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Tom Cullerton passes measure to keep retired police dogs with officers

TCpolicedogSPRINGFIELD – Working to keep retired police dogs with their handlers, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D–Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 3129 today, which creates the Police Dog Retirement Act.

“As a dog owner myself, I know there is a special bond between an officer and their dog,” Cullerton said. “It’s important that we take the necessary precautions to honor the special relationship between an officer and their police dog.”

Senate Bill 3129 requires a retiring police dog to be offered to the primary handler of the dog. If the officer doesn’t wish to keep the dog it can be offered to another officer or employee, a nonprofit organization or a no-kill animal shelter.

Raoul's fantasy sports regulation heard in Senate (UPDATED)

fantasysports5.24.16 Update: a motion to reconsider House Bill 3655, which held it in the Senate, has been lifted and the bill now goes to the House.

One of the hottest new trends for sports fans – daily online fantasy contests – could soon become illegal in Illinois. State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) has a better idea: regulate the fledgling but wildly popular industry, tax it and institute strong consumer protections for players, but keep it legal.

Daily fantasy sports sites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, charge participants a fee to enter a short-term, online contest in which they assemble a virtual team of real-world players. Participants earn points – and can win money – based on the actual performance of the players on their fantasy teams.

Steans' plan to decriminalize marijuana possession goes to governor

decrim 041916State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) secured Senate passage in April of legislation that decriminalizes the possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis, instead making it a civil violation statewide while still giving local governments discretion to impose additional fines or drug treatment requirements. That measure, which now reflects the governor's stated concerns when he vetoed a previous effort, passed in the House yesterday.

“The criminal prosecution of marijuana possession has become a festering site of inequity in Illinois, and we believe there’s a better way,” Steans said. “Although substantially the same percentage of African-American and white individuals use marijuana, black Illinoisans are arrested for cannabis possession at seven times the rate of white residents."

Raoul sponsors elected school board for Chicago

raoul cps 051816SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) announced today that he is sponsoring a plan to bring the Chicago Public Schools into line with every other district in Illinois by making its school board a democratically elected body. He will hold hearings in Chicago to gather input from parents and other community members to ensure fair representation in the transition to elections, which will first be held in 2018 if the measure becomes law.

“Chicago’s children deserve nothing less than full equality with the rest of the state – parity in funding and in democratic governance of their school district,” Raoul said. “It’s time to get this right, and I look forward to working with our parents and advocates to give CPS the government our schools so desperately need.”