SPRINGFIELD – Today State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) voted to override Gov. Rauner’s veto on automatic registration. She was joined by colleagues this afternoon as they explained why Illinois needs automatic voter registration. The new approach streamlines the voter registration process, eliminating duplicative paperwork. SB 250 automatically registers voting-eligible residents whenever they apply for, update or renew their driver’s licenses, unless they ask not to be registered. Senator Collins Senate Floor remarks are as follows:

The right to vote for one’s representatives has been America’s fundamental freedom since this nation was founded. Its expression in our Constitution and throughout much of our history was imperfect – and perfected only by the willingness of ordinary people to make extraordinary sacrifices. Some bled, some were jailed and many died. And through this sacred struggle to perfect self-government, the franchise was expanded so no one would be turned away from the polls based on income, race or gender.

As a woman of color, I find unconscionable the recent campaigns in many states to reverse our progress, limiting access to the polls under the guise of fraud prevention. And this summer we have seen federal courts uphold the Constitution and strike down “voter ID” laws with their discriminatory effects.

Here in Illinois, I was proud to vote with a bipartisan group of my colleagues to reject the politics of suspicion and division and instead move forward – toward greater access – with Automatic Voter Registration.

The governor’s veto of this legislation hits the pause button on progress.

We have all seen powerful images of young people protesting injustice and calling for change. They are the voices of historically underrepresented communities, and they tell the bitter truth that government does not always work for them and their families. They need the power of the vote, and our arcane registration system too often stands in their way. Democracy can’t wait.

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February 18, 2015

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Rauner's budget proposal:

The plan the governor presented today is an assault, unprecedented in recent memory, on the working poor, the middle class and the most vulnerable members of our society. There is no shared sacrifice here; I heard no proposals for closing corporate loopholes or ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share.

Despite his promise to make Illinois more competitive and compassionate, the governor advocates for cuts that would decimate the ability of youth and others in our most underprivileged communities to compete. Meanwhile, compassion is conspicuously absent from this budget, which would eliminate breast and cervical cancer coverage for women making as little as $15,600, end respite care for families of children with developmental disabilities and further reduce already inadequate services for wards of the state.

Our young people — including those emerging from the most difficult of circumstances — possess within them the potential to transform our state. Achieving a balanced budget by undermining their opportunities — from the ability to attend school without fear of violence or bullying, to the chance to afford a college education — is both immoral and irresponsible. The savings the governor promises are a false economy: numbers that barely add up on paper and fall far short of our responsibilities to invest in the people of Illinois.


Recently, Governor Rauner took action to freeze most Youth Development Programming grants, instructing afterschool and youth employment programs to cease all operations funded with state money, even though the funds had been appropriated and contracts signed.

Ninety-two percent of Black males in Chicago between the ages of 16-19 are unemployed, and the situation isn't improving as these youth reach adulthood. In Chicago, nearly 23 percent of 20-to-24-year-olds were out of school and out of work, and young adults of color were eight times more likely to be disconnected from school and work than their white counterparts. Meanwhile, the number of shootings in Chicago increased 14 percent last year.

This is the state of the state in my district. I invite Gov. Rauner to tour my neighborhood, to see how defunding is destabilizing communities, diminishing hope and deferring dreams.

The organizations that lost funding serve Black and Brown communities where opportunities are few and hope is fleeting. They have been the foot soldiers on the ground, transforming lives and equipping young people for better and more productive adulthood.

Gov. Rauner says he wants Illinois to become the most competitive and compassionate state in the nation. Where is the compassion? And without mentoring, job training and a chance to work, how can the next generation of low-income minority youth hope to compete?

My colleagues and I who represent chronically disadvantaged communities are seeking answers. In yesterday's speech, we heard about opportunities for minorities. But what we've seen so far is those opportunities denied for our youth. Let's move beyond rhetoric to solutions — to uplift not just an economy, but communities that work to create a society that is both competitive and compassionate.

I'm proud to join 52 of my colleagues in support of federal limits on carbon emissions from power plants. Air pollution not only accelerates climate change but also disproportionately affects the young, the old, the sick and low-income and minority communities, exacerbating health conditions such as asthma, depressing property values and negatively affecting quality of life. Clean energy jobs already employ 96,000 Illinoisans, and encouraging the growth of sustainable energy alternatives will boost our economy while protecting public health and the health of our planet. Click here or below to watch a video about our stand to curb emissions.

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