0914a034x rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) that aims to eliminate lifetime barriers to employment for adults who committed crimes as youth was signed into law today.

The measure makes it easier for people to have certain arrests sealed by a judge in Illinois, allowing them opportunities for jobs, housing and education that they might have been denied otherwise.

“It is fundamentally unfair that someone who made a bad decision earlier in life should never be given a second chance,” Harmon said. “If these men and women have paid their debt and served their sentence, they should not be shackled with a document that forever deprives them of the ability to take care of themselves and their families.”

The legislation does not immediately seal criminal records for every offender, but rather creates a process by which someone can go to court and request their records sealed. A judge will ultimately have discretion on whether or not to grant the request.

Harmon worked closely with one individual who will benefit from the legislation – Quintin Williams, a 33-year-old doctorate student, husband and father who was recently denied a teaching position because the employer feared he would have a negative influence on students.

Williams, a fourth-year Loyola University student earning his doctorate in sociology, is forever bound to a record for crimes he committed as a teenager and in his early 20s – crimes he regrets and for which he paid his debt to society.
Since then, thanks in large part to his faith and to the countless people who saw potential in him along the way, Williams has dedicated himself to his work, his studies and his family. He’s stayed out of trouble, worked several jobs, earned college degrees and participated in anti-violence efforts.

The National Employment Law Project estimates, using U.S. Department of Justice statistics, that 42 percent of Illinois adults have a criminal record, whether it’s an arrest or some other brush with the law.

Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Chicago) sponsored the legislation in the House. It is an initiative of The Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois, which includes the Heartland Alliance, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, the Community Renewal Society, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and the FORCE Project (Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality).

House Bill 2373 becomes effective immediately.

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Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today in response to the violent white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville this weekend:

“It is vital that we stand in total opposition to the hatred, bigotry and violence displayed by the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville this past weekend. They are the heirs to the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. We fought two bloody wars in opposition to their ideologies. We must continue to fight those same twisted ideologies today.

Diversity has always and will always make America stronger and better. We condemn these groups and their actions, as they are the opposite of what our country strives to be.”


Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today after voting to override the governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, which creates evidence-based school funding reform:

“I voted today to uphold Senate Bill 1, a tested, evidence-based plan that will fix our state’s broken education funding formula, not temporarily patch it.

The governor’s plan is short-sighted. It may promise low-income districts money in the short term, but it hides provisions that would gravely injure them in the long run, like tying funding to enrollment and counting TIF district wealth as property value.

A fundamental promise of Senate Bill 1 is that no school district loses funding. The governor’s veto is a mean-spirited attack on the nearly 400,000 students in Chicago Public Schools who stand to lose almost $500 million under the governor’s plan. I cannot support a plan that would take money from the children of Chicago to give to other districts. Senate Bill 1 remains the only plan we have that provides fair and equitable funding for all students.”

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Category: News

05302017CM0195 rSPRINGFIELD – Illinois taxpayers, public universities and state agencies will benefit from Senator Don Harmon’s (D-Oak Park) bipartisan measure to streamline the state’s purchasing rules.

Senate Bill 8, which was signed into law yesterday, changes the way state government purchases goods and services.

“This new law streamlines the state purchasing process, cuts red tape and saves taxpayer dollars,” Harmon said. “State universities will now be able to purchase products without having to jump through unnecessary and costly hoops.”

The legislature enacted a series of strict procurement reforms in the aftermath of the George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich administrations because of questions over how they handled contracting, bid-letting and transparency for state business.

But the rules may have gone too far, sacrificing some efficiency and savings in an effort to deter corruption, Harmon said.

“Strict state purchasing rules have created more red tape in government and led to more harm than good,” Harmon said. “Rather than save money for the state, the rules frequently have caused them to waste more money and time than an average business would.”

Procurement reform is one of several measures Harmon sponsored that would streamline government processes and save taxpayer dollars.

Senate Bill 8 is effective immediately.

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Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today reacting to the governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, which creates evidence-based school funding reform:

“Today, Gov. Rauner had the opportunity to fix the worst school funding formula in the nation. He had a chance to sign legislation that brings equality to a system that currently shortchanges the school districts that need our help the most.

“I am disappointed that the governor put politics ahead of the needs of our state’s children, but I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure they get the education they deserve.”

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Category: News

Contact Me

Email Senator Harmon

Springfield Office:
329 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176
(f) 217.558.6013

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
(f) 708.848.2022

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