Harris

  • Sen. Napoleon HarrisSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Chicago) will help Will County residents stay warm during the winter by partnering with fellow lawmakers to launch a winter clothing drive.

    The Winter Clothing Drive will be from Nov. 25 to Dec. 13. Local and state elected officials will work with State Senator Jenifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) to provide organizations throughout the region with the necessary goods that benefit Will County residents.

    “I’m honored to join my colleagues to make sure residents of Will County have access to warm clothing during these extreme winter months,” Harris said. “Winters in the Midwest are brutal and people need warm gear to be able to withstand the cold weather.”

    Organizations are in need of all sizes of gently used or new winter gear including coats, socks, sweatshirts, scarves, gloves and more.

  • harris 040519SPRINGFIELD –The City of Phoenix would see an extension on the sunset of their tax increment financing district from 2019 to 2031 under a proposal led by Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey).

    “Phoenix still needs time to recover from the economic hardships that hit the area,” Harris said. “From the loss of industry to the recession, there’s a long road ahead for rebuilding the city, and this measure assists with that process.”

    TIF districts are important for cities and towns going through economic trouble. They help attract private investment and bring new businesses to help with economic expansion.

    The TIF was created in 1996 and is set to expire at the end of 2019.

    House Bill 2931 was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee on Tuesday, and is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate.

  • Senator HarrisSPRINGFIELD – To push for greater fairness and diversity in contract work, Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) proposed new legislation setting goals for larger municipalities to include minority-owned businesses.

    “There are minority-owned businesses across the state looking for opportunities to contract with the state,” Harris said. “We need our larger municipalities to help include those businesses by being more intentional about contracting minority businesses.”

  • harris 040519SPRINGFIELD – To increase the amount of state contracts awarded to businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities, Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) led a measure that was approved by the Senate on Thursday.

    Senate Bill 2035 requires the Department of Central Management Services to increase the number of state contracts issued to businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities from 20 percent of the total dollar amount of state contracts to 30 percent.

    “We need to be bold about our commitment to businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities,” Harris said. “One of the best things about our state is its diversity, and this proposal celebrates that by pushing for the investment of state dollars in businesses throughout all communities.”

    The proposal would set goals at 16 percent to minority-owned businesses, 10 percent to women-owned businesses and 4 percent to businesses owned by persons with disabilities.

    Furthermore, CMS is required to increase outreach efforts to businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities.

    The measure heads to the House for consideration.

  • Sen. Napoleon HarrisSPRINGFIELD – To push for greater fairness and diversity in contract work, Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) proposed new legislation setting goals for larger municipalities to include minority-owned businesses.

    “We need to ensure that minority-owned businesses are not being passed over as these municipalities continue to hand out millions of dollars in taxpayer money, and a good place to start is setting contracting goals,” Harris said.

    The legislation would set goals for cities which receive more than $1 million in state motor fuel taxes to hire more minority-owned and -operated businesses when awarding contracts. The measure is an effort to include more minority, veteran and woman-owned businesses in local government contracting.

  • tapwater 030719SPRINGFIELD –Low-income Cook County communities could soon see lower drinking water rates under a measure sponsored by Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey).

    According to a 2018 study conducted by the Chicago Tribune, residents in Cook County’s lowest-income communities pay more for their water, sometimes as much as 20%, than those in the wealthiest towns in Cook County. The disparity exists even though 80 percent of the county receives water from Lake Michigan.

    “Where you live shouldn’t determine the cost of your drinking water,” Harris said. “It’s unfair that some of the poorest communities in my district are paying more money for water than wealthier communities in Cook County.”

    Senate Bill 175 creates the Cook County Water Infrastructure Fund to be used by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to help municipalities fund infrastructure improvements to facilitate water supplies from Lake Michigan.

    The proposal was approved by the Senate State Government Committee and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

  • harris 111518SPRINGFIELD – South Suburban homeowners and small businesses will see smaller property tax bills under a new state grant program for school districts in high-tax areas.

    The Property Tax Relief Grant was included in the historic school funding reform law that has already provided millions of dollars in new state funds to school districts that need it the most. In the first year of the program, public schools in the 15th Senate District will see $8.4 million in property tax relief.

