Measure to protect college students from sexual assault passes Senate

CampusAssault-ToiSPRINGFIELD – The Senate gave final approval today to a measure that will prevent and ensure proper response to sexual assaults that occur on college campuses.

“Schools should be prepared to respond to sexual assaults immediately, which means helping survivors understand their reporting options, access health care or even provide alternate housing options,” Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “We must do everything in our power to protect students and respond with every single resource at our disposal. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

While there have been efforts at the federal level to deal with the issue of sexual violence on campuses, universities have been left with a patchwork of recommendations and proposals without clear guidance on how they can reduce the incidents of violence on their campuses and effectively deal with the aftermath of sexual assaults.

With an alarming one in five undergraduate college women becoming victims of rape or attempted rape, Senator Hutchinson teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan on ensuring colleges develop a clear, comprehensive campus plan for dealing with sexual violence. The plan ensures victims have help immediately after an attack, including confidential advisers who can guide them to medical and legal resources while also focusing on often-overlooked issues, such as orders of protection and situations where housing and class schedules need to be changed.  

House Bill 821 passed the Senate today unopposed and will now head back to the House for a concurrence vote.

Hutchinson supports plan restoring social service cuts

toi-sb274SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) supported a plan in the Senate today restoring nearly $30 million in cuts Governor Rauner made to social service agencies earlier this month.  

“This plan prevents layoffs at social service agencies and ensures we are not starting a chain reaction where lost jobs leads to a loss in economic activity in our state,” Hutchinson said. “For every dollar lost in public spending, we lose $1.30 in private sector economic activity. When local jobs are lost, it not only affects social service providers and their clients but also restaurants, dry cleaners and a host of other small businesses. The impact on the local economy is real and we cannot forget that.”

Senate Bill 274 gives the governor authority to transfer $26 million in reserves from special state funds to ensure programs treating our state’s most vulnerable residents are funded, including those treating individuals with autism, epilepsy and substance abuse prevention.

The plan now goes to the House of Representatives for further debate.

Victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, protected from eviction under Hutchinson plan

toi-042215SPRINGFIELD – Victims of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities will not have to worry about losing their homes if they contact authorities for help under a proposal that passed the Senate today.

“The last thing a survivor of a traumatic assault or someone struggling with a disability needs to worry about is being evicted simply for calling the police for help,” sponsor State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said.  

Renters who contact authorities for help risk eviction in the more than 100 home-rule cities and villages that have implemented some form of crime-free ordinance meant to give more control to municipalities in addressing public safety concerns. Many of these ordinances have specifically listed triggers that could lead to an eviction, including numerous calls to law enforcement.

While the intent of crime-free ordinances is to deal with illegal activity, victims of criminal activity can be affected by the rules, especially in the case of domestic violence. Victims of domestic abuse aren’t always able to leave their homes immediately and are sometimes afraid to press charges, making it more likely they will have to contact the police more than once.  

Individuals with disabilities are also endangered by these ordinances, as someone struggling with a disability might need assistance from authorities more often than someone without a disability.

“We should not be penalizing renters with eviction simply for making legitimate calls for help,” Hutchinson said. “This proposal strikes a balance between the safety needs of victims and the responsibility of municipalities to address public safety in their communities.”

Senate Bill 1547 passed the Senate today on a 53-0 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives.

Hutchinson makes the case for paid sick time

hutchinson-sickpaySPRINGFIELD – Illinois would become the fourth state to require paid sick time for employees under a proposal heard today in the Senate Executive Committee.

“Far too many Illinoisans are living paycheck to paycheck, unable to miss even one day of work,” sponsor State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “One illness, one accident or one emergency situation could mean choosing between their well-being or putting food on the table.”

The proposal requires Illinois employers to offer up to seven paid sick days per year, accruing an hour at a time for every 30 hours worked. The proposal is similar to a plan unveiled by President Obama earlier this year in an effort to give more flexibility to working families.

While the plan would help the more than 40 percent of Illinois workers who don’t qualify for paid sick time, employers would also benefit from the proposal. Numerous studies have shown the benefit employers receive when paid sick time is offered, as workers recover from illnesses faster and are more productive once they return to work.

“We are the only industrialized country that hasn’t extended this basic human right to our workforce,” Hutchinson said. “It is time we move forward and update our laws to match our modern economy.”   

Under the plan, paid sick time could not be used within the first 120 days of a worker’s employment and would not have to be paid out to employees when they leave work.   

Senate Bill 1836 was heard today in the Senate Executive Committee.

Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson

40th District

Years served: 
2009 - 2019

Committee assignments: Executive; Judiciary; Public Health; Revenue (Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Special Issues.

Biography: Full-time state legislator; Born May 20, 1973; Graduated University of Illinois at Urbana with a Bachelor in English; Olympia Fields Village Clerk from 2002-2006; Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Program; Women and Power, 2004; Former Chief of Staff to State Senator Debbie Halvorson; Lives in Olympia Fields with husband, Paul, and 3 children.

Associated Representatives:
Anthony DeLuca
Lindsay Parkhurst