• 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.

  • Sims congratulates students on winning National Teach Kindness Challenge

    sims 022620SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) today congratulated students at a Sauk Village elementary school on winning a national kindness award.

    Wagoner Elementary School in Community Consolidated School District 168 in Sauk Village, Illinois was one of over 650 schools from across the country that registered for the Fall 2019 cohort of the Teach Kindness Challenge.

    “Now the nation knows what I already knew about Wagoner Elementary students and teachers. They are a stellar bunch who consistently go above and beyond to achieve results,” Sims said. “I am so incredibly proud of their efforts to spread kindness, which the world could always use more of.”

    The “Teach Kindness” initiative is a national social-emotional learning program organized by Stand for Children that provides high-quality classroom lessons from national experts.

    Wagoner has been selected as the 2019 National Winner of the Teach Kindness Challenge, a national recognition that carries a $5,000 credit at

  • Illinois Senate welcomes students from Illinois Math and Science Academy

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims and Sen. Dave Koehler with students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy

    SPRINGFIELD – Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “I shared a wonderful day with my constituent Esha Dani who attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The Senate was honored to host such a brilliant group of students and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold,” Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said.

  • In push for reform, joint committee hears from people affected by criminal justice system

    sims 021420CHICAGO—A joint committee heard feedback from witnesses on what the current state of criminal justice reform in Illinois.

    The hearing was called by co-chairs State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) of the Senate Criminal Law Committee, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) of the new Senate Public Safety Special Committee and State Representative Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) of the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee.

    “Hearing all sides of the issue is crucial to working toward a system that is fair and just,” Sims said. “We have to work together to develop a focused strategy. That is the only way we will protect our communities, ensure fairness in sentencing and allow for life after prison.”

  • Commission works to close any possible loopholes in ethics code

    sims 020620

  • Lifting property tax burden on South Suburban residents

    Senator SimsSPRINGFIELD— Property taxes could be lower for some homeowners and business owners in South Suburban communities thanks to a new state grant program that seeks to lift some of the burden on school districts that are heavily taxed.

    “This grant brings needed relief to struggling communities paying higher property taxes to provide a quality education for our students, and many times students still don’t receive adequate resources,” Sims said. “The program will provide necessary relief to help keep families in Illinois and boost the economy.”

    Local school districts that are eligible for the Property Tax Relief Grant include:

    • Community Consolidated School District 168, Sauk Village
    • Dolton School District 149
    • Hoover-Schrum Memorial School District 157, Calumet City
    • Lansing School District 158
    • Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215, Lansing

    The Property Tax Relief Grant helps school districts with high tax rates relative to other school districts with an opportunity to lower the property tax burden on local taxpayers with the state replacing a portion of foregone tax revenue with state funds.

    The amount the school districts receive will be included in future calculations of those districts.

    More information on the Property Tax Relief Grant and a listing of each eligible school district can be found at

  • Ethics Commission Seeks More Accountability for Legislative Wrongdoers

    sims 013020

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Members of the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform sought input on what could have been done to prevent recent high-profile conflicts of interest and what more must be done to hold lawmakers accountable at a hearing Thursday. 

    “We’re here to make systemic change, close loopholes, and root out opportunities for corrupt behavior that have been identified in recent media reports and investigations,” said state Rep. Greg Harris, who co-chairs the commission. “Yesterday, the governor talked about restoring public trust and cleaning up government. He specifically talked about dealing with disclosures of conflicts of interest, revolving door laws, and limitations on lobbying. Looking around the room as the governor talked, I was happy to see he got a rousing ovation for these three items. From the House, from the Senate, from Democrats, from Republicans. That’s a very good sign for our work. But these proposals are only as good as their details, and it is our job to fill in those details.”

  • New Sims law makes voting accessible to Illinois students

    young voterCHICAGO—A plan to give students time off to vote was signed into law on Wednesday.

    State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) led efforts to pass legislation, which allows students to vote during school hours. This comes after push back from school administrators during a “March to the Polls.” Students from those schools rallied to pass the new law out of committee last year, and some were there to see it signed into law.

  • Ethics commission considers full disclosure of all lobbying in Illinois

    sims ethics 011520

  • New law allows earlier access to senior tax break

    homestead exemption 011420A new measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would accelerate access to a property tax break for seniors was signed into law Tuesday.

    “This bill is an opportunity to test a more efficient process while still providing the same or better level of service,” Ellman said. “This particular example prioritizes the needs of seniors on fixed-incomes and ensures awareness of relief programs available to our older population. I will continue to seek more efficient processes that serve Illinoisans.”

  • Sims, Castro join ethics commission in hopes of holding legislators accountable

    sims 112119CHICAGO—To respond to recent allegations involving Springfield lawmakers and prevent future wrongdoing, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. has been named as the co-chair of a new joint legislative commission that will recommend changes to state ethics laws. Senator Cristina Castro has also been appointed to the commission.

    “The last several months have seen very troubling developments and the people of Illinois expect us to be and do better,” Sims said. “For the people to have faith in their government we must hold ourselves to the highest of standards, and when public officials do wrong, they should face the consequences. Those are the beliefs that will guide me as I serve on this commission.”


  • Sims effort to boost Illinois’ standing in film and TV industry becomes law

    film productionSPRINGFIELD—A proposal to make Illinois more attractive to film companies was signed into law today.

    The plan, sponsored by State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), extends the length of the state’s film production tax credit with the aim of raising Illinois’ national standing in the film and television industry.

