Originally published on WREX on May 19, 2021.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. JB Pritzker says the state’s ready to move forward into the next phase of the Rebuild Illinois capital spending plan. Pritzker announced a new six-year $20.7 billion construction plan to improve highways on Wednesday.

The Illinois Department of Transportation said they kept construction projects on schedule throughout the pandemic without cutting any projects. Acting Director Omer Osman says IDOT stands prepared to work on even more projects over the next six years.

This plan will help reconstruct over 2,700 more miles of roads and nearly 8 million square feet of bridges between 2022 and 2027. The Pritzker administration says $3.3 billion of the program has been earmarked for the next fiscal year. Officials say the state is investing $5.79 billion in highway reconstruction and preservation and $4.82 billion for bridge improvements. That’s completely separate from $2.59 billion for strategic expansion, $1.43 billion to support engineering and land acquisition, and $1.21 billion for safety and system modernization.

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Category: In The News

Originally published on Heart of Illinois ABC on May 19, 2021.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- A new study conducted by a nonprofit advocating for gun control shows Illinois ranks fifth in the country in homicides among Black people. Ninety percent of those victims died from gun violence.

Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann explained why his organization conducts the study each year.

“The goal of our work for this study is to help support community advocates, organizations on the ground working to stop this violence,” said Sugarmann. “At the same time, we’re helping educate policy makers and the public regarding the reality of gun violence in America.”

Kathleen Sances, President of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC, stressed Illinois is leading the nation for all the wrong reasons. In fact, she said the Violence Policy Center’s study only increases the need to pass Senate Bill 568.

“Gun violence is an equity issue,” said Sances. “We must act now to get communities across our state moving in the right direction.”

Democrats have pushed for several gun reform proposals this year to try and find a solution to this problem. One of the plans would increase restrictions for gun owners by requiring fingerprints and increasing background checks.

Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) said Senate Bill 568 would not only address mass tragedies like the 2019 Aurora shooting. He argues it could also address the shootings that take place every day across Illinois.

“There are too many people getting killed by gun violence,” said Villivalam. “One is too many. This legislation needs to move forward in this General Assembly in order for us to reduce gun violence and keep our kids safe.”

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Category: In The News

CityKeySPRINGFIELD – To better serve undocumented and immigrant communities, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) passed legislation in the Illinois Senate that would allow municipal ID cards to be used to access state services and facilities.

“All residents of Illinois, regardless of immigration status, should be able to receive essential state services,” Villivalam said. “Allowing municipal IDs to be used for this will allow the most vulnerable among us to get the assisstance they need.”

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Category: Press Releases

Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – To protect the wellbeing of public school employees, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) passed legislation in the Senate Labor Committee that would offer the same terms and conditions as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

“Illinois should expand access to family and medical leave for working families,” Villivalam said. “Our educators and school staff work on the frontlines every day to provide a quality education for our youth and deserve their leave with no strings attached.”

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Category: Press Releases

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