Governor Rauner, your signature, please!

UUANI and our partners worked very hard this spring to persuade legislators to pass several suites of bills to protect the people of Illinois — A significant number of those bills were passed by both houses and now await the signature of our governor.  Passed by a majority of our legislators, they represent the voice of the people of Illinois — and yet they have not been signed into law.  Governor Rauner has 60 days from passage in the legislature (end of May) to sign and HIS TIME IS RUNNING OUT.  No signature amounts to a veto.  Demand that Governor Rauner heed the will of the people and sign these bills:  

Supporting restorative justice — HB4469 “Know your rights” affirms access to voting rights for people in jail and after incarceration; HB5341 Fair Access to Employment provides that outstanding fees and fines cannot stand in the way of sealing records in order to gain employment; SB3388 “Adult Redeploy” extends support services to a wider range of post-incarceration people.

Supporting immigrant and refugee rights —  SB35 Immigration Safe Zones designates public buildings as areas off-limits to unwarranted arrest and harassment for all people; SB34 the VOICES Act requires law enforcement to provide visas to qualified individuals without requiring them to jeopardize their safety as undocumented individuals; SB3488 the Anti-registry Act forbids agencies to create registry lists based on discriminatory characteristics such as national origin, religion, race, gender identity and immigration status.

Gun Safety — Governor Rauner just signed into law HB2354 the “Red Flag Firearms Restraining Order,” allowing a citizen to register a restraining order against the purchase or ownership of a gun for a person demonstrating real and present danger to a community; but not SB337 Combatting Illegal Gun Trafficking (formerly Gun Dealer Licensing).

If any of these issues resonate with you, TAKE ACTION and send a letter to Governor Rauner TODAY.  Apparently, he still needs to hear the voice of the people!  Use the bill number(s) in your letter subject and your best voice of outrage in your letter, with perhaps a hint that you have a vote to cast in the fall election.

Let our elected officials know we are watching them!

Urge Governor Rauner to protect our immigrant neighbors

Amid the national uproar over the treatment of immigrants, remember that our Illinois state legislators this spring have passed important safeguards for our own immigrant people.   THIS WEEK, Governor Rauner is slated to sign these into law — or not.   Urge Governor Rauner to affirm the desire of Illinois citizens for compassion and justice for these beleaguered people.

The Immigration Safe Zones Act, SB35, provides that public buildings and sites of taxpayer-funded agencies be declared areas safe for all people regardless of immigration status, which includes sanctuary from arrest without warrant.  The Voices Act of 2018, SB34, requires state agencies to provide visas to qualifying individuals who are survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking or other criminal activity without requiring them to jeopardize their safety by identifying as undocumented people.  The Anti-registry Act, SB3488, provides that agencies may not create registry lists based on discriminatory characteristics such as nation of origin, religion, race, gender identity and immigration status.   

I am proud that Illinois has led the way in immigrant justice — let’s continue our exemplary protection for our immigrant people.

Click HERE to ask Governor Rauner to sign these bills!


Protect our border families - VOTE NO for H.R. 4760

We are all appalled — as well we should be — at the practice of separating families at the southwestern border.  Members of Congress are crafting legislation to end this practice through an omnibus bill filled with their favorite anti-immigrant initiatives.  BUT the administration does not need Congress to pass legislation to end their “zero-tolerance” practice — the administration can do this by executive order.  

Meanwhile Congress is floating on our outrage a bill that will not only NOT end the practice of separating families, it will worsen the injustices faced by asylum seekers and their children.  It will drastically cut legal immigration quotas, eliminate green cards for family reunification and increase detention and deportation. Further, these bills do not offer a workable path to citizenship for the Dreamers among us.  

Click HERE to urge your congressperson to vote NO on the Securing America’s Future Act (HR4760) and the proposed Border Security and Immigration Reform Act.

Urge Governor Rauner to support restorative justice!

Our Illinois legislature has done a fine job passing several bills supporting restorative justice and working against recidivism in folks caught in the criminal justice system.  Now we need to ask Governor Rauner to sign the bills:  HB5341 allows fair access to employment by not allowing sealing or expungement of records to be denied on the basis of outstanding financial obligations like fees, fines, and court costs;  SB3388 extends the availability of Adult Redeploy, a program offering counseling, life coaching, problem-solving courts, and other restorative justice processes; and HB4469 affirms access to voting rights for pre-trial detainees and post-incarceration citizens.

Governor Rauner has expressed support of restorative justice measures.  Click HERE to urge Governor Rauner to sign these bills that allow formerly incarcerated people to reintegrate into their communities as productive citizens.

Clean water for ALL our people

This coming Moral Monday, the Poor People’s Campaign lifts up the imperative to fight environmental injustice that disproportionately imperils poor communities.  Do your part by asking your Illinois legislator to support SB3080, which amends the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to mandate communities to replace lead water piping infrastructure.  SB3080 further amends the Public Utilities Act to establish a comprehensive assistance policy and program for citizens of low-income, assuring uninterrupted access to clean water and sewer facilities.

We have been agonizing for years about the levels of lead in drinking water for our most vulnerable families.  Illinois is stepping up this spring to forge a plan to replace lead infrastructure in community drinking water systems.  This is THE clean water effort of the spring legislative session.  And we are close to getting it done.  Urge your Senator to get on board!

Check HERE to see if your legislator is signed on.  If they are not,  click HERE to urge them to support SB3080.

