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  • Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black Education (VIDEO)

    Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black EducationSenators comment on this year's Black History Month theme, “The Crisis in Black Education.”

    Over the years the crisis in black education has grown significantly. In urban neighborhoods, public schooling systems lack resources and have overcrowded classrooms, which result to students of color reaping the disproportionate shortfalls of the racial achievement gap.

    In the past, whether by laws, policies, or practices, racially separated schools remained the norm in America. Because of that, black students today are underperforming and are not advancing like their white counterparts.

    This year’s national theme, The Crisis in Black Education, focuses on the evolution of black education and its meaning as it empowers students to grow, achieve and prosper.

  • Clayborne expresses frustration with Grand Bargain vote

    Sen. James F. ClayborneToday, the Illinois Senate failed to advance the remaining proposals in the Grand Bargain package they have been negotiating since January. State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) issued the following statement:

    “Again we had a chance to put people’s livelihoods above politics, but  my colleagues on the other side of the aisle made it clear they are unwilling to compromise. Senate Democrats have worked tirelessly for months on a package of bills to get the state back on track. We have changed the package 35 times in an effort to reach compromise with the governor and Republicans. We cannot waste any more time. We must pass a budget.”

     

  • Clayborne helps service members get college credit for military courses

    clayborne 050217SPRINGFIELD — Service members looking to obtain college credit for military courses may soon have an easier process when transferring credits to a public university or community college in Illinois.

    The proposal, sponsored by State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville), passed the Senate Higher Education Committee Tuesday. 

    “Providing our service members accessibility to higher education should be a priority of our state and our nation,” said Clayborne. “It is important we continue this trend by offering students a clear understanding of how their military courses transfer into our state’s universities and community colleges.”

    The measure would create the Educational Credit for Military Experience Act, which  would require the state’s public universities and community colleges to develop a policy for awarding college credit for military courses taken through the Armed Forces.

    House Bill 3701 will now be considered by the full Senate.

  • Clayborne leads effort to boost business contracts for women, veterans, minorities

    Sen. James F. ClayborneSPRINGFIELD – State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) passed a measure through the Illinois Senate Wednesday which aims to increase the number of minority-owned, female-owned and veteran-owned enterprises Illinois companies contract with.

    The measure, Senate Bill 262, would require Illinois companies to submit a report outlining their procurement goals and highlighting minority ownership of businesses they contract with.

    “This measure is about ensuring corporations do not continue to overlook minority-owned businesses,” Clayborne said. “I want to ensure that companies are investing back into the communities they provide service. If a company is supplying services in a community like East Saint Louis, they should do everything they can to contract with businesses in that community.

    “It is also important that these companies show every best effort to diversify who they contract with. I want to make sure minority-, female- and veteran-owned businesses have a fair chance in this business climate.”

    If companies fail to report their efforts showing their diversity goals to the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Business Enterprise Council, they would be barred from bidding on state contracts for one year.

    The legislation passed the Senate Wednesday and now goes to the House for consideration.

  • Clayborne resolution reflects on 1917 East St. Louis Race Riots

    clayborne estl 1917SPRINGFIELD –In May 1917, East St. Louis witnessed one of the worst race riots ever seen in the United States. Sparked by attacks on African American men and women following a union rally, the riots culminated in the burning of black neighborhoods and malicious attacks and murders of African-American men and women.

    Senate Majority Leader James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) passed a resolution Monday in remembrance of the events that took place 100 years ago.

    “It is important we take time to reflect on and remember these events,” Clayborne added. “While we have made progress in race relations since the East St. Louis riots 100 years ago, our society remains contentious on race-related issues. To move forward, we must remember past actions and ensure the past does not repeat itself.”

    In 1917, East St. Louis industry was booming. To fill the gap in the labor market, factory recruiters began looking toward the South for black workers. What became known as the Great Migration culminated in a competition for jobs. The labor issues became a racial issue, which quickly boiled over with rising tensions.

    In early July 1917, the tensions became so bad that mobs of white men and women began setting fire to black neighborhoods, trapping people in their homes and shooting those who tried to escape.

    With no effective interference from local police, the sheriff or military authorities, many African American men, women and children lost their lives, more than 300 buildings were destroyed and 6,000 people fled from their homes.  It took days for the National Guard to gain control of the situation.

    “The events that transpired in 1917 were terrible to say the least,” said Clayborne. “The social, political and cultural ramifications these riots had on the community are vast. With this resolution I hope to draw attention to those events so the city, the state and the country can reflect on the atrocities of the riots and continue to heal.”

    The measure, Senate Resolution 337, observes May 28, 2017, as a day of remembrance in the state of Illinois on the centennial of the 1917 race riots. A copy will be sent to Marla Byrd, the commissioner of the East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative.

    Read the resolution.

  • Clayborne votes for fair funding, property tax relief for area schools

    clayborne05052017CM0335rSPRINGFIELD –High-poverty, downstate school districts, shortchanged for decades under Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, could see a significant influx of funding to level the playing field with wealthier school districts under a landmark school funding reform measure that passed in both houses of the legislature this week.

    “The current funding formula puts many students in our communities at a tremendous disadvantage and has forced local school districts to hike up property tax rates. I am proud to join my colleagues to support additional funding for our schools and property tax relief for our communities,” said Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville).

    Senate Bill 1 has strong support from thousands of school administrators, superintendents, principals, educators, taxpayers and advocates for fair school funding. Illinois’ school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation because it relies so heavily on local property wealth.

    An analysis of Illinois State Board of Education figures released estimates this week by Funding Illinois’ Future – a coalition that advocates for school funding reform – shows potential funding increases for area school districts under Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students.

