Senator Patricia Van Pelt speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of a balanced budget:

“Tonight, I proudly voted for a budget that is both fiscally and morally responsible. The budget we passed helps ensure stability for our schools, universities, and for the social service programs that are essential to our communities.

“This budget includes $12 million in new grants for violence prevention programs in our communities, an additional $4 million for youth employment programs, and $430,000 in additional funding for Teen Reach to help ensure the safety of youth after school. It includes record investments for our neighborhood schools and additional funding for the University of Illinois at Chicago. We were able to add $20 million in new funds for workforce development and skills training and $30 million in additional funding for child care assistance so that parents can afford to work and raise a family.

“This is a budget for working families and it’s a budget that works. By making reasonable cuts to administrative spending, we were able to pass a balanced budget while still increasing investments in our most vulnerable communities.”

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Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) voted on several pieces of legislation today that would update Illinois’ outdated tax structure and allow the state to implement a fair tax.

“For decades, our tax code has been rigged to give the richest Illinoisans a pass while placing our state's financial burden unfairly on working and middle-class families,” Van Pelt said. “Today, I voted to change that by supporting a fair tax.”

Van Pelt voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would delete language prohibiting a fair tax and allow Illinois to tax lower incomes at lower rates and higher incomes at higher rates.

“I believe that millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share, and that working-class families deserve a break,” Van Pelt said. “A bus driver should not pay the same taxes as a hedge fund manager, but that's what's happening under our current law. A fair tax will change that by requiring Illinois' wealthiest residents to pay more, while providing tax relief for 97 percent of Illinoisans.”

If the amendment passes the Illinois House with a three-fifths majority vote, it will be placed on the November 2020 ballot. If 60 percent of those voting on the question vote “yes,” the Constitution will be amended.

Van Pelt also voted to approve Senate Bill 687, which sets rates for a fair tax, providing the constitutional amendment is approved.

Under the legislation, 97 percent of taxpayers would see either no change or a decrease in their tax rate. Only the top 3 percent of earners would pay more.

Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 and Senate Bill 687 passed the Senate today and now head to the House for consideration.

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Category: Press Releases

DNACHICAGO – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) demanded answers and sought solutions to the state crime lab’s backlog of DNA from nearly 700 murder cases during a Senate Public Health and Criminal Law committee hearing this afternoon.

“The backlog in murder DNA processing at the state crime lab is unacceptable,” Van Pelt said. “Technology exists to test DNA in under two hours, yet DNA from nearly 700 murder cases from the past few years is still backlogged. Law enforcement needs to be taking advantage of this technology. There are 700 families waiting for answers. They deserve closure.”

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Category: Press Releases

CBS2 murder DNA story 2 screenshotCBS2 Chicago - February 28, 2019 | original article

CHICAGO (CBS) — Some people in Chicago are now demanding answers after CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman first reported on dozens of unsolved murders dating back 20 years. Many of those investigations have been delayed by backlogs in analyzing DNA.

A group prayed and read off the names of the 50 victims at a community meeting Wednesday night.

CBS 2 disclosed that those women were strangled, their bodies dumped in abandoned buildings, alleys and even garbage containers. Some were even set on fire.

“I saw the piece that you did and it was shocking,” said Beverly Reed Scott, who organized the meeting.

Among the attendees was State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, who had previously asked police about a possible serial killer.

“And they assured us that there was not any evidence of it,” she said. “But with that piece that aired the other night on channel 2, it raises the question again that maybe there is.”

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