hunterCHICAGO— State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to protests and riots in Chicago brought on by the murder of George Floyd:

 “I’m saddened and angered as we mourn the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement. They are painful illustrations of the deep-rooted systems of oppression, and systems of protection for bad actors, that continue to burden African-American families. These murders sow further hopelessness, anger, and agony, which have been expressed over the past few days through widespread protests.

 “However, some have seen this as an excuse to commit shameful acts of destruction and lawlessness. Those who hijack our protests to stir chaos demean and drown out the pleas of black families who are crying out for justice. Vandalism and looting shouldn’t be tolerated, but I refuse to let that shift focus away from the root issue. At some point, looting will end, but black Americans will continue to live and die under the menace of police violence unless we upend this broken system with real reforms. Police officers that engage or are complicit in unnecessary violence or racist acts should be fired the first time it happens, investigations should be swift and public, and discipline must always match up to the weight of the offense.

 “As for the majority of protesters, it was heartening to see countless Chicagoans, of all generations and backgrounds, who have taken to the streets to peacefully demand justice and make our voices heard in a productive way that respects the businesses and community institutions that Chicago families have worked so hard to build. Over the past 48 hours, many of the same individuals have taken action to help businesses and organizations recover from acts of vandalism and looting. These inspiring individuals represent the true unbreakable spirit of our city.

 “Above all, our path forward must not end with protests. Now is the time to harness our collective anger to galvanize a movement toward ending police violence and eradicating all systemic inequalities, including disparities in economic opportunity, health, and education. Black families can’t wait any longer.”

Category: Frontpage

 State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) issued the following statement after today’s bipartisan vote on a balanced budget:

“We’ve been working to reach a bipartisan budget agreement for months. Today, we came together to make important investments in our state’s future by passing a deal that funds critical programs that serve all Illinoisans.

“The package we passed includes funds to education, MAP grants, addiction treatment and childcare services. All of these programs are essential to the lives of our citizens and should not be reduced or cut from the budget.

“The lack of affordable childcare is truly tearing at the fabric of my community. Some mothers are forced to make difficult decisions on how to care for their families while still making an honest living. The governor’s budget proposal slashed the Child Care Assistance Program leaving many mothers few or no options at all for childcare.

“I am pleased that the plan we passed today restores funding the Child Care Assistance Program, which also includes a significant rate increase.

“Those afflicted by the opioid epidemic also remained near and dear to my heart this legislative session as I vowed to support and sponsor legislation to curb the problem. This budget plan puts nearly $2 million toward the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, which will save many lives.

“Again, I think we are on the right track as a legislative body and I was so happy to support a measure that will stabilize the lives of individuals and families in this state.”

Category: Frontpage

Black Caucus Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus held a press conference to highlight how the percent of state business going to minority contractors has fallen significantly under Gov. Bruce Rauner.
 
Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), who also chairs the joint Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, said: “For Rauner to act like he’s been a champion for our community after the last three years is appalling. Bruce Rauner talks about improving opportunities for minority-owned businesses, but the numbers tell a different story. Under Bruce Rauner’s administration, minority contracting requirements have been waived and the percent of state business going to minority businesses has actually plummeted.”

Records show that in January 2015, Gov. Rauner announced an executive order studying barriers in contracting for minority businesses. Then, in November 2015, the Rauner administration secretly waived minority participation requirements for a $94 million state contract.

Three years later, Gov. Rauner discussed another Executive Order to address these same issues. Members of the Senate and House said they felt this was a political move on the governor’s part.

“Rep. Will Davis and I have been working together on these issues for several years,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) “And, I can’t help but to question the governor’s intention on signing yet another Executive Order. In 2016, we established the Fair Practices in Contracting Task Force. Here we are two years later, conveniently when the governor’s running for re-election, he signs another order to address the same disparities—I’m tired of the political games.”

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Category: Frontpage

demilitarized policing  SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is strongly urging the United States Congress to reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of military equipment provided to local law enforcement agencies. For the last 20 years, the United States government has used the 1996 National Defense Authorization Act to give local law enforcement agencies access to military equipment at no charge.

“Law enforcement agencies need to be held accountable and provide greater transparency around the flow of weapons into these departments,” said Hunter. “There is little transparency in which departments receive such equipment, and there is even less information provided to the public as to why local law enforcement may need such equipment.”

Militarized policing has deepened the divide between communities and police, reducing public trust in law enforcement officers. The federal government and the State of Illinois have failed to adequately provide reasonable long-lasting restrictions and oversight on the use of military grade weapons by police.

In 2015, then-President Barack H. Obama took steps to demilitarize local police by banning tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers and more. In 2017, President Trump rolled back the Obama-era demilitarization policies, thereby allowing law enforcement agencies access to military equipment, typically used for warfare.

“Over the past few years, we have seen this military grade equipment used in our own backyards —¬specifically on or against black and brown people,” Hunter said. “I have listened to the cries from my constituents as they begged for something to be done. We as legislators need to take the proper steps to ensure safety among all citizens no matter one’s geographical location or zip code.”

Hunter’s Resolution is set to be heard in the Senate State Government Committee.

Category: Frontpage

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