Chicago Organization Praises Governor Pritzker and Illinois General Assembly for Championing Policies that Advance Equity
CHICAGO – Following determined advocacy from Women Employed, our partner organizations, and our supporters, the Illinois General Assembly has passed a number of bills that will advance equity for Illinois’ women and families.
These measures were all included in a comprehensive legislative agenda that Women Employed provided to Governor Pritzker upon his election to office. We praise both the governor and the Illinois General Assembly for prioritizing equity for women and families, and for working to ensure that, after several years of inaction in Springfield, our state is again leading the way to help women advance economically, and to allow more women to access the education and training they need to qualify for the jobs they want.
Our 2019 legislative victories include:
- No Salary History (HB 834): Strengthens the Illinois Equal Pay Act by banning employers from asking job candidates for their salary history, a common practice that perpetuates gender and racial pay gaps.
- Strengthened Protections Against Workplace Harassment (SB 75): Illinois will lead the way in protecting all workers against sexual and all forms of harassment by strengthening trainings, investigations, and enforcement.
- Increased Funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP): Increases funding to the MAP program by $50 million to ensure that more low-income students can afford college and to bring our state closer to securing a fully-funded MAP program by FY20.
- Raise the Minimum Wage (SB 1): Gradually raises the minimum wage from the current $8.25/hour—where it’s been stuck since 2010—to $15/hour by 2025, starting with an increase to $9.25 in January of 2020.
- Reduce Remediation for College Students (SJR 41): Creates an advisory council to ensure that colleges and universities maximize the probability that students who need to catch up in math and/or English succeed and to accelerate their progress toward completion, leading to better opportunity and higher paying jobs.
- Support Undocumented Students (HB 2691): Will make sure undocumented students are eligible for state financial aid, including MAP grants.
- Fair Tax (SJRCA 1): A Fair Tax constitutional amendment, allowing voters to decide whether our state should adopt a Fair Tax that would provide a tax cut to the vast majority of Illinoisans while asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.
While we celebrate these victories, there is still more work to do to ensure that all women are treated fairly in the workplace, are able to attain the skills they need for the jobs they want, and are respected for the work they do. We will continue to advocate for the remaining items on our 2019 legislative agenda, including paid sick time, paid family and medical leave, closing the racial achievement gap in higher education, fair scheduling, and ensuring that Illinois voters approve the change in the Illinois constitution that will allow for a fair tax.
Women Employed relentlessly pursues equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces to make the world a better place for us all. Since 1973, Women Employed has opened doors, blazed trails, broken down barriers, and created fundamental, systemic change for working women. For more information, visit https://womenemployed.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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