Sims

  • Sims: Lack of charges for officers who killed Breonna Taylor “makes it clear that our justice system does not equally value Black life”

    breonnataylor2 092320CHICAGO— Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after news Wednesday that a grand jury charged ex-police officer Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment and did not charge two Louisville police officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove who also fired weapons in the shooting that killed Breonna Taylor:

    “Today’s decision was disappointing to say the least. The charges fall incredibly short of holding these bad actors accountable and just add to the devastation felt by Breonna Taylor’s family and our communities.

    “The fact that none of the officers was charged directly for Breonna’s death makes it clear that our justice system does not equally value Black life, and that has to change.

    “We must not allow our anger and frustration to deter us from seeking justice and equity. It is vital that we remain peaceful to effect change and honor Breonna’s memory. I will continue to work with my colleagues and community leaders until our justice system provides justice to all people.”

  • State lawmakers examine disparities in sentencing throughout Illinois

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  • Black Caucus prompts second criminal law hearing to tackle sentencing

    courtroom 091520CHICAGO—Illinois lawmakers from both chambers will come together to discuss the current condition of sentencing reform on Tuesday.

    State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) of the Senate Criminal Law Committee and State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) of the Senate Public Safety Special Committee will co-chair the Senate Criminal Law Committee hearing. State Representative Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago), chair of the House Judiciary-Criminal Law Committee, and other members of the committee will be active guests during the hearing.

  • Sims announces $258 million in road projects for 17th District

    Road workCHICAGO—As a result of an infrastructure package backed by Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), the 17th District will see $258 million in infrastructure projects during the six-year span of the plan, with $24 million in road improvements set to begin in the next year.

    “This is a meaningful investment to preserve local roads and bridges,” Sims said. “We are taking a responsible approach to not only address safety and traffic issues, but to prevent them before they arise.”

    The largest project will be overlaying work in Crete and Beecher. It will cost $5.5 million and involve repairing deficiencies and resurfacing roads.

    Another $4.3 million project will span Lynwood and Glenwood. It will include widening the road, bi-directing a left turn lane and improvements to help people with disabilities.

    Burnham will see $1.6 million worth of bridge repairs and maintenance.

    A $1.2 million project will also be done in Burnham and Calumet City. It will include surface maintenance at the right time (SMART) overlaying work, which is resurfacing an area that has previously had an overlay before major repairs are needed. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, if it is done at the right time, it can prevent serious distress. This project will also involve improvements for people with disabilities.

    "Aside from making our roads safer, these projects will provide quality jobs and help people recover from the financial impact of the pandemic,” Sims said.

    Passed in 2019, the historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois plan is the largest capital program in state history. In its first year, the program improved 1,706 miles of roadway, and repaired or reconstructed 128 bridges across Illinois.

    IDOT’s complete Multi-Year Plan can be found on its website.

  • Sims: More resources, not police, to prevent gun violence

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  • Sims: Illinois’ minimum wage increase to $10 is long overdue

    sims 021420CHICAGO—The minimum wage in Illinois increased to $10 on Wednesday because of a 2019 law co-sponsored by State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago). 

    “We are seeing many years' worth of efforts to help working families finally come to fruition,” Sims said. “I take pride in our work here in Illinois to provide a wage that matches the rising cost of a family’s basic needs.” 

    The state’s minimum wage increases to $10 per hour July 1, the second in a series of increases required by the law passed last year. That legislation requires the wage to increase by $1 on Jan. 1 of each year going forward until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025. 

    Sims also disagreed with business leaders who have sought to delay or repeal the law because of the pandemic and its associated economic downturn. 

    “Those earning minimum wage haven’t seen an increase since 2010,” Sims said. “I understand that this is a difficult time for businesses, but we cannot continue to make working families wait for a pay raise. This is already long overdue.” 

    The law raises the minimum wage statewide, though some communities, including Cook County and Chicago, have set higher local minimum wages – measures which Sims supports. 

  • 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. 

  • Sims urges African Americans to get counted for Black Census Day

    black census day 061920SPRINGFIELD – To celebrate 155 years of emancipation and encourage accurate representation of all Illinois communities, State Senator Elgie R. Sims (D-Chicago) urges African Americans to respond to the 2020 Census on Black Census Day.

    “It’s no accident that Black Census Day falls on Juneteenth this year. Both are opportunities for us to stand united and amplify black voices,” Sims said. “It is so important to make sure that black communities are counted to help close funding gaps and provide desperately needed resources to African Americans throughout Illinois.”

  • Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials hosts Days of Action

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  • Sims: State budget provides desperately needed resources in midst of pandemic

    sims floor 052220SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after the governor signed the budget on Wednesday:

    “My colleagues and I went back to Springfield with the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic heavy on our shoulders. We strived to pass a budget that would maintain our core services while also directing resources to help communities and businesses who have been devastated as a result of the virus.

