SPRINGFIELD — A plan to give students time off from school to vote passed out of the Senate Wednesday.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) spearheaded the effort to encourage youth voting after students at one of his local schools were not allowed to participate in a “March to the Polls” event during school hours.

“This effort is intended to help and encourage our young people to understand the importance of voting early on. We should make voting easy and accessible for everyone all across Illinois, including our students,” Sims said. “This is not a new concept; state workers get time off to vote, and it makes sense to provide our students with the same opportunity.”

Senate Bill 1970 amends the Election Code to allow students who are 18 or older to leave school for up to two hours to vote in a primary, general or any other election in the state that requires a popular vote.

The school can decide which hours students can be absent to vote.

The plan is modeled after current rules for employers and employees.

“Our young people are the next generation, and their input is just as valuable as any other demographic of voters,” Sims said. “This is an opportunity to excite young people and encourage them to take their civic duty as voters seriously. Let’s break down this barrier to voting, so they can raise their voices in the next election.”

SB 1970 passed out of the Senate. It is now headed to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD—A plan to make Illinois more competitive in the data center industry passed the Senate Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), would exempt the purchase and sale of materials used in the construction or operation of a data center from sales or use taxes. The bill provides further incentives for locating in areas of high unemployment or low wages in an effort to spur economic growth in low income areas.

 “We cannot pass up the opportunity to be a leader in the fast-growing data center industry,” Sims said. “Growing Illinois’ presence in this industry will bring revenue and jobs that are desperately needed in our state.”

To qualify for the tax exemption, a data center must be located in Illinois, create at least 20 new jobs over a 60-month period and be carbon-neutral or get a certification under green building standards.

New data centers must also make $250 million in new capital investments over a five-year period. Existing data centers must make that same amount over five years on or before Jan. 1, 2020.

Indiana and other surrounding states are targeting Illinois’ data center industry and this legislation will help us remain competitive and respond to attempts to draw jobs away from Illinois, Sims said.

“We do not want neighboring states to dominate this industry,” Sims said. “With this plan I know Illinois will keep and attract businesses looking to grow or relocate.”

Senate Bill 1591 is now headed to the House for consideration.


Category: Press Releases


SPRINGFIELD—A plan to require Illinois history to be taught in schools passed the Senate Wednesday.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr., a Democrat from Chicago, sponsored the bill that would create a requirement that Illinois history be taught in public schools.

“To create a better Illinois, we must teach our future leaders its rich history,” Sims said. “It is crucial that our students learn where our state has been, so they will have a better idea of where it needs to go, a better understanding of our society, a deeper sense of identity and hopefully be prompted to create change in their communities.”

Currently, there is not a specific requirement that Illinois history be taught as part of the U.S. history requirement in K-12 schools.  The law does require the course to include a comprehensive idea of our democratic form of government, the role and contributions of African Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic groups, and the role of labor unions.

“State government has a major impact on many aspects of our young peoples’ lives, especially their education,” Sims said. “As state leaders, it’s important that we make it a priority to educate students about how government works and our great state’s history.

Senate Bill 1601 is now headed to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD—A proposal to make Illinois more attractive to film companies passed out of the State Revenue Committee Wednesday.

The plan, sponsored by State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), would expand the state’s film production tax credit with the aim of raising Illinois’ national standing in the film and television industry.

“This move could put Illinois a step above other states in the media production industry,” Sims said. “We have seen exponential growth over the years, and this tax credit would boost that by making the state more attractive to film and television companies around the world.”

Senate Bill 1595 changes the Film Production Services Tax Credit Act to allow the first $200,000 of out-of-state wages paid or acquired by production companies to qualify for the film production services tax credit.

“With the out migration of business in recent years, we must do all we can to attract and keep businesses here in Illinois” Sims said. “Expanding the film tax credit will help us increase momentum in this industry.”

SB 1595 is set to head to the Senate floor for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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