Text Size
Login
config

Villivalam sworn in as first elected Indian-American state senator in Illinois

villivalam swearin 010719SPRINGFIELD – Ram Villivalam was sworn into office Saturday evening in Skokie. Senator Villivalam was sworn in by Judge Colleen Daly while surrounded by his wife, Elizabeth, their son, Rohan, as well as his mother, family and friends. He took his oath on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu holy book, bought for his mother by his late grandfather.

Villivalam is the first Asian-American to be elected to the Illinois Senate and the first South Asian member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Belt sworn in to Illinois Senate

Senator Christopher BeltBELLEVILLE – Cahokia resident Christopher Belt was sworn in today to replace State Senator James F. Clayborne Jr. in the Illinois Senate.

Clayborne, who has served the district since 1994, stepped down Jan. 1, and Belt was sworn in early to speed up the transition. The ceremony took place at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Belleville.

Stadelman renews push for Rockford casino

casinoROCKFORD – Following outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call for a Chicago-based casino, State Senator and Illinois Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), announced his commitment to ensuring a state gaming expansion includes a facility in Rockford.

“Additional gaming is an opportunity to create jobs and fund improvements to schools and our crumbling infrastructure,” Stadelman said. “The General Assembly needs to consider what’s best for the whole state, not just Chicago.”

In a recent speech to the Chicago City Council, Mayor Emanuel revealed he has been negotiating a plan to include a casino in Chicago with legislative leaders. Under Emanuel’s proposal, the revenue generated from the facility would be used to pay off the city’s pension debt.

Stadelman also encouraged lawmakers to act quickly due to a casino potentially being built in nearby Beloit, Wisconsin.

“For years the Rockford community has lost out on the jobs and revenue created by a casino,” Stadelman said. “It’s time to build a diverse coalition of interests to ensure these resources benefit our community – not Wisconsin.”

Bennett’s new law will require background checks for Illinois carnival workers

carnivalCHAMPAIGN—Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Illinois law will require carnival companies to conduct criminal background checks of all employees.

The new law, sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), will increase fines for amusement park companies that fail to check the criminal history of new hires. Right now, only ride operators must undergo background checks.

“These additional background check requirements will increase public safety,” Bennett said. “If a carnival company is bringing someone into our community to interact with our children, it doesn’t matter whether or not they are operating a ride or a carnival game; they should have a background check to make sure they are not a criminal.”

The measure was a response to a 2014 tragedy in Farmer City, when Blayne Benefield was killed by two brothers who were employees of Big H Amusements, formerly known as A & A Amusements. While the amusement ride company was required to perform background checks on employees that operate rides, it did not have to do so for other employees.

Bennett said this is an important distinction because Big H Amusements claimed that the brothers were not considered ride operators, but photo evidence taken the night before the murder shows the older brother operating a ride. Both brothers had criminal records, with the younger one pleading guilty to the sexual assault of a minor one year before the murder.

“What happened to Blayne Benefield and his family was a tragedy,” Bennett said. “This law is overdue, but I am relieved that we now have safeguards in place to hold carnival companies accountable and protect our communities.”

Senate Bill 3240 passed the House and the Senate with bipartisan support.

Sign up for The Majority Report HERE
Majority Report Podcast
Find Your Legislator

News Releases

IMAGE Sims: Veterans deserve answers and transparency
Friday, 18 January 2019
CHICAGO—State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order for a full...

Read More...
IMAGE Castro: governor’s executive order provides ‘a fresh start’ for veterans’ care
Friday, 18 January 2019
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) commended Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision today to make a commitment to addressing a lingering...

Read More...
IMAGE Villivalam: Gun dealer certification critical first step in addressing violence
Friday, 18 January 2019
SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Ram Villivalam released the following statement regarding the statewide gun dealer certification law that was signed by...

Read More...
IMAGE Gillespie: We have lost too many children to gun violence
Thursday, 17 January 2019
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) released the following statement on statewide gun dealer licensing being signed...

Read More...
IMAGE Lightford: Gun dealer certification law brings hope for gun reform
Thursday, 17 January 2019
CHICAGO- A proposal that regulates gun dealers in an effort to limit the illegal sale of firearms and make more information on gun crimes available...

Read More...

Follow ILSenDems

Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Senate Schedule
General Assembly Bills & Resolutions
The Great Pension Debate
Find local warming centers