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

Senator Van Pelt speaks during a press conferenceSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement about automatic voter registration becoming the law in Illinois:

“At a time when we're seeing attacks on voting rights at the federal level, I'm proud that Illinois legislators came together and passed a measure to make it easier for eligible citizens to participate in our elections,” Van Pelt said. “Automatic voter registration will remove a barrier to voting that has disproportionately affected minorities, women, seniors and low-income individuals and will help ensure that all eligible Illinoisans are able to participate in our democracy should they so choose.”

Currently, there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote but aren’t registered. Under Senate Bill 1933, eligible Illinoisans will be automatically registered to vote when they interact with certain state agencies. If an individual does not want to be registered, they can opt-out.

Senate Bill 1933 was signed into law today in Chicago.

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Category: Press Releases
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