• Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) expresses her feelings on the governor's second budget address at a press conference February 17, 2016.

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  • cpslogoSPRINGFIELD - The following statement was released by Senate President John J. Cullerton regarding Republican leaders misdirected ideas on Chicago Public Schools:

    “This is not going to happen. It’s mean spirited and evidence of their total lack of knowledge of the real problems facing Chicago Public Schools. The unfair treatment of pension systems by the state is the immediate cause of CPS’ financial problem. That situation ought to be addressed rather than promoting this far-fetched notion that the state is somehow in the position to take over Chicago schools. This ridiculous idea only serves as a distraction from the state’s problems that these two state leaders should be focusing on.”

  • Sen. Hunter to introduce crisis intervention training legislationCHICAGO – In the wake of the latest police shooting in Chicago, Sen. Mattie Hunter is calling for legislation to require Chicago’s police department to increase crisis intervention training and availability and use of non-lethal devises, such as Tasers.

    “Every police car should be equipped with a Taser or similar, non-lethal device.  We are seeing tragic incidents of people shot and killed when no one’s life is at risk. Lethal force should be a last resort, not a first response. In this day and age, alternative resources and technology exist that should be utilized,” said Hunter.

    In addition to expanded availability of non-lethal devices, Hunter wants additional crisis intervention training for officers and dispatchers so responding officers are better prepared for handling situations involving domestic violence and people with mental health issues.

    Hunter said the proposals would build off the reforms that the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus supported that take effect Jan. 1. Senate Bill 1304 sets official parameters for the use of police body cameras, increases training and reporting requirements for officers and clarifies the public’s right to access the videos.

    Other key policing reforms from the Capitol this year include:

    • Prohibiting the use of chokeholds
    • Requiring independent investigations when officers kill someone
    • Increased training requirements concerning the proper use of force and how to interact with victims with disabilities
    • Creating a statewide database of officers dismissed due to misconduct
  • hunter youthjobsCHICAGO – In response to University of Chicago’s announcement of a $40 million investment in expanding their hospital to include a Level 1 trauma center on Chicago’s South Side, Sen. Mattie Hunter released the following statement:

    “Chicago’s South Side is long overdue for a level 1 trauma center. While I am glad the University of Chicago is invested in our community, this is only the first step. Residents in Englewood and farther south west still need resources for trauma care,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter, who has stood at the forefront of this issue.

    “I hope the medical community will continue to invest in facilities that will help all of our residents.”

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  • hunter 120715SPRINGFIELD – Cook County residents soon will receive $93.94 million in critical funding for LIHEAP, winter road maintenance and local shares of video gaming and motor fuel tax revenue.

    “I voted so that vulnerable residents and seniors could receive the energy assistance they deserve,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3). “Hopefully Governor Rauner will stand with us and sign this bill so our local communities can receive critical funding.”

    The Senate approved legislation today to free up gas tax money for Cook County residents and recipients of LIHEAP. According to last year’s estimates, Cook County received $93.94 million in gas tax dollars, while the state received $275.53 million.

    Senate Bill 2039 also includes funding for the following:

    •    $1 billion to the Lottery for prizes
    •    $165 million for home heating bill assistance
    •    $77 million for 911-related costs
    •    $45 million to the Dept. of Revenue so local governments can receive their share of video gaming proceeds
    •    $43 million to the Community College Board for career and technical education activities
    •    $31 million to IDOT to purchase road salt
    •    $28 million for nursing home licensing and inspections
    •    $3.1 million to the Illinois Department of Public Health for the Tobacco Quitline
    •    $2.5 million for breast cancer services and research

    The bill now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. While Gov. Bruce Rauner stated he supports this plan, he vetoed similar measures in June when the budget impasse began.

  • hunter guardianshipCHICAGO – In response to news reports about the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, a Chicago teen, Majority Caucus Whip Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3) released the following statement:

    “Too many families, including my own, have been touched by violence in Chicago. As we turn to the police for help, yet again we are faced with disappointment. I’m calling on Superintendent Garry McCarthy to terminate Officer Jason Van Dyke immediately to prove this horrific circumstance is not symbolic of the Chicago Police Department’s ethics.”

