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The Majority Report 08/25/17 - Possible bipartisan deal reached in school funding negotiations


Possible bipartisan deal reached in school funding negotiations

Most schools in the state have already opened, even though school funding stalemate is preventing the state from making any payments to them.

Fortunately, legislative leaders from both parties are working hard to resolve the impasse and may have reached a bipartisan agreement that will not only fund schools but will overhaul the state's broken, antiquated school funding formula.  

The Illinois House is scheduled to be in session on Monday for possible action. You can follow Illinois Senate Democrats on Facebook and Twitter for updates.


New law sponsored by Steans safeguards against hate crime vandalism

Sen. Heather SteansStarting in January of 2018 Illinois will have additional safeguards against hate crimes under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

The governor signed House Bill 2390 on Tuesday, which expands the definition of a hate crime to include transgressions that are committed on the grounds of a place associated with a particular religion, not just inside a church, synagogue or place of worship.

"With recent events in Charlottesville and across the nation, now more than ever it is important to cement the rights and protections of religious organizations into law," Steans said.

Read more here.



Several criminal justice reform measures signed into law

Sen. Don Harmon

Several criminal justice reform measures sponsored by Democratic senators were signed into law this week.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) that aims to eliminate lifetime barriers to employment for adults who committed crimes as youth was signed on Thursday.

The measure makes it easier for people to have certain arrests sealed by a judge in Illinois, allowing them opportunities for jobs, housing and education that they might have been denied otherwise.

"It is fundamentally unfair that someone who made a bad decision earlier in life should never be given a second chance," Harmon said. "If these men and women have paid their debt and served their sentence, they should not be shackled with a document that forever deprives them of the ability to take care of themselves and their families."

Read more here.

Sen. Mattie HunterSenator Hunter speaks on the Senate floorAlso becoming law was legislation sponsored by Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) to streamline that sealing process.

The new law will allow a defendant to immediately petition for the sealing of arrests or charges following an acquittal or dismissal of a case.

"This bill is a step in the right direction toward correcting unfair practices in our criminal justice system," said Hunter. "Far too many people deal with the consequences of an unfair judicial system after being wrongfully convicted."

Read more here.




Sen. Michael HastingsAlso on Thursday, the governor signed a measure sponsored by Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) that takes a number of precautions to give Illinois' children a second chance to succeed after a juvenile arrest.

Senator Hastings speaks on the Senate floor"This is a step in the right direction. We need to be working toward rehabilitating children caught in our court system to give them a chance to succeed, not crippling them with the mistakes of their past," Hastings said. "This change will result in an infinite number of positive outcomes for our state's young people."

Read more here.




Martinez measure creating REAL ID license option becomes law

Sen. Iris Y. MartinezDrivers can now apply for a driver's license that meets federal ID requirements and makes it easier for them to fly, with Gov. Bruce Rauner signing legislation this week that Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) advanced out of the Senate earlier this year.

House Bill 395, which Martinez sponsored in the Senate, creates a two-tiered REAL ID system under which applicants for drivers' licenses and identification cards may choose to apply for either a REAL ID-compliant license/ID card or a non-compliant license/ID card. Becoming REAL ID-compliant is a federal requirement.

"The two-tiered system gives people the option to decide what's best for them," Martinez said. "If someone doesn't need to fly or simply chooses to not go with the REAL ID-compliant license/ID card, then there is an option that will work for them."

Read more here.


In case you missed it

Senator Omar Aquino, Chicago: Illinois strengthens hate crimes law (eNews Park Forest)

Senator Melinda Bush, Grayslake: New gender pricing law passed in Illinois (Our Quad Cities)

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Illinois reacts to Charlottesville (Peoria Public Radio)

Senator Michael Hastings, Tinley Park: Rauner signs sexual abuse legislation (Herald Tribune)

Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Illinois Democrats want to spike Rauner's Medicaid reboot (Modern Healthcare)

Senator Terry Link, Vernon Hills: Rauner vetoes bill allowing public to elect Lake County chairman (Daily Herald)

Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: New Illinois law protects consumers who post negative reviews to sites like Yelp (Chicago Tribune)

Senator Heather Steans, Chicago: Hate crime punishments expand in Illinois (WAND)


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