Special Session Special HearingToday, members of the Senate’s Executive Committee called a special hearing to question a Rauner administration agency head over a questionable contract to streamline a state employee health insurance process. Central Management Services Director Michael Hoffman was asked to testify about the deep concerns expressed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) and other legislators surrounding previous mismanagement and poorly executed actions of the agency.

The subcommittee took place after the Associated Press reported that Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration purposefully ignored state guidelines aimed to encourage minority-owned business opportunities. The investigation also revealed that the administration awarded the contract to Georgia-based Morneau Shepell, a suspected favored contractor.

“While there are number of issues with the online employee benefits system, the initial procurement procedures are also extremely alarming considering the guidelines for minority-owned businesses were left out,” said Hunter. “Minority-owned businesses are a huge part of the economic and social progress of the American workforce. It’s a shame we have a governor that campaigns on growing businesses in the state of Illinois but makes it harder for minorities to succeed.”

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Minimum WageState Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) voted in support of a minimum wage increase led by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford. The legislation aims to gradually raise the Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 by January 2022.

“Competitive wages attract the right people for some of the state’s most challenging jobs,” said Hunter.  “We live in an environment where unemployment and underemployment are already dire problems. The point of a job is for a person to earn enough money to survive in a decent manner.”

Senate Bill 81 would increase the minimum wage to:

•    $9 per hour from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018
•    $10 per hour from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019
•    $11.25 from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020
•    $13 per hour from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021
•    $15 per hour on and after January 1, 2022

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Committee IDPHState Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) criticized the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday for proposing cuts to programs and services that would disproportionately affect minority communities.

The Senate Appropriations I Committee heard testimony Wednesday morning from Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget.

The IDPH is holding an event celebrating “National Minority Health Month” in the Capitol’s rotunda this week.

“The department needs to refocus its priorities,” Hunter said. “To me, it’s highly hypocritical and counterproductive to celebrate bridging health equity, right after proposing cuts that will largely affect a group of individuals.”

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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(312) 949-1908
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