Raoul votes for legal authorization to pay state workers

raoul-71515Measure also keeps essential services operational during budget impasse

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage yesterday of a one-month essential services budget that also pays state workers in full:

This stopgap measure keeps government going while budget negotiations continue. It will allow us the breathing room to reach a thoughtful, bipartisan agreement if all parties participate in good faith. Unfortunately, the governor’s threat to veto the emergency budget is one more effort to hold vulnerable people hostage to his Scott Walker-esque demands.

The action we took this week also provides a legal means of fairly compensating state workers for their continued service to the public. While I share the comptroller’s desire to pay state employees, I believe she went about this laudable purpose in an illegal manner. I encourage the governor to follow through on his commitment to make sure state workers don’t miss a paycheck and to do it the right way by signing this urgently needed legislation.

Raoul, Nekritz secure passage of eavesdropping reforms

raoul-votrightsPledge to continue working on statewide rules for officer-worn cameras


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) and State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Buffalo Grove) secured passage today of a carefully crafted eavesdropping measure that respects reasonable expectations of privacy while allowing people to record conversations that are clearly public, including law enforcement encounters in public places. At the same time, the legislation’s chief sponsors pledged to continue working to allow the use of uniform-mounted cameras by police officers.


“Now that we’ve passed a sensible, constitutional eavesdropping law, we’re going to continue working toward a statewide protocol for the use of officer-worn cameras,” Nekritz said. “Many law enforcement agencies in Illinois have expressed significant interest in using body cameras to increase transparency and protect both officers and the public, but they’re waiting on the legislature to clarify when they can record, how long recordings can be preserved and other key questions.”


On March 20, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the state’s existing eavesdropping law was overbroad, because it all parties to a conversation to consent to its recording – even when the conversation took place in public and could be easily overheard by bystanders.


Raoul’s and Nekritz’s rewrite of the eavesdropping law specifies that someone is only guilty of eavesdropping if he or she surreptitiously records or uses an eavesdropping device to listen in on a private conversation — defined as a conversation that at least one of its participants reasonably considers to be private. It also expands the circumstances under which law enforcement can record a conversation between an undercover officer and a suspect to include not only drug deals but investigations of suspected plots to commit other serious offenses, such as murder, sexual assault and gunrunning.


“Our previous law, which landed honest citizens in prison just for recording an encounter with a police officer on a public sidewalk, didn’t make sense; now, we’ve succeeded in passing legislation that draws a commonsense line between public and private conversations,” Raoul said. “At the same time, recent events have highlighted the benefits of officer-worn cameras for investigating allegations of police misconduct and addressing unacceptable inequities in law enforcement. We must act promptly to free departments to start using these valuable tools.”


Both the House and Senate have now approved the eavesdropping measure, Senate Bill 1342. Next, it will go to the governor to be signed into law.


Raoul voting rights amendment approved

raoul-votrightsSenator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) released the following statement about this week's approval of a measure to amend the Illinois Constitution to address voting rights:

“On November 4, the people of Illinois took democratic action to safeguard their most basic right – the right to vote,” Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) said.  “History has sided time and again with advancing civil rights, and this constitutional amendment will prevent any law, policy or action from impinging upon our freedoms. No law is welcome in Illinois that threatens the liberties of its citizens.”

Sen. Kwame Raoul

Senator Kwame Raoul

13th District

Years served: 2004 - 2018

Committee assignments: Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Judiciary (Chairperson); Public Health; Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive; Committee on Restorative Justice (Co-Chairperson).

Biography: Attorney; born September 30, 1964; Bachelor's degree from DePaul University; J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law; has two children.