After countless hours of advocacy and a roller coaster of emotions during the past four months, HB 3259 passed out of the House yesterday afternoon around 5:30 by a unanimous vote of 113-0! Click here for the official roll call. Seeing the roll call board light up with such support, as well as hearing the eruption of bi-partisan cheers on the floor once the bill passed, was an unforgettable moment that is the direct result of all of your sacrifices and meetings with legislators, calling and emailing your representatives to ensure support, and vowing to stay the course no matter how many times you were told by others that “the bill is dead,” “good luck getting that bill out of committee,” or “there are lots of other people hurting now, too.” I would be remiss if I did not invoke the notion that hearts DO change minds. It may not happen as quickly as we would prefer, but it can and does happen; this victory in the House is indeed proof of the power of passionate persuasion. I hope you will each take time to savor the moment and be proud of our village.
The Current Landscape:
HB 3259 is in the Senate and boasts 80 co-sponsors at last count. We are up against the clock to have time to get HB 3259 through the Senate by the end of tomorrow. We had hoped for its first reading in the Senate to occur yesterday; however, the Senate adjourned prior to HB 3259 being voted out of the House. Therefore, we will only have time for HB 3259 to get through final reading in that chamber if the Senate would happen to go past midnight tomorrow. Otherwise, we will continue to push it in June as I am told by most everyone in leadership that there will be no budget tomorrow, and the legislature will definitely convene after Wednesday. Senator Harmon has filed for chief Senate sponsorship of HB 3259. SB 1695 will not be called; however, we would expect all of its 36 Senate co-sponsors to vote favorably for HB 3259.
We have less than 48 hours to go in this regularly scheduled spring session. There are numerous proposals floating around and some that are not yet disclosed to the public. Also, we have SBs 6 and SB 9 as amended that are currently in the House and provide for full FY17 & FY18 funding. Unfortunately, the governor has already made clear through social media and press interviews that he will not support this legislation because, in his opinion, it does not go far enough for workers’ compensation and property tax reforms. Thus, we may be facing yet another stop gap bill and another year of no full budget, which sadly would not be unexpected.
What Can YOU do RIGHT NOW?
(1) Call your senator or anyone with whom you have a good relationship and ask for his/her support on HB 3259 in the Senate. We are no longer advocating for SB 1695 because it is not going to be called, so please do not ask for support with SB 1695.
(2) Call senators who are not co-sponsors on SB 1695 and ask them to support HB 3259 as it makes its way through the Senate. Remind them that this bill has bi-partisan support, including leadership and (presumably) Governor Rauner since his proposed budget includes DV at full funding. Click here for a list of co-sponsors on SB 1695 and click here for a full roster of senators so that you can contact those who are not co-sponsors of SB 1695. During your call or within your email, please also ask for domestic violence to be fully funded in any other budget bill(s) that may be proposed and passed.
(3) On Thursday or Friday, take time to write a quick appreciation note to your House member thanking her/him for supporting HB 3259 and to Greg Harris for both calling the bill in committee and his floor vote.