Senator Gillespie speaks into a microphone while seated at a table.SPRINGFIELD — Suburban township mental health boards approved by referendum last year will be able to collect the revenue needed to operate after legislation led by State Senator Ann Gillespie was signed into law Nov. 17.

“I am grateful we were able to quickly advance legislation to amend an error within the referendums and allow our community mental health boards to provide vital services to those in need,” said Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “Residents made their voices heard when they approved the boards, and it is fundamental to democracy that we uphold their decision.”

Community mental health boards, or 708 boards, are appointed panels that levy property taxes to fund local organizations and community mental health initiatives. Referendums approving 708 boards in several townships – including Addison, Elgin, Lisle, Naperville, Schaumburg and Wheeling townships – and Will County were deemed invalid because they did not include language about how the tax to fund the board would impact homeowners.

Senate Bill 690 guarantees the results of these referendums, allowing affected townships to levy the tax necessary to fund the boards without re-submitting the referendum in 2024.

“Voters across the suburbs took an active role in deciding how government should work for them — they showed up for mental health board referendums and decided those services were needed,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “This is a no-brainer; instead of ignoring the will of voters or requiring referendum do-overs, we are protecting their decisions by codifying the boards they chose to create.”

“This legislation will save lives and protect millions of dollars’ worth of investments in mental health that voters asked for,” said State Representative Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove). “In my role as a state representative, I will continue to ensure my local community mental health boards have the tools and resources they need to perform their critical work.”

“Building the best mental health care system in the country is a priority in Illinois, and this bill brings us one step closer to achieving that,” said State Representative Mary Beth Canty (D-Arlington Heights). “From combating substance abuse to helping kids overcome anxiety and depression, better mental health can lead to better lives for countless people.”

"I'm thankful for the governor's support of this important legislation,” said State Representative Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights). “The voters have already spoken and support critical increased mental health services.”

Senate Bill 690 goes into effect immediately.