• Silverstein votes to ban assault weapons for those under 21, along with bump stocks and a longer cooling off period

    silverstein walkout 031518SPRINGFIELD– Long-time gun safety advocate Senator Ira Silverstein spoke in the Senate today about his commitment to banning assault weapons in Illinois. House Bill 1465, which would stop those under 21 from purchasing assault weapons. It passed in the Senate this afternoon along with additional gun safety measures House Bill 1467 and 1468.

    “Assault weapons have no place in our communities. Personally, I believe that means in the hands of those over 21 years of age as well,” Silverstein said. “All three bills we are considering today will almost certainly save lives. Assault weapons and bump stocks are nothing more than killing machines.”

    Silverstein is the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 3297, which would ban the sale of assault weapons statewide to all ages.

    The three measures passed today include:

    House Bill 1465 - House Bill 1465 prohibits the sale or transfer of an assault weapon, assault weapon attachment, .50 caliber rifle or large capacity magazine to an individual under the age of 21.

    House Bill 1467 - House Bill 1467 makes it illegal to sell, manufacture, purchase or possess bump-stocks and trigger cranks. As amended, the bill allows municipalities to regulate assault weapons as long as the regulation is not less restrictive than state law.

    House Bill 1468 - House Bill 1468 increases the waiting period to receive an assault weapon after purchase from 24 hours to 72 hours. This mirrors the existing waiting period for handguns.

    “A student who survived the Parkland, Fla. school shooting wrote to me, interested in my assault weapon ban bill. They are looking to lawmakers to follow their lead for a change – not that of the NRA,” Silverstein said. “This is my intention, too.”

    “Our young people are watching. My children are watching, as are likely many of yours. If they can’t have faith in us to protect them, what are we saying to them?”

    The three bills passed in the Senate today.

    PHOTO: Senator Silverstein joins his Senate colleagues at today's National Walkout to support students walking out of school for gun safety.


  • Silverstein calls for extra security measure in concealed carry licensure process

    silverstein 022718SPRINGFIELD- Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) believes Illinois’ concealed carry licensing process can be strengthened by including an additional step: an extra measure of security gained through requiring local law enforcement review.

    “At a time when we are talking about preventing weapons from getting into the hands of someone who may be a risk to public safety, himself or others, I believe it is reasonable to close this loophole in the licensing process,” Silverstein said. “If local law enforcement knows of no reason to deny the license, the applicant will be approved and the process completed.”

    Senate Bill 3298 would mean a local law enforcement agency or sheriff’s department, depending on the applicant’s residence, would have 30 days to review the application. If it is determined the applicant is unsuitable for a concealed carry license, the Illinois State Police will be notified. If the State Police receives no notification of objection, it will approve and issue the application. An applicant denied approval may petition the circuit court in his or her county for a hearing.

    Because local law enforcement would be the most likely agency to have to respond to a shooting perpetrated by a CCL holder, Silverstein believes they should be part of the review process in advance of a license being issued. This can be one way to lessen the likelihood a potentially violent person can get and carry a weapon that could result in more incidents like the Parkland, Las Vegas or Newtown shootings.

    “Aside from an arrest record, local law enforcement may know something about an applicant or be aware of behavior such as domestic violence calls without charges or affiliation with a gang which the State Police might have knowledge of,” Silverstein said. “I believe it is fair to apply this practice statewide for an extra safeguard and to protect our communities all across Illinois.”

    Senate Bill 3298 awaits assignment to a Senate committee for further action.

  • Silverstein wants crackdown on assault weapons

    ar 15Sales of weapon like that used in Florida mass shooting would be banned in Illinois

    SPRINGFIELD – Long-time gun safety advocate State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) has introduced a measure to address the sale of assault weapons, such as the AR-15, that have been used in countless mass shootings in America.

    Senate Bill 3297 will make it illegal to sell assault weapons in Illinois. The legislation spells out which weapons are included in the definition of assault weapons and also includes the sale of so-called “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” of more than 10 rounds in a single magazine, belt or drum.

    “Since December, I have been meeting with groups in my district about their concerns with gun violence, and particularly the sale of automatic weapons and their ammunition,” Silverstein said. “I drafted and filed this legislation in January because I am sick of seeing people in our schools, churches and public spaces mowed down by those who possess these killing machines.”

    Last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla. was perpetrated by a young man with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Last November, a gunman killed at least 26 people with an AR-15 style weapon in a Texas church. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 wounded in October at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas; the gunman in that case possessed an arsenal including AR-15-style rifles. These events are only three of dozens in recent years with record numbers of victims killed by rapid-fire weapons.

