SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, June 1 — The Illinois House Democrats issued the following news release:
Following the adjournment of the Illinois House on Friday, state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, is highlighting her agenda to build a stronger middle class in Illinois.
"Throughout this session, I’ve worked with colleagues to build a stronger Illinois by fighting for a stronger middle class through measures to provide tax relief to 97 percent of Illinois families and reduce health care costs," Harper said. "I’ve also worked on critical measures to reduce hunger among seniors and make our criminal justice system fairer and more equitable."
Harper sponsored the Fair Tax Amendment to level the playing field for middle-class families and provide tax relief to 97 percent of taxpayers in the state. Under a fairer tax system, Illinois will be able to balance the budget, invest in local schools and build a growing economy with high-wage jobs. Without moving toward a fairer tax system, Illinois would be forced to deny breast cancer screenings to thousands of women and would be forced to cut over $1.2 billion from our children’s schools.
Harper also sponsored Tobacco 21 to lower health care costs for Illinoisans by raising the age limit to buy cigarettes and other harmful tobacco products as well as House Bill 471 to prevent unfair and excessive health insurance rate increases. Tobacco 21 will help save over $2 billion dollars in Medicaid spending that can be redirected toward preventative care for Illinoisans by raising the age limit to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. House Bill 471 would lower health care costs by making health insurance rate increase subjects to regulation from the Department of Insurance, which would be empowered to prevent unfair, excessive, or discriminatory rate increases by making health insurance.
"As part of my pledge to build a stronger Illinois by fighting for a stronger middle class, I know we must lift up our must vulnerable citizens," Harper said. "That’s why I fought for a restaurant meals program for nutrition assistance recipients in order to reduce hunger among seniors and it’s why I worked on critical criminal justice reform measures to help individuals who’ve made mistakes transform their lives."
Harper sponsored House Bill 3343 to create a restaurant meals program for SNAP recipients in order to reduce hunger. Under the program, disabled, elderly and homeless SNAP recipients would be allowed to shop for hot meals at participating establishments such as grocery stories.
Harper’s criminal justice reform measures included Senate Bill 1583, a warrant reform measure and House Bill 2541, to provide non-partisan civics education to re-entering citizens. Under Harper’s warrant reform measure, there would be a ten-year limit on warrants for probation violations where the underlying conviction involved possession of a controlled substance or low-level theft and the probation violation involved traffic violations or petty ordinance violations in order to free up resources for law enforcement to focus on combatting violent crime. Under Harper’s civics in prison measure, incarcerated citizens nearing their release date would undergo a peer-led non-partisan civics education to help reduce recidivism and increase civic awareness.
"By fighting for a stronger middle class, my colleagues and I were able to advance critical measures to create a fairer tax system with tax relief for the middle class and to lower health care costs," Harper said. "We were also able to take action to reduce hunger among seniors and give Illinoisans a second chance by reforming our criminal justice system. I am extremely proud of the work my colleagues and I did to build a stronger Illinois."
Harper represents the 6th District, which includes all or portions of Armour Square, Bridgeport, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Gage Park, Back of the Yards, Canaryville, New City, West Englewood, Marquette Park, South Loop and River North.
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June 3, 2019 at 07:46AM