SPRINGFIELD – An expanded voting by mail program signed into law in May 2020 will be extended, further ensuring Illinoisans have access to the ballot box, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) said.

“The vote is a cornerstone of our democracy upon which civil liberties rest,” Hastings said. “Looking around the country today, there are states actively trying to limit one’s ability to exercise one of the basic, inalienable rights bestowed upon us. Because of legislation like this, that will not happen in Illinois. I remain focused on expanding the accessibility and security of the vote in our state and am proud of this common-sense solution.”

As a result of House Bill 1871, three mail-in voting opportunities which were used during the 2020 General Election will be extended:

  • Allows election authorities to establish permanent ballot drop boxes and accept mail-in ballots from those drop boxes.
  • Establishes a permanent requirement of election authorities to accept mail-in ballots regardless of postage paid by the voter.
  • Allows election authorities to establish curbside voting for individuals to cast a ballot during early voting or on Election Day.

“As we enter the waning days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still those who do not feel comfortable in large crowds,” Hastings said. “Whether it is expanding access to drop boxes or curbside voting, or making sure ballots make it to the appropriate election authority, it is the right thing to do on behalf of all Illinois residents.”

This legislation is effective immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – With clean energy discussions near the top of the agenda in Springfield this spring, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) set the stage for a productive legislative session this morning with the year’s first public hearing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic gave my colleagues and me ample time to discuss and debate the path forward for improved clean energy policy in Illinois, but it’s time we furthered these discussions publicly,” Hastings said. “Seeking solutions to these incredibly complex issues is going to take time and effort on the part of all stakeholders, and I’m thankful for all those who take the time to provide thoughtful testimony as we work to improve energy efficiency across the state.”

The first piece of legislation heard in the committee this session was the Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act, carried by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville). Under this legislation, Downstate would play a major role in accelerating the state’s progress toward 100% clean energy by 2050 by investing in local development and battery storage in the Ameren Illinois service area.

“The natural disaster in Texas last month was just the latest reminder that a diverse energy portfolio is key to any state’s success,” Hastings said. “This means additional investment in solar and wind energy and preparing our infrastructure for more electric vehicles. Climate change is a real threat, and we must do our part in Illinois to curb its effects.”

The Senate Energy and Public Utilities committee will continue to hold hearings over the next several months to chart the course for the future of clean energy in Illinois.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) passed legislation through the Senate Labor Committee Wednesday that would expand sick leave options for airline employees.

“In Illinois, we understand that it’s unacceptable to force dedicated, hardworking people into a choice between paying their bills and caring for a loved one. Family comes first, always,” Hastings said. “Through this legislation, we reaffirm our commitment to fighting for working families.”

Hastings was inspired to lead the measure by two constituents, both who are flight attendants for Southwest Airlines. Corliss King’s husband was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in 2017 and was hospitalized several times, receiving various surgeries that left him in need of care at home. Corliss was able to use her own accrued sick time to help care for her husband and children until 2017, when a law was passed that removed coverage for airline employees.

Susan Lyons has a similar story. When her brother, a single father, suffered a heart attack, was pronounced dead, and revived but in a stable coma, Susan was forced to take unpaid FMLA leave, rather than use any of the 300+ sick hours she had accrued on the job. She lost over a month of income during the time she was caring for her brother and his child.

Under Senate Bill 645, airline employees would be able to use earned sick time to care for sick family members.

“Airline workers in Illinois are often forced to choose between caring for a sick family member or earning their paycheck,” King said. “Even if a worker has sick days available for use for themselves, there is no requirement that companies allow these days to be used to care for other sick family members. We should not be forced to choose between our job and our loved ones, nor should we be subject to discipline simply because of a family emergency.”

This legislation now awaits consideration in the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – A measure that would give Cook County taxpayers the ability to easily access public records passed the Senate Executive Committee unanimously Wednesday.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) is the lead sponsor of the initiative.

“The passage of this legislation indicates a positive step in the direction of accessible, transparent government,” Hastings said. “To put it simply, hardworking taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent. I look forward to additional dialogue and collaboration with my colleagues to further solidify a government that works for our people first and foremost.”

Senate Bill 583 would include the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County under the Local Records Act, providing greater transparency to the public regarding how the clerk’s office uses its public funds. The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is a non-judicial office of the judiciary and not a local government or public body currently subject to FOIA.

Additionally, the legislation requires all clerks of circuit courts to accept credit card payments over the internet for fines, penalties, court costs and other costs, providing convenience for a county’s citizens when paying fines and fees.

“As we move forward from the previous administration, it’s important to regain public trust in the clerk’s office by being more transparent, and this is one of the first steps we’re taking to do that,” said Iris Y. Martinez, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. “I’m thankful to my former colleague, Senator Hastings, for assisting our office to better serve the public.”

This measure now moves to the Senate floor for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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CONTACT SENATOR HASTINGS

Welcome to the official website of Senator Michael E. Hastings. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Hastings directly or you may call any of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

Springfield Office:
111 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9595

East Office:
813 School Ave
Matteson, IL 60443

District Office:
20855 South LaGrange Road
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-5431

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