What the new economic equity bills signed by the governor do

Tuesday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed four bills championed by the Black Legislative Caucus to promote economic development and fairness as part of the “lame duck” January session caucus “pillars” to combat systematic racism.

Lawmakers say the bills are designed to help everyone, but especially people of color. They aim to increase economic access for people of color and people with disabilities by removing barriers to economic opportunity.

Senate Bill 1480: Employment and Criminal History

This bill prevents employers from using a person’s criminal history as a reason not to hire someone. It would be a violation of civil rights if a company refused a job to a person solely on the basis of a criminal conviction. Employers can always refuse to hire someone on the basis of a conviction if there is a substantial connection between the conviction and the job. Republicans say this opens the door to frivolous lawsuits.

Senate bill 1608: contracts diversified by states

This bill forces the state to enter into contracts with more minority companies. Currently, the state is expected to conclude 20% of its contracts with minority-owned businesses. The new law raises this standard to 30% and creates an equity and inclusion commission to better enforce the diversity of contracts.

Senate Bill 1792: Interest Cap on Payday Loans and Cannabis Net Worth

The bill caps payday loans at 36%, which are known to have interest rates as high as 297% per year when not capped. Payday loans are short-term loans to allow a loan to access cash quickly. They must be repaid within a short period of time.

By capping loans at 36%, Illinois becomes the 18th state to cap payday loans at or below that rate. State Senator Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, said low-income people and minorities often have access to these loans because it is more difficult for them to benefit from the traditional banking system.

The bill also creates a Cannabis Fairness Commission in hopes of tackling the legal white-majority cannabis industry in Illinois, which was supposed to create more business opportunities for people from across the country. color.

1980 Senate Bill: Housing and Criminal History

This new law prohibits public housing authorities from taking a person’s criminal history into consideration when deciding whether or not to rent them accommodation. However, federal law could still allow public housing authorities to take criminal history into account.

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