    According to the Brady Campaign, a national gun control advocacy organization, shootings are the second leading cause of death of children 19 and under. Youth in rural U.S. counties are as likely to die by gunshot as those in urban counties: rural children in suicides and accidental shootings and urban children in gun homicides.

    “I’ve been working for some time on the problem of too many guns in the hands of the wrong people in our community. In the last year, I’ve introduced legislation to require finger printing for FOID card issuance, to limit the sales of guns, to increase licensing requirements on those who sell guns and ammunition, to prohibit imitation firearms and to require liability insurance for firearms owners,” Silverstein said.

    “Gun manufacturers and the NRA have shown no willingness to even negotiate on commonsense changes in the law for our safety, so lawmakers must take action that will stop the massacre of innocents. Enough is enough.”

    BanAssualWeaponst Button v2Senator Silverstein has established a petition for those interested in his gun safety measures and in stopping the sales of AR-15 style weapons and ammunition in Illinois. It is available on his website, A fact sheet on the effects of gun violence from the Brady Campaign is attached to this release.

    Senate Bill 3297 currently awaits action in the Senate Assignments Committee.

  • Senate Dems react to governor's Fiscal 2019 budget address

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  • Silverstein works for four-year property tax freeze

    silverstein 030117SPRINGFIELD- To provide relief to working families in Illinois, Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) plans to reform property taxes in Cook County and the contiguous collar counties of Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will.

    Silverstein’s plan calls for a four-year freeze of property taxes. In addition to saving money for taxpayers, his goal is to provide the legislature the time and incentive to institute a graduated income tax system and bring the entire taxation system into greater balance. The Senator will submit legislation this week to launch the plan.

    “We have a regressive tax system, and skyrocketing property tax rates are surely playing a role in some of the flight of working families from Illinois,” Silverstein said. “I believe this plan would pause the process long enough for lawmakers to analyze and make changes to our state income tax rate for a more fair overall tax picture.

    “Balancing the system with income tax reform could eliminate the need for property tax increases going forward. Taxpayers need a break, and our state’s highly regressive system causes burdens, usually on middle class and lower income families.”

    Other facets of Silverstein’s property tax reform plan include giving the same exemptions senior citizens receive to individuals on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and to retired first responders who are eligible for property tax exemptions.

    Recipients of SSI typically have limited income, and home ownership is threatened by rising property taxes. Adding those on SSI who are disabled would be a compassionate practice to match what is provided to those over 65.

    First responders may retire earlier than age 65 due to the stress and physical demands of the job. These individuals who put their lives on the line as firefighters, police officers or EMTs have better odds of staying in their homes in the community if the state provides this tax relief and stability.

    “We must get started on big steps to reform our taxation system and I believe this plan moves us in the right direction,” Silverstein said. “As a cosponsor of the joint resolution to amend the Constitution to allow a graduated income tax (SJRCA 1), I know we need a plan with several components to change our overall system to make it fairer while providing revenue for the services Illinoisans expect. I think the steps in this plan open the door to major change.”

    The property tax freeze would not apply to school districts that meet financial hardship provisions. Those districts could suffer greater harm when they are already in financial distress.

    The four-year freeze would provide the Legislature with time to implement a graduated income tax that would generate sufficient revenue to make up for the lost revenue from property taxes.

    Silverstein will file legislation outlining his plan this week; he then anticipates it being assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee for its review.

  • Silverstein files measure to regulate social media political ads

    silverstein 030117SPRINGFIELD –Political ads on social media platforms would be regulated to disclose their sources and funders if a new measure sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) becomes law.

    Senate Bill 2251 was filed this week and would extend the same requirements for disclosure regarding print, TV and radio advertising to social media political ads.

    “Social media is immediate and far-reaching,” Silverstein said. “Just because it is new media doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fall under the same requirements for existing media in terms of disclosing who funded, prepared and distributed the material. Voters deserve to know what organizations are behind all political ads.”

    Attention to online political ads has grown in recent months after Facebook admitted that accounts connected to Russia purchased politically contentious ads ahead of the 2016 presidential election. An estimated $100,000 purchase targeted audiences in swing states with no disclosure about the sources of those ads.

    “A recent Facebook ad falsely attacked an Illinois Senate colleague with no clear means of pursuing the source,” Silverstein said. “The laws must apply to online ads as they do everywhere else to keep our elections fair.”

    Senate Bill 2251 awaits assignment to a Senate committee before moving to the full chamber for consideration.

