SPRINGFIELD—Mothers who are breastfeeding can now be exempt from jury duty in Illinois.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) sponsored House Bill 5745 that allows nursing mothers to be excused from jury duty upon request.

“We have to respect and defend a mother’s need to breastfeed,” Sims said.  “It is important for us to allow nursing mothers to prioritize their responsibilities as a parent because it’s the most important job they have.”

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 Jury Commission Act authorizes the exemption for counties with populations that are between 75,000 and 3 million. The new law excuses all nursing mothers in Illinois regardless of county population size.

The governor signed House Bill 5745 into law today.

Category: Press Releases

gun change

SPRINGFIELD—Legislation to extend the waiting period for all firearms has now been signed into law.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) sponsored legislation that would require applicants for any firearm to wait at least 72 hours before they can receive it.

“This sweeping ‘cooling off’ period for guns will protect people throughout the state by keeping guns out of the wrong hands,” said Sims. “The 72-hour waiting period provides a strong and effective tool in our efforts to keep our communities safe.”

Before this action, Illinois law mandated a 72-hour waiting period to obtain a handgun after purchase, but assault weapons, including the AR-15 and other military-style weapons, could be received in only 24 hours.

The governor vetoed a similar bill earlier in the legislative session. Senate Bill 3256 is the answer to his proposal within the amendatory veto.

“With all of the gun violence we’re seeing in our communities and around the country, we must have the proper regulations in place to keep someone from making a hasty decision that could end their life or someone else’s,” Sims said.

Senate Bill 3256 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Category: Press Releases

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

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