SCOTUS Building 350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar said he is disappointed the U.S. Supreme Court moved today to weaken organized labor and collective bargaining rights for American workers.

“As if the middle class doesn’t have enough problems already, the Supreme Court today chose to put wealthy corporate interests ahead of working people in Illinois and across the country,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat whose district includes a large number of unionized state employees, as well as many trade union members.

“This case was never about freedom of speech. Its aim from the start was to stifle the voices of teachers, first responders and other frontline workers across the country,” Manar said.

“Make no mistake: the corporations and far-right dark-money organizations behind this case that desperately want more control over government to advance their own interests benefit the most from weakening collective bargaining and diminishing the voice of union labor.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Illinois public employee union case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 overturns unions’ ability to collect fees from non-members to cover the costs of collective bargaining and enforcement of labor contracts. These fees are known as “fair-share” or “agency fee” payments.

Bruce Rauner filed suit over fair-share fees in 2015 shortly after becoming governor. The Supreme Court’s ruling, which overturns a 1977 decision, has implications for collective bargaining units all over the country.

 

Timeline of Janus v. AFSCME

May 23, 1977 — A U.S. Supreme Court decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education legalizes the collection of union fair-share fees from non-members for costs related to negotiating and enforcing labor contracts. Fair-share fees could not be used for lobbying and political expenses by unions.

Feb. 9, 2015 — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, in office less than a month, issues an executive order suspending the deduction of fair-share fees from state employees’ paychecks and sending the money to unions. He also files a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of fair-share fee collection, contending it violates the First Amendment.

Sept. 13, 2016 — A federal judge in Chicago dismisses Rauner’s lawsuit, saying the governor does not have standing in the case. A state worker, Mark Janus, later is allowed to intervene in the case, saying he objects to fair-share fees being deducted from his paycheck to be sent to a union. Janus’ legal representation is provided by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty justice Center.

March 21, 2017 — An appellate court affirms the federal judge’s 2016 decision to dismiss the case. Janus appeals the appellate ruling to the Supreme Court.

Sept. 28, 2017 — The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the Janus case.

Feb. 26, 2018 — Oral arguments are presented to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Gov. Rauner is present for the arguments and speaks to the media afterward.

June 27, 2018 — U.S. Supreme Court hands down its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.

Category: Latest News

SmallBiz 350SPRINGFIELD – Last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that e-commerce retailers should pay the same local sales taxes as brick-and-mortar businesses is a victory for downstate Illinois communities that have seen their local economies decimated because of online shopping, State Senator Andy Manar said.

“Out-of-state corporations have been gaming the system for a long time, with alarming consequences for cities like Springfield, Decatur and small towns all over the district I represent. We’ve watched storefront after storefront close and retail workers sent to the unemployment line,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who has met with local small business owners and listened to their concerns about this issue.

“While online shopping is a wonderful convenience for rural consumers and businesses, it can also be a pox for many of the retailers we rely on to support our towns,” he added. “I’m talking about the moms and the pops who struggle to compete with faceless corporate giants that always manage to undercut them online because they get to play by a different set of rules.”

Illinois is poised to benefit right away from today’s Supreme Court ruling. Manar helped advance bipartisan legislation that requires out-of-state e-commerce retailers that do business with Illinois customers to collect a use tax under two conditions: their cumulative gross receipts exceed $100,000 or they have more than 200 separate transactions with customers in Illinois.

The measure creates a level playing field for retailers and will bring more economic stability to communities that have been hard hit by business closures the past few years. Those effects aren’t limited to job losses. Declining local sales tax revenue means less money for road and sewer repairs, sidewalk improvements, fire and police protection, and other local needs.

Lawmakers incorporated the Senate measure into the budget bill that was signed into law June 4 in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision. Now, out-of-state retailers are going to have to get used to the idea that they must pay their fair share, Manar said.

“The times change. Consumer habits change. I get that,” he said. “But if we don’t correct this imbalance, I fear some of our rural communities will be ghost towns in a few years.”

Category: Latest News

RailTracks350PANA – As the community of Pana today marks one year since the loss of five family members in a collision with a freight train, State Senator Andy Manar is reminding drivers and pedestrians about the dangers of rural railroad crossings.

“Today, we’ll pause to remember five respected citizens who are missed terribly by their loved ones and friends,” Manar said. “We owe it to them and their families to do everything in our power to protect people around train tracks and ensure rail crossings are unobstructed and well maintained.”

On June 14, 2017, five Pana residents were on their way home from a church event near Nokomis, when the van they were riding in was struck by a freight train near County Road 1800 East and Illinois 16 in Christian County.

All five died from the injuries they suffered. They were John “Sonny” and Mary Castle; Herb and Nell Castle; and Mary Pugsley. John and Herb Castle were brothers and well-known businessmen. Pugsley was Mary Castle’s sister-in-law.

About $600,000 in state money has been set aside for improvements to the crossing where the crash occurred and to another crossing about a half-mile away at County Road 1825 East. Improvements include installation of automatic flashing light signals and gates, and reconstructing the approaches to the crossing.

Manar commended state transportation and commerce commission officials for quickly recognizing the need for major safety improvements at the two crossings after the fatal collision. Crash investigators have said drivers at the location may have difficulty getting a clear view of oncoming trains because of the way the crossing is built.

“Public safety projects like these should be a priority,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee. “It’s a small price for saving future lives.”

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Category: Latest News

Red Lights 350SPRINGFIELD – A new law that State Senator Andy Manar helped advance in the Legislature will make it easier for central Illinois residents to protect themselves from identity theft during data breaches like the massive Equifax breach that exposed the personal information of 5.4 million Illinoisans last year.

House Bill 4095 was signed into law today. Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, co-sponsored the measure, which was an initiative of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Under the law, which goes into effect immediately, credit reporting agencies can no longer charge Illinois consumers a fee to place or lift a freeze on their credit reports. It also gives consumers the ability to request a freeze electronically or over the phone instead of only through certified mail.

“I heard from numerous constituents during the Equifax breach who feared their personal information had been compromised but were unsure what steps to take to protect themselves,” Manar said. “This law will help ensure credit companies can’t take advantage of consumers who are diligent about their credit.”

One way consumers can protect themselves from fraud is to freeze their credit reports. During a freeze, no new credit may be issued under their name and social security number. Until now, credit reporting agencies had been allowed to charge Illinois consumers up to $10 each time they asked to freeze or unfreeze their reports.

From May to July of 2017, as many as 143 million Americans nationwide were affected by a massive data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies. Personal consumer information compromised in the data breach included names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers – all of which can be used for widespread identify theft.

Anyone with questions about identity theft and those who believe they may be victims of identity theft are urged to call the Illinois attorney general’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630. Visit the attorney general's identity theft protection website for more information.

Category: Latest News

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