05012019CW0101

CHICAGO – As a leader on ensuring Illinois’ DNA backlog doesn’t go unnoticed, Senator Patricia Van Pelt commended Gov. JB Pritzker’s creation of the Forensic Science Task Force, which will work to address the state’s backlog of untested DNA samples related to ongoing criminal investigations.   

“I’m happy to see the governor is taking action to get these DNA backlogs under control,” Van Pelt said. “We have grieving families and rape victims who are suffering and deserve answers. They shouldn’t have to continue to wait; it’s time for further action.” 

Van Pelt’s work over the past three years contributed to the creation of the task force. She held several hearings, cosponsored a measure to audit the state’s forensic services and stayed in frequent contact with the governor’s office to ensure the issue was addressed.

The Forensic Science Task Force will bring together key participants to work collaboratively to identify and analyze the issues and challenges facing Illinois’ publicly funded crime laboratories.

The task force will issue a report detailing its findings and provide guidance and recommendations to Pritzker and the General Assembly by June 1, 2020.

Category: Press Releases

                    “We’re signaling to veterans that we value their past and their future.”

02062019CM0232SPRINGFIELD – More Illinois veterans will have access to education thanks to a measure from State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) that was signed into law.

“It’s important that we honor our promises to those who have sacrificed their lives for ours,” Van Pelt said. “Providing access to education to our veterans is a top priority, and I’m pleased that Gov. Pritzker agrees.”

Senate Bill 1467 expands eligibility for the Illinois Veterans Grant and the MIA/POW Scholarship to veterans who have been residents of Illinois for 15 consecutive years.

“When a constituent came to me and told me about the loophole in state law that excluded them from the scholarship, I decided to take action,” Van Pelt said. “By expanding the time frame for eligibility, we’re signaling to veterans that we appreciate and value both their past service and their future endeavors.”

The Illinois Veterans’ Grant Program pays tuition and certain fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for eligible Illinois veterans.

The MIA/POW Scholarship is an education scholarship for the dependents of veterans who are either missing in action, a prisoner of war, died while on active duty, 100-percent disabled due to service-connected disabilities or died as a result of a service connected disabilities.

Category: Press Releases

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

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