  • Senate overrides veto, protects workers' rights

    silverstein 102417 3

    SPRINGFIELD –Today the Illinois Senate voted 42-13 to protect workers’ rights and override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago). The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act blocks Gov. Rauner’s campaign to engage municipalities in creating right-to-work areas in support of moves to boost corporate profits at the expense of workers.

    Sen. Silverstein released the following statement: "Illinois’ future success depends on its support of the middle class. Workers and employers should not be restricted from bargaining collectively as they continue building our economy, and local governments have no place enforcing a rule that constrains this freedom.

    "The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act upholds the rights of hard working Illinoisans to expect good wages, benefits and working conditions in exchange for their labors. This veto rejects restrictions of those rights and rejects the governor’s continuing efforts to undermine organized labor in a state that relies on it to operate and extend our economy and our future. In spite of efforts by the governor and his pro-corporate profit supporters to squelch these rights, we will not grow our economy by taking part in a race to the bottom in wages earned by Illinois families."

    Senate Bill 1905 passed both houses initially in July with bipartisan support, and was vetoed by the governor on September 29. It now goes to the House for their consideration.

    Other Democratic senators spoke in support of the veto override:

    Senator Cristina Castro (Elgin): “I am happy to see that my colleagues helped protect the people of Illinois by working together to defeat Governor Rauner’s corporate agenda. We can’t let companies profit at the expense of our workers.”

    Senator Scott Bennett (Champaign): “Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families. This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

    Senator Tom Cullerton (Villa Park): “Illinois businesses will only thrive if we treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve. Governor Rauner’s harmful boardroom tactics benefit his friends at the expense of Illinois residents. Rauner’s extreme anti-worker agenda has no place in Illinois.”

    Senator Bill Haine (Alton): “The facts are clear: right-to-work policies do nothing but reduce workers’ wages and make workplaces more dangerous. The governor’s veto was yet another attempt to decrease wages for working families and ensure higher profits for his wealthy friends.”

    Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills): “At a time when workers’ rights are under constant attack, it is important that we protect the rights of Illinoisans by ensuring that local governments can’t take away those rights. Dismantling collective bargaining rights would lead to lower wages and a loss of benefits for Illinois workers, and I refuse to let that happen.”

    Senator Laura Murphy (Des Plaines): "Since taking office, the governor has attempted to roll back employees’ rights and weaken the unions on the backs of which this state was built. All employees benefit from collective bargaining, even those that do not participate in organized labor. I hope this vote sends a strong message to the governor that I will not support his attack on the middle class.”

    Senator Iris Y. Martinez (Chicago): “Once again, the governor showed that he cares more about big businesses than the citizens of Illinois. Right-to-work laws lower wages, something that would disproportionately harm lower-income Illinoisans. I am glad the Senate stood up to the governor today and protected the hard-working men and women of our state.”

    Senator Bill Cunningham (Chicago): “Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois. Right-to-work and other anti-union measures are designed to do nothing more than lower workers’ wages to pad corporate profits.”

    Senator Don Harmon (Oak Park): “This issue has been litigated several times already, and we have our answer – only the state, not local governments, can create right-to-work laws. The governor’s veto was nothing more than a continuation of his radical anti-union agenda. Today’s override will ensure that workers across the state retain the fair representation they deserve.”

    Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago): “The governor likes to claim that he’s pro-business, but he supports measures that are anything but. Everyone loses when right-to-work laws are in place. We cannot improve the business climate of Illinois if we implement laws that lower wages and strip away workers’ rights.”



  • Harmon, Silverstein urge Rauner administration to move cautiously with senior care pilot program (VIDEO)

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  • Silverstein strengthens powdered alcohol ban with possession penalties

    silverstein 030117SPRINGFIELD – In 2015, State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) sponsored legislation to ban dangerous powdered alcohol and set fines for its sale and purchase. Senate Bill 67 passed, was signed into law (Public Act 99-0051) and took effect on January 1, 2016. More than 30 other states have passed similar laws.

    Now, Senator Silverstein is seeking a tougher position: Senate Bill 121 would ban possession of powdered alcohol statewide and sets penalties for possession. A person found guilty of possession would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

    Any crystal substance of powder containing alcohol is considered “powdered alcohol.” The powder may be dissolved in liquid such as mixers or juice or it could be sprinkled on food. It can be eaten or snorted without mixing and could be sold in small packets or capsules.

