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Steans presents redistricting reform amendment

steans 050416SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) has introduced in the Senate a proposed constitutional amendment, approved yesterday with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, to reform the way Illinois’ legislative district boundaries are drawn. The resolution, which would have allowed voters to decide this November whether or not to incorporate these changes into the state constitution, failed today to garner sufficient support in a subcommittee to advance to the Senate floor.

Steans issued the following statement:

From the outsized role of money in politics to the arcane way in which districts are drawn, the political system as it now exists often invites cynicism and apathy while discouraging new voices with fresh ideas from getting involved.

Bertino-Tarrant plan guarantees time off for employees who lose a child (AUDIO)

jbt041415SPRINGFIELD— A parent whose child has a serious medical condition can receive time off from work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, that same parent would not be allowed under FMLA to take time off for the death of a child.

In fact, the average bereavement leave for a person who loses a child is three days according to a researcher at Arizona State University.

Today, State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate guaranteeing parents who lose a child time off work to grieve.

Scott Bennett works to end statute of limitations

statute limitationsSPRINGFIELD- Illinois no longer would have time constraints on prosecuting alleged child sex offenders under legislation introduced by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

The legislation was prompted by last week’s developments involving former Republican U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who admitted in court that he sexually abused teenage boys when he was a wrestling coach in Yorkville.

“We shouldn’t reward people who are lucky enough to not get caught,” Bennett said.

CSU fighting for the future

CSUGrad04282016

More than 800 Chicago State University students received their diplomas Thursday in an early ceremony moved up weeks for fear the school would run out of money and shut down due to an ongoing state budget impasse.

A last-minute, $600-million higher education deal will, for now, keep the doors open at Chicago State, Eastern Illinois University and other state schools. But the stop gap plan isn’t enough to offset the long-term damage that’s been done as the schools have gone nearly a year without any state support. Layoffs and program cuts are still expected at Chicago State and other schools.

Senator Emil Jones III was at Thursday’s graduation ceremonies – the 358th commencement for the nearly 150-year-old university. As happy as he is for the CSU graduates, he’s equally concerned for the underclassmen who increasingly are victimized by the budget showdown that began when Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected the entire higher education budget last year.