Our 2023 Legislative Agenda

Illinois’ 103rd General Assembly elected last fall is the most diverse and progressive in the state’s history.  With a supportive Governor, Illinois lawmakers have the opportunity to enact a wide range of critical progressive policies to improve the lives of our citizens and strengthen our democracy.  State action is particularly important given the likely stalemate in the U.S. Congress over the next two years.  Citizen Action/Illinois is actively supporting many legislative initiatives to that end.  Below are several of the key measures we are currently working on:

Affordable, Accessible, and High-Quality Healthcare

Healthcare Premium AffordabilitySB 1912 (Fine) 

Illinois consumers and small businesses are struggling to keep up with skyrocketing health insurance premium increases. This bill gives the Department of Insurance the authority to review, modify or reject proposed health insurance rate increases protecting over one million Illinoisans from excessive rate increases.

Affordable Insulin HB 2189 (Guzzardi)/SB 1559 (Murphy)

No one should have to go without access to lifesaving medication like insulin because they can’t afford it. Illinois capped insulin co-pays for state-regulated health plans at $100 in 2021 – this bill further reduces the co-pay cap to $35 and creates a short-term emergency insulin program for uninsured or underinsured Illinoisans who would not otherwise have access to affordable insulin. 

Health Care Cultural CompetencyHB 2280 (Avelar)/ SB 2427 (Villivalam)

Patients of all backgrounds and identities deserve to be treated by providers who understand their diverse needs. This bill would require cultural competency training to be part of existing continuing medical education for healthcare professionals in Illinois, helping healthcare providers stay abreast of the trends needed to meet the social and cultural needs of an evolving patient base and support better patient outcomes, particularly for those communities who have been most marginalized in health care settings

Anti-Price-Gouging of Generic Drugs –  HB 3957 (Syed)

This bill puts an end to corporate price-gouging that makes generic prescription drugs more and more unaffordable for patients. Generic drug manufacturers do not have research and development costs and should be less expensive than brand-name drugs, but some companies buy the exclusive rights to manufacture certain drugs and then raise the prices exorbitantly with no price controls.  This bill would allow the Illinois Attorney General to investigate when prices increase beyond a certain level.

Expanding Voting Rights

Voting in PrisonsHB 39 (Ford)

Like everyone else, incarcerated individuals are affected by decisions made by our elected officials. But without the right to vote, incarcerated individuals have no voice to hold elected officials accountable. Disenfranchisement disproportionately impacts young, Black, and low-income Illinoisans. This bill restores the right to vote no later than 14 days post-conviction.

Pre-registration for 16-year-oldsSB2072 (Castro)/HB2446 (Syed)

Registering to vote should be easy and accessible for everyone. Pre-registration for 16-year-olds engages them in the voting process early on and reduces barriers to voting when they become eligible to vote. 

Improving Conditions for Illinois Workers

Paid Family and Medical LeaveHB 1530 (Harper)/SB 1234 (Villivalam)

Whether it’s to deal with a serious personal or family illness, or to care for a new child, all workers deserve the flexibility to take time away from work. But few have access to paid family leave through their employers or to employer-provided short-term disability insurance. This bill provides 12 weeks of partially-paid leave for FMLA reasons and would broaden the definition of “family member” for whom a worker could take leave to care for.

Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers SB 293 (Pacione-Zayas)

Tipped workers in Illinois lose millions of dollars annually because tips do not cover the gap between their sub minimum $7.80 hourly wage and the $13 minimum wage. This legislation would gradually eliminate the subminimum wage for over 200,000 tipped workers in Illinois, who are mostly women, and allow workers to earn a full minimum wage with tips on top by 2025.

Increasing the Human Exposure PenaltyHB 2254 (Avelar)/ SB 203 (Villa)

This legislation is a response to a terrible incident in DeWitt County, where a group of at least 25 migrant workers was sprayed overhead multiple times while working in a cornfield. Workers displayed multiple days of symptoms like headaches, eye and skin irritation, and vomiting. Although the Department of Agriculture process under the Illinois Pesticide Act, determined the sprayer was at fault, the maximum penalty they could impose was a mere $750. This bill significantly increases the penalties for human exposure to deter future incidents and protect workers.

Temp Worker Fairness & SafetyHB 1604 (Gonzalez)/SB 281 (Peters)

Illinois has over 850,000 temp workers who often do the same work as their full-time colleagues without the same job security, benefits, or protections. Temp workers are more likely to be formerly incarcerated, undocumented, and unhoused, and are particularly at risk for exploitation. This bill makes it easier for temp workers to get hired permanently and protects them from unfair labor practices.

Work Without Fear ActHB 0361 (Jimenez)

Immigrant workers are often afraid to report abuses from employers due to having few protections from retaliation. This law would protect employees from immigration-related threats when reporting labor violations like wage theft, discrimination, and unsafe working conditions. It would also give the Attorney General the power to investigate and fine employers who make immigration-status threats against workers.

Protecting Consumers from Predatory and Discriminatory Practices

Protect Rideshare Passengers from Assault and Injury HB 2231 (Gong-Gershowitz)

Under current Illinois law, rideshare companies are exempt from rules that hold other transportation companies and their drivers accountable for the care of their passengers. This bill would remove this exemption and will help ensure accountability for the negligence of these companies and their drivers and allow future victims a fair chance at accessing justice for the harms that they endure.

Fair Car Insurance Rates –  HB 2203 (Guzzardi)

Illinois is one of only two states whose regulators have no power to reject or modify excessive car insurance rate hikes. Insurers regularly use credit scores and other non-driving factors such as education level and gender to set rates. HB2203 would establish a process for the Department of Insurance to review proposed rates for car insurance and end the discriminatory use of non-driving factors to set rates.

Expansion of Eviction Sealing HB 1569 (Ford)/SB 242 (Villa)

Having an eviction filing on your record hampers your ability to find a home, regardless of the outcome of the case. Illinois eviction filings remain in the public record indefinitely, trapping people and families in poverty. Based on pre-pandemic data, more than 50% of eviction filings in Illinois do not result in a judgment against the tenant. This bill expands equitable access to housing by increasing the sealing of eviction records.

Rent Control Ban Exemption for Manufactured HomesHB 3104 (Rashid)

In manufactured home communities, the families own their homes, but rent the land on which their home is located. During the last 25 years, many manufactured home communities in Illinois have been bought up by out-of-state development companies—including hedge funds, private equity firms, and real estate investment trusts—that are focused on increasing rent as much as they can to turn a profit. This bill exempts manufactured home communities from the Rent Control Preemption Act.

OPPOSING Predatory Income Share AgreementsOppose HB 1519 (West)

This bill would create a licensing framework for Income Share Agreements, a form of student loan where the student receives funding for college in exchange for a percentage of their future income. The current bill language would license highly predatory ISAs with interest rates upwards of 20% APR and would disadvantage low-income students, many of  whom would pay more under an ISA than they would under a conventional loan.