Bennett advances bill to allow exemptions from school shooter drills

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 01:58 PM

bennett 022520SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced a measure through the Senate Education Committee Tuesday to allow a student’s parent to exempt them from school active shooter drills.

The legislation is in response to recent news regarding the effects active shooter drills in schools have on young children. It seeks to reduce the associated psychological effects by granting parents the authority to exempt students from the drill.

“While I support training for school staff and students, it’s critical that we take additional precautions for these drills, as fear of school shootings has intensified,” Bennett said. “These drills can sometimes be confusing for young students and psychologically distressing – if the circumstances permit, a parent should have the ability to opt their child out of a school shooter drill.”

Villanueva: Our criminal justice system does not exist to serve ICE

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 12:50 PM

villanueva 022620SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) released the following statement on Illinois’ policy to no longer refer undocumented immigrants who have served their sentences within the Illinois prison system to federal immigration custody:

“I am the daughter of immigrants and hearing my colleagues and members of law enforcement repeat the President’s racist rhetoric breaks my heart.

“Our criminal justice system does not exist to serve ICE. Law enforcement should not aid and abet the deportation machine. Communities of color, specifically immigrant communities, need to know that they can trust law enforcement regardless of citizenship status.

“These sheriffs are the same people who profit from the jailing of immigrants communities. It is clear that they are more concerned with losing profits than with upholding the dignity and human rights of immigrants of color.

“Law enforcement is strongest when it has a strong relationship with the community. The policy to stop the Department of Corrections from coordinating with ICE, as outlined in the TRUST Act, is a step in the right direction and will help communities of color rebuild their relationship with law enforcement.

“I want to thank Gov. Pritzker for complying with state law and for using his voice to support our communities. I look forward to working with him to make Illinois a welcoming state for immigrants.”


Villanueva: Nuestro sistema de justicia penal no existe para servir al ICE

SPRINGFIELD – La senadora estatal Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) publicó la siguiente declaración sobre la póliza estatal de no remitir a los inmigrantes indocumentados que han cumplido sus sentencias en el sistema penitenciario de Illinois a la custodia federal de inmigración:

“Soy la hija de inmigrantes y al escuchar a mis colegas y a las autoridades de la ley repetir la retórica racista del presidente me rompe el corazón.

“Nuestro sistema de justicia penal no existe para servir a ICE. Las autoridades de la ley no deben ayudar o instigar al aparato de deportación. Las comunidades inmigrantes necesitan saber que pueden confiar en las agencias de ley a pesar de su estatus inmigratorio.

“Estos sheriffs son los mismos que se benefician del encarcelamiento de las comunidades de inmigrantes. Está claro que están más preocupados por la pérdida de sus ganancias y no por la defensa de la dignidad y los derechos humanos de los inmigrantes.

“Las agencias de ley trabajan mejor cuando tiene una buena relación con la comunidad. La póliza para evitar que el Departamento de Correccionales se coordine con ICE, como se describe en el TRUST Act, es un paso en la dirección correcta y ayudará a nuestras comunidades inmigrantes a mejorar su relación con las autoridades de la ley."

“Quiero agradecerle al Gobernador Pritzker por cumplir con la ley y por apoyar a nuestras comunidades. Espero continuar trabajando con su oficina para hacer Illinois un estado que le da la bienvenida a los inmigrantes”.

Peters: Ending cash bail necessary to achieve safety and justice in our communities

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 11:37 AM

peters 022620SPRINGFIELD – The End Money Bond Coalition hosted a rally in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday in support of a measure to end cash bail in Illinois. State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who will sponsor the legislation in the Senate, spoke at the rally.

“We know what safety and justice looks like in our communities,” Peters said. “We know it’s a roof over your head. We know it’s a social worker at your school. We know it’s being able to drink your water. And we know that it’s not locking you up because you’re poor.”

Peters is the Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Public Safety and has made ending cash bail in Illinois his top priority for the 2020 legislative session.

When John Doe's life hangs in the balance: Van Pelt pushes for rights of unidentified patients

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 07:08 PM

vanpelt 022520SPRINGFIELD – Last April, a man named Elisha Brittman was found naked and unresponsive under a car in Chicago, beaten so badly his face was unrecognizable. The police failed to identify him through fingerprints or DNA. Instead, they used a mugshot to identify him as Alfonso Bennett. In turn, the hospital notified Bennett’s family, who decided to take Brittman off life support. Now, both of the families involved are filing a lawsuit.

After learning of what happened to her constituent, Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is leading an effort to make sure no other family is ever faced with such an unthinkable situation.

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