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Van Pelt law protects property rights, creates stricter guidelines for law enforcement

vanpelt 092017SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) protects the rights of property owners by making it harder for law enforcement to seize personal property from Illinois residents.

“For too long, law enforcement has had far reaching authority to seize property from individuals regardless of whether they’ve been convicted of a crime,” Van Pelt said. “Law enforcement agencies have been profiting off of individuals by keeping or selling their property and making it incredibly difficult for people to reclaim their possessions.”

Currently, law enforcement agencies can take property – including cash, vehicles and homes – if they suspect it was involved with or related to a crime. The property owner does not need to be charged or convicted of a crime for the state to seize and permanently forfeit the property.

“Reforming our civil asset forfeiture process is a major step forward for criminal justice reform,” Van Pelt said. “This measure protects the rights of people who often don’t have the means necessary to reclaim their property. I am pleased that the governor signed the legislation, and I am looking forward to advancing more criminal justice reforms in the future.”

House Bill 303 reforms the civil asset forfeiture process by increasing transparency and shifts the burden of proof in forfeiture cases to the prosecution. The measure also requires law enforcement to have a preponderance of evidence to seize property.

House Bill 303 was signed into law today. It takes effect on January 1, 2018.

Van Pelt’s measure removes a financial burden for ex-offenders

Sen. Patricia Van PeltSPRINGFIELD – Ex-offenders can now obtain their birth certificates at no charge thanks to a measure sponsored by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago).

“We should be doing everything possible to remove barriers to success and reduce recidivism for ex-offenders,” Van Pelt said. “Waiving the fee requirement for birth certificates for an individual who is released from a Department of Corrections facility removes a financial burden, giving ex-offenders a better chance at success.”

Senate Bill 1413 waives the fee for birth certificates for individuals when they are released from a Department of Corrections facility.

Van Pelt moves to improve relationships between law enforcement, youth and communities

vanpelt 053017SPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt’s (D-Chicago) measure intended to foster communication between law enforcement and youths and enhance neighborhood safety passed in the Illinois Senate today.

House Bill 243 would allow high schools to establish partnerships with local law enforcement to create law enforcement job training programs for high school students.

“No one is well-served when there is a breakdown in trust and communication between law enforcement and the community,” Van Pelt said. “It’s time to put into effect meaningful programs that help foster positive relationships between law enforcement and our neighborhoods and encourage Chicago youth to pursue careers in law enforcement. If successful, law enforcement agencies will be more diverse and their officers will have a better understanding of the communities they serve.”

The measure also creates the Police Training Academy Job Training Program and Scholarship Fund, which requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to administer a scholarship program for students who have participated in such programs and have been accepted into one of Illinois’ public colleges or universities.

Having passed both chambers with bipartisan support, House Bill 243 now goes to the governor’s desk.

Van Pelt: Rauner and agency heads offer no plan for balancing state’s budget

vanpelt 030917SPRINGFIELD – After a week of testimonies from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s cabinet members on potential cuts they could make in their departments, it’s clear that Rauner has no plan to balance his proposed budget.

“Governor Rauner has once again proved that he is all talk and no action,” Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) said. “He has spent the past two years harping on the need to reduce spending, but when given the opportunity to offer cuts, his cabinet members were silent.”

Senate Public Health Committee Chairwoman Van Pelt is one of several Senate committee chairs who spent the week asking state agency directors what programs they intend to cut to help balance the nearly $5 billion in deficits Gov. Rauner proposed.

“Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants,” Van Pelt said. “I am absolutely stunned that Gov. Rauner hasn’t even asked agency directors to provide a list of cuts they could make in their departments. Every day without a budget costs the state $11 million. The governor should be offering solutions, but instead he is creating chaos and destruction.”

The move by Senate committee chairs comes one week after Gov. Rauner derailed the Senate’s bipartisan plan to resolve the state’s budget impasse. Agency directors have been asked to return to Senate committees next week with a detailed list of cuts.

 

Sen. Patricia Van Pelt

 Senator Patricia Van Pelt

5th Legislative District

Years Served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Criminal Law; Energy; Gaming; Public Health (Chairperson); State Government.

Biography: Born Nov. 12, 1957, in Chicago. Bachelor’s degree, Roosevelt University (1996); master’s degree, Spertus Institute (1996); doctorate, Capella University (2009); earned her CPA. Currently CEO of TARGET Area Development Corp. She has one child.