data-dataset-word-data-deluge.jpgCHICAGO –With the Chicago Police Department poised to unveil a new gang member database in light of pervasive concerns about the current system, Senator Patricia Van Pelt called on police to ensure the new registry is designed with effectiveness as well as justice in mind.

“The public demands that this law enforcement tool be effective, but we must all demand that it be just and fair to all Chicagoans, and in particular the people of color who were disproportionately targeted by the current system,” Van Pelt said. “If the Criminal Enterprise Information System does what it’s supposed to, it could be a great boon to public safety. But to do that, it must have strong and constant oversight.”

A report from the Inspector General last April showed the operation of the original gang database to be unethical and unreliable in ways that harmed citizens who were not guilty of any crime. It overwhelmingly affected people of color, who made up 90 percent of the database. Once entered, there is no way for a registrant’s name to be removed. The entry also appears on a person’s background check, exposing them to housing and job discrimination and even deportation.

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Category: Press Releases

02182020CM0307.JPGSPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) recently filed legislation that would require an employer to reimburse an employee within 30-45 days after the receipt of a required business expense, a common workplace scenario that currently isn’t governed by any sort of statute.

“A lot of employees despair of ever seeing their business expenses reimbursed,” Van Pelt said. “This should be a common labor protection, just as a 40-hour workweek is. Employees who float costs for their employers should receive reimbursements in a timelier manner.”

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Category: Press Releases


SPRINGFIELD – Last April, a man named Elisha Brittman was found naked and unresponsive under a car in Chicago, beaten so badly his face was unrecognizable. The police failed to identify him through fingerprints or DNA. Instead, they used a mugshot to identify him as Alfonso Bennett. In turn, the hospital notified Bennett’s family, who decided to take Brittman off life support. Now, both of the families involved are filing a lawsuit.

After learning of what happened to her constituent, Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is leading an effort to make sure no other family is ever faced with such an unthinkable situation.

“Hospitals must make life or death decisions every day, but they must take every possible precaution in cases like this. Though the misidentification was the fault of the police, Mercy shouldn’t have notified the family until they were absolutely sure,” Van Pelt said. “That is why I’m sponsoring legislation to prevent things like this from happening in the future.”

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Category: Press Releases

Disability symbols 2SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D- Chicago) is leading an initiative with the Department of Human Services that will expand eligibility for special education facilities.

The proposed legislation would allow people with an orthopedic or other physical disability to attend the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Roosevelt.

“As we become more knowledgeable about various kinds of disabilities, it is important to revise our policies so that they are as inclusive as need be,” Van Pelt said. “Our understanding has grown, so our legislation must be changed to address that.”



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