    “Along with our law and those of more than 30 other states, several municipalities have banned sale and possession of powdered alcohol,” Silverstein said. “If another state does choose to allow its sale, it could easily be brought into Illinois. The risk of alcohol poisoning and this product’s easily concealable form are just two reasons possessing this type of alcohol must be prevented.”

    Senate Bill 191 was approved by the Senate Criminal Law Committee Tuesday; it will be considered by the full Senate soon.


  • Silverstein resolution condemns rising anti-Semitism

    silverstein 022817SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ira I. Silverstein of Chicago believes communities and their leaders must speak up to condemn the recent wave of anti-Semitic events in Illinois and across the country.

    “I have filed a resolution asking the Illinois Senate to join me in denouncing those who have made bomb threats, desecrated Jewish cemeteries and vandalized synagogues,” Silverstein said. “These events are obvious attempts to incite fear and disrupt daily life in peaceful communities.”

  • Senate overrides governor's veto of automatic voter registration (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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  • Silverstein wants gun loophole closed to block felons from guns, permits

    silverstein gunloophole 102616CHICAGO – State Senator Ira Silverstein (D‐Chicago) introduced a measure in the Senate this week to close a dangerous loophole allowing felons to receive FOID cards and concealed carry licenses in Illinois.

    After a recent incident in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, a convicted felon involved in a self-defense shooting was discovered to have changed his identity and successfully received a FOID card and concealed carry permit when he applied under his new legal name.

  • Silverstein’s domestic workers rights bill becomes law

    silverstein dom wrkrs signedSPRINGFIELD – The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) to establish provisions for overtime, wages, days off and other protections for Illinois domestic workers was signed by the governor late Friday.

    Domestic workers will no longer be exempt from the Minimum Wage Law, Illinois Human Rights Act, One Day Rest in Seven Act and Wages of Women and Minors Act. House Bill 1288 defines what constitutes domestic work and expands rights for this class of workers from which they are now exempt.

    “I am pleased to see domestic workers gain the same rights and protections as all working people in Illinois,” said Senator Silverstein. “Domestic workers are striving to provide for their families and current law makes their struggle more difficult, and unfair, while they play an important role in Illinois’ economy.”

    Domestic workers are defined in HB 1288 to include workers in homes performing house cleaning, caring for children, ill or older family members, laundry, cooking or other home tasks.

    According to proponents who include the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Women Employed, and labor and immigrant rights groups, 23% of domestic workers are paid below minimum wage and 58% of live-in workers are required to work during their scheduled time off.

    “Their work is vital to families' homes, but they are often exploited. They continue to work because they need the money and have no recourse,” said Wendy Pollack, founder and director of the Women's Law and Policy Project at the Shriver Center.

    The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights takes effect January 1, 2017.

  • Two Silverstein measures to support young adults signed into law

    silverstein 042116SPRINGFIELD– Two measures from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) were signed into law by the governor on Friday: one to protect students from sexual assault on campus and another to waive GED fees for homeless young people.

    Addressing rampant campus sexual assault takes stronger actions than what exist now. Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change clarifies that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “Colleges and universities need to employ greater authority to get sex offenders away from campus,” Senator Silverstein said. “California passed a law like this last year and it makes sense for Illinois.”

    Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2840 waives fees paid by homeless young people for the four test modules of the GED exams, a cost of $30 each and paid to regional superintendents. Applicants will complete a prep course through an Illinois Community College Board-approved provider and take the exam at a testing center operated by a regional superintendent of schools or the Cook County High School Equivalency Office.

    “Not having a fixed address often means young people find it difficult to attend school, but if a young homeless person takes the initiative to advance their education, we need to remove this financial barrier,” Sen. Silverstein said. “I think foregoing the fees of $120 to $130 is a good investment in a homeless teen or his family to further his education and his future.”

    Senate Bills 2839 and 2840 will take effect January 1, 2017.

  • Silverstein extends work, wage rights for domestic workers

    silverstein domesticSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) to establish provisions for overtime, wages, days off and other protections for Illinois domestic workers passed in the Senate today.

    Dubbed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, House Bill 1288 defines what constitutes domestic work and expands rights for this class of workers from which they are now exempt. Four state laws would be amended to include domestic workers: The Minimum Wage Law, The Illinois Human Rights Act, The One Day Rest in Seven Act and The Wages of Women and Minors Act.

  • Senate approves Silverstein measure to expel or suspend from college for sexual assault

    silverstein 042116SPRINGFIELD– A proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) to bolster higher education institutions’ options to protect students from sexual violence on campus was approved by the Senate yesterday.

