Senator Holmes speaks out in favor of CCAP fundingThe State Journal-Register - July 15, 2015 | Original article

By Dean Olsen

Advocates for low-income families needing state-subsidized child care blasted Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday for putting in place more stringent eligibility guidelines that have reduced new enrollment in the program to a trickle.

"This is one of the most coldhearted measures a governor can take," Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, said at a Capitol news conference alongside more than a dozen of her fellow Democrats from the Illinois House and Senate.

She said Rauner's decision is counterproductive for someone who has said he wants to be business-friendly and compassionate. Subsidized child care is essential for low-wage workers, often single parents, to afford to work or further their educations, Holmes said.

"Is it business-friendly to tell parents: 'Oh, by the way, you can't work your job. ... You have to stay home to take care of your kids because there is no child care assistance for you?' " Holmes said.

Read the full story at the Springfield State Journal-Register.

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Illinois Business Journal - July 2015 Issue | Original Article

By Dennis Grubaugh

In March, [Governor Bruce Rauner] appointed a 25-person bipartisan panel to explore ways to consolidate taxing bodies as well as reduce the number of unfunded mandates the state imposes on local communities.

He named Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti to chair the task force.

...

The committee is charged with coming up with a set of recommendations by year’s end. While some recommendations may go nowhere, others are likely to become legislation, quickly or over a period of years. The committee discusses and votes on individual recommendations at each meeting, said state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, a committee member and a longtime advocate of consolidation.

Meetings have focused about evenly between consolidation and unfunded mandates.

“There’s definitely been progress. There have been several meetings and a lot of conversation and public comment,” said Holmes, who was first elected in 2006. Discussions about the size and scope of government have grown in frequency in recent years, she said.

At the most recent meeting, the potential for debate, as well as agreement, was reflected. On one issue, panel members agreed that all of Illinois’ 102 counties should have the same ability that DuPage County has, which is the ability to recommend consolidations within its own county.

 “A lot of the consolidation issues are being looked upon favorably,” Holmes said.

Another topic, though, showed the potential for disagreement.

“One of the items we voted on was reforming or eliminating prevailing wage. I voted no on it. I couldn’t see what prevailing wage had to do with either consolidation or mandates.”

Some unfunded mandates have their place, Holmes said. Physical education in schools, for instance.

“I’m not sure I want to leave that up to every individual school. Some would do an exemplary job, but I’m not sure all schools would do that. I want to make sure our children are getting the physical activity they need.”

She agreed that every recommendation regarding consolidation raises the potential for opposition because of jobs that could be lost.

“That’s a legitimate concern,” Holmes said. “And I think it needs to be weighed very carefully. But there may be a way of taking these issues and phasing them in over a number of years so you’re not causing an immediate effect.”

Read the full article at The Illinois Business Journal.

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Holmes addresses the Senate July 1, 2015


SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Linda Holmes spoke up in favor of a one-month temporary budget on the floor of the Illinois Senate Wednesday, and issued the following statement as Illinois state agencies faced shutdown for lack of a 2016 budget.

“I’m disappointed that Illinoisans will go without the services for which they have paid due to needless arguments over issues unrelated to the state budget,” Holmes said. “I have joined my colleagues in the Senate in presenting a budget to Governor Rauner in the hopes of reaching a compromise.”

“I ask the Governor now to set aside political matters and focus on fiscal matters. Every day he does not, our childcare centers face closure, our seniors face the possibility of having to leave their homes and all taxpayers face disruptions in their daily lives.”

Holmes voted in favor of a one-month provisionary budget that would keep essential state services in operation as lawmakers continue negotiating a full 2016 budget. The measure passed the Illinois Senate without Republican support. It proceeds to the House for consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD — Women should not face cost barriers when considering whether to undergo a more thorough, 3D imaging process that can more accurately detect breast cancer, say Illinois Senate Democrats as new legislation works its way through the General Assembly to address women’s health needs.

“Increased access to more thorough, more modern forms of medical technology will mean fewer of our mothers and daughters and sisters taken from us by breast cancer,” said Senator Linda Holmes, D-Aurora.

House Bill 3673, which passed the Illinois House in April, would require 3D mammograms to be covered under women’s comprehensive health insurance plans. A related proposal, Senate Bill 54, sponsored by State Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, requires annual three dimensional mammograms to be covered under women’s insurance plans.

Currently, insurance companies must cover an annual, flat image scan at regular intervals for women over 40. Such scans can potentially miss abnormalities, particularly in women with denser breast tissue. Three dimensional scans find 40 percent more invasive cancers than 2D scans and better visualize any abnormalities, according to the American Cancer Society.

Using the newer method gives doctors a clearer view and could eliminate mistaken diagnoses, Mulroe said.

“Breast cancer is deadly and devastating to families. Early detection not only saves lives and the related cost of future treatment, but it also eliminates the anxiety women experience waiting for the call back date,” Mulroe said.
 
The measures have met with broad support among Senate Democrats.

“It is critically important that women have access to breast cancer screenings,” said Senator Iris Y. Martinez. “Women have a much better chance of surviving from breast cancer if it is detected early.”

“It’s always important to me to support legislation that improves women’s access to health care,” said Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th), a co-sponsor of both measures. “Breast cancer is a leading killer of Illinois women, and early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, so I applaud these efforts to connect all women – particularly those who are low-income – to regular screenings and the highest quality of care.”

“These proposals make cutting edge medical technology more accessible for more women,” said Senator Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake. “In the long run, that’s not just going to save money, it’s going to save the lives of our mothers and daughters.”

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