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Political rights for 17-year-olds expanded in Illinois

Political rights for 17-year-olds expanded in IllinoisSPRINGFIELD - Seventeen-year-olds soon will be receiving more rights when it comes to getting involved in the political process.

House Bill 6167, which was sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), was signed into law today. The new law would allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary of a consolidated election if they would be 18 by the time of the consolidated election. Consolidated elections are held primarily for local offices, like school boards, city councils and village boards.

“We should be opening up access to the voting booth for those who will be 18 to have a full say in who represents them at every level of government,” Link said.

Martinez: Governor’s veto of student trustee bill takes away opportunities from students

Martinez: Governor’s veto of student trustee bill takes away opportunities from studentsSPRINGFIELD — When Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) learned that an undocumented University of Illinois student was prevented from running for the position of student trustee because he was unable to show that he was a registered voter in Illinois, she filed legislation to fix the problem.

That proposal passed out of the Illinois Senate and House, but it was vetoed by the governor today.

“I am disappointed by the governor’s veto,” Martinez said. “College is about helping students grow inside and outside of the classroom, and it should not be difficult for a student to be allowed to run for a leadership position at their university. The governor had a chance to open up opportunities to students, but he unfortunately chose not to do so.”

Cunningham measure to expand, extend Rocket Docket becomes law

cunninghamSPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham during the spring legislative session pushed to expand and extend the successful accelerated resolution court, also known as Rocket Docket, in Cook County.

The legislation, signed into law today, would add minor traffic and drug offenses to the program and extends the program’s sunset date to 2019. The Rocket Docket program expedites the adjudication of minor offenses by requiring they be tried with 30 days.

“This program has been a success since day one in controlling overcrowding of Cook County Jail,” Cunningham said. “It also has been a success in lowering the financial burden on taxpayers who fund the jail.”

Currently, the Cook County Sheriff refers defendants to the program and the Cook County State’s Attorney approves those referrals. For any defendant to be eligible they are not allowed to have any prior convictions for violent offenses within the past 10 years and must be unable to post bond.

“It only made sense to keep a successful program running,” Cunningham said.

Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

Holmes’ push for unused power station becomes law

holmes consolSPRINGFIELD – Looking to continue parts of a successful building redevelopment program that will help repurpose an unused power station in Aurora, the governor signed legislation by State Sen. Linda Holmes today.

“The River Edge Redevelopment Zone program was designed to help developers take old, unused property and renovate it to meet today’s needs,” said Holmes, D-Aurora. “I appreciate the governor signing this into law. It’s going to make sure developers have enough time to make use of these incentives for an important project.”

Sen. Holmes and Aurora-area state Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, and Stephanie Kifowit, R-Oswego, sponsored the legislation, which extends the expiration date of some cost-sharing arrangements under the development program.

Developers hope to use it to help replace an old power station in downtown Aurora with a residential development along a 33-acre stretch along the Fox River.

The relevant section of the law was set to expire in July of 2017, but the measure would extend it to August 1, 2020.

The legislation was Senate Bill 321.

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