HB 5931 Passes Both Chambers
Today marks an historic series of events for IARF and all who have worked over the years to increase the wages for Direct Service Personnel. The Senate approved HB 5931 by a vote of 40-18-00. Having already passed the House by a vote of 67-43-00, the next step is for the bill to be sent to Governor Rauner for his consideration.
Taking a Look Back
Increasing wages for Direct Service Personnel has been a priority issue for IARF for several years. Legislation has been introduced in multiple Illinois General Assemblies, but only this year have we been successful in getting the bill to a vote, and it went as far as passing both Chambers.
Undoubtedly, one glaring difference between years past and now, is the effectiveness of our grassroots advocacy networks and the coalition of organizations we worked with hand-in-hand. Each and every agency who participated in our campaign should be proud of the work they have done to get us to this point. When you consider the prevailing political and financial pressures that currently exist, passing a bill of this nature is a truly remarkable achievement.
First and foremost, our work is not over. In fact, you can expect IARF to initiate another round of grassroots advocacy efforts, this time focused on the Governor, as it is almost a foregone conclusion Governor Rauner will veto HB 5931. Working from this expectation, our ability to build pressure and priority for this issue is crucial.
When a budget compromise is made, which will happen at some point, no matter how dysfunctional things are at this point in time, we want DSP wages to be recognized as a priority funding issue. Our actions to date have brought us closer to this goal, but we must continue working hard until the end.
A big, big thank you is in order to all who participated in our advocacy efforts! Additionally, an equally big thanks is due to our legislative champions – Senator Heather Steans and Robyn Gabel – and every legislator who supported our efforts! Without your support and our legislative champions, we would not have made it this far.