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Legislators eye Friday’s deadline to move bills out of Illinois House committees

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(The Center Square) – State representatives are debating a plethora of bills this week in committees because there’s a deadline approaching. Some state lawmakers are disappointed their bills may not see the light of day.

Friday is the deadline for the Illinois House to move bills out of committees for floor action.

State Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, said he’s got a property tax relief bill that likely won’t get called.

“Every chairman has a different criteria they might use [when deciding what bills to call]. You have to go ask them to call your bills. [A lot of my bills] are not getting called, and many Republican bills aren’t getting called. The vast majority are not,” said Ugaste. “I don’t file bills for the sake of filing bills.”

Ugaste is a chief sponsor of state Rep. Tim Ozinga’s, R-Mokena, House Bill 4866, which Ugaste said would provide $82.5 billion in property tax relief to Illinoisians.

“Something we should all get behind, yet nothing is happening on it,” said Ugaste.

Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the country.

State Rep. Laura Faver Dias, D-Grayslake, is optimistic that her House Bill 5295, which would expand hormone therapy treatments for women experiencing menopause, will make it out of committee.

In Illinois currently, “we require insurance to cover hormone replacement therapy if you have had a hysterectomy. But the latest research shows we really need to expand it for all people who go through menopause,” said Dias.

State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, touted a bill she got out of committee two weeks ago. Moeller said House Bill 5395 would prevent insurance companies from unfairly increasing rates on Illinoisans.

“The Healthcare Protection Act, this is the governor’s initiative to take on the insurance industry to make sure it is more consumer-friendly and not denying access to care to patients around the state,” said Moeller.

State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, said he has three bills he hopes to get out of committee this week, but said there are a disproportionate amount of Republican bills that don’t make it out of committee.

“I think if you look at the proportion of bills coming out as to how many members we have in the chamber, there are fewer Republican bills coming out than I’d like to see,” said Keicher.

Among the three bills Keicher hopes to move is a bill that addresses human trafficking.

“One of my bills deals with juveniles who are trafficked and gives them a pathway to get their life back together. I have a bill that will help senior drivers with Secretary of State issues, also I have a bill that will address roadside waste from trash haulers in the state,” said Keicher.

Keicher’s House Bill 2420 would create a local government grant program to fund roadside cleanup programs when haulers fail to secure their loads.

Illinois is the only state in the nation that requires drivers 75 and older to retake a driving test as a condition of renewing their driver’s license. Keicher’s legislation, House Bill 4431, would end this practice.

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