voting boothsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after voting for a measure that would enact automatic voter registration and remove a barrier to voting for Illinois citizens:

“At a time when we're seeing a major rollback of voting rights across the country, I'm proud that Democrats and Republicans came together and voted to expand access to the ballot in Illinois,” Van Pelt said. “Voter registration laws disproportionately affect minorities, women, seniors and low-income individuals. Automatic voter registration will remove a barrier to voting and 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. If Senate Bill 1933 is enacted, 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.


Category: Press Releases

Senator Van Pelt speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the ruling on Chicago Public Schools’ lawsuit against the state:

“Governor Rauner has made it clear that Chicago’s children are just pawns in his political game, but I am hopeful that enough members of the General Assembly will come together to provide Chicago Public Schools with the same level of funding that every other school district receives. It’s time to put politics aside and put our children and their education first.”


Category: Press Releases

Senator Collins, Van Pelt, Lightford, Martinez

SPRINGFIELD — Months after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would have secured funding for Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Senate Democrats rejected his attempt to promise $215 million to the school system without any funding source to provide it.

“This measure would have made yet another promise to Chicago students without taking the necessary steps to ever follow through on it,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago. “We already approved a measure last year – which the governor saw fit to veto – that would have addressed this very problem in a responsible way, with the necessary funding. As it is, this is another broken promise in the making.”

Gov. Rauner vetoed a plan last year, approved by the Illinois General Assembly, which provided funding for Chicago Public Schools and included the necessary revenue.

“Just because Bruce Rauner didn’t do his homework doesn’t mean Chicago teachers, students and parents should suffer for his mistake,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago. “Maybe he should do his vetoes in pencil until he’s sure of his answers. It would have prevented the chaos he’s caused for our schools.”

“The governor put himself in a position where he feels pressured to help CPS, and the way out is offering a long term solution, not this halfhearted attempt,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood. “Our children have a right to a quality education and it takes real commitment to deliver that.”

Democratic members rejected the proposal when it came before the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday. While the measure would mandate the state to pay CPS, it would provide no revenue and no firm date of disbursement.

“What we need is real solutions to make sure CPS gets its fair share of state dollars,” said Majority Caucus Whip Iris Martinez. “This legislation was an attempt to solve the governor’s public relations problems with CPS, but what it won’t do is get more dollars into the classroom. CPS teachers, students and administrators deserve equitable funding, not unfunded and false promises from the Republicans.”

Senate Democrats have included a comprehensive plan on CPS funding as part of the grand bargain legislative package. So far, that provision has not met with any Republican support. The measure remains under consideration in the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

Over the course of a week, more than a dozen Rauner administration cabinet directors were called to testify in Senate committees and asked to come up with budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion hole in the governor's budget. Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants.

Public Health Committee Chairwoman Patricia Van Pelt questioned Public Health Director Nirav Shah and asked him to provide a list of potential cuts from his department. Here is what Sen. Van Pelt had to say during a press conference with Senate committee chairs.

Category: News
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