Sims 1

CHICAGO—State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME overturning a 40-year decision regarding the ability of unions to collectively bargain. The ruling says government workers who are represented by a union, but choose not to join, do not have to pay to cover the costs of collective bargaining.

“The Supreme Court’s decision today continues the conservative assault on working families led by Gov. Rauner and President Donald Trump. This action must not be taken lightly and reinforces the need to have judges on the bench who see the judiciary as an opportunity to protect the rights of all citizens, not an opportunity to execute a political agenda or use the courts as a tool against working families in favor of big business and corporate profits. Unfortunately, today’s decision is another in a long line of decisions by this court to silence the voices of everyday Americans in favor of big business and special interests.

“These ‘fair share’ dues provide crucial protections to state workers and prevent ‘free riders’ – people who don’t pay the fees but benefit from the work of unions. This decision will cause the people represented by public unions to struggle while some undeservingly reap the benefit from their efforts.

“This decision by the Supreme Court will negatively impact our economy and lead to lower wages for teachers, police officers, fire fighters and other public workers.  The action will also have a disproportionate impact on African American workers, who make up a significant number of public sector employees.

“Today’s decision is, without a doubt, part of a much larger partisan plan to silence worker voices and the protections they have historically received by collectively bargaining.”

According to an analysis by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, today’s decision could lead to an annual decrease in economic activity across the United States of anywhere from between $11.7 billion and $33.4 billion.  The decision could also cause average wages of state and local government employees to fall by $1,810 or an average of 3.6 percent per worker and the salaries of public school teachers to drop by 5.4 percent.

Category: Press Releases

Sims Cooling Off Period

SPRINGFIELD-State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) passed Senate Bill 3256, which would extend a 72-hour waiting period to all firearms in Illinois.

"Having an across-the-board 'cooling off' period for firearms could prevent people from causing harm to themselves or others," said Sims. "Requiring a 72-hour waiting period is a commonsense reform that will help keep our communities safe."

Current Illinois law requires a 72-hour waiting period to obtain handguns after purchase, but assault weapons, including the AR-15 and other military-style weapons can be collected in just 24 hours.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed waiting period legislation earlier this legislative session. SB 3256 matches a proposal he made in that amendatory veto.

This plan will bring all firearms in line with handguns, which are already regulated under a 72-hour waiting period.

"We must take every step we can to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. I believe this measure will help save lives by preventing someone from making a violent snap judgment that leads to actions that could have been prevented," said Sims.

This waiting period will give law enforcement ample time to do proper background checks as well as provide a "cooling off" period for people who may hurt themselves or someone else.

Passage of SB 3256 is a prelude to National Gun Violence Awareness Day today, which further highlights the need to prevent gun violence in Illinois and across the country.

SB 3256 heads to the governor's desk for approval.

Category: Press Releases

Sims Budget

 SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the state’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget:

“I’m pleased the Senate was able to pass a full-year, balanced, bipartisan budget which makes significant investments in areas needed to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the state of Illinois, particularly those of the 17th District.

“This budget makes significant investments in improving the quality of our schools and institutions of higher education, like Chicago State University. The budget also seeks to keep students in Illinois as they seek to obtain a quality higher education, while simultaneously focusing on protecting our most vulnerable populations and addressing the issue of gun violence in the 17th District and across the state.

“Gun violence impacts communities across Illinois, raising legitimate public safety concerns among my constituents.

“As one of the budgeteers, I kept public safety concerns and the alternative strategies needed to prevent the root causes of violence foremost in my mind as we negotiated this year’s budget. This budget plan restores funding for youth employment programs, after school programming and youth programs, including Teen REACH.

“Jobs and afterschool programs go hand in hand with violence prevention. Providing our young people with constructive activities and employment is crucial to keeping them focused on their futures, off the streets and most of all, alive.

“I’m glad my colleagues and I were able to work together in a bipartisan manner to craft a balanced spending plan that prioritizes the success of our young people in at-risk communities, invests in education and improves the quality of life for citizens across our state. 

“I look forward to the budget passing the Illinois House of Representatives and being signed into law by the Governor to further put Illinois on the road to fiscal stability and make a difference in the lives of the people of the 17th District and across the state of Illinois.”

Category: Press Releases

Sims jury duty

SPRINGFIELD—Under a new proposal that passed the Senate today, mothers may be excused from jury duty if they’re currently breastfeeding.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. is the chief Senate sponsor of House Bill 5745, which allows nursing mothers to be exempt from jury duty upon request.

“It’s important that we respect and acknowledge many mothers’ need to breastfeed their babies,” said Sims. “This plan prioritizes their responsibilities as parents because their children come first before anything else.”

This legislation is designed to create parity between the Jury Commission Act and the Jury Act, which already allow nursing mothers to be excused from jury duty.

Currently, the JCA authorizes the exemption for counties with populations that are between 75,000 and 3 million. HB 5745 would excuse all nursing mothers in Illinois regardless of county population size.

Sims is also sponsoring a similar plan, Senate Bill 3503, which requires circuit courts in Illinois to provide a lactation room.

“We would hope that if these courthouses don’t already have lactations rooms, they will in the near future,” said Sims. “In instances where they don’t, or mothers don’t feel comfortable, they should be exempt from jury duty.”

HB5745 is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Category: Press Releases

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