Sen. Holmes defends funding for domestic violence shelter

SPRINGFIELD -- An Aurora domestic violence shelter that has suffered through layoffs and service cuts amid the state’s financial crisis, could finally see stable state funding that could restore vital services to abused women under a plan the Illinois Senate recently approved.

“Mutual Ground and those that they serve have already paid a steep price for inaction and gridlock in Springfield,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “The plan that I voted for would fully fund Mutual Ground, giving them the certainty that they need to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

The Senate’s balanced budget plan restores funding for human service organizations that have been left guessing as to how much, if any, state funding they will receive the past two years. Mutual Ground, other domestic violence shelters along with programs for breast and cervical cancer screenings, addiction treatment and mental health services have all suffered during the state’s budget impasse.

The breakthrough Senate plan would budget more than $370,000 in state funding to Mutual Ground in the budget year that begins July 1.

Illinois has gone without a full budget since Bruce Rauner became governor in 2015. Mutual Ground did not receive funding in the 2016 emergency budget and has gone two years without any assistance from the state. The Senate, with Holmes’ support, recently approved a balanced budget that relies on a mix of cuts and new revenue to wipe out a more than $5 billion deficit in the unbalanced budget plan Governor Rauner proposed earlier this year.

While the budget stalemate played out at the Capitol over the past two years. Mutual Ground lost 10 staff members to attrition and layoffs. As a result, it was forced to turn people away and do more with less staff, leading to a high burnout rate in an already challenging field.

Mutual Ground is a nonprofit serving the Greater Aurora area, Southern Kane County and all of Kendall County. The mission of the organization is to provide education, awareness and services to empower individuals, families and communities to stop domestic and sexual violence.

“For too long, political games have gotten in the way of progress and Mutual Ground’s struggle illustrates the very real consequences of the budget crisis. The Senate took action to restore stability and end the chaos. I hope that the Illinois House and Governor Rauner will follow our lead and do the same,” Holmes said.

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, voted today to approve a balanced budget for 2018. If signed into law, it would end Illinois’ historically long budget impasse.

“Today, I voted for a solution,” Holmes said. “After more than two years without a budget, we finally have a plan that fully funds the services and grants that people rely on in the 42nd district and across the state.”

The budget fully funds programs including breast and cervical cancer screenings for underinsured women, domestic violence shelters, mental health programs and addiction treatment. Additionally, the budget reinstates grant programs, dedicating $4.3 million for autism support, $1 million for addiction prevention programs and $364 million for MAP grants.

Holmes emphasized that voting for the balanced budget is the responsible thing to do for Illinois, as it would put an end to a lengthy budget crisis that has created chaos across the state.

“This plan spends only as much as Governor Rauner had planned to spend in his budget proposals,” Holmes said. “Unlike Governor Rauner’s most recent proposal, it uses a combination of cuts and revenues to achieve balance. By approving this plan, we have done our part to give the people and businesses of Illinois the stability and certainty that they deserve.”

The Illinois Senate approved six measures that would implement and fund a budget for fiscal year 2018. The measures will now go to the House of Representatives for further review.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, released the following statement after the passage of Senate Bill 1933, which would bring automatic voter registration to Illinois:

“Automatic voter registration is important to the health of our democracy. There are so many existing roadblocks to participation. Something as basic as registration should not be one of those roadblocks. I am dismayed by how low voter turnout is, especially in local elections, and I believe that automatic registration will give more people an opportunity to let their voices be heard in the political process.”

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate has approved legislation introduced by State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, to establish a task force investigating electronic notaries.

“With the technology that we have, it is worth looking into whether or not a person should need to see a notary in person anymore,” Holmes said. “This task force will look for inefficiencies in our current system and try to fix them with technology.”

Current Illinois law requires physical presence and proof of identity for individuals attempting to get a document notarized. The task force would investigate alternative verification methods including video or audio conference technology that are already in use elsewhere. The State of Virginia passed legislation allowing electronic notarization in 2015.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1459, has been approved by the Senate. It moves to the Illinois House of Representatives for further review and approval.

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