Historic Budget Relief Gets Passed in the 2022 Spring Session

By Josh Weiner, Summer Internship Communications Team

Many members of the Illinois General Assembly know that the pandemic and inflation have been burdening Illinois families and passed a historic relief package this past session, which also promises to increase the fiscal stability of Illinois. 

To help combat inflation, the Illinois budget includes over $1.8 billion dollars in aid to families. Some of the highlights of the budget relief bill include:

  • Suspending the state’s grocery tax for a year, which will save consumers an estimated $400M
  • Freezing the gas tax for six months, saving consumers $70M
  • Doubling the property tax rebate, to save up to $300 per household
  • Giving eligible tax filers additional one-time direct checks for $50 per adult filer and $100 for each of their children

The budget also calls for additional funding to public safety. Approximately $1 billion dollars will go towards violence prevention, and $124 million dollars will go towards supporting local police and reducing violent crime which also includes funding for mental health screening for local police departments. 

Other key aspects of the budget include:

  • $180M to be reinvested in the Healthcare Workforce Initiative to help grow the Illinois healthcare workforce
  • $122M increase in Monetary Award Program funding to help strengthen financial aid for low-income students who want to attend college
  • Special Education funding to receive a $96M funding increase
  • $54.4M towards early childhood programs
  • Pathways To Success Program – which focuses on creating plans for children with complex problems – fully funded at $150M

This is only a small sample of the total budget that was recently passed by both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker. The budget also funds key initiatives around equity, business attraction and community development, and so much more. If you have any questions about the budget that recently passed, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.

Bills that passed the Illinois House in the 2022 Spring Session

By Aniketh Bhaskar, Summer Internship Communications Team

The Illinois General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session adjourned on April 9th, 2022, and State Representative Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, and his colleagues in the Illinois House have been hard at work voting on numerous bills that may improve the lives of his constituents.

Bills that Rep. Didech voted yes on and have been signed into law include:

  • HB4338: Requires that physician-recommended prenatal vitamins are covered by individual and group accident and health insurance policies. This goes into effect in 2023.
  • HB5334: Requires individual, group accident, and health insurance policies to cover the cost of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer.
  • HB1780: Establishes a single, uniform, statewide system of regulation for safe and secure collection and disposal of medicine through a uniform drug take-back program that is operated and funded by pharmaceutical manufacturers. This bill is otherwise known as the “Drug Take-Back Act”.
  • HB4343: Cuts down on red tape that makes Medicaid difficult to navigate and increases the wait time for medical attention to make it easier for seniors and the disabled to maintain their Medicaid eligibility and receive affordable long-term care.

Some bills that Rep. Didech has voted yes on have passed in the House but have not yet passed in the Senate. These include:

  • HB1587: Provides financial assistance to people with disabilities to make home improvements that help support independent living.
  • HB4093: Creates new requirements for issuing permits to own and operate a source of pollution and requires the IEPA to consider environmental justice communities during the environmental permitting process.
  • HB4784: Seeks to redevelop vacant and abandoned properties as affordable housing in communities with concentrated poverty to make housing more accessible and revitalize communities with increased employment and economic growth.
  • HB4850: Expands Title IX to make employers liable for gender-related violence committed in the work environment to discourage workplace discrimination and abuse. 

HB160 and HB169 pass in the House & the Senate

By Sammie Reinstein, Summer Internship Communications Team

These bills make it easier on students to participate in religious traditions.

During this past legislative session, Representative Didech was the chief sponsor of two bills – HB160 and HB169 – that amend the School Code to better enable students to participate in their religions by relieving administrative barriers. Both of these bills were passed by the Illinois General Assembly on May 27, 2021. Currently awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature, upon passing, these bills shall take effect immediately.

HB160 allows students to be excused from physical activity components of physical education classes during a religious fast, if the student’s guardian notifies the school principal in writing. This bill will help ensure student safety while respecting the many diverse cultures that make up our state. This bill was initially proposed by the Northern Illinois American Muslim Alliance with support from the Jewish Federation, the ACLU, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

HB169 excuses a child’s absence from public school due to religious reasons, like observance of a religious holiday or participation in religious instruction. This bill allows the district superintendent to create and distribute specific procedures for religious absences to schools, as opposed to allowing school boards to determine rules pertaining to religious absences. This bill was initially proposed by the Northern Illinois American Muslim Alliance with support from the Jewish Federation, Chicago Teachers Union, National Association of Social Workers – Illinois, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

These two pieces of legislation make it less difficult for students to more fully participate in their religions, reducing some of the administrative burdens and other stresses that may come with missing school classes.

Didech Celebrates Wins from this Legislative Session

By Catherine Cabrera, Summer Internship Communications Team

The spring 2021 legislative session wrapped in June, and many of the bills sponsored by State Representative Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, passed in both houses of the General Assembly. These are currently awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature to officially make them law.

