• Senate President Don Harmon announces appointments to Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission

    harmon 03052020CM0660SPRINGFIELD, IL – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced four appointees to the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, a group created to help guide Illinois through the reopening process following stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    Senators Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) will represent Senate Democrats on the commission. 

  • Aquino: Help is on the way for people experiencing housing instability, small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and civil unrest

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    CHICAGO – A comprehensive relief package aimed at supporting working families, small businesses, and communities heavily impacted by COVID-19 and civil unrest will be available soon, announced State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago).

    Aquino was key in the negotiations on behalf of the Latino Caucus to assemble a $900 million funding package, along with the Black Caucus, the Asian Caucus, and the Pritzker administration.

  • Latino Caucus: SCOTUS Ruling upholding DACA is right thing for nation

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  • Aquino: Voting by mail protects Illinoisans’ right to choose their leaders

    Sen. Omar AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) championed legislation expanding voting access in the November 3 general election that passed out of the Illinois Senate. The measure includes provisions that make it easier for all Illinois voters to cast their ballots by mail.

    “Amid the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud to contribute to creating a pathway for Illinoisans to cast their votes in the November 3 election securely and safely,” Aquino said. “We need to make sure all Illinoisans eligible to vote can exercise their right in a way that better suits their needs, especially during this crisis.”

  • Senate Democrats push for elected Chicago school board, improved conditions for students and faculty

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  • Hispanic Heritage Month

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  • Aquino data protection measure signed into law

    Sen. Omar AquinoCHICAGO – Student data will be protected from unethical collection under a bill sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that was signed into law.

    House Bill 3606 bans schools from commercially selling the meta-data of K-12 students who use school computers, and provides parents with some control over how the data may be used.

    “It’s unfair to compromise children’s data before they’re even old enough to exercise their own privacy rights,” said Aquino. “There is no reason to use these students’ data for any reason other than tracking their academic progress, and this measure will keep that data safe as technology continues to develop.”

    House Bill 3606 takes effect immediately.

  • Aquino protects tipped workers from wage theft

    Sen. Omar AquinoCHICAGO – Tipped workers would be guaranteed to keep the tips they earn under a bill sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that was signed into law.

    House Bill 3405 provides that an employer may not retain gratuities from workers who earn them, and expressly allows tip-sharing between tipped and non-tipped employees.

    “This is a victory for working-class people,” said Aquino. “The jobs that servers, cooks, bartenders, cab drivers and other tipped workers do is hard and honest labor. I am glad to see Illinois will protect their wages so that they are compensated for their time and labor.”

  • Senators join governor as executive order is signed to ensure full 2020 Census count

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  • Aquino, Peters rally with Parent Mentor Program at Capitol

    parent mentor program 051619More than 600 supporters of a nationally recognized parent engagement program gathered Thursday to increase awareness of their successes in building relationships between students, teachers and parents. State Senators Omar Aquino and Robert Peters spoke to the Parent Mentor Program group at their rally in the Howlett Building.

    The Parent Mentor Program guides how community organizations partner with schools to recruit parents to assist teachers. Before coming into the classroom, parent mentors take part in a week-long leadership training program. They are then assigned to a classroom where they are mentored by a teacher. They work directly with students.

  • Aquino advances bill to protect student data

    aquino 051419SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that would protect students against unethical collection of data passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

    House Bill 3606 would protect the meta-data for K-12 students from commercial use and provide transparency to parents about their child’s data.

  • Aquino immigrant financial aid package sent to governor

    Senator AquinoSPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that would allow undocumented and transgender students to receive state financial aid for college passed the Senate today.

    House Bill 2691, known as the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act, would allow undocumented and transgender Illinois residents to be eligible for State financial aid at institutions of higher education.

    “Every student, regardless of their immigration status or gender identity, deserves full access to higher education,” said Aquino. “Our state has an obligation to these students to make sure that we can provide them with the economic means to be successful and enter the work force.”

    Under current law, undocumented students are ineligible for State financial assistance. Transgender students who do not register for selective service are also barred from receiving aid.

    “This is a matter of priorities,” said Aquino. “You need to ask yourself as a legislator, ‘Do I prioritize students?’ ‘Do I prioritize undocumented immigrants?’ ‘Do I prioritize transgender people and their rights?’ All of these people pay taxes in our state and deserve to receive the benefits they pay into.”

    House Bill 2691 awaits the governor’s signature.

  • Senators don suits and sneakers for cancer awareness

    sneakers 050119Wednesday, May 1 was Suits and Sneakers Day at the Capitol. We wear sneakers to help raise awareness and encourage people to educate themselves about cancer prevention, screening and early detection.

    Suits and Sneakers Day originated as a campaign of Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society, when basketball coaches nationwide wear sneakers with their suits to raise funds, awareness, and help save lives from cancer.

    Learn more about this effort here.

  • Aquino bill expanding voting access to individuals in jail passes Senate

    aquino 041019SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) designed to provide better voting opportunities to incarcerated individuals passed the Illinois Senate today.

    “Voting rights don’t apply to people only when it’s convenient,” said Aquino. “There are about 20,000 people detained before trial who are eligible to vote, and it is the responsibility of the election authority to make sure that they do.”

