Legislative Update: November 6, 2017

Lawmakers return to Springfield this week for the final three days of the fall veto session. In addition to considering some measures that received either a partial or full veto from the Governor during the spring legislative session, some new bills will also be discussed.

During the first week of veto session (Oct. 24-26), members of the House successfully voted to override 11 vetoes, while three additional attempts at overrides failed to garner the 71 required votes. To view the current status of all vetoed bills, click here.

Legislation Filed to Battle Culture of Harassment Against Women in Springfield
Recent national news regarding sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has ignited a debate over the culture of harassment in Springfield. Several pieces of legislation were filed over the last two weeks in response to an open letter by legislators, lobbyists, and others identifying and condemning a culture of sexual harassment in the Capitol. As a result, members of the General Assembly are moving forward in a bipartisan manner to address the serious problem. A few of the measures would require sexual harassment training for all lawmakers and lobbyists, while another would create a harassment hotline number for victims. I support these efforts and hope they will help change this cultural problem in Springfield. No one should ever have to endure sexual harassment in their workplace, and we need to do everything in our power to increase behavioral standards and make sure all who work in and around the Capitol know that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

Breen Continues to Push for Hearing on “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”
When HB 40 was signed into law several weeks ago, it put Illinois taxpayers on the hook to pay for an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 abortions each year. Shortly thereafter, I wrote and filed HB 4114, which would create the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” HB 4114 would reverse key provisions of HB 40 by prohibiting units of government from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions. Within hours of my filing of HB 4114, I had a long list of bipartisan co-sponsors. In spite of strong bipartisan support for my bill, Speaker Mike Madigan has buried it in his powerful House Rules Committee.

I continue to push for a fair hearing and vote on my bill. Not only would HB 4114 address significant opposition by pro-life Illinoisans who do not wish to have their tax dollars spent on elective abortions, the bill would put Illinois back in line with longstanding federal statutes on this issue. The legislation is modeled after the federal Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions, other than for procedures sought in connection with pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother.

Breen Legislation that Helps Protect Illinoisans in Wake of Equifax Data Breach Sails through Illinois House
On September 7 of this year, one of the country’s three main credit agencies, Equifax, announced a cybercrime that exposed 145.5 million U.S. residents to the potential of identity theft. Of those who had their names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and other personal pieces of sensitive information compromised, 5.6 million were from Illinois. During the first week of veto session, legislation that helped prevent Illinoisans from becoming victims of identity theft sailed through the Illinois House in a unanimous vote. HB 4095 is a consumer protection bill that would make it easier for people to freeze their credit reports when fraud is suspected. Currently, credit agencies can charge up to $10 each time a consumer freezes their credit report, but HB 4095 would now set that fee at $0, prohibiting credit agencies from charging those who need to freeze their reports. The legislation also requires that consumers be allowed to request a credit freeze by either phone or online communication, not just via certified mail. The bill is now pending in the Senate, where action is expected this week.

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