The Majority Report 02/14/16 - President Obama recognizes Senate Democrats' work


President urges Illinois to lead the way on voting access

President urges Illinois to lead the way on voting accessPresident Barack Obama acknowledged Illinois' role as a progressive leader in the nation – championing matters of diversity, the working class and voting access – and challenged the state to keep it up.

During the president's speech to the General Assembly Wednesday, he offered a shout out to Oak Park Senator Don Harmon's recent efforts to allow same-day voter registration.

"Thanks to the good work of my dear friend, Senator Don Harmon, and many of you, there's a new law going into effect this year that will allow Illinoisans to register and vote at the polls on Election Day," Obama said. "It expands early voting – something that makes it a lot easier for working folks and busy parents to go vote."

The president also urged Illinois to continue reducing barriers to voting, offering support for Bunker Hill Senator Andy Manar's plan to establish automatic voter registration.

"That will protect the fundamental right of everybody. Democrats, Republicans, independents, seniors, folks with disabilities, the men and women of our military – it would make sure that it was easier for them to vote and have their vote counted," Obama said.

"And as one of your constituents, I think you should pass that legislation right away. I think the governor should sign it without delay. Let's make the Land of Lincoln a leader in voter participation."

Read the president's speech
Watch the president's speech


Members react to president’s address

Members react to president’s addressMembers of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus spoke with the media about President Obama's speech to the General Assembly.

Senate President John Cullerton: In Illinois, Obama issues an appeal for political unity (Fox 32 Chicago)

Senator Kwame Raoul, Chicago 13th: Lawmakers react to President Obama's address (WICS-TV Springfield)

Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, Maywood: Senators reflect on President Obama's speech and his time in the General Assembly (Capitol Connection, WCIA-TV Champaign)

Senator Bill Haine, Alton: President Obama visits Springfield (KMOV-TV St. Louis)

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Senator Manar and Representative Butler talk presidential visit (WICS-TV Springfield)

Senator Terry Link, Vernon Hills: President Obama addresses Illinois lawmakers in Springfield (WGN-TV Chicago)


MAP legislation heading to governor

MAP legislation heading to governorOn Tuesday, Senate Democrats will deliver to the governor's desk legislation that would fund Illinois' leading financial aid program for college students.

Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected funding for the program in June and has threatened to do so again. The Senate held off sending the new legislation to his desk for two weeks in the hope that he would reconsider what's best for the college students the state promised to assist.

Sign the petition to keep MAP funding






In case you missed it

Hunter: Black History Month

Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3rd Senate) and Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-5th Senate) discuss Illinois landmarks that are important in African-American history in a new video on the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus website. February is Black History Month, and this year's national theme is Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African-American Memories.

Spotted on I Like Illinois

Illinois' diversity catapulted it to the top of a new ranking of states best suited to host the country's earliest presidential primary contests because they best reflect the makeup of the United States.

The ranking, from National Public Radio's Perfect State Index, captured the attention of President Obama, who referred to it in his speech at the Capitol.

"I just saw a story the other day showing that if you rank all 50 states across categories like education levels and household incomes, and race and religion, the one state that most closely mirrors America as a whole is Illinois, this state," the president said.

Learn more about the ranking
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Coming up

• Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address to the General Assembly is Wednesday.


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