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Should insurance pay for birth control?

Second advisory question put on November ballot

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 3:22 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 14, 2014 3:24 p.m. CDT

For the second time in two weeks, Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to place a statewide advisory referendum on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

On July 6, Quinn signed House Bill 5755 which places an advisory referendum on the November ballot to ask voters if prescription insurance programs should be required to include birth control coverage. Two weeks earlier, on June 22, Quinn signed House Bill 3814 which places an advisory question on the November ballot asking if the state’s minimum wage for those over the age of 18 should be raised to $10 by Jan. 1, 2015. (Currently, Illinois’ minimum wage is $8.25.)

As stated in Quinn’s July 6 press release on this latest advisory referendum, the decision for the advisory referendum follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 30 which states birth control measures can be excluded from employer-provided prescription drug coverage if the coverage is in opposition to the employer’s religious beliefs.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, Bureau County Clerk Kami Hieronymus explained advisory referendums are just a way for legislators to get public opinion on an issue. Advisory referendums are approved by a simple majority of the voters. If an advisory referendum would be approved, then proponents of the issue would use the results of the advisory referendum to show public support to further their cause.

If an advisory referendum would fail, even by a large margin, the legislators could still go ahead and vote to approve the issue, Hieronymus said. A binding referendum would not be needed.

“It falls to the legislators to make that decision,” Hieronymus said.

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