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The Majority Report 09/03/17 - School funding, Trust Act, Automatic Voter Registration become law


History made as school funding reform becomes law

SB 1947 signing - Sens. Kimberly A. Lightford and Andy ManarAfter nearly four years that included hundreds of hours of testimony from parents, teachers and students and dozens of bipartisan meetings, an unprecedented overhaul of how Illinois funds public schools was signed into law on Thursday. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was the sponsor of the proposal, Senate Bill 1947, in the Senate.

"We are finally fixing the least equitable school funding formula in the entire country," Manar said. "This law, which was a result of years of bipartisan negotiations,  wages war on poverty in the classroom by investing in our neediest students first. For the first time in generations, every student will finally have access to a quality education."




Security for immigrants in Trust Act is now law

Sen. President John J. CullertonA new law in Illinois clarifies that state and local police shouldn't double as immigration agents and encourages immigrants to report crimes without fear of reprisals for their immigrant status.

The Trust Act (SB 31) was sponsored by Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton and ultimately won legislative approval and the support of law enforcement groups this spring session. It was signed into law last Monday. Cullerton applauded everyone involved in seeing this new law through.

"An immigrant woman who's been victimized shouldn't have to think twice about reporting that crime. She deserves justice as much as anyone else in our society. At the same time, police need her report to effectively track down violent criminals and protect all of us. This law reminds us that we're all in this together and we need to be able to work together and trust one another," said Cullerton.

Specifically, under the new law, state and local police cannot arrest or detain someone on the basis of immigration status alone. This prohibition does not apply if there is a valid judicial warrant. Similarly, state and local police are prohibited from arresting or detaining someone based on what's known as an "immigration detainer," which is a civil document issued by an immigration agent, not a criminal warrant issued by a judge and supported by probable cause.



Voting rights advanced with automatic voter registration

AVR Signing CeremonyIllinois last week became the 10th state to enact automatic voter registration, a good-government and voting-rights initiative advanced by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

The measure establishes a more modern system by which eligible adults can have their voter registration information updated automatically whenever they interact with certain state agencies.

Manar said automatic voter registration is a big deal for Illinois and an initiative worth celebrating, particularly as other states seem intent to find new ways to limit people's access to the polls.

"We in Illinois are pushing back on that. While others are trying to close the doors to the ballot box, we are opening those doors," he said."This bill makes absolute sense. It will save government millions of dollars once it's fully implemented. It will improve the accuracy of our voting rolls. It does all sorts of things we claim we want to do in Springfield. But most of all, it removes barriers for individuals to put their fingerprints on their democracy."

An estimated 1 million new eligible voters will be added to the voter rolls in Illinois. Under the new law, people will be able to opt out of being registered to vote if they wish.



In case you missed it

Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Governor signs bill addressing need for ag teachers (97.9 Effingham)

Senator Cristina Castro, Elgin: Gov. signs Trust Act into law (Lawndale News)

Senator Tom Cullerton, Villa Park: Tom Cullerton fights veterans' suicide epidemic with a series of new laws (Chicago Tribune)

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Bernard Schoenburg: No reforms? What about those bill signings? (State Journal-Register)

Senator Michael Hastings, Tinley Park: Illinois "Safe Pets" law on track to be strongest in nation (Chicago Tribune)

Senator Toi Hutchinson, Olympia Fields: Illinois Gov. Rauner signs transgender birth certificate bill (Chicago Pride)


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