SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address:

“Governor Rauner may have touted his work on criminal justice reform, but his recent comments calling Chicago the murder capital and his refusal to stand up to President Trump, rather than actually investing in programs that would help reduce crime in Chicago speaks volumes,” Van Pelt said.

“The governor’s refusal to compromise on a budget directly impacts our criminal justice system and makes it harder for criminal justice reform attempts to succeed. The lack of budget has caused underfunding for important human service programs that help reduce recidivism, treat addiction and help prisoners re-enter the workforce, all of which are critical parts of criminal justice reform. In order to make significant progress toward reforming the criminal justice system, the governor needs to make funding human service programs and investing in our neighborhoods a real priority.”


Springfield— Eligible voters throughout the state will now be automatically registered to vote under legislation advanced today with the full veto override support in the Senate.

Senate Bill 250, co-sponsored by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), would allow for the Secretary of State’s office and similar state agencies to submit eligible voters’ information to the State Board of Elections when they visit their facilities for services.

Van Pelt made the following statement about the Senate’s override of Senate Bill 250:

“Voting is so important. This legislation makes it easier to engage in the process. It gives youth an opportunity to easily engage and exercise their right to vote.”

Overall, more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote aren’t registered. The measure now moves to the Illinois House of Representatives, where it will be debated.


SPRINGFIELD — Children in police custody for certain crimes would have greater protection when being interrogated by police under legislation advanced this week by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago).

Senate Bill 2370, which passed in the Illinois Senate with bipartisan support, would require any child 15 or younger to have an attorney present during custodial interrogations by police when accused of murder and sex offenses. It also would require police to recite a simplified Miranda warning for youth.

“This is personal to me. Although this legislation is not exactly what we wanted, it’s a step in the right direction. This is dedicated to Trevon Yates. I'll never forget him. He was my motivation in filing this legislation,” Van Pelt said

Trevon Yates, then 17 years old, was arrested in 2013, by St. Clair County deputies and questioned in connection with a robbery of a couple that was lured to a parking lot in Belleville, where they expected to meet someone who had advertised an iPhone for sale on Craigslist. A two-hour interrogation video shows the East St. Louis teen repeatedly professing his innocence, begging for his mother and praying to God, before being coerced into confession by sheriff’s detectives.

Yates, who has diminished cognitive ability, was charged with armed robbery and spent nine months in jail before the charges were eventually dismissed after additional evidence cleared him of any wrongdoing. He was later awarded a $900,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit alleging the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department violated his civil rights.

The current law only requires minors under 13 years of age who are charged with murder or sex offenses to be represented by counsel during custodial interrogations. Senate Bill 2370 now moves to the House of Representative where it will be deliberated.

Van Pelt acknowledged more needs to be done to protect teens, but said this is a good start.


SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D - Chicago 5th) has been busy advocating for not only children, but also for people seeking work.

Van Pelt advanced a measure providing that no employer shall enter into a non-compete covenant with any low-wage employee. Any other non-compete covenant must be disclosed to an employee prior to the hiring of the employee.

It defines "low-wage employee" as an employee based on hourly, annual or monthly compensation and allows the Department of Labor to adjust these amounts for inflation. The department shall also investigate and enforce complaints.

One study suggested a significant share of workers don't necessarily understand the agreements they're signing. About 40 percent of those who signed a non-compete agreement "read it quickly or not at all."

"This is a commonsense measure that puts more individuals to work. No one should be limited in their pursuit of employment. It is my hope that it will be called for a vote within the coming weeks, Van Pelt said.



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