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Hutchinson honored with YMCA Legislative Champion Award

Hutchinson receives YMCA Legislative Champion AwardSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) was honored with the 2016 Legislative Champion Award from the Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs this morning at an event in Springfield.

“I am humbled to be receiving the 2016 Legislative Champion Award from an organization dedicated to the issues facing the children of Illinois,” Hutchinson said. “YMCAs serve our communities by providing vital child care programs, after-school services and athletic opportunities to thousands of children. At a time of drastic cuts to our social safety net, the work done by YMCAs is more important than ever.”

The Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs represents 46 centers throughout the state, serving more than one million children and adults in more than 120 communities.

“We are so fortunate to have a legislator like Senator Hutchinson fighting for our state's children and families,” DaWana Williamson with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago said. “Her unrelenting leadership and advocacy for quality and accessible youth programs has been instrumental in making sure organizations like the YMCA are able to partner with schools, juvenile detention facilities, government agencies and churches to reach and serve our state's most at-risk youth.”

Photo: Senator Hutchinson with DaWana Williamson from the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago after accepting the 2016 Legislative Championship Award.

New law protects victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, from eviction

hutchinson loopholesSPRINGFIELD – Victims of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities will not have to worry about losing their homes if they contact authorities for help under a new law signed today by the governor.  

“The last thing a survivor of a traumatic assault or someone struggling with a disability needs to worry about is being evicted simply for calling the police for help,” sponsor State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said.  

Renters who contact authorities for help risk eviction in the more than 100 home-rule cities and villages that have implemented some form of crime-free ordinance. These ordinances are meant to give more control to municipalities in addressing public safety concerns. Many of them have specifically listed triggers that could lead to an eviction, including numerous calls to law enforcement.

While the intent of crime-free ordinances is to deal with illegal activity, victims of criminal activity can be affected by the rules, especially in the case of domestic violence. Victims of domestic abuse aren’t always able to leave their homes immediately and are sometimes afraid to press charges, making it more likely they will have to contact the police more than once.  

Individuals with disabilities are also endangered by these ordinances, as someone struggling with a disability might need assistance from authorities more often than someone without a disability.

“We should not be penalizing renters with eviction simply for making legitimate calls for help,” Hutchinson said. “This new law strikes a balance between the safety needs of victims and the responsibility of municipalities to address public safety in their communities.”

Senate Bill 1547 was signed today by the governor and becomes law in 90 days.

Hutchinson law aims to protect college students from sexual assault

hutchinson evictSPRINGFIELD – With studies showing an alarming one-in-five undergraduate college women becoming victims of rape or attempted rape, a measure was signed into law today that will prevent and ensure proper response to sexual assaults that occur on college campuses.

“College represents new experiences and new beginnings for thousands of young women and men each year,” sponsor Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “With thousands of college students heading to school, many of them for the first time, we are reminded of the importance in both preventing sexual assaults and responding with every single resource at our disposal when they do occur. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

While there have been efforts at the federal level to deal with the issue of sexual violence on campuses, universities have been left with a patchwork of recommendations and proposals without clear guidance on how they can reduce the incidence of violence on their campuses and effectively deal with the aftermath of sexual assaults.

Acknowledging this reality, Senator Hutchinson teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to ensure colleges develop clear, comprehensive campus plans for dealing with sexual violence. Each plan will ensure victims have help immediately after an attack, including confidential advisers who can guide them to medical and legal resources. These advisers must also focus on often-overlooked issues, such as orders of protection and situations where housing and class schedules need to be changed.  

House Bill 821 was signed into law today by the governor and takes effect immediately.

Hutchinson: “Children should not be used as leverage in this budget impasse”

 toi ccap 8 6 15 mrThousands of working parents throughout the state had access to affordable child care services last year thanks to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Drastic cuts instituted by the governor on July 1 have put these vital services in jeopardy, with approximately 90 percent of new applicants who otherwise meet program requirements no longer eligible for the program.

“Families on CCAP 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,” sponsor State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “Children should not be used as leverage in this budget impasse.”  

In response to the crisis, Hutchison passed a proposal out of the Senate today to restrict the ability of the governor and the Department of Human Services to drastically cut CCAP. In addition to dramatically lowered eligibility standards, children currently in CCAP are facing higher copays and waiting lists to receive services.

With more than 70,000 Illinois jobs tied to the child care industry, the large decrease in families eligible for CCAP has the potential to cause layoffs at child care centers and even the closing of entire facilities, especially in lower-income areas where a majority of families access CCAP. And with CCAP only available to parents who are either in the workforce or enrolled in school, and the average cost of daycare more than $950 a month, many working parents will be forced to drop out of the workforce and stay home to care for their children. Many would then be forced onto public assistance programs, costing the state more money than is being saved by slashing CCAP.

“Centers are on the verge of closing now. Children are being denied services now. This is not an abstract issue that might happen on some future date. This crisis is playing out in front of us today,” Hutchinson said.

Senate Bill 570 passed the Senate today and now heads to the Illinois House for further debate.

Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson


40th District

Years served: 
2009 - Present

Committee assignments: Executive; Judiciary; Public Health; Revenue (Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Special Issues.

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.

Associated Representatives:
Anthony DeLuca
Lindsay Parkhurst