Governor Pritzker Signs Source of Income and Legislative Accessibility Bills
Access Living friends and allies,
We’re thrilled to kick off the week with the news that TWO of the bills Access Living focused on this year were signed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker today. Both bills were several years in the making. Read on for the big announcement! We are so thankful for everyone who worked so hard to get these bills passed and enacted into law.
Illinois e-News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 23, 2022
Governor Pritzker Signs Legislation Protecting Illinoisans with Disabilities in Housing, State Government
Legislation prevents discrimination based on source of income and expands accessibility at Illinois State Capitol
Chicago– Governor JB Pritzker signed HB2775 and SB180 into law today, expanding protections for Illinoisans with disabilities in state government and housing. HB2775 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to ban discrimination in housing selection based on source of income, including non-employment income such as Section 8 vouchers or disability payments. SB180 seeks to expand accommodations for people with disabilities seeking to attend legislative meetings, hearings, and other government events at the Illinois Capitol Complex through formation of an Accessibility Task Force.
“Our disabled residents must have access to safe and affordable housing and it is past time that the law reflects our state’s values of accessibility and inclusion,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That’s why we are banning source of income discrimination in housing selection and assembling the Accessibility Task Force. Our disabled communities deserve a seat at the table-and this bill does exactly that. When disabled Illinoisans come to our Capitol, they will be welcomed, accommodated, and heard. Since day one, my administration has prioritized support for our disabled population and I am proud to sign both of these bills into law-furthering that crucial work.”
HB2775 defines “source of income” as the lawful manner by which an individual supports themselves and their dependents and classifies it as a civil rights violation to discriminate in housing selections based on that income. People with disabilities, those qualifying for housing vouchers, and senior citizens with retirement income have all cited their source of income as being a reason for denial of housing, and many of these vulnerable populations have struggled to find safe and affordable housing as a result.
SB180 forms the General Assembly Accessibility Task Force, which must include people who self-identify as having a disability, to provide recommendations to support accommodations so people with disabilities can fully participate in government events at the Illinois State Capitol. Those attending events such as hearings, meetings, floor procedures, and press conferences will be able to request accessibility measures through the Illinois General Assembly Website.
These initiatives are additional supports for Illinoisans with disabilities, a priority of Governor JB Pritzker’s administration. In 2021, Governor Pritzker signed an executive order preventing state agencies from contracting with vendors who pay people with disabilities a sub-minimum wage. Governor Pritzker also signed legislation requiring Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to ensure accessible online learning options are available for students with disabilities.
“Refusing to rent to a housing applicant because of their source of income disproportionately affects renters of color, women, and persons with disabilities,” said Illinois Department of Human Rights Director Jim Bennett. “Through the hard work of dedicated housing rights advocates along with our housing team at the Illinois Department of Human Rights, HB2775 ensures that a single parent in Quincy, a veteran in Murphysboro, or a retiree in East Peoria can now seek affordable housing without fear that their lawful source of income will be rejected.”
“No one should be denied housing when they have the means to make the rent,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “This measure will protect individuals on government assistance, single mothers receiving child support and seniors on fixed incomes who may have been turned away from housing in the past.”
“The Capitol Grounds belong to all the people,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “Everyone, regardless of the nature of their disability, should be able to navigate their way through our public spaces.”
“We are thrilled with the State’s support for the Legislative Accessibility Act,” said Amber Smock, Director of Advocacy for Access Living. “With one in four Illinoisans living with at least one disability, accessible engagement with our state legislators has become more critical than ever. In our experience, ensuring full accessibility tends to benefit everyone, not just those with disabilities. This new law will provide for much-needed structure and support so that our legislators can truly hear from all who live in Illinois.”
“Source of income fair housing protections will have a significant positive impact on ensuring a more just and equitable housing market across our state and addressing systemic racial and economic segregation,” said Representative La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago). “With the homeless population on the rise, Illinois must continue to work with housing experts, realtors, and landlords to continue meeting the needs of those at risk of homelessness and those now experiencing homelessness across Illinois.”
“Every Illinois resident deserves the opportunity to participate in our legislative process, fully and unequivocally,” said State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago). “For too long, accessing government has been a challenge for many people with disabilities, as they have faced unnecessary barriers both in accessing and engaging in the process. The passage of SB180 will help us understand the challenges people face and identify ways to achieve the goal of full participation for all Illinoisans. I hope and expect this bill will be just the beginning in terms of ensuring access for people with disabilities to all aspects of the process at all levels of government in Illinois.”
“HB 2775 will help low-income people with disabilities and people of color, who are most often discriminated against based on their source of income, live in the housing of their choice,” said Nabi Yisreal, Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing Member at Access Living. “For people with disabilities in particular, this law will provide a pathway to living independently in the community.”