    It also provides extra support for the neediest districts in the quest for adequate funding, and it offers property tax relief.

    No school district would receive less funding under Senate Bill 1 than they have received under Illinois’ current school funding formula.

    The estimated overall gain some area school districts would experience under the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis of SB1 based on FY17 funding levels:

    • Belle Valley School District 119 - $437,238
    • Belleville School District 118 - $1,401,597
    • Belleville Township High School District 201 - $1,941,563
    • Brooklyn Unit District 188 - $36,744
    • Cahokia Community Unit District 187 - $551,826
    • East St. Louis School District 189 - $1,357,558
    • Freeburg Community Consolidated School District 70 - $32,974
    • Freeburg Community High School District 77 - $47,618
    • Granite City Community Unit School District 9 - $2,333,657
    • Grant Community Consolidated School District 110- $29,708
    • Harmony EMGE School District 175 - $69,982
    • High Mount School District 116 - $209,352
    • Lebanon Community Unit School District 9 - $39,789
    • Madison Community Unit School District 12 - $107,926
    • Millstadt Community Consolidated School District 160 - $24,580
    • O’Fallon  Community Consolidated School District 90 - $164,969
    • O’Fallon Township High School District 203 - $375,419
    • Shiloh Village School District 85 - $46,946
    • Signal Hill School District 181 - $104,876
    • Smithton Community Consolidated School District 3 - $19,989
    • Whiteside School District 115 - $66,197
    • Wolf Branch School District 113 - $25,444

    In addition, under Senate Bill 1, high-tax school districts are eligible for property tax relief up to 1 percent of their EAV. Estimated property tax relief for two area school districts:

    • Cahokia Community Unit School District 187 - $64,904
    • East St. Louis School District 189 - $79,425

    To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.

  • Clayborne works to move Senate budget package forward

    clayborne 022817SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate moved a number of measures forward Tuesday in an effort to get the state back on track and solve the budget stalemate.

    State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) supported measures that would fund social service agencies, bring economic investment back to the Metro East and help reduce the state’s deficit.

    “It is time to get this state back on track,” Clayborne said. “We are making some tough yet necessary decisions in the Senate. Nonetheless, these are decisions to keep places like the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House open and ensure the citizens in our community have a renewed sense of livelihood.”

    The Senate continues to work on these measures in an effort to bring reforms to the state and put an end to the two-year budget stalemate once and for all.

    “Enough is enough. We need to ensure our seniors are taken care of, that after-school programs remain funded and that our most vulnerable residents no longer face uncertainty,” he said. “I hope this plan will make it to the governor’s desk and that he will support it. We need to get this done for the people of our state.”

  • Clayborne, Hunter push to expand Organ/Tissue Donor registry

    clayborne 020317SPRINGFIELD – Senators James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) joined Secretary of State Jesse White today in announcing new legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.

    “I am happy to be advocating for this legislation,” said Clayborne who is a kidney recipient.

  • Clayborne: Comptroller should make November pension payment

    clayborne pens pmtSPRINGFIELD, IL – Comptroller Leslie Munger announced Wednesday that she plans to skip the state’s pension payment for November. State Senator James Clayborne (D-Belleville) reacted to the Comptroller’s decision.

    “We’re heading down a road we’re all too familiar with,” Clayborne said. “We know what happens when we don’t make our pension payments because that’s how we got here in the first place. The comptroller and governor should be using their business experience to bring forth innovation not reviving past mistakes we’re working to eradicate.”

  • Few specifics, missed opportunities in governor's budget speech (VIDEO)

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  • Governor who can’t cut, criticizes Democrats for not letting him cut more

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  • Illinois Legislative Black Caucus: Enough Is Enough (VIDEO)

    ilbc presserAfter three years of the governor failing to fulfill his constitutional obligation to introduce a balanced budget, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus assembled for a press conference to say enough is enough. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is a collection of black legislators from both the House of Representatives and Senate.

    "I am not sure what could be said about the governor's three years of inactivity," said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), chairwoman for the Joint Legislative Black Caucus. "Before he was sworn in he stated he wanted to shake things up in Springfield; in the process, he has shaken a hole in our state."

  • Senate welcomes Consul General of Turkey to General Assembly (AUDIO)

    030116CM0916The Illinois Senate welcomed Umut Acar, 18th Consul General of the Republic of Turkey to the General Assembly on Tuesday.

    Mr. Acar was introduced to the Senate by Senate Majority Leader James F. Clayborne. Mr. Acar has served as Consul General of Turkey since October 2015. Prior to this post, he served on Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a post he held since 2007.

  • Senators, students gather for tech talk

    clayborne techSince 1990, students and teachers from across the state come to the Capitol each spring to provide demonstrations on classroom technology projects for lawmakers. The Illinois Computing Educators annual TECH Day brings school teams to show projects that often focus on improving teaching and learning.

    For Illinois students to succeed, technology must play a role in their education. This ensures their engagement in what their school's resources help them learn and accomplish.

  • Soon to expire housing tax credit subject of Senate hearing

    HutchinsonCommitteeA state income tax credit that supports the development of affordable housing units will expire at the end of December if it is not renewed by the General Assembly.

    Earlier this week, State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) led a hearing of the Senate Revenue Committee in discussing the importance of the credit and a proposal by State Senator James Clayborne (D – Belleville) that would extend the tax credit for five years.

    “Affordable housing projects are not developed by just one entity,” Hutchinson said. “It takes a combination of businesses, non-profits and government agencies to all come together to make important projects like these a reality.”