State workers regain free speech rights

In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court reversed a 40-year-old ruling that denied first amendment rights to non-union government workers by forcing them to pay union fees whether they belonged to the union or agreed with their agenda. The week also featured work on opioid abuse prevention, hospital support and higher education.

Janus vs. AFSCME decision puts an end to forced union fees

Illinois child support specialist Mark Janus took up the case Gov. Rauner filed in 2015 to restore free speech rights of public sector workers. The court ruled that Janus was denied his rights because even though he didn’t belong to the union, he was forced pay fees that went to support a political agenda he didn’t agree with. Read more here and here

Safety net, rural hospitals get funding to help serve poor

A bipartisan group of legislators came together this session to preserve federal funding for safety net and rural hospitals so they can continue to provide services to some of the state’s poorest residents. A redesigned program for reimbursements is more equitable and more efficient. Read more.

Opioid task force adds mental health focus


The opioid epidemic is an equal opportunity aggressor. It knows no color, no class, no neighborhood. The Governor’s Task Force has engaged in an all-out assault to reduce opioid-related deaths by one-third. Narcan access, help lines, and now a major boost in mental health services are at the forefront.  Read more.

FY19 budget boosts support for higher ed

Education provides a path to self-fulfillment, meaningful careers, and lasting financial security. It has been a top Rauner priority from the day he took office. FY19 is no exception. In addition to K-12 funding reforms, higher ed is getting a significant boost. Read more.