Automatic voter registration now Illinois lawSPRINGFIELD – Illinois will become the tenth state to institute automatic voter registration after a proposal co-sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) was signed into law this morning by the governor.

“Decades of hard work have broken down discriminatory laws and barriers that kept women, people of color and lower-income voters from having an equal say in our democracy,” Hutchinson said. “Today, we take another step to ensure voting is simple, accessible and free from interference or fraud.”

The new law, contained in Senate Bill 1933, moves Illinois into an opt-out voter registration system instead of the current opt-in system, meaning residents would be automatically registered to vote when visiting the Secretary of State’s office and similar state agencies for services.

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Sen. Toi HutchinsonSPRINGFIELD – Cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) under Governor Bruce Rauner two years ago decimated the once hailed program that helps low-income families afford the every-increasing cost of child care. While some of the governor’s cuts were restored within a few months, thousands of families remained ineligible.

A new law sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) and signed into law on Friday restores access to child care services for families whose parents are enrolled in education or training programs.

“There are thousands of parents across Illinois who are striving to achieve a better life for themselves and their children,” Hutchinson said. “Why would the state stand in the way of those families? For many, access to affordable child care can make the difference between having the ability of going back to school or obtaining training, both of which are vital to increasing earnings potential and lifting families out of poverty.”

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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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