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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Senate approved a tax reform package on Wednesday that would at long last ensure that those who are wealthiest are paying their fair share.

State Senator Ram Villivalam issued the following statement:

"The premise of creating a fair tax is simple: millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share while we work to provide some tax relief for working families and ensure economic stability,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. "Right now, our government taxes the income of all Illinoisans at the same level, whether you're making $40,000 a year or $40 million a year. We are one of only nine states that still stands by this unfair and fiscally irresponsible policy. This vote is the first step toward taxing residents more fairly and righting our fiscal ship."

The package of legislation will now be heard before the House of Representatives.

Category: Press Releases

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Wednesday night State Senator Ram Villivalam was joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and State Representative Mark Kalish for a town hall meeting with constituents.

Sen Villivalam spoke about legislation furthering protections for those working in the hospitality industry.

“Sexual harassment against service workers is an oft-ignored epidemic, with 58% of hotel workers and 77% of casino workers reporting some kind of harassment or unwanted advance from a guest,” Villivalam said. “Those numbers are absolutely unacceptable, and I decided to do something about it.”

The legislation would require hotels and casinos to have sexual harassment policies in place in addition to providing safety buttons that would alert security to the presence of an assailant.

In addition, Sen. Villivalam took questions regarding changes to the tax system in Illinois.

“It took decades of poor decisions to get Illinois in its current fiscal situation. Turning our finances around will be hard, but one way to start is to explore our options to close the corporate loopholes that exist today because quite frankly it’s not appropriate given our financial situation,” Villivalam said. “We need to also explore additional revenue sources that are going to be available to us such as sports betting and legalizing cannabis, and I look forward to partaking in these discussions with my colleagues as we close out the spring session.”

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to improve the safety of hotel and casino employees was approved today by the Senate.

“I’m proud that the first piece of legislation I filed in Springfield proactively ensures that workers at hotels and casinos are protected against sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Senator Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “One of my top legislative priorities is furthering protections for working people in Illinois, and this bill protect some of the hardest working people in the hospitality industries.”

Senate Bill 75 calls for hotels and casinos to ensure that a sexual harassment policy is in place to protect their employees. In addition, it requires that employees who work in closed spaces have access to a safety button or notification device that would alert security to the presence of assailants.

Similar measures have been adopted in Chicago, Seattle, New York City, and Miami Beach. In the wake of this movement, a number of prominent hotel operators have voluntarily pledged to roll out safety buttons by 2020, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and InterContinental Hotels Group.

“No one deserves to feel unsafe in their work environment,” Villivalam said. “By following the example of some of the nation’s most populous cities, we will provide a safer and more productive workplace to those who work at these facilities. I also want to thank UNITE HERE, the Hotel and Motel Association and Caesars Entertainment for their advocacy on this legislation.”

The legislation moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to protect immigration status in a civil case passed the Senate today.

State Senator Ram Villivalam is the chief sponsor of this initiative.

“In spite and especially because of what Donald Trump says and does at the national level as it relates to immigrants, SB 1429 cements the fact that the state of Illinois is a welcoming state to all immigrants,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “People are clearly afraid that their immigration status will be used against them should they even make it to a civil proceeding. This legislation will ensure that immigration status remains confidential and cannot be used against them.”

SB 1429 would make a person's immigration status generally inadmissible in civil proceedings unless it is essential to prove the element of a case or an affirmative defense. If enacted, Illinois would be following the lead of Washington and California, both of which have enacted a similar policy.

“No immigrant should be fearful of coming forward to report an injustice, whether it be a workers' compensation issue or an instance of sexual assault,” Villivalam said. “If it’s not relevant to the case, it should be off limits.”
This legislation now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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