• Raoul: Measure aiding re-entry for ex-offenders signed into law

    raoul 111716CHICAGO — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) joined a number of elected officials at A Safe Haven, a transitional housing facility, for the signing of legislation that ensures a person being released from Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice receives a state identification card. Raoul released the following statement on Senate Bill 3368:

    “We are taking a step forward into guiding ex-offenders upon release to successful reintegration by working in a bipartisan fashion to provide them a tool we all commonly use, an identification card.

  • Raoul continues work toward elected Chicago school board

    raoul 111716SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13) presented legislation establishing an elected Chicago school board in today’s Senate Education Committee.

    House Bill 557 passed the House in March with overwhelming bipartisan support. Over the objection of the Senate Republican Caucus, Senator Raoul pushed yesterday for the legislation to be heard in committee today.

    “The legislation at hand is far too important to not be heard,” Raoul said. “We can all agree that CPS needs reforms and the best way to reach a solution is to continue conversation.”

  • Raoul hosts meeting to discuss elected school board

    raoul 110216Parents interested in bringing an elected school board to Chicago had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss concerns this week with State Senator Kwame Raoul, who is sponsoring such a proposal.

    Currently, the Chicago board is appointed by the mayor and many residents feel left out of the decision-making process.

    Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, is the sponsor of elected school board legislation, House Bill 557, currently pending in the Senate that previously won House approval. As the House passed it, the Chicago school board would consist of 21 members, one of which would be elected at-large.

  • Raoul: help ex-offenders get state IDs


  • Raoul: New criminal justice reform laws build on data-driven, commonsense approaches

    Sen RaoulSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) lauded  the signing of several criminal justice reform measures he sponsored this year as part of a larger push for commonsense, data-driven approaches to law enforcement, sentencing, incarceration and the reintegration of ex-offenders.

    “Illinois is again pushing forward as a pioneer of criminal justice reform – because it saves money, because it saves lives and communities and because it’s the right thing to do,” Raoul said. “These new laws on juvenile justice, expungement, access to licensed professions and sex offender registration policies will help bring the realities of criminal justice in line with its aims of genuine public safety and lasting rehabilitation.”

  • Shared priorities, common ground yield budget action (AUDIO)

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  • Senate gives nod to greater opportunity in licensed professions

    raoul cps 051816Legislation would loosen ban on ex-offenders in barbering, roofing and funeral services

    SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) secured the Senate’s approval today for a measure that would open up several licensed professions to some ex-offenders at the discretion of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Individuals who have committed misdemeanors and non-violent felonies unrelated to their chosen professions would be eligible to earn licenses to be barbers, roofers or funeral directors – and the department would be required to consider mitigating factors such as how long ago the crime occurred, the applicant’s age at the time and whether the offense would have any bearing on the person’s ability to do the job in question.

    “So many occupations in Illinois require licenses that a blanket ban presents a significant and unjustified barrier to employment and self-sufficiency and ultimately increases the risk of recidivism,” said Raoul, who served on the governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. The Commission recommended a critical reexamination of laws that mandate the denial of a professional license to someone with past criminal convictions.

    In Illinois, 24 percent of the workforce must have a state-issued occupational or professional license in order to work, and current state law stipulates that the state either may or must deny 118 types of licenses to applicants with criminal records. Thirty-nine percent of Illinois adults have a criminal history that could exclude them from some jobs or licenses.

    “When men and women are released from prison in Illinois and find that they can no longer practice an occupation they are trained to do, the state is depriving them – essentially without due process – of their ability to support themselves, meet financial obligations such as child support and take pride in their work,” Raoul said. “This legislation gives the licensing authority broad discretion to consider each applicant on a case-by-case basis and make a decision that benefits the profession and the economy instead of enforcing a one-size-fits-all ban that doesn’t make the public any safer.”

    House Bill 5973 now goes back to the House for concurrence in changes the Senate made to the measure.

  • Senator Raoul on School Funding Reform

    Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) argues in favor of an evidence-based school funding model to reform education funding in Illinois.

  • Raoul's fantasy sports regulation heard in Senate (UPDATED)

    fantasysports5.24.16 Update: a motion to reconsider House Bill 3655, which held it in the Senate, has been lifted and the bill now goes to the House.

    One of the hottest new trends for sports fans – daily online fantasy contests – could soon become illegal in Illinois. State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) has a better idea: regulate the fledgling but wildly popular industry, tax it and institute strong consumer protections for players, but keep it legal.

    Daily fantasy sports sites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, charge participants a fee to enter a short-term, online contest in which they assemble a virtual team of real-world players. Participants earn points – and can win money – based on the actual performance of the players on their fantasy teams.

  • Raoul sponsors elected school board for Chicago

    raoul cps 051816SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) announced today that he is sponsoring a plan to bring the Chicago Public Schools into line with every other district in Illinois by making its school board a democratically elected body. He will hold hearings in Chicago to gather input from parents and other community members to ensure fair representation in the transition to elections, which will first be held in 2018 if the measure becomes law.

    “Chicago’s children deserve nothing less than full equality with the rest of the state – parity in funding and in democratic governance of their school district,” Raoul said. “It’s time to get this right, and I look forward to working with our parents and advocates to give CPS the government our schools so desperately need.”

  • Illinois poised to take lead on remap reform nationally

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  • Senator Raoul on redistricting reform

    Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) argues the importance of redistricting reform.

  • Raoul seeks public input, fair representation in next redistricting maps (AUDIO)

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  • Senator Raoul discusses Redistricting reform

    Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) discusses his proposal for a constitutional amendment regarding redistricting.

  • Raoul reflects on five years since abolition of death penalty

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  • Senators Biss, Martinez, Raoul join SEIU to invest in Illinois families

    biss martinez raoulSPRINGFIELD — State senators Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) announced today that they will be working with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on a legislative agenda designed to protect children, working parents and seniors.

    “At a time when working families are being attacked by the governor’s policies, it’s important to find ways to strengthen our state’s child care and home health care programs,” said Martinez, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 2536, which would safeguard existing health insurance for child care providers and ensure they receive appropriate training.

  • Raoul joins petition to appoint special prosecutor

    raoul spec prosCourt appointee would take over prosecution of officer accused of killing Laquan McDonald

    SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement this morning:

    Today I join with a coalition of community leaders to ask the Cook County Circuit Court to appoint a special prosecutor to take over prosecution of the Chicago police officer accused of killing Laquan McDonald. This appointee would also be tasked with investigating the possibility that the circumstances of the 17-year-old’s death were misrepresented, covered up and hidden from the public.

  • Sen. Raoul's perspective of the budget address

    Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) shares his thoughts following the governor's second budget address on February 17, 2016 at the Illinois State Capitol.

  • Senate Democrats react to State of the State address (VIDEO)

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  • Senate Democrats make social justice reform and criminal justice reform top priority

    Senate Democrats make social justice reform and criminal justice reform top priorityThousands of police body cameras will hit the streets in the new year under major reforms sponsored by Senate Democrats in an effort to increase public accountability and confidence in the wake of scandals and unrest.

    The new law, Senate Bill 1304, takes effect Jan. 1 and sets the official parameters for the use of police body cameras, increases training and reporting requirements for officers and clarifies the public’s right to access the videos. It is one of several key criminal and social justice reforms enacted by Senate Democrats in 2015, covering everything from protecting students’ educational rights to common-sense consumer laws aiding women trying to escape domestic violence.

    “We’ve made great strides this year in defending the public’s right to be properly protected, with justice for all,” said State Senator Kwame Raoul, a Hyde Park Democrat who emerged as one of the state’s leading reform advocates.