    Under the Illinois Election Code, individuals in jail who are awaiting trial and have not been convicted of a crime are still eligible to vote. Senate Bill 2090 would require each election authority in a county to work with the county jail to provide an opportunity to vote by mail for those individuals.

    Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton introduced an identical bill when she was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. Aquino was the chief sponsor in the Senate.

    Aquino’s legislation also requires election authorities to proactively reach out to individuals who have completed their sentence with information about their restored voting rights.

    “Outreach, I believe, is the single most important thing about this bill,” said Aquino. “Many people who served their sentence are not aware that they can vote again. They shouldn’t be disenfranchised due to a past mistake and the negligence of election authorities.”

    Senate Bill 2090 now heads to the House for consideration.

  • Aquino backs Attorney General’s opposition to citizenship question on 2020 Census

    aquino 040319SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) echoed Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s opposition to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

    “Not only is this a clear effort to suppress immigrant communities, but it compromises the accuracy and legitimacy of the Census,” said Aquino. “Asking this question on the Census will only serve those who wish to deport immigrants of color and will result in those communities not participating in the census, even though our policies should respond to the reality of our population and its needs.”

    In January of this year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the New York Attorney General’s office in a lawsuit to block the federal government from demanding citizenship information in the 2020 Census. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case this month.

    “I will be anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on this matter,” said Aquino. “It is important that the Census accurately reflect what America is, and that immigrants of color do not live in constant fear of the government.”

  • Aquino moves to ban schools from harvesting student data

    Senator AquinoSPRINGFIELD – Schools would be banned from exploiting students’ meta-data for purposes outside school instruction under a bill introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) approved by the Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee today.

    “We are entering a new era where big data companies buy and sell our information to target ads and push preferred products on us,” said Aquino. “You should have control over your own online data, and this bill will protect K-12 students’ data from being used by advertisers and big data companies.”

    Senate Bill 2089 prohibits school authorities from using data collected from school-owned devices for anything except school purposes. The bill also protects the data collected from being sold or shared without the written consent of the student’s parent.

    This legislation also creates a Student Data Protection and Oversight Committee to make further policy recommendations surrounding data privacy and protection.

    Senate Bill 2089 is scheduled for consideration before the full Senate.

  • Lt. Gov. Stratton advocates on behalf of Aquino voting rights bill

    Lt. Gov. Stratton and Senator AquinoSPRINGFIELD – Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton testified in the Senate Executive Committee hearing today in favor of a bill introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that would provide expanded voting opportunities to incarcerated individuals.

    “In my role as Lieutenant Governor and leading the Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative, I’m here to express my strong support for Senate Bill 2090,” said Stratton. “For in this instance, real justice can only come about when we remove barriers so that people who are eligible to vote are provided a real opportunity to do so.”

  • Aquino moves to prevent driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines

    Parking CitationSPRINGFIELD – Drivers would no longer lose their licenses over unpaid tickets and other non-moving violations under a bill introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) that was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee today.

    “For years the City of Chicago has preyed on low-income black and Hispanic communities by coercing them with the threat of having their license suspended,” said Aquino. “In 2016, the city made $264 million by taking what little money that our low-income residents have. I cannot stand by while my city balances its budget on the backs of black and brown communities.”

  • Aquino bill exempting health products from sales tax passes Senate

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    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino’s (D-Chicago) bill exempting certain health products from the state sales tax passed the Illinois Senate this week.

    Senate Bill 1858 exempts male and female condoms, incontinence products, diapers and baby wipes from the state’s sales tax. Under the current law, these items are taxed at the same rate as luxury goods.

    “These are things that are taxed at a luxury tax rate of 6.25 percent,” said Aquino. “We’re proposing to have that reduced to one percent so that young families, like my own, can actually plan their families and purchase those things at a lower rate. That way, they can spend that money back into their community in other ways.”

    In 2016, the state repealed the sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products for similar reasons. That bill passed the Senate and House unanimously and was signed by Gov. Rauner.

    Senate Bill 1858 now goes to the House for consideration.

  • Aquino condemns decision to build ICE detention facility in Illinois

    ICE 031219SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) is condemning a decision by Dwight, Illinois village trustees to annex 88 acres of land to host a potential Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigrant detention facility.

    “It is disgusting that the village trustees value construction jobs over the human rights of immigrants,” said Aquino. “ICE has consistently violated human rights to carry out the president’s racist agenda of deporting immigrants of color, and they are not welcome to carry out that agenda in my state.”


    ICE is looking to build a $20 million detention facility near Illinois 17 and Interstate 55. Village trustees voted 5-2 to annex the property there and have been in talks with ICE to facilitate the construction of the site.

    Several hundred individuals in Central Illinois protested the consideration of the facility and the Dwight Village Board meeting erupted with anger as village trustees voted in favor of construction.

    “I drive by the proposed location every time I come to Springfield, and I will not tolerate watching the construction of a place that is set out to violate the human rights of my friends and neighbors,” said Aquino. “The State of Illinois needs to stand with immigrants and prevent the atrocities that ICE commits from happening in our own back yard. The State of Illinois must prevent the construction of this facility at all costs.”

    Many people, including children under 10, have died while in ICE custody due to poor conditions and abuse. Over 1,000 people in detention have reported sexual abuse by ICE officers.