CourtroomSMSPRINGFIELD – Victims of human trafficking would have the ability to seal their criminal records under a proposal advanced this week by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

“We know most victims of trafficking are being forced to commit crimes by their trafficker,” Hutchinson said. “Allowing the sealing of criminal records gives survivors more ability to move past their abuse and exploitation and towards recovery and a chance at a normal life.”

House Bill 5494 would create a petition process that would allow trafficking victims to petition for the immediate sealing of criminal records upon completion of their sentence. Currently, only charges that result in an acquittal or dismissal are eligible for immediate sealing.  

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04242018CM0832RSPRINGFIELD – Law enforcement officers who sexually abuse or rape individuals in custody could face charges under a proposal advanced yesterday afternoon by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

“The general public should have complete faith that law enforcement officers are held to the same standards as everyone else in our society,” Hutchinson said. “No one person should be immune to consequences for their actions, and our laws should reflect that reality.”

House Bill 5597 would expand the definition of custodial sexual misconduct to include law enforcement officers who engage in sexual conduct with an individual in police custody. Illinois is one of 34 states that allow police officers to evade sexual assault or rape charges by claiming that sexual activity with someone detained or in custody is consensual.

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04172018CM0638RSPRINGFIELD – Companies doing business with the State of Illinois would be required to have a sexual harassment policy protecting workers under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) that passed the Senate today.

“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.”

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

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Preschool ClassroomSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) passed a measure out of the Senate today that would create additional avenues for preschool teachers to get licensed while still maintaining criteria to ensure teachers are highly qualified.

“We know the importance of ensuring that every child from every zip code has access to high-quality preschool programs,” Hutchinson said. “Data confirms that access to these vital programs can have lifelong positive effects, leading to lower chances of becoming a teen parent or being arrested for violent crime and leading to higher rates of high school graduation and college attendance.”

Hutchinson’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 1829, would allow an instructor to teach preschool children in early childhood programs if he or she holds a Professional Educator License or is working towards his or her license and has been credentialed by the state.

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