The Majority Report 12/10/18 - Van Pelt seeks answers to DNA evidence backlog


Van Pelt seeks answers to DNA evidence backlog

Sen. 468Patricia Van PeltState Senator Patricia Van Pelt last week sought answers as to why the state crime lab has a backlog of DNA from more than 750 murder cases

“There are as many as 750 Chicago families waiting for answers about the murder of their loved one,” Van Pelt said following a Senate Public Health committee hearing into the matter. “These families deserve answers. They deserve closure.”

Representatives from the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Lab testified during the hearing, along with relatives of murder victims.

“I promise to do whatever it takes to end this backlog and make sure families of murder victims get justice,” Van Pelt said. “I ran for office because I didn’t understand why people in Springfield weren’t addressing the issues we face every day in my community. This is one of those key issues.”

Van Pelt plans to hold another hearing on the matter in the spring.


Bush, Harmon discuss gender equity

Sens. Melinda Bush and Don Harmon

State Senators Melinda Bush and Don Harmon recounted the state’s progress toward gender equity at a panel discussion in Springfield last week.

Panelists were asked to examine the progress made since the start of the #MeToo movement and what else needs to be done. State Senator Jil Tracy and State Rep. Carol Ammons also spoke.

Bush said she struggled during her first four years in Springfield, feeling like her thoughts and opinions did not carry as much value as her male colleagues. But, she said, the cultural shift of the past few years has affirmed her value, and she hopes it has for all women.

“It’s really about women stepping up – in a respectful way – and owning their own power,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “And when you believe something is wrong, it probably is.”

Read more and watch a videos of Bush's remarks and Harmon's remarks.


Keystone sale good news for Peoria, Koehler says

Sen. Dave Koehler

One of nation’s largest steel manufacturers has reached a deal to purchase a Peoria steel mill that has served the area since 1889.

“The news today is great for the thousands of employees of Keystone Steel and the entire Peoria area,” State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “We have always been and will continue to be immensely proud of our manufacturing traditions in Peoria as well as the thousands of workers that make it possible.”

The Dallas-based parent company of Keystone Steel and Wire, which is located on the south side of Peoria and employs nearly 1,000 people, announced last week it will become part of Liberty Steel USA.

Koehler, who has a long track record of fighting for Keystone Steel and its workers, said he is excited at the Peoria plant’s prospects.


In case you missed it


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State Senator Terry Link, Vernon Hills: Lake County’s small township road districts could be eliminated under bill on governor’s desk | Chicago Tribune

State Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Taylorville hospital to receive expedited payment after tornadoes | NOW Decatur

State Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Senate holds hearing on state’s backlog of DNA evidence in murder case | WBBM


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