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June 27, 2006
State Employees Get Domestic Partner Benefits

As of July 1, 2006, state employees' domestic partners will be entitled to the same health benefits enjoyed by married spouses, thanks to an administrative order which Governor Rod Blagojevich filed in mid-May. Justin DeJong, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS), explained that the governor's order covers about 20,000 nonunion, management-level employees working in the 36 regulatory agencies under his direct control.

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Some 37,000 nonmanagement, union employees in these agencies, who are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), are entitled to domestic partner benefits via a union contract executed in 2004 which takes effect on July 1, 2006, DeJong explained.

At the same time, CMS Director Paul Campbell has asked the heads of remaining state offices whether they also wish to cover their employees' domestic partners. Those remaining offices include the Attorney General, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, and Comptroller, which together employ about 565 employees statewide.

The definition of domestic partner (as taken from the AFSCME contract) is a person of the same sex who has resided in the employee's household and has had a financial and emotional interdependence with the employee, consistent with that of a married couple, for at least a year, and continues to maintain such arrangement consistent with that of a married couple.

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