13032018KS0696SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) advanced a series of proposals through a key Senate committee yesterday to extend the same rights granted to firefighters to paramedics that are also employed by units of local government.

“Just like firefighters, paramedics face life-threatening circumstances to save lives and serve our communities,” Holmes said. “We owe it to paramedics and their families to give them the same rights as firefighters for the dangerous sacrifices they are willing to make.”

Holmes’s proposals include:
•    House Bill 126, which includes paramedics in the same collective bargaining unit as firefighters
•    House Bill 127, which extends health coverage and educational benefits to paramedics and EMTs if they suffer a catastrophic injury or are killed in the line of duty
•    House Bill 5221, which allows paramedics to continue to receive the same rate of pay if they are injured in the line of duty and are unable to continue working

The legislation will only affect the approximately sixty paramedics employed by units of local government, which includes those in Masouctah, Menard County, Morton, Highland, Troy and Union County.

The proposals Each of Holmes’ proposals passed the Illinois Senate Labor Committee yesterday. They will now be heard by the full Illinois Senate.

Category: New Releases

05022018KS3673SPRINGFIELD – To combat the growing obesity epidemic, the Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2572 to require public school districts to offer 150 minutes of physical education to students in grades K-12 each week. State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) was the sponsor.

As of 2016, more that 31 percent of Illinois adults were considered obese, ranking 18th in the United States. This is a significant increase from 20 percent in 2000 and 12 percent in 1990.

“The lessons students learn through their childhood affect the rest of their lives,” Holmes said. “Teaching them to maintain healthy, active lives when they are in school will help them stay healthy for the rest of their lives.”

Previously, school districts were required to offer daily physical education classes. The new school funding formula passed by the General Assembly in 2017 decreased the physical education requirement to three days per week. Holmes’s proposal allows the school districts to decide the frequency of classes, as long as they provide a total of 150 minutes each week.

“We require school districts to teach our children skills we deem vital to their future, like math, science and English,” Holmes said. “Teaching kids how to live healthy lives in the future may be the most important skill of all.”

The bill, supported by many health organizations including the American Diabetes Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association, passed the Illinois Senate with a bipartisan vote of 36-14. It will now head to the Illinois House for consideration. 

Category: New Releases

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) released the following statement in response to the governor’s veto of her measure House Bill 768, which allows local school boards to make the final decision when issuing, denying or revoking charter school licenses:

“Governor Rauner wants to deny local officials the right to decide who educates their communities. By vetoing this bipartisan measure, Rauner keeps charter school permitting decision-making at the state level, where he can more easily influence outcomes and force communities to support charter schools that they may not need or want. School boards across the state know what is best for those that they serve and should have the final word on issuing, denying or revoking a charter school permit.”

Category: New Releases

SPRINGFIELD – To make local government more efficient and ease the property tax burden on her constituents, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, voted in favor of SB3, a bill that grants counties the ability to cut or consolidate local units of government. Previously, only DuPage, Lake, and McHenry Counties were able to consolidate local government units in this way. This bill extends that ability to all counties in the state.

“The property owners in my district have suffered under an increasingly large property tax burden over the years,” Holmes said. “Property taxes rise for numerous reasons, but one common-sense way to control and lower them is to grant local governments the ability to consolidate and eliminate unnecessary and wasteful units.”

With over 7,000 units of local government, Illinois has more than any other state in the country. This legislation is a step toward lowering that number and streamlining government.

Having passed the Senate as part of the “grand bargain” agreement, SB3 awaits the approval of the rest of the bills in the package before moving on to the House of Representatives.

Category: New Releases

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