© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Automatic voter registration, immigrant protection among Illinois bills signed by Gov. Rauner

The Illinois state seal
The Illinois state seal
Jeremy Wilburn | Flickr

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been busy in the last few days, having signed into law bills that restrict cooperation with federal immigration authorities, automatically register eligible voters when they get a license, make it easier for transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates and re-establish the Illinois Muslim American Advisory Council.

But the Republican also has used his veto powers on college loan protection, limits on what employers can ask job candidates and a workers’ compensation plan. Here's a rundown of the action:


Approved by Rauner


  • What it is: Local and state police can’t search, arrest or detain someone solely because of immigration status or because of so-called federal immigration detainers. However, local authorities would be able to hold someone if federal officials have a valid criminal warrant.


  • Who backed it: Law enforcement, business and immigrant groups.


  • Any issues? Republicans who oppose it say it turns Illinois into a so-called "sanctuary state."


  • In effect: Immediately.


  • What it is: Automatic voter registration upon obtaining a state driver’s license or another state ID.


  • Who backed it: Unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans.


  • Any issues? If people don’t want to be registered to vote, they can opt out.


  • In effect: July 2018 — in time for November midterm elections.


  • What it is: Transgender individuals can change their gender designation with authorization from a medical professional confirming they have undergone medically appropriate treatment.


  • Who backed it: Democrats said it implemented standards used for driver's licenses, passports and in several other states.


  • Any issues? Some Republicans argued the current law permitting a change only following surgery went far enough.


  • What it is: It bars the use of a victim's sexual orientation as a justification for murder (California has a similar law).


  • Who backed it: Wide bipartisan support in the Legislature.


  • In effect: Jan. 1, 2018.


  • What it is: A 21-member panel will be appointed to advise the governor and legislators on policy issues affecting Muslim Americans and immigrants. 


  • Who backed it: Former Gov. Pat Quinn.


  • Any issues? Opponents question whether state resources should be used on advisory councils.


  • What it is: Authorities can prosecute out-of-state drug dealers for deaths caused by their sales.


  • In effect: Jan. 1, 2018.
Rejected by Rauner


  • What it was: The plan would have required student loan servicers to provide students with detailed information, such as repayment options.


  • Who backed it: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, who said it was intended to fight abuse and failures in the industry. The measure was part of an investigation and lawsuit her office brought against a loan servicing company.  


  • Why vetoed? Rauner said the intent is "laudable," but the bill "encroaches on the federal government's responsibilities" and would make the complex student loan process more confusing.


  • What’s next: Backers of the measure plan to seek an override, which requires three-fifths majority vote in House and Senate.


  • What it was:  The proposal would have limited what employers who screen job applicants can ask, including prior wage or salary history.


  • Why vetoed? Rauner supported the idea, but said it should be more like a Massachusetts law that prevents salary inquiries before the job offer, among other things.


  • What it was: A measure that would have required insurance companies to get state approval for rates


  • Who supported it: Democrats who wanted Rauner to see that they were willing to take up some of his agenda, specifically this topic, which he’s pushed for changes to since taking office in 2015.


  • Why vetoed? Rauner said the measure wasn’t “real reform” and didn’t address competitive disadvantages resulting from the disappearance of manufacturing jobs.


  • What it was: Insurance companies would have had to compare lapsed policies back to 2000 against federal death files to verify a policyholder has died and benefits have been paid.


  • Who supported it? Democratic Treasurer Michael Frerichs and consumer advocates, who said it’d guard against insurance companies' unscrupulous practices.


  • Why vetoed? Rauner used an amendatory veto, meaning he rewrote parts of the plan, arguing it was "inequitable and potentially unconstitutional" and unfairly forces companies to search for policies.