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  • hutchinson 051018SPRINGFIELD – Victims of human trafficking would have the ability to seal their criminal records under a proposal advanced this week by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

    "We know most victims of trafficking are being forced to commit crimes by their trafficker,” Hutchinson said. “Allowing the sealing of criminal records gives survivors more ability to move past their abuse and exploitation and towards recovery and a chance at a normal life.”

    House Bill 5494 would create a petition process that would allow trafficking victims to petition for the immediate sealing of criminal records upon completion of their sentence. Currently, only charges that result in an acquittal or dismissal are eligible for immediate sealing. 

    In the first six months of 2015, 215 victims of human trafficking in Illinois were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. While Chicagoland accounts for a majority of these cases, trafficking occurs in small towns and suburban communities across the state.

    “When someone is exploited sexually or physically, hope and aspirations vanish and are replaced with fear and pain,” Hutchinson said. “These are survivors who have endured situations we can’t even fathom. Ensuring these victims have the tools available to rebuild their lives is the very least we can offer.”

    House Bill 5494 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee yesterday without opposition and will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • hutchinson 050918SPRINGFIELD – Law enforcement officers who sexually abuse or rape individuals in custody could face charges under a proposal advanced yesterday afternoon by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

    “The general public should have complete faith that law enforcement officers are held to the same standards as everyone else in our society,” Hutchinson said. “No one person should be immune to consequences for their actions, and our laws should reflect that reality.”

  • 0508 TeacherDayThis week is Teacher Appreciation Week, but Senate Democrats are working on behalf of public school teachers year-round to provide the resources and opportunities they need to educate our children.

    Last year, after nearly four years that included hundreds of hours of testimony from parents, teachers and students and dozens of bipartisan meetings, an unprecedented overhaul of how Illinois funds public schools was signed into law. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was the sponsor of the proposal, Senate Bill 1947, in the Senate.

  • hutchinson 042718SPRINGFIELD – Companies doing business with the State of Illinois would be required to have a sexual harassment policy protecting workers under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) that passed the Senate today.

    “The State of Illinois should be a leader in ensuring sexual harassment is not tolerated in our state,” Hutchinson said. “Every year, hundreds of companies team up with the state to provide services to our residents. We need to ensure these individuals performing state work are protected and know sexual harassment is not tolerated in Illinois.”

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  • hutchinson 042418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) passed a measure out of the Senate today that would create additional avenues for preschool teachers to get licensed while still maintaining criteria to ensure teachers are highly qualified.

    “We know the importance of ensuring that every child from every zip code has access to high-quality preschool programs,” Hutchinson said. “Data confirms that access to these vital programs can have lifelong positive effects, leading to lower chances of becoming a teen parent or being arrested for violent crime and leading to higher rates of high school graduation and college attendance.”

  • 0410 EqualPayDay byEthnicityAs the United States observed Equal Pay Day today – the day which signifies when the average woman has earned as much as the average man did in the previous year – the Illinois Senate issued its own call for fair pay for the same work.

    Senator Toi Hutchinson led the efforts behind Senate Resolution 1362, which declares April 10, 2018 Pay Equity Day in the interest of raising awareness of an issue that continues to hold back the state’s economic development. The resolution passed the Senate today.

  • whm mainEvery March, Senate Democratic members take time to honor the contributions and achievements of women throughout our history.

    Women’s History Month dates back to 1987 when the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to designate the month of March as Women’s History Month. Since that time, every U.S. President has taken part in the tradition.

  • gun dealerIn spite of repeated pleas from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to support commonsense measures to curb gun violence and help sweep unregistered firearms off the streets, the governor vetoed Senate Bill 1657, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

    According to a 2014 report from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, almost 20 percent of all guns recovered from crimes scenes in Chicago between 2009 and 2013 came from three of the state’s 2,400 dealers. Although Democratic and Republican lawmakers supported the gun dealer licensing legislation, along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson and many gun safety advocates and victims' families, the governor vetoed the bill today.

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  • hutchinson post partumSPRINGFIELD – Illinois will become the first state in the nation acknowledging the correlation between postpartum depression and psychosis and certain crimes committed by women, after a new law was signed this week by the governor.

    House Bill 1764, sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights), allows women charged with certain felonies to challenge court sentences of crimes committed as a direct result of suffering from postpartum depression or post-partum psychosis. The new law also allows a court to consider a defendant’s postpartum depression or psychosis as a mitigating factor during sentencing.

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  • hutchinson3SPRINGFIELD – Cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) under Governor Bruce Rauner two years ago decimated the once hailed program that helps low-income families afford the every-increasing cost of child care. While some of the governor’s cuts were restored within a few months, thousands of families remained ineligible.

    A new law sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) and signed into law on Friday restores access to child care services for families whose parents are enrolled in education or training programs.

    “There are thousands of parents across Illinois who are striving to achieve a better life for themselves and their children,” Hutchinson said. “Why would the state stand in the way of those families? For many, access to affordable child care can make the difference between having the ability of going back to school or obtaining training, both of which are vital to increasing earnings potential and lifting families out of poverty.”

    Hutchinson’s new law, which was contained in House Bill 3213, specifically requires the Department of Human Services to expand CCAP eligibility to families with parents enrolled in education or training programs.

    Illinois Action for Children estimates more than 30,000 fewer children in total are receiving child care today than in June 2015. Before Governor Rauner’s cuts, nearly 4,000 children whose parents were enrolled in school or a training program received child care services.

    House Bill 3213 passed the Senate in late May and takes effect immediately.

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