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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to protect workers from local right-to-work laws passed the Senate today.

“I am proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation that would make it crystal clear that local right-to-work zones have no place in the state of Illinois. Workers deserve the right to collectively bargain for living wages and better working conditions in every part of our great state,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “Furthermore, there is no question that the regulation of collective bargaining should be a responsibility of state government.”

Senate Bill 1474 is designed to support economic development, protect the quality of essential services that are provided to the taxpayers of Illinois, and confirm the state’s commitment to maintaining and producing a highly trained workforce.

“The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act is commonsense legislation that keeps a level playing field in Illinois for employers and employees,” said Michael T. Carrigan, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “Right to work zones will only create a race to the bottom concerning wages and economic security in our communities. This bill protects middle class families.”

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation Sponsored by State Senator Ram Villivalam to advance equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) older adults passed the Illinois Senate’s Human Services Committee today.

“It is important to protect our LGTBQ population at all ages. The older members of this community face very specific challenges as they age,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “We need to ensure that the environments in assisted living facilities are welcoming and inclusive, and I’m proud to say this legislation does just that.”

Senate Bill 1319 would help cultivate affirming environments in assisted living facilities for LGBTQ older adults, many of whom face unique challenges as they age because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression.

In such facilities, SB 1319 would protect people from discrimination for all the protected categories in the Illinois Human Rights Act, including race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

SB 1319 also ensures LGBTQ elders and people living with HIV will be top priority for aging programs funded through the federal Older Americans Act. The bill also protects all Illinoisans from discrimination in assisted living and shared housing facilities by applying non-discrimination language to the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) released a statement following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address this afternoon.

"It is a relief to serve with a governor who shares our values,” Villivalam said. “We have difficult choices ahead of us. This budget won’t be a solution to all of the problems we face in Illinois, but it's a start.”

The budget proposed by Pritzker, which covers July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, calls for increased funding for education paid for by revenues that will be primarily created with the legalization of recreational marijuana and sports gambling.

“Investing in education is one of the most important things we can do as legislators. To keep our young people in Illinois we need to provide quality higher education opportunities in our state so they go to school here, get jobs here and choose to raise their families here,” Villivalam said. “By no means will these new revenue sources solve every problem we face, but ensuring that all students in Illinois in K-12 and beyond have the tools to succeed is a good start.”

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – A bill was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker today that will gradually increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 an hour.

“Today's historic minimum wage success is thanks to a broad coalition of labor, business, advocates, members of the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker,"Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. "At long last working people will be provided with a sense of dignity, fairness and stability in everyday life while also allowing them to spend money on things they need, resulting in a boost to our local economies."

This legislation is the result of the hard work and collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders. Labor and business organizations such as Tom Balanoff, Greg Kelley, Diane Palmer and SEIU Healthcare, as well as Sam Toia and the Illinois Restaurant Association, were instrumental in putting 1.4 million Illinoisans on the path to a living wage. The new law also includes tax credits for small businesses.

Senate Bill 1 will be phased in over six years to provide businesses time to adapt to a new minimum wage in Illinois. SB 1 will raise the minimum wage to:
• $9.25 per hour from Jan. 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020
• $10 per hour from July 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020
• $11 per hour from Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021
• $12 per hour from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022
• $13 per hour from Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2023
• $14 per hour from Jan. 1, 2024, to Dec. 31, 2024
• $15 per hour on and after Jan. 1, 2025

Category: Press Releases

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