25 Oct

Illinois Legislation for Voice of the Poor

We are living in a time of COVID19, racism, wealth inequality, and environmental crisis.  Since COVID struck, Vincentians adapted and, in some cases, increased service to our neighbors and our means of spiritual growth.  At this time of crisis, we need to adapt and increase our VOICE OF THE POOR advocacy as well.

It is a perfect time for a perfect legislation to address all these issues and to enliven the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul’s Voice of the Poor.  The Illinois General Assembly wants to get going on clean energy and is considering the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) SB2132/HB3624.  Illinois Voice of the Poor had an informational Zoom meeting with Illinois Peoples Action, a faith-based organization working on environmental justice and other poverty issues. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRESENTATION. CEJA is the only energy bill with definite provisions to bring about systemic change for people in poverty, people of color and those in environmental justice communities disproportionately affected by air and water pollution caused by fossil fuels.  The bill not only provides clean solar and wind power and lower bills, it expands access to clean energy careers, builds community wealth through new opportunities, while building on a clean energy economy which improves air and water quality, leading to healthier communities.

CEJA puts people of color at the head of the line for job training, jobs, and support of black and brown businesses, including contractors.  This most important aspect of CEJA is what can bring about systemic change, particularly for people of color and for all of us as it will help clean up our environment.  Pope Francis reminds us to be our brother’s keeper AND be good stewards of our earth.  CEJA can do both, if the aspects regarding racial equity and the clean energy provisions are not compromised out of the legislation.

That is where Voice of the Poor comes into play.  CEJA fits into the Vincentian mission and our recent emphasis on systemic change.  There are  almost 6,000 Vincentians in Illinois.  We can be a force getting behind this bill.  For more information, see https://PeoplePlanetFirst.org  and https://ilcleanjobs.org and contact your Illinois State Representatives and Senators in Springfield or at their home offices about CEJA.  

Mary Anne Michelet

IL VOP Representative

Update on CEJA by Mary Anne Michelet

Thank you to all who have been advocating for the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Negotiations have been taking place for many months with legislators and representatives from the fossil fuel industry, unions, the solar industry, environmental and equal justice advocates. In August negotiations reached an impasse and shut down. 

On 8/23/21 negotiations started up again.  We are hopeful a negotiated Clean Energy Jobs Act will reach the floor for a vote by September.

Please re-read the information about CEJA above and contact your Illinois legislators to KEEP the equity portions of CEJA and pass the bill.  And due to the most recent studies reported on the climate crisis, it would also be well to keep the plan intact for reducing the production of fossil fuel in a timely fashion along with the transition to renewable energy. 

UPDATE ON CEJA 10/20/21 by Mary Anne Michelet

Now called the Climate Equity Jobs Act, CEJA was passed and signed by Governor Pritzger this fall.  Thanks to all who reached out to their legislators, especially regarding the BIPOC equity provisions and the support for clean energy for Illinois.  There are many provisions of the bill and we will keep an eye on how it is rolled out.

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