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New Peters bill challenges felony murder laws

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2019 09:36 AM

peters 103119SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) introduced a bill this week that redefines felony murder charges in Illinois.

The language of current state law allows prosecutors to charge someone with first-degree murder if a death occurs during the commission of another offense when acting alone, or if a third-party individual causes a death when acting within a group. The new legislation would ban prosecutors from being able to do so.

“Incarceration rates are disturbingly high as it is,” Peters said. “These laws do nothing to improve safety in our community and are not an effective way to combat the unforgivable crowding of our jails and prisons. They are quite simply not a reflection of any sort of justice we should strive for as a society.”

The bill is an initiative of Restore Justice and was filed in response to an incident in Lake County where five teens were charged with first-degree murder after a failed home burglary in which the homeowner shot and killed a sixth teen.

Senate Bill 2292 was filed with the secretary of the Senate on Monday. It is currently awaiting assignment to a committee, which likely will not occur until full session resumes in January.

Gillespie celebrates increase in skilled job training enrollment

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2019 09:19 AM

gillespie 103119SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) celebrated the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) announcement that career and technical education (CTE) enrollment has increased.

Citing the first funding increase to CTE programs in over five years, ISBE announced that CTE enrollment has increased by nearly 5,000 students since 2016. Gillespie says it is vital to train more Illinois workers for in-demand, specialized jobs.

“Career and technical education programs offer an affordable alternative to higher education that train students with tangible, hands-on work skills,” Gillespie said. “Increased investments in workforce development will prepare young people for success and ensure that employers have an educated workforce with the skills necessary for their respective industries.”

Harris: We still can’t trust the NCAA

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2019 08:53 AM

harris 102919SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) urged lawmakers across the county to continue pressuring the NCAA to allow student athletes to receive compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. Though the NCAA announced it is planning to make changes, Harris is skeptical.

“The NCAA put out a letter to stall lawmakers, because they were losing the power of being in control of every aspect of student athletes,” Harris said. “I will not be applauding them for doing nothing and will continue to work on my legislation to show that I am not trusting them to do what’s right.”

Harris is the sponsor of Senate Bill 2278, allowing student athletes at Illinois colleges and universities to receive compensation from the use of their name, image, or likeness – a practice currently prohibited by the NCAA.

New Martinez sponsored law has revoked nearly 50 Illinois teacher licenses

Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 03:04 PM

classroom 103019Educators charged with sex crimes, violent felonies or certain drug offenses

SPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today after the Illinois State Board of Education announced information documenting the success of her law to help protect CPS students from sexual predators and criminals:

“When the media publicized the number of sexual violence reports in Chicago Public Schools last year, we knew something had to be done. It’s humbling to know my law is already making a difference only two months after being signed. Misconduct from school employees will not be tolerated. No child should feel afraid or threatened while in their classroom.”

The law, PA 101-0531, addressed a multitude of problems: how a student is interviewed after making a complaint about a staff member, how frequently school districts check statewide criminal databases and how to reduce the traumatization of student victims. It also creates a taskforce to continue to review these policy changes.

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