    Addressing rampant campus sexual assault takes stronger actions than what exists now. Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change would clarify that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “Sex offenders don’t belong on our campuses – colleges and universities need broader authority to get those violators away from students who deserve greater safety,”  Silverstein said. “A law like this passed in California last year and it makes sense for Illinois.”

    The Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, effective August 21, 2015, required all Illinois institutions of higher education to set plans, processes and comprehensive policy for survivors, adjudicate allegations, and train and communicate to students and employees on campus sexual violence.

    Senate Bill 2839 received unanimous approval Thursday. It now goes to House for further consideration.

  • Silverstein ice missiles measure shot down

    silverstein iceSPRINGFIELD– It sounds like a weapon used in a James Bond film: ice missiles. But they are real, deadly and the target of a legislative proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) to prevent them and to penalize those who cause them. In spite of the statistics on the dangers ice missiles present to motorists, the Senate Transportation Committee did not approve the proposal.

    An ice missile is a large chunk of ice or snow that flies off a large truck on the highway. Many Illinois drivers have seen this occur and may have wondered what could happen if the split-second fall of ice were to hit another vehicle.

    Sen. Silverstein’s proposal in Senate Bill 634 would require a person operating a vehicle weighing more than 8,000 pounds to remove ice and snow that poses a safety threat to other vehicles and drivers. Nearly 100 deaths and thousands of accidents happen each year.

    “Each year in Illinois, we are almost guaranteed several days of winter weather that create these hazardous conditions, enough to warrant a change to the state vehicle code to protect drivers from this risk,” Silverstein said. “I believe it is reasonable to ask truck drivers who use Illinois roads for commerce to make an effort to protect motorists by clearing ice and snow from their trucks. With this bill failing in committee, I fear this kind of accident may happen again.

    The legislation met with strong opposition from the Illinois Trucking Association, Midwest Truckers, National Waste and Recycling Association and Illinois Coal Association.

    Pete Morano joined Sen. Silverstein in Springfield to tell his story to the Senate Transportation Committee. His injuries from an ice missile incident in 2010 left him without vision in his left eye after three surgeries to rebuild his face. Pete wants to prevent other families from the losses his family and the Stutson family have suffered.

    “I understand their concerns and appreciate their willingness to tell their stories and advocate for change to prevent future ice missile accidents,” Silverstein said. “I know of manufacturers and motor carriers that offer a variety of snow-removal systems, and I do not believe this would be a burden on the trucking industry.”

  • Silverstein measure would allow suspension or expulsion from colleges for sexual assault

    silverstein campussexassaultSPRINGFIELD– Combatting the high rate of campus sexual assault requires a range of actions on the part of colleges, students and the criminal justice system. A proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would reinforce the capacity of higher education institutions to protect students from sexual violence on campus.

    Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change would clarify that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

    “California lawmakers passed legislation like this last year to give colleges and universities broader authority to protect students and staff and to discipline those whose behavior puts others at risk,” Sen. Silverstein said. “Offenders have no place on our campuses and this measure adds another means for Illinois institutions to act for greater safety.”

    The Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, effective August 21, 2015, required all Illinois institutions of higher education to set plans, processes and comprehensive policy for survivors, adjudicate allegations, and train and communicate to students and employees on campus sexual violence.

    Senate Bill 2839 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. It now goes to the full Senate for further consideration.

  • Silverstein: help homeless youth get GEDs, waive fees

    homeless gedSPRINGFIELD– A plan from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would eliminate a financial burden placed on homeless young people who wish to take the High School Equivalency Test.

    Equivalency exams or GED tests are administered by regional superintendents throughout the state. Right now, the fees to take those exams are $30 per test module, and a total of 4 test modules comprise the GED Test. Regional Offices of Education may charge additional fees for a certificate or transcript.

  • Silverstein wants Latino Treatment Center to stay open

    Silverstein wants Latino Treatment Center to stay openSPRINGFIELD – The next tragedy of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 10-month budget impasse could be the closure of the Latino Treatment Center.

    “The governor is completely out-of-touch with the needs of Latinos,” said State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago). “His inability to govern and failure to get a budget done means that a vital organization providing substance abuse treatment services to Latinos is about to go under. It’s too bad the governor doesn’t care that his budget impasse is destroying Illinois’ social service network.”

    The Latino Treatment Center has bilingual staff and evaluates and serves those in the Hispanic community by conducting evaluations for alcohol and drugs in either Spanish or English. Its staff specializes in outpatient treatment for substance abuse, treatment for families, individual and group counseling and adolescent treatment.