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Aquino applauds rapid action on gun dealer certification law

aquino 053118CHICAGO- A plan approved after the killing of Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer and the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that holds corrupt gun dealers accountable and curbs illegal gun trafficking became law today.

Senate Bill 337 creates a certification process for firearm dealers through the Illinois State Police, and allows for more information on gun crimes to be made public. Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) released the following statement on the new law:

“We know that a high number of gun crimes are committed with illegally-owned firearms, and it’s not enough to keep sending our condolences to those affected by gun violence. This law brings us closer to answering the calls to action of parents, advocates and survivors across the state.

“I’m glad that Governor Pritzker chose to take rapid action on this important piece of legislation, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to continue bringing forward much needed reforms like the one he signed today.”

Aquino reacts to Trump attack on birthright citizenship

aquino 041118SPRINGFIELD – Reacting to Trump’s announcement that he will try to end birthright citizenship through executive order, State Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

“Trump continues his fearmongering against immigrants by completely undermining our constitution in his announcement that he will attempt to end birthright citizenship. Recent events have showed us how dangerous this type of rhetoric against any group of people has become. I denounce this attack on our constitution and continue to stand with our immigrant population.”

Aquino: Rauner’s voter protection is an assault on minority voting rights

aquino 031518SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rauner vetoed legislation today that would end Illinois’ participation in the controversial Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is used to detect voters who are registered in more than one state. Critics say the system is a cybersecurity liability and has been used as a tool to blatantly oust valid names from voter rolls in other states.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2273, would have required Illinois to use the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) instead of Crosscheck. ERIC uses tougher security protocols and more information to guarantee that personal information is correct and safer from hacking.

State Senator Omar Aquino issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s veto:

“By issuing this veto, Governor Rauner has effectively traded the personal information of Illinois voters for political advantage. The Crosscheck system is a cybersecurity liability, which puts millions of Illinois voters’ personal information at risk of being stolen.

“Crosscheck also has been used to illegally eject valid voters from voting rolls for simply sharing a name with an out-of-state voter. This hurts minority communities most, as we are more likely to share last names. In another state, the Crosscheck system flagged one out of every six Latino voters and over 99 percent of flagged names turned out to be perfectly legal registered voters. This veto is an assault on minority voting rights.”

The Crosscheck system generates matches by comparing first and last names of voters in each state, ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. This practice disproportionately affects communities of color who are more likely to have name commonalities, making them easy targets for voter suppression.

In the state of Iowa, out of 240,000 “matches” Crosscheck flagged, only six turned out to be cases of potential voter fraud, according to a statistical analysis by researchers at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Microsoft. An investigation by Rolling Stone magazine also concluded that these false positives disproportionately affect people of color, finding that Crosscheck flagged one in six Latinos, one in seven Asian Americans, and one in nine African Americans as potential double registrants.

Senate approves Aquino’s measure to end driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fees

aquino 053118SPRINGFIELD – Legislation advanced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) would remove driver’s license suspension as a penalty for several offenses unrelated to bad driving, such as falling behind on unpaid tickets.

The measure upholds firm penalties for road and safety offenses while aiming to prevent driver’s license suspensions of good drivers for non-driving related offenses, a practice that supporters of the initiative argue limits job prospects and puts employment at risk.

Originally an initiative of the Chicago Jobs Council (CJC), Senate Bill 2411 is a compromise between the CJC, the Illinois State Police, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Secretary of State’s office.

Over 50,000 Illinois driver’s licenses are suspended each year because drivers can’t pay tickets, fines, or fees.

“For working people, the consequences of not having a driver’s license can be overwhelming,” Aquino said. “Penalizing an individual’s inability to pay a fee by revoking the one privilege they rely on to earn money is counterproductive and perpetuates the cycle of job loss and poverty. Low-income families end up paying a price far greater than just a simple fee.”

SB 2411 eliminates driver’s license suspension as a penalty for non-moving violations, including:

  • Falling behind on payment of tickets, fines, fees, or tollway violations
  • Motor vehicle fuel theft
  • Being judged to be a “truant minor”
  • Criminal trespass to a vehicle
  • Sales of alcohol to a minor
  • Illegal consumption (unless the individual was an occupant of a vehicle at the time of the offense)
  • Suffering from a mental disability or disease since the license has been issued

If passed, the legislation would also reinstate driving privileges for individuals whose license was suspended for such offenses.

SB 2411 was approved by the Senate and now heads to the House for consideration.

Sen. Omar Aquino

Senator Omar Aquino

2nd Senate District

Years served: 2016 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II;Education; Human Services; Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Telecommunications and Information Technology (Vice-Chairperson).

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.