About the ILBC's Justice Reform Bill
On January 13th, the Illinois General Assembly passed a landmark omnibus bill (HB 3653) on criminal justice championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) and grassroots community groups across the state. This momentous policy package would take crucial steps in advancing racial equity in Illinois by enacting targeted reforms to anti-Black systems of law enforcement and mass incarceration.
What Would HB 3653 Do?
The ILBC’s policy package would enact long overdue reforms to Illinois racially targeted law enforcement, court, and prison systems. Key elements of the legislation are listed below.
Invest in emergency and long term financial assistance for low and middle income householdsDirect emergency financial assistanceto every Illinoisan who is left behind by the CARES Act, including formerly incarcerated people, students, undocumented workers, and members of the untaxed and uncompensated economy. Ensure continuous payments are made throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis. Implement an immediate and permanent increase in the state EITC from 18% to 36% of the federal credit for all filers, and disburse payments on a bimonthly, rather than annual basis. Permanently expand the universe of state EITC recipients to include undocumented earners and young people, and extend the maximum credit to uncompensated workers - such as family caregivers and students - in low income households.
Restore the basic needs safety net for the Illinois' most vulnerable householdsIndefinitely extend the COVID-19 emergency increase to Illinois’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Enact an immediate and permanent increase in Illinois' Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant amount to 60% of the annually adjusted federal poverty guidelines. Abolish the state ban on TANF for households with members who have been convicted of a drug-related felony.
Expand eligibility and funding to the Child Care Assistance ProgramIndefinitely extend COVID-19 emergency child care measures to ensure continuous funding to state licensed child care providers who are forced to close, increased reimbursement rates to daycare centers that remain open during the pandemic, and offer child care to all essential workers at a $1 monthly rate throughout the entirety of the pandemic shutdowns. As the Illinois labor force returns to work, ensure the affordability of child care for all households by permanently raising the CCAP eligibility threshold to 400% of the federal poverty line and eliminating all copays.
Direct small business relief to Black owned enterprisesFor all forthcoming state level business relief packages related to COVID-19 shutdowns, establish 33% set-asides specifically for Black owned enterprises and nonprofits. Implement a statewide economic relief package explicitly aimed at stabilizing local POC owned enterprises through grants, loan forgiveness, and employee targeted tax credit measures.
Increase state revenue through progressive taxationIn order to fund both emergency and long term COVID-19 economic relief measures, establish new progressive revenue streams, including a statewide high end real estate transfer tax. Anticipate passage of the Fair Tax Amendment by preparing an assertive progressive income tax structure, through which Illinois’ wealthiest households and corporations equitably contribute to state resources.
What's Next for HB 3653?
In order to ensure that HB 3653 becomes law in Illinois, the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) is mobilizing community members across the state to demand that Governor Pritzker sign the bill in its entirety, without further delay.