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Stadelman proposal to assist domestic violence victims advances

elec-meterSPRINGFIELD–State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) advanced legislation through the Illinois Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee today that would make it easier for victims of domestic violence to move into a safe environment. The proposal gives victims up to 60 days to pay their initial deposit on gas, electric and water bills.

Many domestic violence victims are forced to stay in dangerous environments because they don’t have the resources to leave. Under Stadelman’s legislation, the deposits must still be paid, but victims will have more time to prepare their finances so they can move out.

“One of the top reasons domestic violence victims stay in these situations is because they can’t afford to leave. This legislation gives them additional time to get their finances in order to pay for some of their most basic needs, electricity and water. I hope this will encourage more victims to move to a safe environment,” said Stadelman.

The legislation passed committee unanimously, and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

Hunter’s grand jury review plan passes committee

hunter-3-1715SPRINGFIELD — In response to growing statewide and national distrust in the criminal justice system, Senator Mattie Hunter’s (D-Chicago) Grand Jury Review Task Force plan passed the Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee today.

“I’ve heard concerns across Illinois regarding our criminal justice system and grand jury process. Providing transparency is the only way to restore public trust in our courts,” said Hunter, Majority Caucus Whip.

Hunter’s initiative is part of a larger Democrat-lead push for public safety and criminal justice reforms. Senate Resolution 175 creates a 16-member Grand Jury Review Task Force missioned with reviewing the grand jury process to ensure fairness and effectiveness in decision-making.

The task force will consist of:

  • Legislative appointees
  • Heads and representatives of justice departments, bar associations, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the Illinois Press Association and the  Chicago Innocence Project
  • A  law professor and retired judge

The resolution passed the committee and now goes to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Forby: Rauner’s latest move fires construction workers

concreteGovernor Rauner recently pulled the plug on the construction of Splash Park, a Carbondale outdoor aquatic recreation center. His latest move forces layoffs and extends an already decades-old effort to build a water park in Carbondale.

“Someone needs to tell the governor it’s ‘Splash Park’ not ‘Slash Park.’” Forby said. “Governor Rauner just fired construction workers who were almost done building a project the park district has been working 40 years to bring to Carbondale.”

In 2011, the Carbondale Park District invested nearly $1 million to match funds from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to qualify for the Park and Recreation Facility Construction (PARC) grant. The grant is for park districts throughout the state to expand or construct new recreational facilities.

The new pool is less than three months away from completion.

“I want to work with this governor to bring good jobs to Southern Illinois. But this obviously is not a good start for his administration,” said Forby. “I urge the governor to undo the harm he’s caused and get these people back on the job immediately.”