SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, passed legislation to improve standards for charter schools, repair local roads and protect healthcare services, before the end of the spring legislative session Friday.
“This year’s budget was complicated by the lives and safety that every dollar impacts, and I pressed the importance of education and healthcare services during budget negotiations,” Welch said. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee on Higher Education, I listened to the concerns of parents, students, schools and interested parties to put forth the best possible budget, address inefficiencies and improve standards. There is still much work to be done to achieve solid fiscal health in our state, and I will continue to work towards building our economy and providing the programs residents depend on.”
Protecting seniors with limited resources in their retirement years, Welch backed legislation to increase the Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption to $5,000. Senate Bill 1894 passed both Houses with bipartisan support, and is now law.
“Seniors that depend on fixed incomes to cover healthcare costs, housing and basic needs deserve an opportunity to stay in their homes,” Welch said. “They shouldn’t fear losing their homes due to rising property taxes and this bill provides some financial relief for them to continue comfortably.”
Welch stood up for funding for road improvement projects in Forest Park and Maywood that will create jobs and repair local roads to improve safety, through the passage of House Bill 3794.
“The safety of my constituents is a top priority for me, and investments in road projects will help us to repave our streets and prevent accidents,” Welch said. “When we support projects to create much-needed jobs, taxpayer dollars are being put to good use here in our communities.
Welch introduced House Bill 3232 to create guidelines for charter schools that provide a more fair and transparent process. The bill would require school lottery selections to be videotaped, direct the governing body of a closing charter school to refund any unspent public funds, and allows for quarterly financial statements for schools when necessary. The bill passed both Houses and awaits the governor’s signature to become law.
“We expect our schools to be equipped and able to provide the best education for our students, but that requires both support and oversight,” Welch said. “That’s why we should hold every school to a high standard, to ensure that our children are given an equal opportunity to achieve.”