    “One of the biggest hurdles to funding our schools is a lack of property wealth paired with high property taxes in the South Suburbs,” said State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey). “This new program can help us solve that problem and bring more resources to our local schools and economic growth to our community.”

    Several local school districts will be eligible for the tax relief grant, including: 

    • Thornton Township High School District 205: $3,662,072.45
    • Ford Heights School District 169: $216,232.14
    • Bremen Community High School District 228: $3,541,127.33
    • Dolton School District 148: $1,050,639.44

    In order to receive the state grant, eligible school districts must submit an abatement resolution to their county clerks by March 30. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will then distribute the grants once receiving all abatement certificates.

    More information on the Property Tax Relief Grant and a listing of each eligible school district can be found at www.ISBE.net/proptaxrelief.

     

  • harris 0418SPRINGFIELD – Midlothian residents will enjoy expanded programs from the Midlothian Park District after state lawmakers reversed the governor’s veto of a measure sponsored by State Senator Napoleon Harris III.

    Harris (D-Harvey) sponsored a plan to allow the Midlothian Park District to proceed with a $13 million bond issue – approved by local voters in March – to pay for an addition to a recreation center built in 1970 and to expand programs.

    “The community will benefit from a long-overdue expansion of the districts rec center, and students will have afterschool and summer programs to keep them out of harm’s way,” Harris said. “Local residents want this, they voted for it, and the governor should not stand in their way.”

    Senate Bill 2589 exempts the park district from a state-mandated cap on borrowing. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the measure in August.

    The Senate voted 42-0 to override the veto on Wednesday.

  • harris 111518SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) led a successful effort this week to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill to help economically disadvantaged communities in Cook County shore up their water infrastructure.

    “Smaller Cook County suburbs lack the funding to make necessary repairs to their infrastructure and have a small chance of qualifying for state loan programs,” Harris said. “We now have a way for towns like Harvey and Ford Heights to access the capital funds needed to provide residents with safe drinking water.”

    In October 2017 the Chicago Tribune found Ford Heights residents pay nearly six times more for the same water usage as residents of the wealthy, predominantly white town of Highland Park, and four times more for water than people living in Chicago. Similar problems exist in Harvey and Maywood.

    Eight towns surveyed by the Tribune — Hometown, East Hazel Crest, Posen, Burnham, Riverdale, Flossmoor, Lyons and Maywood — lost more than 30 percent of their water. Of the 10 towns with the highest water rates, 50 percent have majority black populations.

    The legislation would set up a drinking water grant program under the Illinois EPA to fix aging water pipes in Harvey, Ford Heights, Maywood and other towns.

    The legislation goes into effect immediately.

  • Illinois Black Caucus

  • African-American History

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) is lead sponsor of legislation that was signed into law today requiring every community college and public university to offer a course studying the events of Black History.

    “Education is the only way we can combat negative African-American stereotypes seen on the news, social media and in movies,” Harris said. “It should be a priority for our universities to offer a course that teaches students about our culture and the contributions we’ve made to society.”

    The course must include:

    • The history of African slave trade, slavery in America and the vestiges of slavery in the United States
    • Contributions made by individual African Americans in government, the arts, humanities and sciences to the economic, cultural and political development of the United States and Africa
    • The socio-economic struggle which African Americans experienced collectively in striving to achieve fair and equal treatment under the laws of the United States

    House Bill 4346 allows public institutions of higher education to meet this requirement through online program or course, and extends that opportunity to elementary and high schools which already have the requirement.

    The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

  • Sen. Napoleon Harris IIISPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) is lead sponsor of legislation that would require every community college and public university to offer a course studying the events of Black History.

    “Education is the only way we can combat negative African-American stereotypes seen on the news, social media and in movies,” Harris said. “It should be a priority for our universities to offer a course that teaches students about our culture and the contributions we’ve made to society.”

     

  • harris 0418SPRINGFIELD – The state of Illinois could look to legalize sports betting after the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal law Monday that prohibited the practice.

