SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As the 2018 Spring Legislative Session came to a close on Thursday, state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, released the following statement:
“True bipartisan negotiations in the House and Senate over the course of this legislative session resulted in a fair, balanced budget that was passed on time – the first time we’ve been able to do so in years. Social service providers and our public universities are still recovering from the budget crisis, and the work that was done this session will help these institutions continue down the path towards stability. The budget also includes paying down our old debt, which more than tripled during the current administration.
“The passage of this budget comes the day after the Illinois House voted in favor of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. We are now just one state away from giving women in our country stronger safeguards from discrimination. The ERA would give women another tool as we work to close the wage gap; end discrimination against pregnant women and young mothers; and ensure women have better access to protections from domestic violence. Hundreds of thousands of women over the course of decades fought for this moment, and I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to vote yes.
“Over the course of this session, the General Assembly made many important strides to make life better for all Illinoisans, but especially for those who need help the most. Every year, thousands of women in our state are diagnosed with cancer that could leave them infertile after treatment. A measure I spearheaded will require insurance companies to cover the freezing of a woman’s eggs if she is fighting cancer. I passed multiple pieces of legislation that aim to end child abuse, including the creation of a parenting education pilot program that equips young adults with the skills and knowledge they need if they decide to have children in the future. Parents who are under the supervision of DCFS or another social service agency will have access to subsidized childcare so they can participate in services such as counseling and substance abuse treatment that they are required to attend in order to remain with their child.
“We’ve made real progress towards putting an end to gun violence by passing gun dealer licensing, requiring a 72 hour waiting period to purchase a firearm, and empowering individuals who are worried that a loved one may harm themselves or others to petition for the removal of any firearms that person may have. In a national climate that is often hostile towards immigrants, the General Assembly has proven that hate has no home in Illinois with the passage of the Illinois VOICES Act, which provides stronger protections for undocumented immigrants who have been the victims of violence or trafficking, and the Immigrant Safe Zones Act, which prevents unwarranted searches and seizures at places like courthouses and public schools. Following Evanston’s lead, the General Assembly raised the age to 21 years old to purchase tobacco in Illinois this year. This will reduce the number of high school students who smoke. It’s now incumbent upon the governor to do the right thing and sign these lifesaving bills into law.
“There is still so much work to do to solve the vast problems facing our state, but I am proud of the work that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have done to improve the lives of Illinois families this year.”