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lightford 01292020HAO 0469SPRINGFIELD - As Illinois sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the Illinois General Assembly has decided not to return to session next week, as previously scheduled, but will instead convene in January for a lame duck session. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) ensures that the change in the session schedule will not deter the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ efforts to rid Illinois of systemic racism.

“We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and COVID-19 cases are surging across the state. I agree with President Harmon and Speaker Madigan that the risk is too high to convene at this time,” said Lightford, chair of the ILBC. “While we will not be able to pass legislation as soon as we hoped, the urgency to bring an end to systemic racism remains.”

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus launched four pillars of policy on Sept. 1 through which the caucus is identifying measures that will put Illinois on a course for racial and economic equity. Those pillars are:

I. Criminal justice reform, violence reduction and police accountability

II. Education and workforce development

III. Economic access, equity and opportunity

IV. Health care and human services

Since September, the Senate has hosted subject matter hearings on the four pillars in an effort to provide legislators and the public a deeper look into the Black experience in Illinois. The hearings, which wrap up this week, served as an opportunity to gather facts and recommendations to help address systemic issues that have directly or indirectly made the lives of Black and other marginalized communities in Illinois back for centuries.

 

“The Black Caucus will continue with our mission to put an end to systemic racism in Illinois,” Lightford said. “The moment to put forth this critical agenda is now, and I know President Harmon and Speaker Madigan share our concerns and our commitment to making a difference.”

 

The General Assembly is expected to convene prior to the spring session.