IMG 0439 rCHICAGO –State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) today joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson, fellow legislators, gun violence prevention advocates and victims of gun violence in calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

The measure would allow Illinois to license gun dealers, holding corrupt dealers accountable and cracking down on straw purchases. According to a 2014 report from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, almost 20 percent of all guns recovered from crimes scenes in Chicago from 2009-2013 came from three of the state’s 2,400 dealers.

At a press conference this morning, Harmon said the measure is not only good policy, but also has broad public support.

“If the public policy doesn’t convince the governor, I hope that perhaps the politics will,” Harmon said. “Eighty-five percent of Illinoisans want this bill signed. He should sign it today. We’ll even give him the pen.”

Senate Bill 1657 passed the Senate last April and the House last month with bipartisan support. Rauner has yet to indicate whether he intends to sign it into law.

State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), who cosponsored the measure, joined Harmon at today’s press conference and shared the impact gun violence has had on his life.

“I joined this journey because I experienced gun violence directly outside my home,” Raoul said. “This is personal. I struggle with why this is being politicized into a difficult decision. This is a simple decision about accountability.”

CPD Superintendent Johnson called the measure “commonsense legislation” and said he was proud to lend his voice to the group calling on the governor to sign it into law.

“As a Chicago police officer, I’ve seen guns tear apart families and cut lives far too short for 30 years. Last month, I had the difficult task of delivering the tragic news to Commander Paul Bauer’s family after he was murdered by a repeat offender.” Johnson said. “This bill won’t bring back our loved ones or Commander Bauer, but it’s the least we can do to show their families that we remember them and are fighting for their memories and legacies.”

Emanuel suggested that Rauner, with his reluctance to make a commitment on the legislation, is putting politics ahead of the people of Illinois.

“The governor may be thinking of the primary election, but we are thinking of the primary responsibility he has to keep us safe,” Emanuel said. “Here in Illinois, we license car shops. We license liquor shops. We license barber shops. We now have a chance, if the governor would sign the bill, to license gun shops. All eyes are on the governor.”

Senate Bill 1657 was delivered to the governor’s desk on March 1. If he does not sign or veto it in 60 days, it automatically becomes law.

Category: News

022818 KS 1126 rSPRINGFIELD – Fifteen years after State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) first introduced similar legislation, the Illinois House voted 64-52 yesterday to pass his measure requiring gun dealers to be licensed by the state.

“When I first introduced the gun dealer licensing bill, I thought we’d be having this celebration a lot sooner,” Harmon said. “After all the work we’ve done with advocacy groups over the years, I’m thrilled that we’ve finally been able to advance this commonsense gun law to try to take some illegal guns off our streets.”

The Gun Dealer Licensing Act would allow Illinois to license gun dealers and encourage better business practices while holding corrupt dealers accountable as authorities try to get a handle on the violence epidemic prevalent in Chicago neighborhoods and across the state.

Today’s vote coincided with a rally hosted by the gun reform advocacy group Moms Demand Action that drew 500 supporters to the steps of the Illinois Capitol.

“We come together today to say, ‘Enough!’” said Lauren Quinn, leader of the Central Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We demand more than thoughts and prayers from our lawmakers. We are here today to tell them that we need action.”

Harmon’s district includes portions of the West Side of Chicago, an area that has been plagued with gun violence for years. As of Monday, 349 people have been shot in Chicago this year.

“There’s no one law that’s going to solve all our problems, but other states that have adopted similar licensing requirements have seen a 65 percent reduction in guns used in crimes,” Harmon said. “I can only hope we reach that number, but I know this bill will at least keep some guns off the street and some young people alive.”

Senate Bill 1657 now moves to the governor’s desk.


Category: News

02072018CM0547 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address today:

“The governor failed basic budget math today. Forcing another government to pay your bills does not cut government spending or reduce the burden on taxpayers. It just shifts the blame to somebody else. Avoiding blame seems to be the governor’s specialty.”

“We’ve talked about responsibly shifting new teacher pension costs to school districts, but in a way that won’t hit property taxpayers. No one who is serious about governing would ever suggest the rapid and crippling ‘cost-shift’ the governor proposed today.”

“Secondly, you can’t brag about giving schools an additional $350 million while at the same time forcing $490 million in new costs on them. That’s not an increase – it’s a $140 million decrease.”

“The governor may tout the education funding reform bill as an accomplishment of his, but his proposed budget breaks the deal we made to increase funding for schools.”

Category: News

041310br0087 rSPRINGFIELD – The day before Governor Rauner’s budget address, Illinois House and Senate Democratic caucuses are uniting once again to reintroduce the Illinois Comeback Agenda. This year, the group of rank-and-file legislators has narrowed their agenda to focus on creating and supporting good, safe Illinois jobs.

The lawmakers developed the policy agenda to focus four areas key to working Illinoisans’ ability to build economic security.

•  Better wages – someone working full time should not be struggling to get by.
•  Better benefits – basic benefits like paid sick leave, fair scheduling and protections against wage theft give workers job security and keep workplaces safe.
•  Investing in Illinois – we can be smarter with our tax incentives, and reclaim money from corporations who take significant tax breaks and then ship jobs out of Illinois.
•  Inclusive Infrastructure – construction and capital projects must prioritize hiring historically disenfranchised populations, and prioritize in historically disenfranchised communities.

These rank-and-file lawmakers first introduced the Illinois Comeback Agenda last year, and say they joined together again to narrow the scope for a more focused approach. The group says their agenda, in part, is in response to the governor’s focus on job creation.

“When I talk to my constituents, when my colleagues talk to their constituents, we’re all hearing the same thing,” said Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “It all comes back to jobs. What is really missing from our discussion about job growth in Springfield, however, is the quality of jobs and people’s ability to get by. Job growth can’t just be about the number of jobs, it has to be about the kind of jobs that actually help people build economic security.”

“We’re glad the governor is focused on job growth,” said Representative Carol Ammons (D-Champaign). “If we want real economic recovery in this state, we do need more jobs. But creating more and more low wage jobs without basic protections like sick leave keeps workers jumping from job to job, always struggling to get by. It doesn’t have to be like that.”

“Right now it feels as if we’re measuring job growth by asking CEOs how happy they are here in Illinois,” said Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago). “It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten that governing is about making Illinois a good place to live and work for everyone. What we’re talking about here is pretty basic: working people should be able to support their families, stay home if they’re sick, our tax dollars should benefit Illinois jobs, and our infrastructure projects should be smart and inclusive. Combined, these initiatives will give working Illinois families a fair shot.”

Learn more about the Illinois Comeback Agenda at

Category: News

02072018CM0585 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation giving patients access to medical alternatives to prescription painkillers passed the Senate Executive Committee today.

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) introduced the Alternatives to Opioids Act to tackle the opioid crisis, an epidemic that killed more than 60,000 people nationwide last year.

The measure would allow people who have been prescribed opioids for a medical condition to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card instead.

“This is a common-sense method to address the issue of opioid addiction,” Harmon said. “We know that medical cannabis is a safe alternative treatment for the same conditions for which opioids are prescribed.”

Melissa Burton-Sanders testified to the committee that using medical marijuana to treat her multiple sclerosis symptoms instead of opioids has been a blessing.

“I am no longer in pain. I am a better parent,” said Burton-Sanders, a mother of five. “I am present for my children and that is worth everything in the world to me.

Illinois created the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program in 2013 and is one of 29 states to have legalized medical cannabis.

Senate Bill 336 passed the Executive Committee 16-1 and will now head to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: News

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Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
329 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002

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