SPRINGFIELD – For her efforts supporting and passing animal welfare bills, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, was awarded this year’s Humane Society Legislator of the Year Award.


“It is an honor to receive this award,” Holmes said. “I am a lifelong lover of animals, so when I became a senator it was second nature to support legislation that protects animals.”


The Legislator of the Year Award is given to the General Assembly member who best advocates for the wellbeing of animals. Sen. Holmes has sponsored numerous animal welfare bills throughout her career. This year, she is sponsoring measures to ban elephants from traveling exhibitions, control feral cat populations and create adoption plans for research animals, as well as several others.


“On behalf of our members, supporters and allies in Illinois, we are proud of the animal protection initiatives that Senator Holmes has championed in our state” Humane Society of the United States Illinois State Director Marc Ayers said. “She is a leader bringing both sides together to achieve amazing advances in our movement and continues to support our efforts to protect companion animals and wildlife, among other important animal welfare protections.”


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization. It provides hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, has joined the Illinois General Assembly’s commission to audit government activity.

“As a public servant, I have always sought to make our state’s government more transparent,” Holmes said. “On the Legislative Audit Commission, I get to work with Democrat and Republican colleagues from the Senate and the House to root out waste, fraud and abuse. I take this opportunity very seriously and I look forward to getting started.”

The Legislative Audit Commission is a bipartisan group of twelve legislators from the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives. The commission oversees audits of state agencies, holds public hearings and makes recommendations to the General Assembly on how to correct weaknesses.

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SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked Illinois Department of Natural Resources Chief of Staff Brent Krebs why he and the department that he oversees remain optimistic about the passage of the grand bargain.

“You said that you are optimistic with the governor’s office and his budget people working on the grand bargain, which he has now blown up three or four times,” Holmes said. “With the governor’s budget being $4.6 billion out of balance, I want to know why you feel that this can be rectified without cuts to agencies such as yours, which have been pretty much decimated.”

Krebs responded that morale is still high in his department and that current budget woes have no effect on his optimism. “I maintain that an agreement can be reached,” Krebs said. “Without getting mired in the details of your negotiation, I’m convinced that we can get this thing done with some more negotiations.”

“I wish I shared your optimism,” Holmes said.

The bipartisan package of legislation known as the grand bargain was thrown off track last week when Gov. Rauner contacted Republican legislators and convinced them to vote against the package of interconnected proposals. Rauner’s move was a surprise to many, who pointed to the governor’s reliance on the framework’s revenue bills to close an almost $5 billion shortfall in his budget proposal and his public commentary praising the senate’s negotiations.

“I think you’re going to have to look at some cuts unless we get the governor to decide that he’s going to come up with revenue increases or even negotiate,” Holmes told Krebs. “At this point, Rome is burning. We need to do something.”

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SPRINGFIELD — In a senate hearing with Acting Director Anna Hui of the Illinois Department of Labor, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked what cuts could be made in the Department of Labor to balance the $4.6 billion out of balance budget.

“Being that the governor’s proposed budget was $4.6 billion out of whack and we’re now finding that that number might be more optimistic than it’s going to be, I would appreciate hearing from the department itself where you would be most willing to make those cuts,” Holmes said. “Where would you like to see those cuts if we are in a position where they have to be made?”

“We are not in the position to speculate about where those cuts might come from,” Hui said, to which Holmes replied: “Okay. Let’s call that nonresponsive.”

This week, Sen. Holmes and her fellow Democrats in the Senate have asked more than ten heads of state agencies what they would do should they be asked to cut their agencies’ budgets. In this year’s budget proposal, Gov. Rauner put forward a plan that spends $4.6 billion more than it collects in revenue. Rauner’s FY 18 budget proposal relies on the General Assembly to close this $4.6 billion gap by proposing new revenues or making cuts to programs.

“Gov. Rauner has been asking the General Assembly to give him the authority to make budget cuts for months. I would expect the governor’s agency heads to have some cuts already in mind,” Holmes said. “Clearly that is not the case.”

Director Hui is one of at least sixteen other state agency directors who have appeared before the Illinois Senate this week. None have suggested cuts to their departments’ budgets.

 

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