Tag: Sen. Harmon

Local Lawmakers Push Safe Zones Immigration Bill

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 || By Tim Inklebarger/Wednesday Journal || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Mony Ruiz-Velasco, executive director of PASO. | File 

As the Trump Administration continues to ramp up arrests and deportation of undocumented immigrants across the nation, two local state lawmakers have advanced a proposal aimed at creating safe zones for them in public spaces.

Continue reading “Local Lawmakers Push Safe Zones Immigration Bill”

County Stiffens Penalties for Assault Weapons Ban Violators; State Toughens Pawnshop Regulations

SpringfieldTuesday, August 4, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

County stiffens penalties for violators of assault weapons ban

The Cook County Board of Commissioners passed an amendment to the county’s Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban at a board meeting on July 29. The amendment, sponsored by Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), changes a section of that ban to reflect stiffer penalties for anyone caught with illegal assault weapons.

First-time violators will now be subject to a fine between $5,000 and $10,000, with subsequent violations punishable by a fine of up to $15,000, and a possible jail term of up to one year. The previous fine for first-time violators was between $1,000 and $5,000, with a subsequent fine of up to $10,000 and a possible jail term of up to six months.

Penalties for violating the assault weapons ban — which is named for 16-year-old Chicago honors student Blair Holt, who was murdered in 2007 by a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun — were last increased in 2013. This most recent round of increases went into effect as soon as they were passed.

Boykin said the stiffer penalties comprise point six of his Seven Point Plan to combat gun violence in Chicago, which he unveiled earlier this year.

“I am committed to enacting the plan the quickest, most practical way possible. But we cannot get it done all at once, then I will break it into pieces and attempt to pass it point by point […] one of those key pointed passed into law, and I am gratified while recognizing we still have a great deal more work to do,” Boykin noted in a statement.

New law to tighten pawnshop regulations statewide

Gov. Bruce Rauner approved a new law that would make it more difficult for pawnshops to sell items with missing serial numbers, and that would put a floor under how long pawnshops are required to hold onto products before they can sell or transfer them.

The law, which was primarily sponsored by state Sen. Don Harmon (39th) in the senate, amends the Pawnbroker Regulation Act. It goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

“A missing serial number — particularly on something dangerous like a gun or expensive like a phone or computer — is a real problem,” Harmon noted in a statement. “I know most pawnshops don’t want to support criminal activity, but if you resell a major item that’s missing its serial number, you very well might be.”

According to Harmon’s statement, pawnshops will be allowed to accept items that have worn serial numbers, but they’ll need to hold them for at least 15 days before sale. In addition, the law will require pawnshops “to hold on to all items for at least 10 days before sale or transfer (even to another store owned by the same company).”

As an example of the disparte holding periods throughout the state, Harmon noted that, while Chicago pawnshops are required to abide by a 30-day holding period, those in Melrose Park must only hold items for a minimum of 24 hours.

“After seeing the patchwork of holding periods throughout the state, we decided to establish a baseline of 10 days to give law enforcement long enough to track down stolen property,” Harmon stated. “Cities like Chicago and Oak Park will still be able to set stricter requirements.” VFP

State and local lawmakers react to Rauner’s ‘Chopping Block’ Budget


Sunday, February 22, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

Over the past several days since Gov. Rauner’s Feb. 18 budget address, there has been a tidal wave of reactions from state and local lawmakers–much of them penchant critiques of the governor’s cost-cutting.

The Chicago Sun-Times created a handy list of ten areas on “Rauner’s chopping block.” Virtually all of the cuts will affect residents of Proviso Township:

10 Areas on Rauner’s Chopping Block


• $1.5 billion reduction to Health and Family Services budget, including elimination of Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation facilities.

Human Services:

• Division of alcohol and substance abuse – $27.5 million reduction

• Division of mental health — $82 million reduction

• Elimination of Best Buddies, Project Autism, Arc of Illinois, Homeless youth services, Immigration Integration Services, Illinois Welcoming centers

• $23 million reduction to Early Intervention Program

Public Health:

• $19 million reduction from 2015


$100 billion savings over 30 years in payments

$25 billion immediate reduction in unfunded liability.

$2.2 billion in savings from pension payments in this budget.

Higher education:

•$400 million reduction system wide

•More than 30 percent cut to all public universities over 2015.

•Illinois Board of Higher Education general funds cut by 50 percent

•Illinois Board of Higher Ed grants eliminated.

• Illinois Math and Science Academy reduced by nearly 8 percent.

Public safety:

• Ceasefire funding cut from $4.7 million to $1.9 million

• Elimination of funding for bullying prevention, meth pilot program, South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force


• Eliminates services for young adults ages 18-21


•$700 million reduction in budget for group health


•Reduces from 8 percent to 4 percent the share of income tax provided to local governments. $600 million reduction.


$127 million reduction in RTA subsidy, which could affect the CTA, Metra and Pace.

Here are some responses to the cuts from state and local lawmakers:

State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-4th)

Sen. Lightford“Not funding education at a 100 percent rate again this year is simply unacceptable. Ninety-nine percent funding would not be enough, so the proposed 95 percent is certainly not adequate. Furthermore, the possibility of slashing the state’s child care program, worker salaries, Medicaid, and other critical services, while instituting sharper tax cuts for CEOs will not move Illinois forward. It will only lend itself to further alienation and degradation of those unlucky enough to be ill, young, elderly or poor.”

“I still hold hope that I can work with this administration to institute a budget relying on justified reform and facilitating job creation.”

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-7th)

Chris Welch in DC“With Illinois facing an estimated $5.7 billion deficit next fiscal year, our state faces severe fiscal challenges.  However, we cannot realistically cut our way to a balanced budget. Any approach must include spending cuts and additional revenue to avoid devastating the schools, law enforcement agencies and health care programs on which working families rely.”

“I was encouraged to hear the governor call for an increase in early childhood, elementary and secondary education funding, and I look forward to working with him and legislators on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we accomplish that goal.”

First District Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (pictured top) and State Sen. Don Harmon (D-39)

Boykin VFP“Governor Rauner proposes to cut $50.4 million dollars from Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities. Commonly  referred to as “Smurfs,” these facilities provide needed crisis stabilization services and an opportunity for individuals wrestling with mental illness  to transition back to community-based living with supportive services that reduce the risk of homelessness.

Don HarmonWithout the availability of services in the community, individuals will be forced to rely upon services provided by our township governments, hospitals and jails. Such an influx would place great strain on the budgets of Cook County, and the villages, cities and townships we represent. The resulting burden on our local property taxes would increase to an even greater level.” VFP