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Hutchinson announces funds for Kankakee River State Park

hutchinson 042718SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) announced the release of a $1.8 million grant to help reopen the Kankakee River State Park’s campgrounds to visitors.

“This is welcomed news for Kankakee residents who have missed the opportunity to enjoy these public lands for the last three to four summers,” Hutchinson said. “I am excited to see families and visitors at the Chippewa and Potawatomi campgrounds again.”

The money for the campgrounds was included in the FY19 budget and is a part of more than $14 million in capital improvement projects at state parks and recreation areas managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The Potawatomi campground closed before the 2015 season for planned improvement and the Chippewa site closed after the 2015 season due to a failed water well. These closures have been cited as a reason for recent attendance decline at Kankakee River State Park.

The campgrounds are expected to reopen in spring 2019.

Hutchinson: What we fight for is bigger than what we fight against

Hutchinson Black CaucusState Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) released the following statement ahead of the verdict in the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald:

"In thinking about the coming Laquan McDonald case verdict, we know that the fight for civil rights has a long and storied history.

"For those that weren’t directly part of the struggle, the memories of the pain, bloodshed, death and hope that a new day was coming have been sanitized by distance and time. But they are still etched in the souls of those who have died or lost loved ones to allow us to claim our space and continue the fight.

Child Care stability package signed into law

hutchinson 050918SPRINGFIELD – Two proposals sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) to increase stability for the thousands of Illinois families who rely on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) were signed into law today.

The first, House Bill 4965, would bring Illinois in line with federal law by moving to a 12-month redetermination process for CCAP families instead of the current system, which redetermines eligibility every six months.

“Working families must have certainty that child care access will be available past an arbitrary six-month deadline,” Hutchinson said. “Increasing the eligibility period to 12 months brings that certainty to families who are doing exactly what we tell them they are supposed to be doing, which is waking up every morning and going to work or school.”

Illinois Action for Children estimates the state will receive an additional $82.8 million in federal child care funding in moving to a 12-month redetermination process.

Hutchinson co-sponsored a separate proposal signed into law today that will maintain current eligibility requirements for CCAP. The plan – passed in House Bill 5599 – protects CCAP from drastic cuts at the whim of the governor.

The new law will prevent future attempts to decimate the program, similar to what took place in 2015 under Gov. Bruce Rauner, who unilaterally reduced eligibility for 90 percent of CCAP participants. Legislators on both sides of the aisle decried the move. 

“Nearly three years later, CCAP is still recovering from the governor’s cuts,” Hutchinson said. “The gutting of this once-hailed program has had lasting impact on child care centers and families across Illinois. We must continue to do everything we can to instill trust between our child care providers and families.”

Both House Bills 4965 and 5599 were signed today by the governor. House Bill 4965 takes effect on October 1, 2018 and House Bill 5599 takes effect immediately.

Hutchinson proposal to let victims of human trafficking seal court records becomes law

trafficking records 080618SPRINGFIELD – Victims of human trafficking will now have the ability to seal their criminal records under a new law passed by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and signed today.

“We know most victims of trafficking are being forced to commit crimes by their trafficker,” Hutchinson said. “Allowing the sealing of criminal records gives survivors more ability to move past their abuse and exploitation and towards recovery and a chance at a normal life.”

The new law, contained in House Bill 5494, creates a petition process that will allow trafficking victims to petition for the immediate sealing of criminal records upon completion of their sentence. Previously, only charges that result in an acquittal or dismissal are eligible for immediate sealing.

In the first six months of 2015, 215 victims of human trafficking in Illinois were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. While Chicagoland accounts for a majority of these cases, trafficking occurs in small towns and suburban communities across the state.

“When someone is exploited sexually or physically, hope and aspirations vanish and are replaced with fear and pain,” Hutchinson said. “These are survivors who have endured situations we can’t even fathom. Ensuring these victims have the tools available to rebuild their lives is the very least we can offer.”

House Bill 5494 was signed into law on Friday and took effect immediately.

Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson


40th District

Years served: 
2009 - Present

Committee assignments: Labor; Judiciary; Revenue (Chairperson); Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Appropriations II; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Committee on Restorative Justice.

Biography: Full-time state legislator; Born May 20, 1973; Graduated University of Illinois at Urbana with a Bachelor in English; Olympia Fields Village Clerk from 2002-2006; Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Program; Women and Power, 2004; Former Chief of Staff to State Senator Debbie Halvorson; Lives in Olympia Fields with husband, Paul, and 3 children.