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Bill allowing multi-occupancy bathrooms to be gender neutral passes Illinois House

A measure that would allow multiple occupancy public restrooms to be labeled gender-neutral was passed by the Illinois House on Thursday with the bare minimum of votes.

The bill, which now moves to the Senate, would amend the Equitable Restroom Act of 2019, which required all single-occupancy public restrooms to be available to all genders. The amendment would only allow restrooms with two or more toilets to be available to all.

“The bill does not require gender-neutral bathrooms,” Rep. Katie Stuart, an Edwardsville Democrat who was the first sponsor of the bill, said. “Builders would choose what bathroom facilities to offer, and would be required to meet appropriate standards for toilet and urinal privacy.”

The floor debate before the vote took all of two minutes. House Republican Floor Leader Rep. Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis asked Stuart to confirm that this bill contained the same language as a bill from the previous session that was passed by the House but died in the Senate.

The bill passed with 60 yes votes, with all but one of the 40 House Republicans voting no.

“Average Illinois residents are just not for this type of agenda,” GOP Rep. Joe Sosnowski of Rockford, who voted no on the legislation, said in an interview after the vote. “If there is an issue with identification, well, you got two separate bathrooms. Why do you need multi-use, multi-gender bathrooms? It isn’t doing anything to address that in my opinion.”

Restroom preference has become another issue feeding the national culture wars. Earlier this week, Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that prevents transgender people in public schools from using restrooms matching the gender with which they identify.

The Illinois bill is not specific to schools, though it allows for any multiple-occupancy restroom to be identified as an all-gender facility. It would require the restroom to have specific signage, stall dividers and partitions for urinals.

The bill also requires sufficient numbers of toilets or stalls to be available for male and female patrons. The Illinois Department of Public Health would be tasked with establishing rules for enforcing the measure, and these bathrooms would also be subject to health or building inspections.

The bill passed through the House Human Services Committee on Feb. 22 in a 6-3 party-line vote. Stuart noted during the hearing that a similar bill passed through the House a few years ago but didn’t make it through the Senate.

She said the bill allows for businesses, universities and other places the option to create a multi-stall gender-neutral restroom.

State Rep. Charles Meier, a Republican from Okawville, raised concerns during the hearing about whether some larger facilities could be equipped to handle multi-stalled, gender neutral bathrooms.

“Think of in large arenas where you’ve got people stacked high and low, you only have so much space. A lot of people will not want to go into an all-gender restroom, and you won’t have no space,” Meier said at the hearing. “You know, when buildings are plumbed you’re plumbing is run through certain areas that are heated and they’re air-conditioned so they don’t freeze. And other parts of these big outdoor arenas aren’t. And so, you’re adding a lot of cost into that.”

Stuart stressed that arenas that are worried about space don’t have to include such restrooms because they would be optional.

“If an arena is worried about the space they do not have to create such a restroom,” she told Meier. “That’s why it’s permissive and it’s because we understand types of constraints like that.”


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This story was originally published March 23, 2023, 8:59 PM.


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March 23, 2023 at 09:17PM

Rep. Yednock Supports Law Requiring Costs Of Pregnancy To Be Split Between Parents

A bill that requires costs related to pregnancy, including delivery and insurance premiums, to be split between both parents has advanced in Springfield.

The Pregnancy Expenses Act passed the House on Tuesday and is now headed to the Illinois Senate for consideration. The bill’s sponsor cited the high costs of pregnancies as a reason for the legislation. Opponents objected to the inclusion of abortion costs. The potential bill wouldn’t apply to sperm donations or surrogates.

Democratic State Representative Lance Yednock voted in support of the proposal to split pregnancy costs.


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March 23, 2023 at 12:55PM

Local legislator reacts to closure of St. Mary’s labor & delivery floor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – HSHS St. Mary’s announced that their labor and delivery floor would close at 5pm on March 9, 2023. 

Representative Sue Scherer (96th district) said she and other legislators have done all they can to stop the closure. She said people forget that HSHS is a private company, and legislators can’t stop them from closing departments. 

