State Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — The governor signed legislation by State Sen. Linda Holmes and Attorney General Lisa Madigan to streamline some state laws to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in Illinois.

“Simplifying and streamlining codes makes it easier to comply with laws, and making accessibility laws easier to follow will help ensure equal access for people with disabilities who live in and visit our state,” said Holmes. “I applaud Attorney General Madigan’s leadership on this issue and thank the governor for signing it into law.”

Attorney General Lisa Madigan called for the legislation, sponsored by Holmes, to update the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act (EBA). First enacted in 1985, that statute authorizes the Attorney General’s Office to enforce accessibility laws mandating that public buildings and multi-story housing units in Illinois be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

“Our commitment to equality for all must extend to making sure people who have disabilities have equal access to facilities within their communities,” Madigan said. “People who have disabilities lead active lives, and our laws should enhance their ability to do so.”

The legislation that passed today amends the EBA to update state law with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design and streamlines the existing state statute so architects have an easier time referencing the law.

Changes to the Environmental Barriers Act under this update include:

  • Updating definitions to conform with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and corresponding updates to the Illinois Accessibility Code;
  • Replacing an outdated state standard for accessibility with an easier-to-use standard that mirrors the ADA;
  • Clarifying which version of the EBA and the Illinois Accessibility Code applies to new construction and alterations; and
  • Updating the enforcement provisions to reflect the current emphasis on working with businesses to resolve issues and alleviate future barriers for individuals with disabilities.

The legislation was Senate Bill 2956. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Category: New Releases

 

State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement after voting for a measure that would enact automatic voter registration in Illinois.

“Everyone from President Obama down to the citizens who need to stand in line for hours to exercise their rights as American citizens is calling for this,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “This isn’t complicated: If more people are registered, more people will vote. I urge the House and Governor Rauner to make this the law and strengthen the voice of the people.”

Senate Bill 250 passed the Illinois Senate 42-16. It proceeds to the Illinois House for consideration.

Category: New Releases

Senator Holmes on the floor of the Illinois SenateCalling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to act quickly to avoid the loss of crucial federal matching funds intended to provide health insurance to children, State Sen. Linda Holmes urged him to sign an extension to the Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act after it passed the Senate 44-12 today.

“There’s a reason that All Kids has met with bipartisan support: It’s an important program that’s good for children and families,” Holmes said. “It’s also a program for which the federal government provides matching funding, and that means we risk losing twice the funding for the children who need health care the most if Governor Rauner does not act. I urge him to sign this authorization.”

The program covers an estimated 41,000 children from working poor families, regardless of their immigration status, and is one reason Illinois has the second highest rate of health coverage for Latino children in the nation at 95.5 percent. It constitutes roughly one half of one percent of the state’s health insurance spending while bringing in $40 million in federal matching funds.

The Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act will end July 1 unless Governor Rauner signs House Bill 5736, which would extend the sunset date to October 1, 2019.

Category: New Releases

AURORA — State Sen. Linda Holmes issued the following statement after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed funding for Monetary Award Program grants for college students this afternoon.

“Denying students this aid is undermining their hard work and putting universities in an impossible position,” Holmes said. “Our students and our state can’t afford to wait for these funds any longer.”

Category: New Releases

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