IABG, a project of Heartland Alliance, advocates for policies that address the growing racial wealth divide, expand savings opportunities, and protect Illinoisans from predatory financial products and practices. Our legislative efforts looked to ensure that ALL can achieve equity and opportunity. Illinois’ regular legislative session concluded at the end of May, and we saw progress on many of our policy priorities.
SB2843 – The Fair Lending Act: Caps interest rates on car title loans at 36%. Interest rates on title loans can be as high as 360%, stripping wealth from families and causing thousands to lose their car every year. The bill gained significant support, but ultimately did not have enough support to advance this session. We will continue working to move this campaign forward in the coming months and years. Read more about the campaign’s progress and how you can get involved.
SB1246 – Protect Savings for Individuals with Disabilities: Protects ABLE accounts, new savings accounts for people with disabilities, from debt collection attempts. SB1246 passed both the House and the Senate unanimously, and is heading to the Governor’s desk. Read more about the bill.
Legislation we Supported
SB2433 – Check Cashing Fairness Act: Establishes that the impact on consumers must be considered when determining check cashing rates. SB2433 passed the House and the Senate, and is on its way to the Governor.
HB4095 – Free Credit Freezes: Makes credit freezes free for Illinois residents. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support and is currently on the Governor’s desk.
SB2439 – Student Debt & Professional Licensing Bill: Prohibits professional license revocation due to student debt. The bill passed out of both chambers and is headed to the Governor.
HB3142 – Ban the Box in Higher Education: Prohibits Illinois higher education institutions from asking about an applicant’s criminal record in the admissions process. The legislation passed through the House and Senate committee, but still needs to pass the full Senate. We will work to advance the bill in the coming months.
SB2411– License to Work Act: Prohibits driver’s license suspension for non-moving violations, those that have nothing to do with driving. The bill passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support and is now in the House. We will continue to work with the coalition to build support for and advance SB2411.
HB4594 – Reforms Court Fines & Fees: Makes court fines and fees more transparent and consistent, and provides relief from burdensome fines and fees for low-income Illinoisans. The bill passed both houses and will head to the Governor’s desk.
We also provided support for a number of other initiatives, including efforts to reform debt collection, lower the cost of Peoples Gas, and rein in predatory alternative energy suppliers that deceptively increase the cost of utilities that families need to survive. These bills faced significant opposition and did not make it to the finish line this year. We will continue to support these and other efforts to fight predatory practices that strip wealth from Illinois families.
Heartland Alliance Priorities
SB3115 – Increasing TANF Cash Grant: Increases the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash grant amount. SB3115 passed out of the Senate and garnered significant support in the House. Ultimately, we were able to gain bipartisan support for including a grant increase into the budget implementation bill (BIMP) – HB3342. The BIMP increases grant amounts from the current level (on average 22.25% of the Federal Poverty Level or FPL) to 30% of FPL.
HB5341 – Expanding Sealing Eligibility: Makes clear that judges may not deny a petition to seal criminal records because an individual has outstanding fines and fees owed to the court. The bill passed both chambers and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.
State Budget Progress
For the first time in several years, the General Assembly has passed a full-year state budget that was signed into law by the Governor this week. While it will take Illinois years to recover from the budget impasse and we still have a multi-billion dollar backlog of unpaid bills, this budget agreement is the first step towards economic stability for the state. We hope that lawmakers will continue on this path of stability, and that they will embrace a Fair Tax in future years to generate the revenue we need in an equitable way.
More to Come
There is much more work to come on many of our policy priorities. In particular, we will continue to advocate for a 36% interest rate cap on title loans, and push for a universal Children’s Savings Account program in Illinois. Sign on in support of our title loan campaign today, and sign up for our emails to receive updates and action alerts on our work.
We would also like to thank our dedicated partners and legislative champions for their support this session, and we look forward to working with them so that we can continue to support equity and opportunity in our state.