    “This move will help put Illinois a step above our competition,” Sims said. “We have seen exponential growth over the years, and this tax credit would boost that by making the state more attractive to film and television companies around the world.”

    The new law extends the end of the Film Production Tax Credit from Jan. 1, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2027.

  • Sims: RHA is historic step that protects fundamental right to choose

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr.SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after the Reproductive Health Act was signed into law Wednesday:

    “The historic step we took today will protect women’s access to safe, legal reproductive health care for years to come. I am proud that we took a stand to ensure that the people of Illinois are able to make the very personal decision of whether or not to become a parent.

  • ISP invites senators for mock evidence collection event

    Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center

    CHICAGO – Lawmakers joined members of the Illinois State Police at the Forensic Science Center earlier this week to learn about its evidence collection process.

    State senators Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) and Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) were among those in attendance.

    In December 2018, ISP implemented the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to use new developments to assist in the delivery of complete, accurate and timely crime scene evidence collection and forensic laboratory analysis.

  • Sims efforts would allow Village of Manteno to renovate golf course

    sims013119CHICAGO—A plan at the statehouse would allow the Village of Manteno to do renovations at a public golf course.

    The village has been unsuccessful in renovating a golf course club house because a state clause is preventing them from getting a bank loan. State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) is working to change that with a proposal that would remove the state’s interest in the property.

    “This simple change would greatly benefit the people of Manteno and the village’s bottom line,” Sims said. “Renovations would help the golf course better compete with surrounding courses, which would potentially lead to higher profits for the village.”

    The bill would require the Department of Central Management Services to execute and record a release of the reverter clause, which would eliminate the state’s stake in the land.

    That clause states the land must be used for a public purpose and not be sold. If Manteno ever did sell the land to a private entity, it would owe the state 25 percent of the proceeds.

    “I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate for their support on this very local issue in the 17th district,” Sims said. “I hope the House will also help us send this plan to the governor’s desk.”

    Senate Bill 1597 is set to head to the House for consideration.

  • Sims plan to protect right to public defender at bail hearings passes the Senate

    bail 042419CHICAGO—A plan that would protect Illinoisans’ right to a public defender passed the Senate recently.

    State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) sponsors the proposal, which creates the Public Defender Bail Reform Grant Program. The aim is to assist counties in following the current law, which requires counsel to be present at bail hearings.

    “We cannot continue to deny Illinoisans their right to an attorney,” Sims said. “Bail hearings are a crucial part of the justice process, and everyone deserves an attorney at every step.”

    Currently, many counties do not provide public defenders for bail hearings. Some small counties do not even hire a full time public defender.

    There have been instances in these smaller counties where a defendant is not given a bail hearing. Instead a county sheriff calls the judge and tells them the name of the individual and their charges, and the judge will communicate the bail amount over the phone to the sheriff.

    “In many cases, the handling of bail hearings in Illinois have been completely unjust and unacceptable,” Sims said. “The livelihood of these people, who have not been convicted of a crime, is affected by the bail amount. These defendants have the right to have legal representation to ensure that the bail fits the crime.”

    Senate Bill 1966 is set to head to the House for consideration.

  • Sims discusses benefits of proposed fair tax on City Club panel

    sims 041819

  • Sims plan to attract more film business to Illinois passes Senate

    sims film 041619SPRINGFIELD—A plan to attract more film and TV companies to Illinois recently passed the Senate.

    State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) is sponsoring the proposal, which would expand the state’s film production tax credit with the aim of raising Illinois’ national standing in the film and television industry.

    “This effort will help us gain momentum in the media production industry,” Sims said. “We have seen much growth in this area, but expanding the film tax credit would help us attract more film companies and really thrive.”

  • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to receive $1.5 million grant

    sims 032719CHICAGO--Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is the recipient of a $1.5 million grant for energy improvements, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. announced today.

    The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is taking advantage of the United States Department of Energy’s State Energy Program to reduce the energy burden for Illinois residents.

    “This grant will provide long-term savings for the plant, which ultimately helps lift the burden on Chicagoans,” Senator Sims said. “These savings are crucial for many throughout Chicago, especially low-income, working families.”

    The grants go through May 2020 and allow plant recipients to make energy-efficient upgrades to equipment based on past energy audits, in some instance at no charge by the Office of Energy.

  • Sims: Effort to boost and support Illinois’ standing in data industry

    Data StorageSPRINGFIELD—A plan to make Illinois more competitive in the data center industry passed the Senate Wednesday.

    The bill, sponsored by State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), would exempt the purchase and sale of materials used in the construction or operation of a data center from sales or use taxes. The bill provides further incentives for locating in areas of high unemployment or low wages in an effort to spur economic growth in low income areas.

    “We cannot pass up the opportunity to be a leader in the fast-growing data center industry,” Sims said. “Growing Illinois’ presence in this industry will bring revenue and jobs that are desperately needed in our state.”

    To qualify for the tax exemption, a data center must be located in Illinois, create at least 20 new jobs over a 60-month period and be carbon-neutral or get a certification under green building standards.

    New data centers must also make $250 million in new capital investments over a five-year period. Existing data centers must make that same amount over five years on or before Jan. 1, 2020.

    Indiana and other surrounding states are targeting Illinois’ data center industry and this legislation will help us remain competitive and respond to attempts to draw jobs away from Illinois, Sims said.

    “We do not want neighboring states to dominate this industry,” Sims said. “With this plan I know Illinois will keep and attract businesses looking to grow or relocate.”

    Senate Bill 1591 is now headed to the House for consideration.