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Aquino bill expanding voting access to individuals in jail passes Senate

aquino 041019SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) designed to provide better voting opportunities to incarcerated individuals passed the Illinois Senate today.

“Voting rights don’t apply to people only when it’s convenient,” said Aquino. “There are about 20,000 people detained before trial who are eligible to vote, and it is the responsibility of the election authority to make sure that they do.”

Under the Illinois Election Code, individuals in jail who are awaiting trial and have not been convicted of a crime are still eligible to vote. Senate Bill 2090 would require each election authority in a county to work with the county jail to provide an opportunity to vote by mail for those individuals.

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton introduced an identical bill when she was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. Aquino was the chief sponsor in the Senate.

Aquino’s legislation also requires election authorities to proactively reach out to individuals who have completed their sentence with information about their restored voting rights.

“Outreach, I believe, is the single most important thing about this bill,” said Aquino. “Many people who served their sentence are not aware that they can vote again. They shouldn’t be disenfranchised due to a past mistake and the negligence of election authorities.”

Senate Bill 2090 now heads to the House for consideration.

Aquino backs Attorney General’s opposition to citizenship question on 2020 Census

aquino 040319SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) echoed Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s opposition to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

“Not only is this a clear effort to suppress immigrant communities, but it compromises the accuracy and legitimacy of the Census,” said Aquino. “Asking this question on the Census will only serve those who wish to deport immigrants of color and will result in those communities not participating in the census, even though our policies should respond to the reality of our population and its needs.”

In January of this year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the New York Attorney General’s office in a lawsuit to block the federal government from demanding citizenship information in the 2020 Census. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case this month.

“I will be anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on this matter,” said Aquino. “It is important that the Census accurately reflect what America is, and that immigrants of color do not live in constant fear of the government.”

Aquino moves to ban schools from harvesting student data

Senator AquinoSPRINGFIELD – Schools would be banned from exploiting students’ meta-data for purposes outside school instruction under a bill introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) approved by the Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee today.

“We are entering a new era where big data companies buy and sell our information to target ads and push preferred products on us,” said Aquino. “You should have control over your own online data, and this bill will protect K-12 students’ data from being used by advertisers and big data companies.”

Senate Bill 2089 prohibits school authorities from using data collected from school-owned devices for anything except school purposes. The bill also protects the data collected from being sold or shared without the written consent of the student’s parent.

This legislation also creates a Student Data Protection and Oversight Committee to make further policy recommendations surrounding data privacy and protection.

Senate Bill 2089 is scheduled for consideration before the full Senate.

Lt. Gov. Stratton advocates on behalf of Aquino voting rights bill

Lt. Gov. Stratton and Senator AquinoSPRINGFIELD – Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton testified in the Senate Executive Committee hearing today in favor of a bill introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that would provide expanded voting opportunities to incarcerated individuals.

“In my role as Lieutenant Governor and leading the Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative, I’m here to express my strong support for Senate Bill 2090,” said Stratton. “For in this instance, real justice can only come about when we remove barriers so that people who are eligible to vote are provided a real opportunity to do so.”

Sen. Omar Aquino

Senator Omar Aquino

2nd Senate District

Years served: 2016 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Vice-Chairperson); Appropriations II; Education; Government Accountability/Pensions (Chairperson); Higher Education; Licensed Activities; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago; B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology, Loyola University Chicago; Bilingual Case Manager at Central West Case Management Unit at the Jane Addams School of Social Work; Legislative Assistant in the Illinois House of Representatives; Outreach Coordinator for Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth; Devoted to improving education, aging services and human services.

Associated Representatives::
Luis Arroyo
Delia C. Ramirez