Senator Lewis Sends Four Bills to Governor for Final Action
More than 500 bills covering a variety of topics were sent to the Governor for his signature or veto during the 2023 spring legislative session.
During my first spring session as a State Senator, I successfully passed four bills that are now on their way to the Governor for final action. Several other bills, for which I served as the Chief Co-Sponsor, are also awaiting final action by the Governor.
One of the bills I passed this year expands access to lifesaving cancer screenings, and another for which I serve as the Chief Co-Sponsor, provides cancer patients with access to cutting-edge treatment options. Through these two pieces of legislation, we will improve people’s chances of beating cancer. As you may recall, in 2021, when I was serving in the House of Representatives, I passed House Bill 2109, known as “Cal’s Law,” which provides for individualized cancer treatment through diagnostic biomarker testing for children with cancer.
The bills I passed this year include:
House Bill 3202 mandates coverage for home saliva cancer screening tests every two years for at-risk individuals in the state. It is Senator Lewis’ second piece of legislation that provides for insurance coverage for biomarker testing for cancers.
House Bill 2799 requires insurance companies and managed care plans to provide coverage for medically necessary proton beam therapy for the treatment of cancer, and prohibits insurers and managed care plan providers from requiring a higher standard of clinical evidence deeming the proton beam treatment necessary.
House Bill 2094 protects homeowners from deceptive marketing practices by putting additional safeguards in place to restrict how junk mail generators can use the name of a bank or credit union. It will help Illinois crack down on deceptive mortgage marketing companies, and help unknowing consumers from being scammed.
House Bill 2622 amends the Downstate Forest Preserve District Act to remove a burdensome restriction that limits the number of years districts can maintain a landfill expense fund. This bill was an initiative of the Forest District of DuPage County.
Lewis Summer Events Calendar Offers Something for Everyone!
My summer and fall community outreach events are already off and running, and we are offering a wide variety of events for the residents of the 24th District. Mark your calendars now for these fun and free events:
- Thursday, June 15, Traveling Office Hours: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Wheaton Public Library, 225 N Cross St, Wheaton
- Tuesday, June 20, Unclaimed Property Day: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Itasca Park District, 350 Irving Park Rd, Itasca (Representatives of the Secretary of State’s Office will be available to help people search the state’s “unclaimed property and cash” database. One of four people find cash or property they are owed!)
- Friday, June 23, Kids Fair: 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Erickson Elementary School, 277 Springfield Dr, Bloomingdale
- Saturday, July 22, Document Shredding Event: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM, Bierman Park, 1253 Woodlake Dr, Carol Stream
- Thursday, July 27, How to Lower Your Utility Bill: 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Wheaton Public Library, 225 N Cross St, Wheaton (Representatives from the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) will share tips on how to lower your bill and advice on how to avoid scams)
- Wednesday, September 13, Senior Fair: Wheaton Community Center, 1777 S Blanchard St, Wheaton
- Wednesday, September 27, Unclaimed Property Day: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Wheaton Community Center, 1777 S Blanchard St, Wheaton (Representatives of the Secretary of State’s Office will be available to help people search the state’s “unclaimed property and cash” database. One of four people find cash or property they are owed!)
As dates approach, additional information will be available on my website. Additionally, new events are added regularly, so visit SenatorLewis.com often to find more information.
Senator Lewis Supports Reinstatement of Blue Collar Jobs Act
In the days leading up to the approval of the FY 2024 budget, Senate Republican budget negotiators were able to work collaboratively to bring back an important package of tax incentives that create jobs and grow the Illinois economy.
The reinstatement of the Blue Collar Jobs Act is a definite step in the right direction for Illinois. Rather than placing additional burdens on our job creators, we are finally putting businesses first, and providing them with incentives to build, stay, grow, and thrive in Illinois. I was a vocal advocate for the reinstatement of this package of tax credits.
The Blue Collar Jobs Act program supports large-scale economic development activities by providing income tax credits to companies that make substantial capital investments in Illinois. The tax credits are based on the wages paid to construction workers employed on eligible projects, and are based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. The Act includes:
- High Impact Business (HIB) Construction Jobs Credit: Equals 50% of the “incremental income tax” attributable to qualified construction jobs for a designated HIB taxpayer during the construction period with an investment of at least $12 million.
- Enterprise Zone (EZ) Construction Jobs Credit: Equals 50% of the incremental income tax attributable to qualified construction jobs for approved capital investments of at least $10 million located in an EZ during the construction period.
