It has been a busy first year in office! Here is a round up of some of the biggest legislative accomplishments from the past 12 months.
Cook County Commissioner Britton lead-sponsored the Voting Opportunity and Translation Equity (VOTE) Ordinance, which mandates that fully translated ballots and voting materials in eight additional languages will be available for suburban Cook County residents with limited-English-proficiency in 2020. In total, the ballot will be available in 12 languages, putting Cook County among the top jurisdictions in the nation for ballot language access.
As Commissioner Britton’s first piece of legislation, he worked to raise the age of the sale of tobacco in the county to 21, up from 18. Our countywide effort showed a strong support for this public health initiative and this policy is now state law.
New Arlington Heights Health Center
In early Spring, Commissioner Britton joined Cook County President Preckwinkle at the official opening of the Arlington Heights Health Center recently. This is a major step toward health equity and parity that all Cook County residents deserve. Through this center, over 5,000 residents in District 14 alone will now be better served by CCHHS - from primary care and dentistry to specialty care and support against food insecurity.
Expanding Affordable Housing
In June, Commissioner Britton led the Board in approving a Home Investment Partnership Loan to add 45 supportive Housing units to District 14 through a new development called Spruce Village in Palatine. While there is much more work to be done, Commissioner Britton is proud to fund additional affordable housing units in District 14.
Surviving Spouse Tax Abatement
Commissioner Britton voted to create a new property tax exemption allowing surviving spouses of a fallen police officer, soldier or rescue worker to apply for the abatement of Cook County’s portion of a qualified property.
Preserving the Great Outdoors
This Summer, Harms Woods, in District 14, was the latest Forest approved to apply for a Forests for Illinois Nature Preserve dedication. Harms Woods will join Wampum Lake, Deer Grove West, Somme Woods and 21 other forests across the county with this distinction. This year, Commissioner Britton also secured a Cook County grant for the village of Arlington Heights to build a new bike path into the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve.
Tax Incentive Reforms
Commissioner Britton co-sponsored an ordinance amendment brought by Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller (D-6th) to reform commercial property tax incentives and ensure that vacant commercial properties do not sit empty for years without bringing economic vitality to the area. These new rules will ensure municipalities have the tools they need to help their economies thrive and that these tax incentives are put to good use.
The County strengthened our ethical oversight by expanding the jurisdiction of the Office of the Independent Inspector General to include intergovernmental agreements and memorandums of understanding, that is contracts to share resources with other public and private entities.
Female Equity and Empowerment
In October, Commissioner Britton introduced a resolution supporting Domestic Violence Awareness Month, commending domestic violence victim advocates, service providers, crisis hotline staff and first responders for their compassionate support of survivors of domestic violence, and committing to continuing to raise awareness of domestic violence and the corresponding devastating effects of domestic violence on survivors, families, and communities. In May, Commissioner Britton introduced a resolution urging the Illinois general assembly to support HB 2495, the Illinois Reproductive Health Act (IRHA). The IRHA has since passed and ensures that residents of Illinois maintain their fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about their own reproductive health.