The House of Representatives voted to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB1351, a bill that would create the Student Loan Servicing Rights Act. This was an initiative of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to help address the growing problem of student loan debt and the alleged abuse by student loan servicing companies.

In 2017 the Attorney General’s Office sued Navient, the largest student loan servicer in the country over allegations of abuse on student loan servicing and student loan debt collection. The Attorney General backed this legislative measure to create a student loan bill of rights, so that borrowers can have a greater understanding of the payment processing, billing statements, payment histories, and an overall more transparent process to all aspects of student loans.

This legislation also creates the position of Student Loan Ombudsman within the Office of the Attorney General, which will help provide timely assistance to student loan borrowers who are experiencing problems with loans. In addition, every student loan servicer must be licensed with IDFPR, who are charged with overseeing, investigating, examining, and disciplining servicers for any violations of the Act.

Representative Winger voted in favor of the veto override, recognizing the necessity of providing many Illinois residents and students with more understanding of their rights, responsibilities, and options when it comes to loans.

“Student loans are a heavy burden to bear, and many students after graduating college have trouble navigating their loan debt, as well as understanding the process,” said Winger. “This bill will help ensure that no student is defrauded by loan servicers. It provides a clear process so students understand their rights and know where to turn to for help along the way.”

Rep. Winger was one of 98 lawmakers supporting the measure in the House, allowing the initial veto of the bill to be successfully overridden.
During legislative veto session in the House of Representatives, a measure to amend the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act was brought forward for consideration. The bill, HB302, is an initiative of State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, to provide beneficiaries with the benefits of all insurance plans that have lapsed, and encourage insurance companies to more aggressively search for beneficiaries following the death of policy holders.

After finding that nearly $550 million was unclaimed in death benefits between 2011 and 2015, Frerichs backed this legislation to ensure money is rightfully paid to family members from life insurance policies. Under this measure, it would make it easier to claim life insurance benefits when a policyholder dies.

According to the bill, life insurance companies would be required to compare electronic records of its policies in force since 2000 with the Social Security Administration’s list of deaths to determine whether a life insurance policy should be paid. Current law only calls for companies to make payments when requested by the beneficiaries.

Representative Winger stood in support of this measure when it was presented during veto session, recognizing the need to put more pressure on life insurance companies to pay what is rightfully owed to beneficiaries.

In the House of Representatives, the veto was overridden with 71 members voting in favor of the bill. The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration, and if the motion to override receives the required votes in that Chamber, HB302 will become law.