State Senator Jacqueline Collins delivered the following remarks Wednesday, March 14 alongside members of the Illinois Senate during a 20-minute walkout that coincided with student walkouts throughout the country to call for action on gun violence.State Senator Jacqueline Collins delivered the following remarks Wednesday, March 14 alongside members of the Illinois Senate during a 20-minute walkout that coincided with student walkouts throughout the country to call for action on gun violence.

03142018Collins

I speak now because I respectfully requested that my colleague Senator Bush allot an additional three minutes to today’s action. I want to speak about who they symbolize.

Young people throughout the country raise their voices today to demand the protection they are due in a society that values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It would be remiss of us today not to remember that the epidemic of gun violence recently took the life of one sworn protector, Police Commander Paul Bauer, who died in the line of duty in Chicago. He is just one of hundreds to lose his life to gun violence over the past year.Let us take three minutes of silence: One to honor Commander Bauer and two more to honor all victims of gun violence in Illinois.

We call gun violence an epidemic for a good reason – because guns and bullets do not care about race, religion, age, gender, or creed, whether you wear a school uniform or a police uniform. For that reason, we must stand united. Let us unite, and after today’s solidarity and reflection, let us raise our voices together.

Senator Jacqueline Collins

Feb. 22, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

A new session of the legislature is upon us, and over the past couple of weeks, we have heard from Gov. Bruce Rauner about his budget priorities for the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, what we heard is in keeping with his past proposals, which have invariably sought to undo programs and services that aid the neediest and most vulnerable in our community.

 

In addition to outright eliminating certain initiatives that help university students, the governor’s 2019 budget proposal reduces spending on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, mental health services, and Redeploy Illinois, which has focused on keeping youth out of prison. After-school programs that seek to keep our children off the streets are also reduced or eliminated.

 

Gov. Rauner himself has pointed out that the situation for the African-American community in Illinois is dire, with the worst unemployment rate in the nation and worse-than-average showings in every quality-of-life indicator. These are the root causes of violence in our communities. It is broadly understood that we combat the blight of violence through education, through attention to mental health and through job opportunities. Yet his budget proposes the exact opposite.

 

I say it often because it bears repeating: A budget is a moral document. It is not solely about a bottom line, but about what statement we send to our community and our world about what we value as a society. I believe Illinoisans value using our resources to aid, protect and empower those who need help, because any of us might find ourselves in similar straits. That is why I oppose these cuts and urge you to raise your voice in opposition to them as well.

 

Please call my office at 773-224-2830 to tell me how these proposed cuts might affect you or somebody you care about, or to speak about any other important topic in state government.

 

Sincerely,
Jacqueline Collins
Senator Jacqueline Collins
16th District – Illinois

 

 

District Office

1155 West 79th Street • Chicago, IL 60620

773-224-2830 (Phone) • 773-224-2855 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

M114 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-1607 (Phone)

 

collins ss3 113017Yesterday, Senator Collins joined Senator Kwame Raoul, Senator Bill Cunningham, and other lawmakers and activists to call for the state to end its participation in the Crosscheck voter database. The right to vote is the right to participate in a democracy without fear of reprisal. No citizen should feel this right comes with the possibility of surveillance, or that their own personal security may be compromised by doing so. Collins pledged to support and co-sponsor any legislation that will opt Illinois out of this system.

It has again come down to a deadline. After two years of harsh fighting over a budget, I share the exhaustion, the worry and the outrage my constituents and their teachers feel as the governor has declared he will veto school funding. As with the budget impasse, this avoidable fight appears to be largely over marginal details.

At issue now is Senate Bill 1 – a long-in-demand reform of school funding that is the result of years of study, bipartisan negotiation and legislative trial-and-error in the General Assembly. I am a proud chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1 because it’s the closest we’ve gotten in more than 20 years to sending a bill to the governor’s desk to fix our abysmal funding model here in Illinois. Part of the budget agreement reached earlier this month hinged on such reform becoming law.

Senate Bill 1 ensures no school districts lose any funding, while also smoothing out the unfairness that has existed in the state’s formula for decades. That inequity has led to massive student achievement gaps and gross disparities in funding for school districts. It has led to students mere miles away from one another attending schools with facilities that seem like they are in different countries. How we can look students in the eye and tell them we value education under the status quo is a mystery.

Crain’s has declared Senate Bill 1 a necessary reform for Illinois schools. School superintendents across the state have given it their vocal support. And even Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he supports 90 percent of the plan, and publicly stated in a recent press conference that with only minor tweaks, it would be acceptable. Why he chooses to veto it rather than accept it as a compromise – arrived at after numerous rounds of bipartisan negotiation and with broad public support – is deeply frustrating.

I became chief co-sponsor of this legislation because I believe in fair funding for Chicago and for all Illinois schools. I urge you to learn more about the plan by visiting fundingilfuture.org, the website for the independent coalition of more than 200 superintendents and advocates who support school funding reform. And I also urge you to call Gov. Rauner’s office at 217-782-0244 and tell him to sign Senate Bill 1 when he receives it.

Contact Info

Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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