SB2304

  • Harris urges railroad companies to work with minority-owned businesses

    harris 040519SPRINGFIELD – To encourage diversity in the transportation industry, State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) is sponsoring legislation that urges the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to submit procurement goals for female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises.

    “No industry is excluded from diversification,” Harris said. “These contracts can give a big boost to small and minority-owned businesses. When we ask railroad companies to set goals for diversity and inclusion, we are pushing them to help make that progress happen.”

    Currently, the Railroad Supplier Diversity Act allows each Class I railroad company to submit an annual report containing procurement goals and actual spending for female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises to the Illinois Commerce commission.

    Senate Bill 2304 would add the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to the requirements for Class I railroads under the Railroad Supplier Diversity Act.

    There are currently seven Class I railroads: BNSF Railway, CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific. Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway are also considered Class I due to their significant trackage in the United States.

    The report requirements include information on outreach and expansion plans, points-of-contact for interested vendors, and suggestions for how the Commission could ease the vendor identification process. The reports would be required to include as much state-specific data as possible, but some national data could be used to supplement findings.

    Senate Bill 2304 passed the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • Senate Democrats: Bail decisions should not be based on ability to pay

    bail reformToday, a new law passed by the Senate to base bail decisions on a defendant’s threat to public safety and flight risk rather than their ability to pay bail became law. The Bail Reform Act of 2017, sponsored by State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), was signed by the governor and goes into effect immediately.

    “Pretrial release must not focus on the defendants’ ability to pay,” said Trotter. “This new law allows the courts to look at the threat to the public safety or their risk of failure to appear.”

    Senate Bill 2034 grants a number of rights to defendants, including the right to a public defender or attorney at their bail hearing, the right to a new bail hearing, and that any bail set should be non-monetary and that the court should address the risk in the least restrictive way possible.