- River Edge (RE) Construction Jobs Credit: Equals 50% of the incremental income tax attributable to qualified construction jobs for approved rehabilitation plan of at least $ 1 million located in a RE during the construction period (applicable for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021).
- New Construction Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Credit: Discretionary credit for up to 50% of the incremental income tax attributable to qualified construction jobs during the construction period for approved capital investment projects over $10 million.
To be eligible, a company must be located in an Enterprise Zone or a River Edge Redevelopment Zone, designated as a High Impact Business, or have an agreement under the Economic Development for a Growing Economy Program. Each pre-requisite program has differing job creation and capital investment minimums/requirements.
I would encourage all entrepreneurs to look at Illinois when choosing where to take their capital investment. Helping middle class families by providing good jobs with decent wages is incredibly important, and the Blue Collar Jobs Act will go far in accomplishing that goal.
Additional information about the program and a universal application can be found at https://dceo.illinois.gov/expandrelocate/incentives/bcja.html .
FY 2024 budget passes despite bipartisan opposition
The recently-approved Fiscal Year 2024 budget sets a new record-high spending of $50.6 billion. While there were many good elements in the budget, I could not support it because it did not meet the expectations of everyday Illinois families. Following the adoption of the budget, I issued this statement:
“We live in a wonderful state with great potential, and we had an opportunity this year to collaborate on a Fiscal Year 2024 budget that reflects the priorities of the people and families that call Illinois home. Unfortunately, I could not support the budget because I felt it came up short in addressing issues my constituents have said are important to them. They just want safe streets, good schools, opportunities to be successful, and to know that our state’s most vulnerable citizens have the services they need.
“I saw glimpses of bipartisanship in this year’s budget process and that gives me hope for future budget discussions. The reinstatement of the Blue Collar Jobs Act was an important priority for Republicans, and I was pleased to see bipartisan support for bringing that important job-creating program back. But there is much more we could have done to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and help our job creators build, grow and thrive in this state. Those conversations will continue.”
Questions remain about whether the budget will truly be balanced at the year’s end. Hidden within the pages of the 3,500-page budget and its budget implementation document are several “low-balled” spending initiatives that could put the state’s spending well over expected revenues. This includes a program solely funded by Illinois taxpayers that provides free healthcare to undocumented immigrants. Illinois is currently the only state in the nation to provide this level of healthcare to noncitizens ages 42 and older.
During budget hearings throughout the year, the Governor’s Administration provided a cost estimate of the program at $1.1 billion. Despite knowing this estimate, the Majority Party only allocated $550 million to the program in the budget—just half of what it is expected to cost taxpayers. While Democrats claim that they also provided the Governor with rule-making authority to rein in the ballooning program, it’s hard to believe that a rule change will be able to reduce the costs by half, especially after the Governor and the Majority Party have made it clear they would not be willing to cut existing enrollees from the program.
We also have an AFSCME contract coming up, which the Governor is expected to agree to, at an additional cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Funding for this new contract for thousands of state employees was left out of the budget. With just a $100 million surplus in the legislatively approved FY 2024 budget plan, it is doubtful that the minimal surplus will be enough to cover the true costs of the state.
Senator Lewis Celebrates District 24 Nurses
In mid-May, nurses were celebrated across the nation and state. As National Nurses Appreciation Week concluded in Illinois, I had the privilege of touring Central DuPage Hospital and delivering treats to the nursing staff. I was especially impressed with the hospital’s Mobile Stroke Unit, which brings life-saving technology into the field and a time when minutes truly affect stroke outcomes.
Click here to watch a short video highlighting the stops on the tour.
State Government to Set Profit Margins for Private Sector Insurance Companies
In May, the Senate passed House Bill 2296, which allows state government to dictate profit levels for private insurance companies. I feel strongly that state government needs to stop interfering with the private sector and allow the free market system to work. I worry that with the passage of this bill, insurance carriers will stop offering certain kinds of insurance or leave the Illinois market completely, which helps no one.
Click here to watch my Senate floor remarks.
Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Nominations Are Open
Since 2002, the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) has hosted nominations and selections for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. These nominations include outdoor sportsmen and women, conservationists, or preservationists who have made significant contributions or exhibited dedication in preserving, promoting, enhancing, or supporting natural resources or outdoor recreational opportunities.
The number of inductees varies, but historically no more than five have been selected each year. After being selected, the honorees are invited to the annual Hall of Fame Gala.
Nominations are currently open and will close July 14. All nomination applications are to be submitted by email in PDF form. Mail-in applications will not be accepted. More information on the application process can be found on ICF’s website.