GURNEE, Ill. – Following the end of the General Assembly’s legislative session, state Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, is highlighting her work to spur economic recovery, strengthen health care, protect the environment, and create a balanced budget.
“This session, I worked hard to get much-needed assistance to residents and small businesses still struggling to recover from the pandemic, and I fought to make sure we did it in a way that doesn’t spend money we don’t have,” Mason said. “I also championed a variety of bills to improve access to health care, strengthen environmental protections, support victims and survivors of domestic abuse, and uplift our veterans.”
Mason sponsored House Bill 1860, legislation that would require the state to allocate a quarter of all federally-provided coronavirus relief funds to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. She also helped pass House Bill 2454, a measure to allow local governments to eliminate a wide variety of business licensing and permit fees.
“To support small businesses, I fought to expand their access to COVID-19 relief dollars so more business owners can hire new employees and get back to full operations sooner,” Mason said. “I also passed a bill to get rid of burdensome business licensing fees to make it easier for residents to start new businesses and grow existing ones.”
This spring, Mason supported House Bill 1745, legislation that requires health insurance companies to increase the number of plans they offer that include a flat-dollar copayment for all prescription medications. She also backed House Bill 3498, a measure to require health insurance plans to cover telehealth appointments in the same way as in-person appointments. Additionally, Mason passed her House Bill 2653 through both chambers, a bill that increases insurance coverage of colorectal cancer screenings. Mason also helped pass House Bill 158, a comprehensive health care reform package aimed at improving access to health care in historically underserved communities.
“This pandemic laid bare and exacerbated a lot of serious issues in our health care system, many of which have disproportionately impacted people of color and working-class individuals,” Mason said. “To correct some of these harmful problems, I helped pass legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs, increase the affordability of telehealth appointments, expand access to cancer prevention screenings, and make our health care system more equitable.”
To reduce cancer-causing ethylene oxide pollution in her community, Mason filed House Bill 2385, legislation to increase air monitoring for the carcinogen and impose fines on companies that exceed certain ethylene oxide pollution limits. Mason also championed House Bills 864 and 2378, two measures aimed at lowering property taxes for people with disabilities and families of veterans. To help victims of domestic violence, Mason introduced House Bills 1800 and 3866. The former measure would require anger management classes for individuals who are the subjects of restraining orders, and the latter would add economic abuse as part of the crime of domestic violence. Mason also fought for greater environmental protection through the introduction of her House Bill 3149, a measure to strengthen energy conservation in school buildings, and her House Bill 3985, legislation to require recycling bins at all apartment buildings. To help underserved veterans, Mason introduced House Bill 1290 to restore state benefits to LGBTQ veterans. She also helped send Senate Bill 58 to the governor’s desk, a bill that lowers the cost of licensing fees for small trailers by $86.
“In response to specific concerns brought to me by residents in my district, I fought for legislation to crack down on hazardous ethylene oxide pollution, lower property taxes, close gaps in domestic violence law and strengthen environmental protections,” Mason said. “I also passed a bill through the legislature that restores long-overdue state benefits to LGBTQ veterans who have been denied access to them solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and I helped get legislation through the General Assembly that lowers the unreasonably high price of small trailer licensing fees from $118 to just $36.”
During budget discussions, Mason worked hard to ensure ample COVID-19 relief and full funding for local schools were included in the state’s spending plan. Mason also fought to make sure this year’s budget was balanced, didn’t include tax increases for middle and working-class residents, and avoided cuts to critical social services.
“Like last spring, the pandemic’s impact on state revenue and the increased need for financial relief programs meant we had to make tough decisions in order to pass a responsible budget. After lengthy negotiations and a lot of difficult choices, we passed a balanced budget that will strengthen our economy, uplift hardworking residents and support businesses in need,” Mason said. “We accomplished a lot of critical work this session to help those who need it most, but I know there is always more to be done to help my constituents and address the needs of our community. I look forward to meeting with residents this summer to listen to their thoughts on the legislation we passed this spring and to using their feedback to start working on initiatives for next year.”
Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031