Gun Dealer Licensing: protecting our communities

Work to stop illegal guns from entering our communities continues in a new effort, SB337, the Combatting Illegal Gun Trafficking Act.  This bipartisan legislation incorporates key provisions of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act which was vetoed by Governor Rauner in March, but adds provisions to better record and track private sales.  It treats all gun dealers the same, eliminating the “big box store exemption” in previous legislation.  Most importantly, it gives law enforcement a policy on which to stand in combatting corrupt gun dealing.

House legislators are lining up to support the bill — make sure your rep is in the mix:  check HERE to see is they are signed on as a co-sponsor and if they are NOT, urge them to do that now HERE.

Whole communities are hunkered down in fear of gun violence.  Compassion calls us to stand with our neighbors in solidarity to get guns out of the hands of those who would do us all harm.

In partnership with Community Renewal Society

The Poor People’s Campaign: Compassion and justice for families in poverty

The Poor People’s Campaign:  A National Call for Moral Revival kicks off Monday, May 14 (gather at the Lincoln statue in Springfield, 2pm), for a week-long focus on women, youth, and children in poverty.  

Children from poor communities, especially children of color, are subject to arrest many times more often than our other children.  Just one day in jail can change the trajectory of a child’s life.  Let’s make arrest for children and youth the beginning of rehabilitation and restorative justice and not the dead end of a criminal life.

HB4543 amends the Juvenile Court Act to limit the minimum age at which a child may be detained to 13 years (it is now 10 years), with alternative foster detention for younger children.   HB4543 also amends the Children and Family Services Act by providing youth support services to reduce the use of detention and to prevent deeper criminal involvement.

At a hearing in April, voters expressed strong support for the bill.  But it needs support in the legislature.  Check HERE to see if your legislator is signed on as a co-sponsor.  If not, send them a message HERE urging them to support the youth of our state, to redirect them out of crime’s way.  Our future depends on the deep nurture of ALL our children!

A Fair Tax for Illinois -- committing to the common good

Illinois legislators are moving quickly toward affirming a resolution to establish a graduated income tax for Illinois.   A graduated income tax represents a  fair and equitable way for Illinois to glean the revenue it needs to support programming for all its citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

Illinois Representatives have been signing onto HR1025 this past week, and we need you to do two things:   Check HERE to see if your representative is on board -- if they are not, click HERE to urge them to support HR1025.

Secondly, the Committee for Finance and Revenue is holding a hearing on the bill
THIS WEDNESDAY, May 2 at  2:30pm on the 6th floor of the Bilandic Center  (C-600) in Chicago.  If you are in Chicago, plan to be there! In any case, file a witness slip HERE to vote your support (the pro’s and opp’s are running neck on neck!)  Here’s how to do that:

    Section 1:  Fill in your info, register yourself as “self” or “UUANI”

    Section 2:  Register yourself as “self”, “citizen, “UUANI”

    Section 3:  Select “Proponent”

    Section 4:  select “Record of Appearance only,” unless you plan to be there

    Sign onto the ILGA terms of agreement (left corner), and “create slip” (right corner)

Done!  Thank you!
Let our legislators know we are watching!


Immigration Safe Zones : A Matter of Compassion

The Immigration Safe Zones Act has been moving quickly through the Senate and gathering momentum. It is now on the calendar for its final consideration and vote.

The Immigration Safe Zones Act establishes sanctuary for immigrants and refugees within the state of Illinois.  It provides that law enforcement in the State of Illinois shall not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement (ICE) in these contexts:  Schools and education centers receiving state funding, state-funded health-care facilities, public libraries, facilities operated by the Office of the Secretary of State, and state courts.  The Act provides that an in-state law enforcement official shall not assist or support any immigration operation by an immigration agent in or around any of those agencies unless said officials present a valid and properly issued criminal warrant related to the investigation or prosecution of any criminal offense.  It provides that all applications, questionnaires, and interview forms used in relation to benefits, opportunities, or services provided by a State agency, or tuition verification, scholarships, grants, or services provided by a public elementary or secondary school or public institution of higher education shall not ask questions regarding citizenship or immigration status.  
Check HERE to see if your Senator has expressed support by co-sponsoring this bill.  If not, click HERE to urge them to sign on as co-sponsor.


A Fair Tax for Illinois -- for the common good!

It’s Tax Day, good people!  And we remember that our state’s tax structure is deeply unfair to its middle-income and working-class taxpayers, and inadequate to funding vital investments like education, human services, healthcare, higher education, infrastructure and public safety.  As one of the few states in the country with a flat income tax, Illinois fails to tap vital resources through levying fair taxes on the wealthy, which leaves the state failing to fund essential services we all need.

A new poll released by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale shows that 72% of Illinois voters — including Republicans and Democrats, urban and rural, upstate and downstate — support the concept of a Fair Tax to fund our state services.  A Fair Tax will actually effect a tax break for 90% of our citizens.  

We can  move NOW toward a Fair Tax for Illinois.  We have 3 weeks left to put an amendment to the state constitution on the 2018 ballot in November, to let voters decide what kind of tax system we want.  To do that, we need to pass a resolution through both houses of the Illinois General Assembly — SJRCA 1 and HJRCA39 — by May 6th!

CLICK HERE to ask your legislators to support a ballot appeal in November for a Fair Tax Amendment for Illinois.