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The Majority Report 09/25/17 - Rauner OKs Democrats' initiatives on police overreach, job creation


Governor agrees with Harmon: No more ‘policing for profit’

Sen. Don HarmonA new law in Illinois will help protect innocent citizens from the unjustified government seizure and sale of their property, a practice that disproportionately affects the poor, the elderly and people of color.

“I am glad Illinois has taken this dramatic step forward, especially while the federal government is going backwards on this issue,” said Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat who sponsored the measure in the Senate. “It’s a simple concept: the government should have to prove that it has a right to take your property, not the other way around.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the much-needed overhaul of the state’s civil asset forfeiture process into law last week. It seeks to end the controversial practice of incentivizing police and prosecutors to seize cash, cars and other property from people suspected of, but not necessarily charged with or convicted of, criminal activity. The property frequently is forfeited and auctioned off, with proceeds going into the government coffers.

Illinois law has been unclear on whether probable cause was a requirement for police to seize property. Additionally, law enforcement agencies were not obligated to return property seized during an investigation, even if the owner was never charged or convicted of a crime.

Senator Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago, said the measure is a significant step in Illinois’ efforts to reform its criminal justice system.

“This measure protects the rights of people who often don’t have the means necessary to reclaim their property,” she said.

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2018, increases accountability and transparency among law enforcement officials through a variety of measures.

Editorial: New law tips scales of justice toward innocent | Dispatch-Argus, Quad-Cities
In the news: Rauner signs law tightening civil forfeiture rules | The Associated Press


Senate Democrats ensure key job-creation tool reinstated

Sen. Melinda Bush

Illinois’ most important economic development tool has been reinstated, thanks to a measure from Senator Melinda Bush, a Democrat from Grayslake, a village about 13 miles from the border of Wisconsin, one of Illinois' biggest economic competitors.

The state’s EDGE tax credit program, which last week was extended through June 30, 2022, enables Illinois officials to offer incentives to businesses that create new full-time jobs, retain existing jobs and make capital investments in the state.

“It’s important for us to have every tool available to attract and retain businesses in Illinois and ensure we can offer incentives that allow us to compete with neighboring states,” Bush said. “I represent an area that borders Wisconsin. The EDGE program is essential in helping border communities like mine stay competitive.”

Senator Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, lauded the measure, saying it will help energize the state’s economy.

“It’s important that we utilize every tool at our disposal to attract and retain good-paying jobs for Illinois residents,” she said.

Legislation sponsored by Bush and Castro that garnered bipartisan support and was signed into law last week improved the EDGE program with greater transparency for taxpayers. It also now requires the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to recapture the economic development funds if the recipient does not fulfill its end of the bargain. That money would then be disbursed to the local workforce investment area.

In the news: Rauner signs revamp of EDGE business tax credit | The Associated Press
In the news: Tax credit program revamped | Fox Illinois


Puerto Rico, Mexico on hearts and minds after disasters strike

Senators Omar Aquino and Iris Y. MartinezSenators Omar Aquino and Iris Y. Martinez, both Chicago Democrats, expressed concern for loved ones and the communities in Puerto Rico and Mexico that are coping in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria and a 7.1 magnitude earthquake.

Aquino’s parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico, and many of his relatives still live there. The island was devastated by Hurricane MariaHurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to strike there in more than eight decades and the third major hurricane in parts of the Caribbean and the United States this season.

“I am hoping for the best after hearing that the entire island is without electricity and many people are without clean water. I offer my support to those affected as they work to fix the damage,” Aquino said. He urged people to come together locally to help out our global neighbors in Puerto Rico and central Mexico, where a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday, resulting in major damage and more than 300 reported fatalities.

“My heart is heavy as we learn about the devastation brought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the disastrous earthquake in Mexico,” Martinez said. “Although the loss of life is unimaginable and the damage will take years to recover from, I promise to do all I can to support my wonderful brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and Mexico.”


In case you missed it


Senator Cristina Castro, Elgin: ECC students display DACA support on campus sidewalks | The Courier-News, Elgin

Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr., Belleville: Clayborne declines to seek another term in Senate |senatorclayborne.com

Senator Bill Cunningham, Chicago: Cunningham troubled by Rauner’s veto of bipartisan firefighter pension bill | Illinois Senate Democrats

Senator Bill Haine, Alton: Haine receives prestigious award from Illinois State Dental Society | AdVantage News, Alton

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Bobcat hunting could see more permits under law awaiting Rauner’s signature | Lake County News-Sun

Senator Napoleon Harris, Harvey: South suburban legislators launch donation drive for Harvey victims | Daily Southtown

Senator Linda Holmes, Aurora: Research institutions must post animal adoption policies under new law | WTTW-TV, Chicago

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Manar touts STEM opportunities | Alton Daily News

Senator Iris Martinez, Chicago: New law expands authority of registered nurses | WEHT-TV, Henderson, Ky.

Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: Bill aims to ban guns in houses of worship | Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Senator John Mulroe, Chicago: Bridge dedication honors fallen Norridge Vietnam soldier | Norridge-Harwood Heights News

Senator Laura Murphy, Des Plaines: New law requires insurance companies to cover more tests related to breast cancer | Daily Herald, Arlington Heights

Senator Heather Steans, Chicago: Rauner, lawmakers ‘assessing’ whether to act on abortion bill | Chicago Sun-Times


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