Scherer  is concerned for local women who may have to travel outside the county for OB/GYN care if their insurance is not accepted by Decatur Memorial Hospital. Scherer said this is particularly dangerous when women are already in labor. 

“People will have to know, ‘I have to go to DMH if I want to stay in Decatur or I’m going to just have to go in with the mindset I have to go out of town,’ which I would not like that at all,” said Scherer. “One of my daughters has that precipitous labor. So, you know, she has like 20 minutes to from contraction to birth. So that would be very nerve wracking.”

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Scherer said she is concerned more women will now have to deliver their babies in local emergency rooms instead of dedicated labor and delivery spaces. 

The representative did say there are positive elements to the closure. By sharpening the focus of the care they provide, Scherer said the hospital has more money to do renovations. 

“They’re pouring $90 million of new money into St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur and its main focus is going to be on the emergency room, the surgery rooms and on the patient rooms,” said Scherer. “The new patient rooms are going to all have their own shower and all be updated and it’s long overdue for some of that.”

St. Mary’s hospital is still seeking approval to close their inpatient rehabilitation and inpatient behavioral health services departments. 

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March 9, 2023 at 06:56PM

Process to build Illinois’ next budget underway

PEORIA, Ill. – The work is underway at the state capitol to craft the fiscal year 2024 budget.

Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) is the lead budget negotiator for her party as both sides of the aisle work to determine what will and will not be funded.

“It’s now more important than ever that we practice fiscal discipline. We got our 7th credit upgrading about a week and a half ago, and I think it’s important for us to stay on a consistent part to really righting our fiscal ship,” Gordon-Booth says.

Gordon-Booth says preliminary work to shape the budget is currently being done in committees. She says one big focus is determining what is a need for the state and what is a want.

“We have to focus on the needs. And the needs range from the health and human services needs, the education needs, frankly that take up over 80% of our budget, to then having about 20% to do some of the other things that we look to do,” Gordon-Booth said.

Education is one of the priorities that Gordon-Booth says should be a priority in the budget. In addition, she also wants to see a focus on economic development, and funding to help address workforce shortages in the state.

“There’s a lot of conversation that you hear about the teaching shortage, which is real. Lot of conversation around the nursing shortage, which is real,” Gordon-Booth said. “But frankly, when you look across the spectrum of economic and unemployment, everybody is short workers.”

One solution Gordon-Booth says is to have funding in the budget to support training programs to address unemployment.

The deadline to have a budget up for approval is May 19th.

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March 9, 2023 at 01:12PM

House committee advances Hoffman’s carbon capture legislation – Alton Telegraph

Hoffman bill would aid carbon capture



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SPRINGFIELD – Emphasizing the potential to create jobs while reducing carbon output to the atmosphere, state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, passed a measure out of a House committee Tuesday that would create a clearer regulatory framework to establish the underground storage of carbon dioxide in Illinois – better known as carbon capture and sequestration.
“If we want to properly implement carbon capture strategies in Illinois, we need to address regulatory gaps,” Hoffman said. “I’m encouraged by studies that indicate this can be a viable industry here in Illinois – creating new jobs while reducing our carbon output as we pursue a more environmentally-friendly future.” 
A recent study by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Prairie Research Center notes that carbon capture, utilization and sequestration “could play a critical role in combating climate change and decarbonizing the global economy” and deploying it at a larger scale in Illinois will require robust governance to ensure these systems are delivering desired societal outcomes and have broad and deep public support.
Hoffman’s House Bill 2202 reflects on the report’s suggestion of robust governance, clarifying that pore space underlying a property is owned by the surface property owners. “Pore space” describes subsurface cavities or voids that can be used for storage space of carbon dioxide. Illinois is noted for its geological potential to handle carbon capture and sequestration, particularly in sandstone that lies beneath much of the state.
House Bill 2202 also further develops drilling regulations, injection permit procedures and application processes with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“While we have seen carbon capture and sequestration implemented on a limited basis here in Illinois already, this is a developing technology that is going to have increasing importance in the years ahead,” Hoffman said. “It’s critical that we lay the groundwork in setting up a regulatory framework now so that we can develop this growing industry responsibly.”
Hoffman’s measure passed the Energy & Environment Committee and now heads to the House floor for consideration.
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March 9, 2023 at 09:28AM

