History and Victories
Citizen Action/Illinois was formed in 1997 to work on behalf of the public interest both in Springfield and Washington, DC and is built on a tradition of strong grassroots citizen organizations-- in labor, the communities, and in the progressive movement. Citizen Action/Illinois is the state's largest public interest organization and a progressive political coalition committed to creating social change both in Illinois and across the nation. The organization is based on several core values: a belief that every human has equal worth, that the purpose of our society is to allow its members to live meaningful and fulfilling lives, and that there is collective good beyond our individual interests. It seeks to promote and win public policies that reflect these values and embody social justice.
Since 1997, Citizen Action/Illinois has built an impressive record of victories on behalf of families, workers, and consumers.
Highlights of Our Victories
Predatory Lending Reform
Won a new state law that caps rates for nearly every short-term credit product, prevents the cycle of debt caused by frequent refinancing, and gives regulators the tools necessary to crack down on abuses and identify potentially predatory practices before they become widespread.
Clean Construction Policy
Achieved the adoption of a strong clean-construction policy by the Illinois Department of Transportation, mandating the use of pollution controls able to reduce diesel soot pollution by 50 percent,
Health Insurance Consumer Protection
Helped pass a law that extends independent review process to consumers who are denied coverage; includes transparency on how much of premiums are actually spent on medical costs.
Cook County Clean Construction Ordinance
New law that will require all public county construction projects, costing $2 million or more, to use clean fuel and technology that removes up to 90% of dirty soot from their equipment. Cook County becomes the first county in the Midwest to adopt a green construction ordinance.
Auto Title Lending Reform
Alongside the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Citizen Action/Illinois successfully advocated for the adoption of new rules to reform the auto title lending industry in Illinois. The rules eliminate the loopholes that allowed many title loans to avoid regulation. The rules also stipulate an increase in the maximum automobile title loan principal to $4,000, reassert the requirement to index the loan amount to a borrower’s income, require utilization of a consumer reporting service, and prohibit balloon payments on short-term, title-secured loans.
Homeowner Protection Act
Helped pass the Homeowner Protection Act, a law that will help homeowners in Illinois avoid foreclosure by providing a 90 day forbearance period for homeowners who seek mortgage counseling. A major victory for families and communities.
Hospital Discriminatory Pricing Act
Won passage of a groundbreaking bill extending hospital discounts to people without health insurance became law in 2008. Instead of paying the full sticker price – typically two to three times the actual cost of care – uninsured patients will now pay charges based on the actual cost of care plus a 35 percent markup.
Electric Rate Relief
Helped lead the effort to win $1 Billion in electric rate relief for Illinois customers of both Ameren and ComEd. The reforms also set up the Illinois Power Agency to make sure that consumers get the best price for electricity.
Green Cleaning in Schools
Won passage of a new law which requires schools to purchase environmentally sensitive cleaning products – a victory for Illinois children, teachers, school nurses and families.
Won new law that makes Illinois the first state to intentionally use economic development subsidies to link jobs with public transit and/or affordable housing.
Payday Loan Reform
Governor Blagojevich signed the landmark Payday Loan Reform Act (HB1100) on June 9, 2005 which will regulate the payday loan industry in Illinois. Key consumer protections in HB 1100 include; a fee cap to reduce the cost of using payday loans, an industry wide cap on borrowing to prevent over borrowing, a recovery period to break the cycle of debt created by back-to-back loans, a repayment plan to help borrowers in over their head made good on their debts, special protections for military personnel, and a statewide consumer reporting service for enforcement.
Connecting Communities to Jobs and Education
Won the TRED (Transit Ridership and Economic Development) bill in conjunction with transit providers and community advocates to expand public transportation options to move people to jobs, job training and education.
Quality Long-Term Care
The Illinois Long Term Care Council was officially established by the state of Illinois to ensure that consumers receive high quality long-term care through an effective and independent ombudsman program.
Prescription Drug Discount Act
Led the battle to win landmark prescription drug reform that established a massive consumer purchasing club for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Corporate Accountability for Tax Expenditures Act
Helped to win passage of the Corporate Accountability for Tax Expenditures Act, which established minimum standards and public disclosure for state economic development assistance, as well as recapture of public funds when agreements are violated by corporations.
Predatory Mortgage Lending
Led the Msgr. John Egan Campaign for Payday Loan Reform to codify and strengthen existing predatory mortgage lending rules.
Won Tougher Illinois Ethics Laws
Won tough new laws to guide and define campaign solicitations in the state of Illinois
Telecommunications Rewrite Act
Enacts stronger protections for local phone service, including compensating customers for service outages, and giving the Illinois Commerce Commission stronger authority over local service.
Expanded Pharmaceutical Assistance Act
Added coverage of lung disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and glaucoma medicine for senior citizens who qualify for the Pharmaceutical Assistance Act.
Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act
Passed comprehensive protections for consumers in state-regulated HMOs.
Ban on Lobbyist Gifts
Won a law to ban most gifts to state legislators from special interest lobbyists.
Strengthened Clean Air Standards
Helped win new smog and soot standards to prevent 15,000 premature deaths annually from respiratory diseases and asthma.