health, disability services and so many other areas. Ann believes we need to make budget decisions for the long term, and not make
deep cuts that might save some money in the short term, but will cost much more in the long run - both in fiscal and human terms.
In an effort to kickstart a budget agreement and move negotiations forward, Ann joined her Democratic colleagues in support of a
funding plan that protected priorities. In terms of revenue, Ann voted in favor of the millionaire's tax and advocated for a
comprehensive review of our outdated tax code to ensure that it reflects the today's economy.
In looking toward the future, Ann introduced a "Roadmap to Fiscal Stability," a series of forward-looking proposals to fix the
budgetmaking process, ensure the State's long-term financial needs are addressed, and put the State on a path to fiscal health.
If we adopt these principles, we can avoid much of the crisis-driven decision making that has put so many of the most critical human
services programs in jeopardy.
The roadmap outlines four key recommendations:
The resolutions are respectively HR 553
and HR 544.
- Standardize the budgetmaking process, starting with setting an annual revenue estimate and appropriating non-discretionary
items such pension payments "off the top."
- Limit the creation of new programs by requiring a cost-benefit analysis and a finding of savings or overriding public policy
need before adoption.
- Prioritize paying down the backlog of unpaid bills.
- Strengthen the Budget Stabilization Fund to create an effective rainy day treasury.
Ann understands that protecting our environment must be a top priority, and believes economic development and environmental
protection can and should go hand in hand.
As Chair of the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Committee, I am working along with a coalition of environmental advocates,
wind and solar companies, and labor organizations to advance groundbreaking legislation to bring more new jobs to Illinois while
protecting our environment. The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (HB2607/SB1485) will prioritize energy efficiency programs, resulting in
cost savings and the creation of new installation and retrofitting jobs. Additionally, the bill will ramp up our state's wind and
solar industries by updating our Renewable Portfolio Standard to operate in a cost-effective manner in today's energy market.
Finally, the legislation provides strategies to reduce our carbon emission in the short and long-term.
The Clean Jobs Bill is the only bill that will increase consumer savings and economic development, while protecting public health.
Ann successfully passed SB 793, to help protect wasteworkers by prohibiting ‘sharps’ from entering our recycling bins.
Needles that are recycled are not only a safety issue, but can damage recycling machines and result in expensive repairs.
Privacy and Consumer Protection
A recent report from Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Office found that identity theft is the second most common consumer complaint.
In 2014 and so far in 2015, major data breaches seemed to occur with alarming frequency. With the support of the Attorney General,
Ann passed SB 1833 to expand protections for consumers in the event of a data breach. As technology advances, the amount and
sensitivity of the private information collected increases. The bill is designed to address breaches in areas such as biomedical,
geographical, and other personal information. The bill will also strengthen the notification requirements for data breaches so that
consumers can be better informed and protected in the event of a breach.
Ann spoke with administrators, teachers and parents concerned about the administration of the PARCC test for CPS students. It is
important to ensure a parent is able to make their own decisions about their child’s education, especially with regard to something
as significant and controversial as the PARCC test. Ann cosponsored HB 306, which would allow parents to "opt-out" of the testing on
behalf of their children.
Ann also voted against legislation to eliminate the cap on charter schools. Ann believes that with limited education funding, we
must support our neighborhood schools.