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The Majority Report 03/29/18 - Senate Democrats, students march to say #NeverAgain

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Senate Democrats join students for anti-violence marches

March For Our LivesSenate Democrats joined students and anti-violence advocates in communities throughout Illinois during the weekend to support their calls for stricter gun laws.

Thousands of people turned out in Chicago, the suburbs and in communities up and down the state Saturday for March For Our Lives rallies. Participants demanded measures to end gun violence and mass shootings in schools.

Rallies here and across the nation were organized to show solidarity with those attending the main March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., which was set following the Feb. 14 mass shooting of students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

State Senator Michael Hastings of Tinley Park joined members of Moms Demand Action, an organization that advocates for gun violence prevention, for a march in Frankfort, a village in Will County, where more than 300 people on both sides of the gun control issue gathered to peacefully express their points of view.

In the Lake County community of Vernon Hills, State Senator Julie Morrison of Deerfield joined protesters for a march that began at a local middle school and wound its way through the city. Morrison is a longtime advocate for sensible gun-control measures and is the sponsor of several proposals pending in Springfield that could help prevent gun violence and mass shootings in Illinois.

State Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park participated in the March For Our Lives rally at Chicago’s Union Park with his daughter, Maggie. State Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake also marched in Chicago.

Harmon is the sponsor of a bipartisan gun dealer licensing measure that was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner March 13, the day before a school walkout by students in Illinois and across the nation to protest insufficient gun control regulations.

Bush led a nonpartisan Senate walkout the same day to show solidarity with the students.

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Steans: Again, people are ahead of politicians on cannabis

Sen. Heather Steans

Cook County residents last week voted overwhelmingly in support of legalizing cannabis for adults over 21 if it is taxed and regulated like alcohol.

The results showed 68 percent of voters support the non-binding question.

“Once again, people are ahead of politicians,” State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said. “I will continue to push to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois and hope these poll results will encourage local lawmakers and the governor to support this measure.”

Steans sponsored legislation to tax and regulate adult-use cannabis last spring. Under her proposal, Illinoisans would be able to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and purchase marijuana products at licensed and regulated facilities.

The proposal is estimated to bring in up to $700 million in new tax revenue each year.

During the past year, Steans has hosted hearings on the economic development, public health and public safety aspects of the proposal. She plans to introduce a new draft of the bill this spring that reflects feedback from stakeholders across the state.

 


Hastings, Manar tour downstate coal facility

Sens. Andy Manar and Michael E. Hastings

A pair of Democratic state senators toured a downstate coal plant Wednesday to get a better picture of Illinois’ energy community.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings, the Illinois Senate’s new chairman of the Committee on Energy and Public Utilities, toured the Kincaid Power Station with State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), whose district includes the station.

Hastings said such visits help put his role as energy committee chairman into perspective.

“I’m a firm believer that the only way to make responsible and educated decisions is to go out to these communities and tour these facilities to ensure we craft policies that modernize and safeguard Illinois’ energy security,” he said.

“As the new energy chairman, I’m eager to learn more and gain a complete picture on how the energy decisions we make in Springfield impact communities across our state.”

The Kincaid Power Station is operated by 144 employees, many of whom reside throughout Christian and Sangamon counties. The plant pays about $17 million annually in wages and benefits that support workers and their families.

“This tour is the first step in our partnership to fight to protect these power plants that serve as a vital economic asset in our communities and throughout the state of Illinois,” Manar said. “The coal industry has played an important role in the economic development of our communities, and we plan to keep it that way.”

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