04172018CM0638RSPRINGFIELD – Companies doing business with the State of Illinois will be required to have a sexual harassment policy protecting workers under a new law signed today and passed by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

“The State of Illinois should be a leader in ensuring sexual harassment is not tolerated in our state,” Hutchinson said. “Every year, hundreds of companies team up with the state to provide services to our residents. We need to ensure these individuals performing state work are protected and know sexual harassment is not tolerated in Illinois.”

The new law, contained in Senate Bill 405, requires all companies that make a bid or offer for a state contract have a sexual harassment policy in place. Additionally, the law requires companies that claim EDGE tax credits to include their sexual harassment policy in their annual report to the state.

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SupremeCourtSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) released the following statement this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against public sector unions in the Janus v. AFSCME case:

“Today’s court decision will have a direct impact on the income, health benefits and overall standard of living for thousands of public workers and their families across our nation. These are workers who care for our children, protect our environment and keep us safe.

“At a time of historic inequity in our economy, this is the latest blow to working families that will have a ripple effect for decades to come. It also shows us that partisan gamesmanship in Washington is continuing to enrich special interests at the expense of working families.”

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093011br0124RSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) voted in favor of a balanced, bipartisan budget this evening that invests more state funding in education while opposing proposed cuts by Gov. Bruce Rauner to a host of after school programs and services.

“Our state budget is a moral document,” Hutchinson said. “Our priorities are shown by where we choose to invest. The spending plan we developed and passed invests in our children, our students and individuals with disabilities while making commonsense cuts to non-essential services to ensure we are living within our means.”

The budget plan, contained in House Bill 109 and House Bill 3342, includes $350 million more in education funding with an additional $50 million investment in early childhood education. Higher education institutions, which have borne the brunt of Illinois’ budget impasse over the last few years, receive $25 million in additional state funding.

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02202018CM0491RSPRINGFIELD – Illinois would join a growing list of states allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp under a plan passed this afternoon by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights).

“Illinois has some of the best farmland in the Midwest,” Hutchinson said. “And with more than 80 percent of our land use tied to agriculture, farmers would finally have the chance to grow and produce a product that is already available in our stores.”

Hutchinson’s plan, contained in Senate Bill 2298, would create the Industrial Hemp Act, allowing farmers to apply to the Illinois Department of Agriculture for a license to cultivate and process industrial hemp. In 2014, the federal farm bill for the first time allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to develop pilot programs to study the cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp. Illinois passed legislation in 2015 allowing state universities with four-year agriculture degrees to research hemp.

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