    “This budget does exactly that by preserving P-12 education with a $12.6 billion investment.

    “We are using funds from the CARES Act stimulus package to provide more resources to communities who are struggling during the pandemic. That includes $100 million in housing assistance and $636 million in business interruption grants.

    “And to protect our communities during this health crisis, $1 billion dollars will go to our local and state health departments.

    “The budget was extremely difficult to craft in these unprecedented times, but I believe it will provide desperately needed relief to communities as we continue on a path toward recovery.”

    Senate Bill 264 takes effect July 1..

  • State budget preserves vital services

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  • Parade celebrating recovery of 17-year-old COVID-19 survivor bright spot for South Side community

    sims sierra 060620CHICAGO—A South Side community came together for a parade to celebrate 17-year-old Sierra Rogers’ recovery after fighting COVID-19 for nearly eight weeks.

    Sierra J. Rogers received treatment for the coronavirus at Rush University Medical Center from March 27 until May 20. Sierra then spent time at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to help rebuild her strength after fighting the virus.

    Ivy, who also overcame COVID-19, says it was an uphill battle, but Sierra is overjoyed to finally be home.

  • Sims calls for solidarity to deliver meaningful change at Day of Action

    sims 050720CHICAGO— State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), other black leaders and the governor took to the South Suburbs Saturday to call for action regarding police brutality and systemic racism.

    “The fight is not over until black communities are finally prioritized and fear isn't felt in the presence of law enforcement,” Sims said. “Leaders on all levels have to come together to fix our broken system, so that it reflects that black lives do in fact matter. Our communities are entitled to fair resources and justice.”

    The event at 1550 Sibley Blvd in Calumet City was the third in a series of four events organized by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in response to racial acts of violence against individuals like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Face masks, food, water and Census resources were provided.

    Sims vowed to continue fighting until people of all backgrounds are treated the same.

    “I remain committed to work with the people of the 17th District, local leaders and people within the system itself to truly reform our criminal justice system. We will achieve progress together,” Sims said.

    The next and final day of action in the series will be in the West Suburbs on Sunday, June 7. The event is from noon to 1 p.m. at 300 Oak St. 

  • Legislative Black Caucus Senators address community pain, call for end to looting and solutions to address police violence

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  • Senate Black Caucus members stand with communities in calling for swift action

    Sen. Christopher Belt

    SPRINGFIELD—Senators of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement after the protests and riots in Chicago brought on by racist acts of violence against countless African Americans, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor: 

    Senator Christopher Belt(D-Centreville), ILBC Senate Co-chair

    “In 1903, the great black scholar, W.E.B. Dubois, stated “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line. Here we stand in 2020, fighting for justice and equality because of that very same issue, the color line. That said, please understand this is not just ‘our’ problem, but rather, it is a ‘we’ problem. I am calling on my fellow legislators to stand with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to denounce this system of racial injustice that injures, destroys and kills not only people of color, but the very fabric of the American tapestry,” Belt said.

    Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)

    “COVID-19 was not done showing us just how deep the inequities in our country are before we had another series of Black murders at the hands of racists in the headlines. It is exhausting to feel like you have been yelling at the top of your lungs for years without being heard, and I am deeply pained for our people forced to live in fear in the very country they helped build,” Lightford said. “I extend a call to action to my colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly and legislators across the country to hear the ache in the hearts of those who are fed up. We can only move forward by coming together to ensure every individual’s basic human rights are protected.”

    Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago)

    “What we are witnessing from many of the protestors is a demand for change—an acknowledgment that the status quo is unacceptable and must end. They are crying out, screaming to be heard and wondering aloud how many more will have to die before we finally recognize the sanctity of black lives,” Sims said. “As we fight tirelessly for justice, I ask that we don’t use lawlessness as a means to do it. I know there is an overwhelming need to be heard and understood. If no one else hears you, I do. I will continue to work relentlessly with leaders on all levels to fix our utterly broken system and hold bad actors accountable. We can, and we will, achieve change together.”

    Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago)

    "The story of this crisis isn’t the looting, it is the why, the what, and the how,” Peters said. “Why are people so mad? Why are people so hurt? What do people need? How are we going to help?"

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)

    “Just in the last month, we’ve mourned the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and now George Floyd,” Van Pelt said. “How many more names must be said? Countless black lives were lost at the hands of police, failed under a system that was never meant to protect them, never meant to protect people that look like me. We can’t breathe, and haven’t been able to since we were abducted from the shores of our native land."

    Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago)

    "What we are witnessing today is the strange fruit sown by institutional racism and neglect. It has given us a harvest of poverty, mass incarceration, food and health deserts as well as educational inequity.  We are not only fighting a virus, but violence and vandalism. Yet, we should not conflate the peaceful protests and righteous indignation with the criminality of a few bad apples," Collins said.

    "The days ahead of us must be days of rebuilding and healing, but they must also be days of reform and accountability that save lives. We must come together with one voice to say 'Black Lives Matter.' If we do not have reform and accountability, then there can truly be no healing."

    Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)

     “The deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are painful illustrations of the deep-rooted systems of oppression, and systems of protection for bad actors, that continue to burden African-American families. These murders sow further hopelessness, anger, and agony, which has been expressed over the past few days through widespread protests. While some have seen this as an excuse to commit shameful acts of destruction, it was heartening to see countless Chicagoans take to the streets to peacefully demand justice and make our voices heard in a productive way,” Hunter said.

    “Our path forward must not end with protests. Now is the time to harness our collective anger to galvanize a movement toward ending police violence and enacting transformational reforms centered around police accountability, transparency, and oversight.”

    Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)

    "It is sickening that we have to continuously address the racial biases the criminal justice system has against Black Americans. It's evident how much racial disparity is prevalent throughout the justice system and how much officers believe we are so much of a threat to the country that we helped build.

    "The whole situation is just tiring, and a change is more than overdue. Even if you're not a part of the problem, you must be well aware of the harassment that blacks receive daily and how the media would rather paint a bad picture of us than be a part of the solution. 

    "We cannot solve this problem on our own. We profess no easy answers. It's obvious that real change will only happen when all of America believes Black Lives Matter."

    Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Dolton)

    “The young people of America have mobilized in unified outrage and it is time we acknowledged their cries. It is time we acknowledged the humanity and grievances of African-Americans throughout this country."

  • Sims Statement on Protests in Chicago

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.CHICAGO— State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after protests and riots in Chicago and across the country fueled by recent negative racial interactions involving African Americans, including the death of George Floyd, who died in the street as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck:

    “Our communities are desperate to arrive at a place where the same opportunities are available to all. Sadly, we have yet to “get to the promised land” spoken so eloquently by Dr. King, because we have never fully addressed the divisions of the racism that divides us or the systemic barriers erected to support it, which have allowed some communities to struggle while others have flourished.

  • Sims supports plan allowing voters to cast ballot safely by mail

    sims floor 052220SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) offered his full support of a plan expanding vote by mail for the upcoming general election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This proposal allows the state to act reasonably to protect its citizens,” Sims said. “We are facing an unprecedented pandemic. This measured approach will ensure that voters can safely cast their ballots from the safety of their homes.”

    Individuals who have voted in the past two years — either in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — will be mailed an application for a vote-by-mail ballot.

    Those who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election will also receive an application.

    Under the plan, individuals who aren’t automatically sent an application will still be able to apply for a ballot via the State Board of Elections’ website. Applications will open the day the law takes effect.

    This legislation does not prevent in-person voting opportunities on and before Election Day.

    “Many have fought, bled and died for our right to vote, and we need to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise that right,” Sims said. “I am confident this plan will help voters throughout Illinois do so without risking their health.”

    Senate Bill 1863 now heads to the governor’s desk for approval.

  • Sims urges high school graduates to apply for Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship

    sims 060319CHICAGO – To help students who are seeking post-secondary education, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) is encouraging high school graduates to apply for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation (ILBCF) Scholarship. 

    “We aim to give students the boost they need to further their education,” Sims said. “I hope students will take full advantage of this opportunity and ease some of the financial pressure of going to college.” 

    The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship has been a catalyst for many low-income students who would not be able to afford certain expenses upon arriving at the higher learning facility. 

    The deadline to apply for the scholarship is Thursday, June 4. Students who are applying for the scholarship must be an Illinois resident, and if awarded, they will receive $1,000.

    “We want to sow a seed in the futures of our young people,” Sims said. “There is so much potential yet to be unlocked. This resource is a great start to help students achieve their dreams.”

    Students who want to apply for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship can complete the application here

  • PathoSans/Klarion Technologies partners with Sims and Cullerton to donate COVID-19 fighting disinfectant to Illinois’ first responders

    how to decontaminate and clean the ambulance

  • Democratic Co-Chairs Remain Committed to Ethics, Lobbying Reform

    sims 020620SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Elgie Sims – co-chairs of the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform – released the following statement Tuesday regarding ongoing efforts to enact meaningful ethics reform in Illinois:

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated that we all put the health and safety of our state and our communities first. The Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform remains committed to our task of developing recommendations for meaningful reforms to the way lobbyists and elected officials conduct themselves. We have completed our meetings, heard from stakeholders and are working through the proposals that have been put before us.