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  • Dangerous gun-shaped phone cases must be banned: Silverstein

    triggercaseCHICAGO  – State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) introduced a measure in the Senate last week to ban replica firearms in response to  the latest trend of mobile phone cases shaped like handguns.

    “Gun violence in our country is out of control and accidental shootings take and destroy lives,” Silverstein said. “The development of mobile phone cases – as well as lighters and cameras – shaped like handguns is a dangerous, terrible idea. It is only a matter of time before a replica gun is mistaken for a real gun and its owner is shot.”

    Law enforcement officials are warning these items look authentic and may result in the shooting of someone carrying a gun-shaped phone case.

  • Governor vetoes MAP, community college funding for Illinois students

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  • Harmon, Silverstein urge Rauner administration to move cautiously with senior care pilot program (VIDEO)

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  • Senate approves Silverstein measure to expel or suspend from college for sexual assault

    silverstein 042116SPRINGFIELD– A proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) to bolster higher education institutions’ options to protect students from sexual violence on campus was approved by the Senate yesterday.

    Addressing rampant campus sexual assault takes stronger actions than what exists now. Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change would clarify that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “Sex offenders don’t belong on our campuses – colleges and universities need broader authority to get those violators away from students who deserve greater safety,”  Silverstein said. “A law like this passed in California last year and it makes sense for Illinois.”

    The Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, effective August 21, 2015, required all Illinois institutions of higher education to set plans, processes and comprehensive policy for survivors, adjudicate allegations, and train and communicate to students and employees on campus sexual violence.

    Senate Bill 2839 received unanimous approval Thursday. It now goes to House for further consideration.

  • Senate Democrats offer A+ laws for back-to-school season

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  • Senate overrides governor's veto of automatic voter registration (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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  • Senate overrides veto, protects workers' rights

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    SPRINGFIELD –Today the Illinois Senate voted 42-13 to protect workers’ rights and override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago). The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act blocks Gov. Rauner’s campaign to engage municipalities in creating right-to-work areas in support of moves to boost corporate profits at the expense of workers.

    Sen. Silverstein released the following statement: "Illinois’ future success depends on its support of the middle class. Workers and employers should not be restricted from bargaining collectively as they continue building our economy, and local governments have no place enforcing a rule that constrains this freedom.

    "The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act upholds the rights of hard working Illinoisans to expect good wages, benefits and working conditions in exchange for their labors. This veto rejects restrictions of those rights and rejects the governor’s continuing efforts to undermine organized labor in a state that relies on it to operate and extend our economy and our future. In spite of efforts by the governor and his pro-corporate profit supporters to squelch these rights, we will not grow our economy by taking part in a race to the bottom in wages earned by Illinois families."

    Senate Bill 1905 passed both houses initially in July with bipartisan support, and was vetoed by the governor on September 29. It now goes to the House for their consideration.

    Other Democratic senators spoke in support of the veto override:

    Senator Cristina Castro (Elgin): “I am happy to see that my colleagues helped protect the people of Illinois by working together to defeat Governor Rauner’s corporate agenda. We can’t let companies profit at the expense of our workers.”

    Senator Scott Bennett (Champaign): “Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families. This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

    Senator Tom Cullerton (Villa Park): “Illinois businesses will only thrive if we treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve. Governor Rauner’s harmful boardroom tactics benefit his friends at the expense of Illinois residents. Rauner’s extreme anti-worker agenda has no place in Illinois.”

    Senator Bill Haine (Alton): “The facts are clear: right-to-work policies do nothing but reduce workers’ wages and make workplaces more dangerous. The governor’s veto was yet another attempt to decrease wages for working families and ensure higher profits for his wealthy friends.”

    Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills): “At a time when workers’ rights are under constant attack, it is important that we protect the rights of Illinoisans by ensuring that local governments can’t take away those rights. Dismantling collective bargaining rights would lead to lower wages and a loss of benefits for Illinois workers, and I refuse to let that happen.”

    Senator Laura Murphy (Des Plaines): "Since taking office, the governor has attempted to roll back employees’ rights and weaken the unions on the backs of which this state was built. All employees benefit from collective bargaining, even those that do not participate in organized labor. I hope this vote sends a strong message to the governor that I will not support his attack on the middle class.”

    Senator Iris Y. Martinez (Chicago): “Once again, the governor showed that he cares more about big businesses than the citizens of Illinois. Right-to-work laws lower wages, something that would disproportionately harm lower-income Illinoisans. I am glad the Senate stood up to the governor today and protected the hard-working men and women of our state.”

    Senator Bill Cunningham (Chicago): “Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois. Right-to-work and other anti-union measures are designed to do nothing more than lower workers’ wages to pad corporate profits.”

    Senator Don Harmon (Oak Park): “This issue has been litigated several times already, and we have our answer – only the state, not local governments, can create right-to-work laws. The governor’s veto was nothing more than a continuation of his radical anti-union agenda. Today’s override will ensure that workers across the state retain the fair representation they deserve.”

    Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago): “The governor likes to claim that he’s pro-business, but he supports measures that are anything but. Everyone loses when right-to-work laws are in place. We cannot improve the business climate of Illinois if we implement laws that lower wages and strip away workers’ rights.”

     

     

  • Senate votes to override Rauner veto of MAP, college funding (AUDIO)

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  • Silverstein extends work, wage rights for domestic workers

    Silverstein domesticA measure sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) to establish provisions for overtime, wages, days off and other protections for Illinois domestic workers passed in the Senate Executive Committee today.

    Dubbed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, House Bill 1288 defines what constitutes domestic work and expands rights for this class of workers from which they are now exempt. Four state laws would be amended to include domestic workers: The Minimum Wage Law, The Illinois Human Rights Act, The One Day Rest in Seven Act and The Wages of Women and Minors Act.

  • Silverstein extends work, wage rights for domestic workers

    silverstein domesticSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) to establish provisions for overtime, wages, days off and other protections for Illinois domestic workers passed in the Senate today.

    Dubbed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, House Bill 1288 defines what constitutes domestic work and expands rights for this class of workers from which they are now exempt. Four state laws would be amended to include domestic workers: The Minimum Wage Law, The Illinois Human Rights Act, The One Day Rest in Seven Act and The Wages of Women and Minors Act.

  • Silverstein files measure to regulate social media political ads

    silverstein 030117SPRINGFIELD –Political ads on social media platforms would be regulated to disclose their sources and funders if a new measure sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) becomes law.

    Senate Bill 2251 was filed this week and would extend the same requirements for disclosure regarding print, TV and radio advertising to social media political ads.

    “Social media is immediate and far-reaching,” Silverstein said. “Just because it is new media doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fall under the same requirements for existing media in terms of disclosing who funded, prepared and distributed the material. Voters deserve to know what organizations are behind all political ads.”

    Attention to online political ads has grown in recent months after Facebook admitted that accounts connected to Russia purchased politically contentious ads ahead of the 2016 presidential election. An estimated $100,000 purchase targeted audiences in swing states with no disclosure about the sources of those ads.

    “A recent Facebook ad falsely attacked an Illinois Senate colleague with no clear means of pursuing the source,” Silverstein said. “The laws must apply to online ads as they do everywhere else to keep our elections fair.”

    Senate Bill 2251 awaits assignment to a Senate committee before moving to the full chamber for consideration.

  • Silverstein hiring fair brings employers, job seekers together

    silversteins at jobfair"We are happy with the great turnout at our first-ever hiring fair in the 8th District," said Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago), after 150 job seekers connected with roughly 40 employers on Thursday.

    The event at West Ridge Elementary School featured a variety of positions available with several different types of employers. Held in partnership with Alderman Debra Silverstein (Chicago-50th Ward) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the hiring fair drew small businesses, large corporations and municipal organizations.

    "Our expectations for helping Chicagoans find opportunities for employment were exceeded today," Silverstein said. "We will be assessing our results and how we can improve as we look into future events like this."

     

     

  • Silverstein ice missiles measure shot down

    silverstein iceSPRINGFIELD– It sounds like a weapon used in a James Bond film: ice missiles. But they are real, deadly and the target of a legislative proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) to prevent them and to penalize those who cause them. In spite of the statistics on the dangers ice missiles present to motorists, the Senate Transportation Committee did not approve the proposal.

    An ice missile is a large chunk of ice or snow that flies off a large truck on the highway. Many Illinois drivers have seen this occur and may have wondered what could happen if the split-second fall of ice were to hit another vehicle.

    Sen. Silverstein’s proposal in Senate Bill 634 would require a person operating a vehicle weighing more than 8,000 pounds to remove ice and snow that poses a safety threat to other vehicles and drivers. Nearly 100 deaths and thousands of accidents happen each year.

    “Each year in Illinois, we are almost guaranteed several days of winter weather that create these hazardous conditions, enough to warrant a change to the state vehicle code to protect drivers from this risk,” Silverstein said. “I believe it is reasonable to ask truck drivers who use Illinois roads for commerce to make an effort to protect motorists by clearing ice and snow from their trucks. With this bill failing in committee, I fear this kind of accident may happen again.

    The legislation met with strong opposition from the Illinois Trucking Association, Midwest Truckers, National Waste and Recycling Association and Illinois Coal Association.

    Pete Morano joined Sen. Silverstein in Springfield to tell his story to the Senate Transportation Committee. His injuries from an ice missile incident in 2010 left him without vision in his left eye after three surgeries to rebuild his face. Pete wants to prevent other families from the losses his family and the Stutson family have suffered.

    “I understand their concerns and appreciate their willingness to tell their stories and advocate for change to prevent future ice missile accidents,” Silverstein said. “I know of manufacturers and motor carriers that offer a variety of snow-removal systems, and I do not believe this would be a burden on the trucking industry.”

  • Silverstein measure would allow suspension or expulsion from colleges for sexual assault

    silverstein campussexassaultSPRINGFIELD– Combatting the high rate of campus sexual assault requires a range of actions on the part of colleges, students and the criminal justice system. A proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would reinforce the capacity of higher education institutions to protect students from sexual violence on campus.

    Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change would clarify that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “California lawmakers passed legislation like this last year to give colleges and universities broader authority to protect students and staff and to discipline those whose behavior puts others at risk,” Sen. Silverstein said. “Offenders have no place on our campuses and this measure adds another means for Illinois institutions to act for greater safety.”

    The Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, effective August 21, 2015, required all Illinois institutions of higher education to set plans, processes and comprehensive policy for survivors, adjudicate allegations, and train and communicate to students and employees on campus sexual violence.

    Senate Bill 2839 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. It now goes to the full Senate for further consideration.

  • Silverstein resolution condemns rising anti-Semitism

    silverstein 022817SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ira I. Silverstein of Chicago believes communities and their leaders must speak up to condemn the recent wave of anti-Semitic events in Illinois and across the country.

    “I have filed a resolution asking the Illinois Senate to join me in denouncing those who have made bomb threats, desecrated Jewish cemeteries and vandalized synagogues,” Silverstein said. “These events are obvious attempts to incite fear and disrupt daily life in peaceful communities.”

  • Silverstein resolution would condemn Iran deal

    silverstein sjr iranCHICAGO  – State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) introduced a resolution in the Senate this week to oppose the White House’s agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

    “While I acknowledge the complicated workings to negotiate a deal between the U.S. and Iran, I have grave concerns that this does not even approach strict enough oversight of Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism and their long-standing efforts to gain and build nuclear weapons.”

    Silverstein echoes concerns of some in Congress who believe the deal’s inspection timelines, retention of much of Iran’s existing nuclear infrastructure and unclear sanctions to be imposed if Iran does not comply indicate the world will be no better off in 10 years with the deal.

    “This resolution encourages the Illinois General Assembly to call on U.S. Senators and Representatives to oppose this inadequate deal and work for a new deal to prevent all routes to a nuclear bomb for Iran,” Silverstein said. “This is an urgent but very serious arrangement that needs to be stronger for the security of all nations.”

    Senate Joint Resolution 31 has been filed; its first action will be taken in the Senate Assignments Committee.

  • Silverstein strengthens powdered alcohol ban with possession penalties

    silverstein 030117SPRINGFIELD – In 2015, State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) sponsored legislation to ban dangerous powdered alcohol and set fines for its sale and purchase. Senate Bill 67 passed, was signed into law (Public Act 99-0051) and took effect on January 1, 2016. More than 30 other states have passed similar laws.

    Now, Senator Silverstein is seeking a tougher position: Senate Bill 121 would ban possession of powdered alcohol statewide and sets penalties for possession. A person found guilty of possession would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

    Any crystal substance of powder containing alcohol is considered “powdered alcohol.” The powder may be dissolved in liquid such as mixers or juice or it could be sprinkled on food. It can be eaten or snorted without mixing and could be sold in small packets or capsules.

    “Along with our law and those of more than 30 other states, several municipalities have banned sale and possession of powdered alcohol,” Silverstein said. “If another state does choose to allow its sale, it could easily be brought into Illinois. The risk of alcohol poisoning and this product’s easily concealable form are just two reasons possessing this type of alcohol must be prevented.”

    Senate Bill 191 was approved by the Senate Criminal Law Committee Tuesday; it will be considered by the full Senate soon.

     

  • Silverstein wants gun loophole closed to block felons from guns, permits

    silverstein gunloophole 102616CHICAGO – State Senator Ira Silverstein (D‐Chicago) introduced a measure in the Senate this week to close a dangerous loophole allowing felons to receive FOID cards and concealed carry licenses in Illinois.

    After a recent incident in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, a convicted felon involved in a self-defense shooting was discovered to have changed his identity and successfully received a FOID card and concealed carry permit when he applied under his new legal name.

  • Silverstein wants Latino Treatment Center to stay open

    Silverstein wants Latino Treatment Center to stay openSPRINGFIELD – The next tragedy of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 10-month budget impasse could be the closure of the Latino Treatment Center.

    “The governor is completely out-of-touch with the needs of Latinos,” said State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago). “His inability to govern and failure to get a budget done means that a vital organization providing substance abuse treatment services to Latinos is about to go under. It’s too bad the governor doesn’t care that his budget impasse is destroying Illinois’ social service network.”

    The Latino Treatment Center has bilingual staff and evaluates and serves those in the Hispanic community by conducting evaluations for alcohol and drugs in either Spanish or English. Its staff specializes in outpatient treatment for substance abuse, treatment for families, individual and group counseling and adolescent treatment.

  • Silverstein: help homeless youth get GEDs, waive fees

    homeless gedSPRINGFIELD– A plan from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would eliminate a financial burden placed on homeless young people who wish to take the High School Equivalency Test.

    Equivalency exams or GED tests are administered by regional superintendents throughout the state. Right now, the fees to take those exams are $30 per test module, and a total of 4 test modules comprise the GED Test. Regional Offices of Education may charge additional fees for a certificate or transcript.