Senator Van Pelt speaks at a Black Caucus press conferenceYesterday it was reported that an official letter was submitted to Amazon executives with an attached state and city bid signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the legislature’s top four leaders. Members of the Illinois Legislative Senate Black Caucus are cautiously optimistic about the potential of Amazon moving its second headquarters to Chicago.

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), who also chairs the joint Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, delivered a clear message: “Job creation is a top priority for the caucus, specifically in our impoverished neighborhoods where unemployment rates soar due to lack of sustainable jobs. Preparation has to be our clear path toward future employment opportunities. It is our hope that we can work with Amazon and legislative leaders to ensure that our low-income neighborhoods benefit as well.”

“Areas like the south side of Chicago have suffered because of lack of job creation. I hope the incentives offered to Amazon not only interest them, but provide an opportunity for growth and financial stability for struggling communities,” said Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter, (D-Chicago).

With talks of the financial package being offered to Amazon coming in the form of the revamped Illinois EDGE tax credits, as well as other tax credits, Senate Black Caucus and Revenue Committee Chairwoman Toi Hutchinson, (D-Chicago Heights) had the following statement: “While I have serious concerns with the creation of another tax credit for a major corporation, I look forward to working to ensure that quality jobs are created no matter the address or zip code.”

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has continued working with business leaders and community stakeholders to find ways to spark job creation in a growing economy. Amazon has said that an estimated 50,000 employees earning an average of $160,000 per year, in the next several years, is possible. “With so many incentives offered to attract Amazon to Chicago, it is my hope that if the deal goes through, Amazon works to hire individuals from the west side neighborhoods that are struggling with high rates of unemployment,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago).

Senator Emil Jones, (D-Chicago): “It’s clear to me, having lived on the south side of Chicago all my life, that we need more quality jobs. If the estimate on the number of potential jobs to be created is correct, I don’t see any problem with this effort. We have to do something.”

The Senate Black Caucus remains dedicated to driving bipartisan cooperation as Illinois seeks this transformational employment opportunity.

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Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s signature of a pro-choice measure:05292017CM0548

“In a victory for pro-choice activists, Governor Rauner kept his promise to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions no matter what. When the governor threatened to change his position on this legislation, people across the state took action to remind him how important women’s reproductive rights are. Regardless of a woman’s income or any changes to federal law, every woman in Illinois should have the right to decide what is best for her health without government interference.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Van Pelt speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) protects the rights of property owners by making it harder for law enforcement to seize personal property from Illinois residents.

“For too long, law enforcement has had far reaching authority to seize property from individuals regardless of whether they’ve been convicted of a crime,” Van Pelt said. “Law enforcement agencies have been profiting off of individuals by keeping or selling their property and making it incredibly difficult for people to reclaim their possessions.”

Currently, law enforcement agencies can take property – including cash, vehicles and homes – if they suspect it was involved with or related to a crime. The property owner does not need to be charged or convicted of a crime for the state to seize and permanently forfeit the property.

“Reforming our civil asset forfeiture process is a major step forward for criminal justice reform,” Van Pelt said. “This measure protects the rights of people who often don’t have the means necessary to reclaim their property. I am pleased that the governor signed the legislation, and I am looking forward to advancing more criminal justice reforms in the future.”

House Bill 303 reforms the civil asset forfeiture process by increasing transparency and shifts the burden of proof in forfeiture cases to the prosecution. The measure also requires law enforcement to have a preponderance of evidence to seize property.

House Bill 303 was signed into law today. It takes effect on January 1, 2018.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Van Pelt speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s vote on the new school funding legislation:

“While I believe that fixing Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding model should be our top priority, I could not vote for a measure that includes more tax credits for the wealthy,” Van Pelt said. “We must first make sure all schools are adequately funded and are able to provide the best possible education for our children.”

Senate Bill 1947 includes a five-year pilot program that would award a 75 percent tax credit of up to $1 million to taxpayers who contribute scholarship funding for students to attend private schools.

“In my view, this tax credit does not promote our commitment to a fully-funded public education system that supports all Illinois children,” Van Pelt said. “My vote reflects these ideas.”

Having passed both chambers, Senate Bill 1947 now goes to the governor for approval.

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Category: Press Releases
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