In this time of fiscal crisis on the local, state and federal levels, it is clear that stability and accountability must remain a priority in coming to a budget. The fiscal challenges the state is facing are not new, and Ann continues to look for ways to increase revenue and cut spending in a responsible manner, while streamlining government services where possible.
However, it is important that any budget cuts are not a knee-jerk reaction to our fiscal crisis which might “save” money in the very short term but will cost us much more down the road both in human and financial terms. Severe cuts to mental health, disability services, early intervention, and other health and human services will only harm our most vulnerable citizens.
Ann believes that our policies must emphasize job growth and increased opportunities for economic development.
Ann’s budget priorities include paying down our backlog of bills, funding education and our most critical human services, and
pushing for openness and accountability in the budget process - a critical part of keeping our budget in check.
In 2015, Ann introduced her 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
Throughout her time in office, Ann has been a strong advocates for maximizing funding for education, understanding that strong schools make strong communities - and vice versa.
This means that within our limited budget, as much money as possible must go directly into the classrooms and administrative and bureaucratic costs must be reevaluated and cuts made. Ann believes too many schools are forced into overcrowded classrooms and reliant on outside fundraising for essential needs.
Our state has historically done a woefully inadequate job of funding education and the Chicago Public Schools have greatly suffered from this problem. Ann remains a part of a coalition of legislators working to increase the role the State plays in funding our children's education and address the overreliance on property taxes for this purpose. This is a critical issue and one that must be addressed in a way that does not shortchange our children.
Ann remains committed to ensuring that our limited resources be directed towards public schools and stand opposed to charter schools threatening the growth of our neighborhood schools.
Ann has also been recently leading an effort to ensure that parents have discretion over their children’s education--especially when it comes to standardized testing. Opting-out of testing should be an option for parents who choose to do so, and it should not come at a price to the child’s education.
Ann has made protecting our environment a top priority, and have demonstrated that economic development and environmental protection can and should go hand in hand. In her first term, Ann worked on legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the development of renewable energy in Illinois.
In 2015 Ann joined a large coalition of environmental advocates, business leaders, and labor in order to advocate for stronger energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, as well as progress towards carbon reduction. The legislation currently proposed has the ability to create over 30,000 new jobs for Illinois and advance the state as a leader in clean energy.
Ann will continue to push for cleaner air and water. This includes reducing emissions from dirty power sources, removing toxins such as coal-tar from our neighborhoods, and adequately funding public transportation.
As Chair of the Green Caucus as well as the Renewable Energy and Sustainability committee, Ann continues to work to protect our natural resources by being an advocate for renewable energy, providing incentives for the creation and use of alternative energies, and building partnerships between corporations, local government, and communities on these issues.
Privacy and Consumer Protection
As an Assistant Attorney General, Ann was at the forefront of working to protect consumers' rights. Ann has continued in her role as an advocate for consumers throughout her first term in the Legislature.
Ann has worked with the Attorney General’s office to protect consumers from the increasing threat of identity theft. In 2015 Ann was successful in passing legislation to improve data security, your sensitive information will be safer and data breaches more publicly aware.
Ann has worked with the ACLU on several initiatives to prevent the infringement of personal liberties. She believes every citizen has the right to his or her privacy.
Ann currently sits on the Consumer Protection committee.
Job Growth and Business Development
Improving the climate for businesses large and small in Illinois is a top priority. In her first term, Ann supported a bill containing significant reforms of the workers compensation system in Illinois. Ann has also advocated for a comprehensive review of our corporate tax structure - identifying and implementing real, long term solutions to help Illinois businesses create and retain jobs, and to provide the stability necessary for job growth.
Throughout her time in office Ann has supported common sense reforms to a variety of property tax and insurance issues to remove obstacles to economic development.
Before being elected as State Representative, Ann worked to keep our communities safe both in a volunteer capacity - on the board of the Illinois Council for Handgun Violence - and while working for Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Ann has continued to prioritize public safety since being in office,
working with a coalition of organizations and individuals against a
renewed effort to push legislation allowing permits to carry concealed,
loaded guns in most public places.
Ann also sponsored and passed HB 3390, which increases penalties for criminals who pull loaded guns on police officers,
firefighters or other first responders. [Public Act 97-0159]
Ann currently sits on the Illegal Gun Trafficking Taskforce.
Ann supports policies and legislation to make sure that our seniors have the tools and resources to enjoy safe, productive, healthy lives. She was a strong advocate for full funding of the Community Care Program - which provides much-needed assistance to help keep seniors in their homes. Ann supports the development and maintenance of an array of affordable housing options for seniors in all communities - ensuring that seniors are able to live in their own neighborhoods and continue to be an integral part of community life.
Ann believes all of us deserve equal protection and access to benefits, regardless of sexual orientation. In her second term, Ann helped pass marriage equality in Illinois on behalf of all the families in the 11th District.
Ann has continued to support legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons from discrimination as well as unjust practices such as conversion therapy.
Illinois parentage laws also fail to provide the same legal protection for lesbian and gay parents as they do for heterosexual parents. Ann fully supports efforts to eliminate these barriers and ensure that all persons may participate equally in our society regardless of their sexual orientation.
Ann is absolutely committed to preserving every woman's access to reproductive health services, and have worked to fight any attempt to limit or restrict this right. Ann supports common sense sex education that will provide our children the basic healthcare information necessary to make the right choices for their future.
As an advocate for Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC, Ann has helped not only ward off dangerous restrictions, but work proactively to protect reproductive health care here in Illinois. Ann is working with colleagues to repeal discriminatory provisions that deny abortion coverage for women on state insurance plans or Medicaid. Family planning and reproductive health care should be equitably available to all.