CourtroomSPRINGFIELD – Two proposals sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) that aim to reform Illinois’ criminal justice system are now law after being signed by the governor.

“Decades of blindly adhering to harsh justice tactics have done nothing to address the root problems behind crime in our communities,” Hutchinson said. “Reforming our criminal justice system will eliminate racial injustices while ensuring dangerous individuals are behind bars and children are given the resources and opportunities to become productive members of society.”

Hutchinson’s first new law, contained in House Bill 3803, changes the offense of unlawful contact with a street gang member to unlawful participation in street gang-related activity. Under the old definition of unlawful contact, an individual could be charged with an offense for simply being in contact with a family member or close friend with a prior criminal record. The new law requires the person to commit an act in furtherance of gang-related activity before being charged with the offense.

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ClassroomSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) released the following statement this afternoon after voting to override Governor Rauner’s veto of historic school funding reform contained in Senate Bill 1: 

“For decades, Illinois students have suffered under a system of school funding that is outdated, inequitable and unjust. Children living in communities with little property wealth have been relegated to a sub-par education while homeowners have suffered under increasing property taxes.

“Years of hard work on both sides of the aisle have worked to change that reality. I am proud to stand today in support of this plan to ensure we do not pit school districts against school districts and students against students. A student’s zip code should never determine the level of education they receive in the wealthiest nation in the world.”

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SenateFloorSMSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) released the following statement this afternoon after a bipartisan group of Illinois House members voted to override Governor Rauner’s budget vetoes:

“For the first time in two years, Illinois has a complete balanced budget. The governor gets pension changes his administration sought that should produce nearly $1.5 billion in annual savings. There are also resources dedicated in this budget to pay down $8 billion in overdue bills.

“This budget is a responsible step forward that will restore economic stability and certainty to Illinois. We are counting on rating agencies to recognize our progress and the importance of today’s action.”

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Two years ago, a small group of women legislators from both chambers and both parties began meeting to see if we could begin working on solutions to Illinois’ impending fiscal challenges. Decades of the state failing to make required pension payments, decreased state revenues from the Great Recession and the expiration of a temporary increase to the state’s income tax all culminated at the same time, creating a perfect storm of financial disaster.

What happened in those meetings, besides the fact that we really got to know each other, was that we developed a pretty good understanding of what was at stake. We talked to everyone we could, interviewed experts and honestly discussed our political differences. While the meetings originally focused on our budget, they moved on to other issues demanding attention, including workers compensation reform, pension reform, property tax relief, school funding reform and term limits for leadership.

While there were undoubtedly aspects of these issues I was totally against, we all knew in our hearts that we had to do something to end the impasse.

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Contact Me

Springfield Office:
121C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217.782.7419

District Office:
222 Vollmer Road. Suite 2C
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
708.756.0882

 

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