Bills sponsored by Didech that recently passed in the General Assembly include:

● HB 55: Improves the process by which an intellectual disability and the need for guardianship is evaluated, by granting licensed clinical psychologists evaluation authority, changing the definition for “developmental disability” and adding definitions for “intellectual disability” and “related conditions” to reflect the definitions of the Disabilities Services Act of 2003.
● HB 56: Promotes transparency of public institutions by making the total compensation of county elected officials easily accessible by the public. Current state law had complicated gaining easy access to county information regarding what the county provides directly to elected officials, which often neglected to mention additional state stipends.
● HB 58: Permits and enables filing a restrictive covenant modification to any unlawful restrictive covenant that is void under section 3-105 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, specifically for restrictive covenants based on “race, color, religion, or national origin.” This bill was initially proposed by a constituent in Mundelein whose deed contained unlawful restrictive covenants she wanted removed but was held back due to a lack of streamlined modification procedures.
● HB 122: Advances consumer protections in the state by banning early termination and cancellation fees imposed by service providers – telephone, cellular telephone, television, Internet, energy, medical alert system, and water services – if the contract holder dies before the end of the contract.
● HB 160: Excuses students participating in religious fasts from participating in physical activity components of a physical education course, as long as the student’s guardian notifies the school principal in writing in advance.
● HB 168: Advances animal welfare by prohibiting future ownership of a person or person dwelling in the same household from owning, harboring or having custody or control over any animal if the person has been convicted of two or more of the following offenses: (1) a violation of aggravated cruelty; (2) a violation of animals for entertainment; or (3) a violation of dog fighting.
● HB 169: Streamlines the process for excusing a student’s absence from public school due to religious reasons, such as observance of a religious holiday or participation in religious instruction.
● HB 644: Eliminates barriers that unnecessarily restrict the ability of homeowners to install solar energy systems on their property by expediting approvals for solar energy system installations, clarifying the ability of community associations to regulate solar energy systems within their jurisdiction, and amending the scope of the Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act (HEPSA).

Didech Applauds Passage of Drainage District Consolidation

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. – State Rep. Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, is celebrating a victory in his mission to consolidate units of government as both chambers of the General Assembly passed a bill to eliminate unnecessary drainage districts in Illinois.

“Illinois has more overlapping layers of government than any other state, and all those layers cost taxpayers more of their hard-earned money,” said Didech. “We’re taking the small steps we need to consolidate government and save taxpayer money, and I’m proud to be leading that fight.”

Didech is the chief House sponsor of Senate Bill 90, which allows local governments to dissolve drainage districts if those districts largely overlap with municipal boundaries. The bill, which passed both houses and will head to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk for a signature, would eliminate small taxing bodies and absorb them into local municipal and township governments. Didech hopes that the bill will lead to more efficient government and taxpayer savings.

“Illinois continues to struggle with unfair annual property tax increases, and it is crucial that we pursue every reform we can that will place downward pressure on our property tax bills,” said Didech. “This bill will make it easier to consolidate unnecessary taxing bodies and will save money without compromising the quality of services provided to our community.”

Didech Applauds Passage of Jury Equality Bill

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. – State Representative Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, is applauding the passage of a bill that outlaws discrimination against LGBTQ individuals during the jury selection process in Illinois.

“Illinois is a fantastic state when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights and equality, but fighting discrimination is an ongoing process,” said Didech. “I’m looking forward to Governor Pritzker signing this bill to law and moving Illinois one step closer toward complete justice and equality for everyone who lives here.”

Didech is the chief House sponsor of Senate Bill 1378, which amends the Jury Act to prohibit residents from being excluded from jury duty on the basis of their sexual orientation. Historically, LGBTQ+ individuals have been kept off juries at higher rates, especially on cases having to do with LGBTQ+ rights.

Continuing the discussion, Didech is hosting an LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality citizens’ advisory committee meeting with Mike Ziri, the Director of Public Policy for Equality Illinois on Saturday, June 22 at 11 a.m. at the Vernon Township Community Service Building, located at 2900 N. Main St. in Buffalo Grove. Didech hopes members of the community join the conversations on ways to continue to support the LGBTQ+ community throughout Illinois.

“Our state and community have made a lot of progress over the past few years in terms of LGBTQ+ rights and equality,” said Didech. “I’ve seen amazing progress in the last couple of decades in my community, and I want to talk with my neighbors on how we can continue to foster a more welcoming state, country, and world.”

Didech Celebrates Legislation Protecting Women’s Fundamental Rights

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. – Following the General Assembly’s passage of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) last month, state Rep. Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, is celebrating Illinois becoming a national leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose.

“Illinois stands firmly on the right side of history by passing the Reproductive Health Act,” said Didech. “Illinois stands in stark contrast to extreme states like Georgia and Alabama who are seeking to criminalize doctors and women.”

The Reproductive Health Act passed the Illinois House by a narrow vote of 64-50 and was signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday. The act aims to repeal outdated laws still on the books in Illinois, including those that could potentially criminalize doctors and women. Didech hopes that the RHA will serve as a blueprint for defending women’s rights across the nation.

“With draconian legislation passing in other states, and a President appointing Supreme Court Justices looking for an excuse to restrict choice, we need to be ready for a future without Roe v. Wade,” said Didech. “The RHA ensures that, even if lawmakers elsewhere are failing to stand up for what is right, Illinois will defend the right of every woman to make decisions about her own body.”

Didech Rejects Legislative Pay Raise

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. – Leading by example to put Illinois back on track, state Rep. Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, rejecting a legislative pay raise included in the state budget and will be donating the extra money to local charities.

“We did a lot of good work to move our state forward this session, but legislators should not receive a pay raise when people in the state are still struggling,” said Didech. “Our property tax system is still broken. People in my community are still worried about losing their houses or losing their savings. I’m going to be donating my pay raise until those problems are addressed.”

In continuation of a tradition of leading by example that Didech began as Vernon Township Supervisor, he will be donating the extra salary he receives through a cost of living adjustment back to local charitable causes in the district. Didech also passed a measure, Senate Bill 39, to create the Illinois Property Tax Relief Fund in an effort to pass additional saving onto local homeowners by providing a mechanism for the state to directly reduce local property tax bills.

“The hardworking people of our community deserve property tax relief before legislators receive a raise,” said Didech. “I’m fighting for my property tax relief ideas to put extra money in the pocketbooks of people in my community.”