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State Representative Steve Andersson passed two Senate bills in the Judiciary Civil Committee this week.

The first bill is part of his Court Fee Reform initiative, and will help clarify certain aspects of the original bill, HB4594. The purpose of this bill is to provide larger counties more time to pay fees, as required by their processes. The bill was suggested by the City of Chicago, and is supported by Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance.

Representative Andersson’s second bill presented in committee, SB2437, changes the Dissolution of Marriage Act. Current law requires that any life insurance policy of either spouse that constitutes marital property be allocated by the court to determine ownership. This bill changes that to insure the intended recipients receive the right benefits. It ensures that policy owners who pass away after a divorce, but before they are able to redesignate their policy, have the proceeds go to their intended beneficiary.

This week SB544 and SB2437 unanimously passed in committee and will move forward in the House for further consideration.
State Representative Steve Andersson recently participated in the Illinois Youth in Care and Alumni Legislative Shadow Day. The program connects current and former youth in care with Illinois General Assembly members to learn about State Government.

This is the third annual Shadow Day organized by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Foster Care Alumni of America, and the Illinois Statewide Youth Advisory Board. With May being National Foster Care Month, this year’s program was especially meaningful. 50 current and former youth in care from across the state were paired with various lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The day provided a great opportunity for youth to learn from lawmakers, see the legislative process, and learn the best way to get their voices heard by lawmakers. This was Representative Andersson’s first time participating in the program, and he enjoyed discussing his role as a Representative with his shadow, Dani Townsend. She was able to sit in the gallery in the House of Representatives to watch legislative session, and visit the House floor.

Today, State Representative Steve Andersson spoke in support of the Equal Rights Amendment at a press conference in the State Capitol.

The press conference was held by Deputy Majority LeaderLou Lang (D-Skokie), the House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, and also included several other supporters of the ERA including Sally Pancrazio, former Dean of the College of Education at Illinois State University, and Carrie Boyd from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Rep. Andersson further expressed his support for Illinois to adopt the ERA, and for it to be a bipartisan initiative. Andersson urged the Governor to support the measure and also encourage House Republicans to vote in favor of what should be a bipartisan issue.

“We know women aren’t being treated equally, and they don’t have the same constitutional protections,” said Andersson. “This is about women, and it is finally to time to stand together to make this change.”

This week in Springfield, supporters of the ERA have rallied in the State Capitol to urge lawmakers to support the Amendment, which if adopted would make Illinois the 37thState out of the 38 needed for ratification.

State Representative Andersson (R-Geneva) has passed a legislative measure in the House of Representatives that will update the State’s system of criminal court fees.

The fee structure for criminal and civil court cases is out of control. This is not just the case for Illinois, but also other states in the Union, and to remedy this, change was requested by the Supreme Court. The Statutory Fees Task Force was created to extensively study Illinois’ statutory court fee system, and their study resulted in the recommendation for change in the form of HB4594.

“This bill reforms criminal assessments and was largely driven by the Supreme Court,” said Andersson. “It is a massive undertaking, but a necessary step to improve our criminal justice system.”

As a member of the Statutory Fees Task Force, Rep. Andersson sponsored the legislation to change the current system. HB4594 makes three important changes to the fee structure: it makes all fees consolidated to unified schedules, it realigns fees so that they comply with the Illinois Constitution, and it allows for waivers for low income individuals who are unable to pay such fines.

Andersson has worked on this legislation since he began his tenure in the House. Through his collaboration with State Representative Elaine Nektritz, as well as the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Trucking Association, social service agencies, and the Illinois State Police, the legislation has received wide support. In addition, the Illinois Supreme Court submitted a formal recommendation for the bill to be adopted today in the House.

Due to the complex nature of the legislation, and the current court fee system, a sunset clause was included that will allow the issue to be reassessed in 2020 to ensure the changes made are making the proper impact.

HB4594 passed today in the House and now moves forward for further consideration.
State Representative Steve Andersson hosted John-Austin Little as his Honorary Page for the Day in the House of Representatives.

John-Austin Little is a 5th grade student in Representative Andersson’s 65th District, and attends Williamsburg Elementary School in Geneva. Rep. Andersson initially met Mr. Little during a visit to the Elementary School earlier this year, and after hearing first hand his interest in government, the Representative invited him to Springfield to serve in the Honorary Page for the day program. As a page, Mr. Little was introduced by Rep. Andersson on the House Floor, met other lawmakers and observed the legislative process in action.

Representative Andersson was happy to have an eager student, learner, and perhaps future State Representative join him for the day in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Andersson presents HB5288
in the Human Services Committee
State Representative Steve Andersson’s legislation to create an online registry for Illinois’ recovery residences passed today in the House of Representatives.

As described in HB5288, a "recovery residence" means a sober, safe, and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and other drug use and associated problems.

The legislation is an initiative of the Department of Human Services, and the bill provides that DHS will develop and maintain the online registry of recovery residences. The will be publicly available online through the DHS website and include detailed information about each residence. These recovery residences are not subject to Department licensure as they are viewed as independent living residences that only provide peer support and a lengthened exposure to the culture of recovery.

No such database of recovery residences currently exists, making it difficult for Illinois residents to find necessary resources to aid in their recovery. The online registry of recovery residences will serve as a referral resource for individuals seeking continued recovery assistance.

Representative Andersson commended DHS for suggesting the bill, as it will greatly help individuals and their families easily access all the information they need in one place. While presenting the bill in the House, Representative Andersson called these recovery residences “a critical and key component to an individual’s recovery from substance abuse.” Further, Andersson believes it is vital that people are aware of the resources in Illinois that are available to them in their recovery.

The bill passed unanimously out of committee and also garnered a unanimous vote in the House to move forward for further consideration in the Senate.