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Sandoval works to improve student safety on school busses

sandoval bus 050619SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) that would improve the safety of children on school busses passed the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

House Bill 2121 makes changes to the eligibility standards for individuals with criminal convictions applying for a bus driver license. The legislation would add several criminal offenses to the list of those that would make an individual eligible for a lifetime ban from receiving a license.

“We need to make sure that schools are safe and nurturing environments for our students and that includes ensuring that they have a safe commute to and from school every day,” Sandoval said. “It’s critical that those charged with transporting our children safely have been properly vetted and are deemed fit to carry out their work.”

Criminal offenses that would newly allow an individual to be banned for life under the legislation include permitting the sexual abuse of a child, all aggravated battery offenses and loitering of a sexual predator near a public park.

“It’s just common sense that people who have been convicted of these crimes are not fit to take care of our children every day,” Sandoval said.

The legislation also eliminates the lifetime ban on applicants with convictions for misdemeanor marijuana offenses and replaces it with a 20 year ban.

“It’s time to stop punishing non-violent offenders with minor marijuana convictions so harshly and allow them to return to being productive members of our communities,” Sandoval said. “These men and women should not be barred from a career opportunity for life because of a mistake they made years prior.”

The measure will now go before the entire Senate.

Health advocates join President Cullerton in supporting increase to tobacco tax

jjc 050719Health advocates from across the state joined Senate President John Cullerton in Springfield to announce support for an increase in the state tax on tobacco products.

“It’s rare that you can sponsor legislation and know that it will save lives. That’s exactly what this will do,” President Cullerton said. “It will stop children from starting to smoke and cause many adult smokers to quit, sparing them from a lifetime of addiction and associated health problems. That’s why the public supports it.”

President Cullerton’s proposal would raise Illinois’ cigarette tax by $1 per pack and raise taxes on other tobacco products – including cigars and smokeless tobacco – to 64 percent of the wholesale price.

Peters proposal expands access to post-placement and post-adoption services

peters 050719SPRINGFIELD – Further showing his commitment to youth in care, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation expanding access to services available to post-placement and post-adoption children.

“I’m a child of adoption, so I have first-hand experience of how important these services are to youth in care,” Peters said. “I want kids who are adopted or placed in foster care to have greater access than I did to the helpful services they require.”

The legislation, House Bill 3587:

  • adds mental health treatment, counseling and support services for emotional, behavioral, or developmental needs, and treatment for substance abuse to the definition of “post-placement and post-adoption services.”
  • expands the requirements of the Department of Children and Family Services to establish and maintain accessible services.
  • requires DCFS to establish and maintain a toll-free number to respond to public requests about the service.
  • requires DCFS to properly publicize the new services and the toll-free number.

The bill is an initiative of the Adoption Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. The organization has argued the legislation will better ensure successful adoptions and lower the rate of children being returned to state care.

Having passed the Senate Human Services Committee, the bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Tom Cullerton passes measure to give Illinois residents the right to know how companies use their personal data

tc 050719SPRINGFIELD – Companies that profit off the use of their customers’ data would need to disclose precisely how they’re using it under new legislation by State Senator Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed the Data Transparency and Privacy Act, which requires companies that collect personal information about consumers to identify what type of information is being collected and to what third parties the company is disclosing the consumer's personal information.

“Illinois residents deserve to know what personal information companies are storing and sharing,” Cullerton said. “It’s plain and simple: This is your personal information, and you have the right to know who has access to it.”

The proposed law requires companies that share personal information to a third party to make that information available to consumers, free of charge.  

“Our entire financial livelihoods occur online now, from paying our electric bills to buying our groceries,” Cullerton said. “Using the internet should not require you to sacrifice privacy and personal security.”

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office would have the authority to enforce the law.

“It’s vital, as we embrace new technology in our business practices, that state laws evolve with the needs of the people of Illinois,” Cullerton said. “This change will help protect residents’ privacy and security.”

The legislation is House Bill 3358. It passed the Senate’s Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.  

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