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  • trauma ctrCHICAGO – South Side Chicagoans may soon access timely trauma care thanks to joint efforts between community leaders and lawmakers encouraging the medical community to address years of protest.

    "This is a big win for the South Side. Years of protest and state hearings have helped this come into fruition," said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), who spearheaded a first-of-its-kind state hearing on the lack of trauma centers in poorer neighborhoods.

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  • hunter bodycamsSPRINGFIELD – New legislation creating law enforcement reforms was signed into law today. State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3) supported the bipartisan push for officer-worn body camera protocols.

    “Law enforcement reforms help protect the safety of both officers on duty and citizens. Our communities are stronger when there is trust and practices in place to create accountability,” Hunter said.

    The proposal, Senate Bill 1304, would make Illinois one of the first states in the nation to adopt the recommendations of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The law implements the following recommendations:

    • Requiring independent investigations of all officer-involved deaths
    • Improving mandatory officer training in areas, such as the proper use of force, cultural competency, recognizing implicit bias, interacting with persons with disabilities and assisting victims of sexual assault
    • Creating a statewide database of officers who have been dismissed due to misconduct or resigned during misconduct investigations
    • Improving data collection and reporting of officer-involved and arrest-related deaths and other serious incidents
    • Establishing a Commission on Police Professionalism to make further recommendations on the training and certification of law enforcement officers

    The measure also bans the use of chokeholds by police and expands the Traffic Stop Statistical Study –which provides insight into racial disparities in motor vehicle stops and searches—to include pedestrians whom officers “stop and frisk” or temporarily detain for questioning.

    The state is set to become the first state with standards and protocols for the use of body cameras by any of the state’s law enforcement agencies. These policies include:

    • Cameras must be turned on at all times when an officer is responding to a call for service or engaged in law enforcement activities.
    • Cameras can be turned off at the request of a crime victim or witness, or when an officer is talking with a confidential informant.
    • Recordings are exempt from FOIA with some exceptions:
    • Recordings can be “flagged” if they have evidentiary value in relation to a use of force incident, the discharge of a weapon or a death.
    • “Flagged” recordings may be disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act; however, in certain sensitive situations, such as a recording of a sexual assault, victim consent is required prior to disclosure.
    • Recordings must be retained for 90 days or, if “flagged,” for two years or until final disposition of the case in which the recording is being used as evidence.

    The law goes into effect on January 1.

  • hunter youthjobs signedSPRINGFIELD – Former wards of the state will soon have access to internships and potential employment opportunities. A youth employment jobs plan creating the Foster Youth Summer Internship Program was signed into law today.

    “Our at-risk youth face the harsh challenges of either finding employment or facing joblessness, homelessness and even incarceration. Preventing a pipeline to prison will empower our future leaders and grow our economy,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter, the bill’s sponsor.

    A 2011 Northwestern University study showed Illinois had the third largest number of youth in the country who were aging out of the foster care system without parental support at 21 percent.

    Compounding those figures, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the state had one of the highest unemployment rates among teens aged 16 to 19 in 2012, at 27.1 percent.

    Joblessness among minority youth skyrocketed to 90 percent for African-Americans and 79 percent for Hispanics.

    “Our youth are struggling to find jobs. Internships will give them transferrable skills while fostering their economic independence,” said Hunter.

    Hunter modeled the program after similar foster care internship pilot programs in Maryland, Missouri and Florida.

    The program will begin on January 1, 2016 and operate for a two-year period before being assessed for long-term implementation.

    Senate Bill 1255 gained bipartisan support and passed the Senate 49-1 and the House 115-0 in May.

  • hunter fairCHICAGO – Over the weekend, several hundred Chicago youth, adults and seniors attended State Senator Mattie Hunter’s 12th Annual Health, Fun and Fitness Fair on the South Side. Free health services and back-to-school supplies were offered.

    Mourning families joined the Hunter family for commemorative balloon releases for violence prevention and breast cancer awareness.

    Hunter released pink balloons with Carolyn Adams’ family, the namesake of the Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure, in honor of those who lost loved ones to breast cancer. Gatherers released red balloons alongside the Hunter family while calling out the names of victims of violence.