Legislature passes sweeping equity reforms

In a marathon close to the 101st Illinois General Assembly last week, lawmakers considered four comprehensive bills to address equity in education, economic opportunity, health care and criminal justice. Work on the health care legislation continues while the three other bills were sent to the Governor. I want to give you an easy-to-digest overview of what I believe are the key points of these monumental, long-overdue reforms:

Education Equity

  • helps ensure struggling young children get the resources they need to be ready for school and prepares all children for post-secondary education
  • identifies more equitable ways to fund higher education
  • expands and reprioritizes efforts to increase minority teachers

Economic Equity

  • increases goals for minorities, women and people with disabilities to access state contracts
  • protects consumers from predatory loans by capping interest rates
  • evaluates discrimination in the state’s beauty supply industry

Health Care Equity

  • evaluates the effectiveness of Illinois' managed care program
  • grants a two-month stay on hospital closures
  • creates a task force to undertake a review of health and human service programs with the goal of improving access and outcomes for all Illinois residents

Criminal Justice Equity

  • increases police accountability, transparency and training
  • promotes the use of co-responder models in a mental health crisis response