Today, a balanced budget plan was adopted by the House of Representatives through HB109. The budget includes $38.520 billion in expected State revenue, while accounting for $38.502 billion in spending.

No tax increases, prioritized spending and pension reform helped contribute to the balanced budget that supports those who rely on the state, providing ample funding to programs that support to the state’s universities, families, seniors, and the underprivileged. A few of the new funding measures in the bill will go to education initiatives. This includes a $350 million increase to the education funding formula compared to last year, which will go to K-12 education across the state. Also included is $50 million in support for Early Childhood Education, and a merit-based scholarship program called AIM HIGH, that is funded by $25 million in state dollars, with a matching $25 million from universities to help retain Illinois students. In addition, a new state income tax credit will be available for those who adopt a child.

State Representative Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) voted in favor of the budget bill. “This is a common sense budget,” said Andersson. “This came together through a bipartisan effort, and it is a product of good, honest negotiations. New necessary programs were created to benefit our state, while spending within our means.”

The budget was approved yesterday in the Senate, and today in the House of Representatives on the last day of legislative session.

State Representative Steve Andersson stood in support of the Equal Rights Amendment today in the House of Representatives, when SJRCA 4 was presented for a vote.

Andersson was the chief-co sponsor of the initiative, and has been vocal in his support of it throughout the Constitutional Amendment’s journey through the legislative process.

During today’s debate, Andersson stressed not only the equality the amendment would secure, but also the empowerment it would provide to women. “I want to empower women,” said Andersson, “because the better they are, the better we are as a people.” In his comments on the House floor, Andersson continued, “When we equalize ourselves, we are all better.”

The Representative urged all members in the House to support the Amendment, calling it the most important bill the House of Representatives will consider this year.

With today’s vote, the measure received 72 votes in favor, gaining enough support to make Illinois the 37th state to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment.
State Representative Steve Andersson passed Senate Bill 544 in the House of Representatives today.

The bill makes a change to how court fees are processed for Cook County. Under this measure, the county would not be required to pay circuit court civil case fees in advance, which had otherwise been required. Instead, they would be allowed to pay within 30 days of the fee being incurred.

There are currently many different fees and schedules for civil cases and statutory assessments in criminal and traffic offenses. Rep. Andersson’s initial legislation on the matter, HB4594, unified these fees to into one comprehensive Act. SB544 makes a change within that legislation, to provide larger counties more time to pay fees, and also reduce such fees to improve the process. This bill was initiated by the City of Chicago, as the bill affects Cook County.
State Representative Steve Andersson welcomed the St. Charles North Mock Trial Team to Springfield today.  The Mock Trial team recently claimed the State Champion title, making the team the State Champs for the second year in a row.
Representative Andersson met with the students in Springfield to show them the Capitol, and hear about their journey to the State Title. In explaining to Rep. Andersson their trial experience, the students discussed how much they enjoyed presenting both sides of an argument.  Representative Andersson was impressed with their open-mindedness, an essential skill for success.  “It makes me joyful for the future of the State, to see such passion in these young students,” said Andersson.

House Resolution 1004 was adopted today in the House of Representatives to celebrate the St. Charles North Mock Trial Team, and their great accomplishment this year. 

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.