    “We’ve been working on legislation to legalize sports betting in Illinois in anticipation that the Supreme Court would strike down the federal law,” said State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey), former NFL Linebacker and sponsor of Illinois’ sports gambling measure. “This decision puts us on a clear path for negotiating the issue.”

  • harris 050818SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) is lead sponsor of legislation that would require every community college and public university to offer a course studying the events of Black History.

    “We hear a lot of misinformation these days about the history of African Americans on television, social media and the internet in general,” Harris said.

  • Sen. Napoleon Harris IIICHICAGO – Illinois casinos could soon offer in-person or online betting on professional, amateur or collegiate sports under a measure spearheaded by State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey).

    Senate Bill 3432 can only go into effect if the federal sports wagering ban is lifted, and it would require a $10,000 licensing fee and a $5,000 license renewal fee for interactive sports wagering platforms. It also outlines consumer protections and integrity requirements for sports wagering operators, including record-keeping and annual reporting to the Gaming Board.

    “Our state continues to struggle financially, and we have an opportunity to gain much-needed revenue for education, human services and infrastructure should the federal sports wagering ban be struck down,” Harris, a former NFL linebacker, said. “We know that sports fans enjoy betting, and the state should offer a secure and legal way to do so.”

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  • harris 030917SPRINGFIELD – High-poverty suburban 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 suburban districts under a landmark school funding reform measure that recently passed in both houses of the legislature.

    “I eagerly joined my colleagues in support of a plan that fixes the inequitable way we fund public schools in. It also makes sure no schools see any loss of funding and offers property task relief to struggling homeowners. There is no reason Governor Rauner should not sign this legislation as soon as it gets to his desk,” Illinois said State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey).

    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.

    Funding Illinois’ Future – a coalition that advocates for school funding reform – released estimates based on an analysis of Illinois State Board of Education figures. The analysis shows potential funding increases for local 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:

    • Bremen Community High School District 228 - $2.9 million
    • Brookwood School District 167 - $449,799
    • Crete Monee Community Unit School District 201U – $447,217
    • Dolton School District 148 – $512,762
    • Harvey School District 152 - $626,447
    • Hazel Crest School District 152-5 - $381,697
    • Homewood School District 153 – $152,265
    • Midlothian School District 153 - $937,556
    • Posen-Robbins Elementary School District 143-5 - $865,816
    • South Holland School District 151 - $365,484
    • Steger School District 194 – $638,686
    • Thornton Township High School District 205 - $1.7 million
    • West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District 147 - $558,879

    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:

    • Bremen Community High School District 228 - $3.9 million
    • Brookwood School District 167 - $1 million
    • Crete Monee Community Unit School District 201U - $3 million
    • Dolton School District 14 - $1.1 million
    • Ford Heights School District 169 – $228,369
    • Hazel Crest School District 152-5 – $681,918
    • Homewood School District 153 - $2 million
    • South Holland School District 150 - $224,619
    • South Holland School District 151 - $1.4 million
    • Steger School District 194 - $224,619
    • Thornton Township High School District 205 - $3.8 million
    • West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District 147 - $488,309

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

  • harris 050317HARVEY– Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) has helped protect taxpayers in Harvey and Dolton by working with local elected officials and bond holders (including Assured Guaranty) to avoid costly litigation and make payments on millions of dollars defaulted bonded debt.

    Both Harvey and Dolton missed their last debt service payments on municipal bonds that funded construction and operational services in the two municipalities. Harvey faced a May 1 deadline to make its most recent debt payment, and Harris is working to ensure that commitment is fulfilled.

    The tax bases of both Harvey and Dolton have been adversely affected by the declining economy and foreclosures. Both problems made it more difficult for the communities to make their bond payments, Harris said.

    Senator Harris worked with officials from both towns to meet their capital market financial obligations. 

    “I appreciate the work of Harvey and Dolton leaders for focusing on the urgent financial issues affecting their communities,” Harris said. “I plan to work on legislation to help permanently protect South Suburbs taxpayers by prioritizing the payment of debt service on bonds.”

    Harris said he expects to introduce legislation later this year.