Bolingbrook State Rep. Avelar Announces Mobile Office Hours In 2023

BOLINGBROOK, IL — Illinois State Rep. Dagmara “Dee” Avelar has announced that in an effort to better connect with Bolingbrook residents, she will be hosting mobile office hours two times a month for the remainder of the year.

The Bolingbrook Democrat announced that the local office hours will be held on the first Thursday and last Monday of each month throughout 2023.

“One of my priorities as a state representative is to make government accessible to all our constituents,” Avelar said in a statement released recently. “That’s why my team and I are providing mobile office hours in convenient locations throughout the district.

“I highly encourage everyone to join us, share their ideas, and take advantage of the wide array of constituent services my office provides.”

On the first Thursday of every month, office hours will be held from noon until 2 p.m. at the Fountaindale Public Library, which is located at 300 W. Briarcliff Rd. in Bolingbrook. This includes the dates of March 2, April 6, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 3, and Dec. 7.

Mobile office hours will also be available on the last Monday of each month from noon until 2 p.m. at the White Oak Public Library, which is located at 121 E. 8th Street in Lockport.

Due to state holidays, May and December’s office hours will occur on the third Monday of the month. Office hours will be offered on March 27, April 24, May 22, June 26, July 31, Aug. 28, Sept. 25, Oct. 30, Nov. 27, and Dec. 18.

“The opinions and concerns of our community members play a pivotal role as I craft my legislative agenda,” Avelar said. “Mobile office hours are another way to ensure your voice is heard so I can best represent you in Springfield. My team and I look forward to meeting with you all, hearing your concerns, and connecting you with state services.”

For more information, please contact Avelar’s constituent service office at or by calling 815-372-0085.


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March 3, 2023 at 12:20PM

Hoffman Welcomes Consul General Of Bulgaria

SPRINGFIELD – As the Consul General of Bulgaria visited the state Capitol Thursday to underscore the positive partnership between Illinois and Bulgaria, state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, introduced a resolution recognizing this March as Bulgarian American Heritage Month.

State Rep. Jay Hoffman“Granite City hosts the oldest Bulgarian American community in the country, and we’re thankful for the countless contributions this community has brought to the Metro East,” Hoffman said. “Our countries have a strong relationship that dates back 120 years, a relationship that has only grown stronger in recent years. I appreciate Consul General Stankov’s visit to our capitol, it was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our cultures.”

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Hoffman’s House Resolution 23 congratulates the people of the Republic of Bulgaria as they celebrate their 145th liberation anniversary this month. The resolution highlights the contribution of Bulgarian immigrants in the United States, including cultural, technological and civic influences that have left a positive mark on communities. The resolution also focuses on the strong resistance from the Bulgarian people to resist Nazi pressure to deport Bulgarian Jews, as well as the enduring national spirit that allowed Bulgaria to persevere through communist oppression.

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March 2, 2023 at 08:56PM

Illinois State Rep. Gregg Johnson opens new office in East Moline

Rep. Johnson said that people are encouraged to contact his new office for any state government concerns and that the door is always open.

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February 27, 2023 at 07:14PM

Gonzales, Somer and DeLuca A Team Working Together for the Betterment of Bloom Township – Taylor Media – Taylor Media

February 26, 2023

Following the advocacy of state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, the Bethel Family Resource Center is in line to receive a $400,000 grant as part of the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

“This grant is going to help local residents on their career path, and is an investment in the people of our area,” DeLuca said. “This kind of skilled training helps to better position residents to attain good paying, steady jobs that are in demand.”

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February 27, 2023 at 09:05AM

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