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House Downstate Democrats work for the good people of Illinois



Can a Millstadt Republican represent all of IL House District 114? Black leaders worry.

Provided More than a year before the Nov. 8 election, Black leaders filed a lawsuit because they believed legislative redistricting would pave the way for a white candidate to win the Illinois House …

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November 28, 2022 at 06:46AM

Oswego State Rep. holding toy drive

Oswego State Representative Stephanie Kifowit is hosting a toy drive now through December 9th. It’s through the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. Kifowit is a Marine Corps Veteran.

Toys can be dropped of at her office at 1677 Montgomery Road, suite 116, in Aurora from eight to four Monday through Friday. The toys should be new and unwrapped.

More information can be found by calling 630-585-1308.

Local,Region: South Suburbs,Region: Joliet

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November 26, 2022 at 08:00AM

State Rep. Dave Vella gives preview to possible tweaks to the Safe-T Act

Under the Pretrial Fairness Act, a section of the Safe-T Act, the end to cash bail and the implementation of its alternative goes into effect January 1. In the meantime, State Representative Dave Vella, a Democrat from Rockford, continues to meet with the public safety working group in the Illinois House. They’re looking at questions that are still unanswered, like how much the new process is going to cost and other legitimate concerns about the law.

The Illinois Safe-T Act was a major focus of misinformation and Republican opposition during the past election campaign.

“We’re going to be losing money out of the system, but also [we’re considering] how much cheaper it’s going to be, because there won’t be as many people in custody,” Vella said.

“So, we’re trying to figure out what that number is, then trying to allocate the funds for that. So we’ll probably need some kind of special allotment.”

He said it varies across the state how much court systems and jails depend on fees from bond money to fund their operations.

After January 1, in place of bail, folks charged with low level, non-violent offences will be ticketed and required to appear in court at a later date. A judge can decide to hold a person in detention before they have been sentenced if they are deemed dangerous or a flight risk, using certain criteria.

Prosecutors can also petition the judge for detention. But the threshold they must meet, some state’s attorneys said, is too high. Vella, a former defense attorney, said legislators are working on developing language that addresses their concerns.

“You don’t want somebody who misses the bus, to get a warrant out for them taking into custody, they spent time in over the weekend, and they lose their kids and lose their job,” he said. “But you don’t want somebody who just said, ‘I’m not going to court’ just to be out there without impunity.”

Another item under negotiations is how the law applies to individuals who are currently detained and who have posted bond. Some state’s attorneys have previously told WNIJ that if the law is retrospective, a mechanism will have to be in place that allows for the court system to review and decide on whether current detainees meet the criteria for release.

Vella said he can’t say for certain what proposals will be brought forth for the legislature to consider.

Earlier this month, State Senator Scott Bennet, a Champaign Democrat, filed an amendment, supported by the State’s Attorneys Association, which states pretrial release begins on January 1 but doesn’t apply to those currently detained. It would also lower the threshold for a judge to detain a person they deem a flight risk or a threat to the public.

While Democrats hold a supermajority in both chambers, any amendments will have to gain support from those who have opposed the Safe-T Act, including some Democrats. It will take a two-thirds vote to approve amendments to the law during the veto session which ends on December 1.

Since June of 2021, a taskforce of the Illinois Supreme Court has hosted educational seminars to help the court systems implement changes under a no-cash bail system.

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November 25, 2022 at 07:45AM

Illinois Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Jay Hoffman on ‘The Record’ – YouTube

Illinois Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Belleville, joins 5 On Your Side political editor Mark Maxwell on "The Record.

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November 24, 2022 at 07:57AM

Hoffman seeks bill ideas, thoughts on how to make state government more effective

State Rep. Jay Hoffman

As a new General Assembly approaches, state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) is asking area residents to share their thoughts on potential laws that could help the state and local community.

“Over the next few weeks I will start to put together my legislative agenda for the upcoming session in Springfield, and I want to hear from folks who have bill ideas,” Hoffman said. “Whether your idea is small or large in scope, I’m interested in listening to suggestions that can help families in the Metro East and statewide.”

Residents can submit a bill idea by emailing Hoffman’s office at between now and Jan. 1, 2023. Submissions will be reviewed by Hoffman and his staff, and good ideas may be drafted for official consideration in Springfield. Not every idea will be introduced to the General Assembly, and suggestions may be altered.

Hoffman is also encouraging state employees who have ideas to make government more efficient and effective to check out an online submission board operated by the State Government Suggestion Award Board. The board is authorized to award up to $5,000 to individuals who provide ideas that result in financial savings for the state and taxpayers.

Further information and a submission link are available at

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November 23, 2022 at 07:51AM

State representative Stephanie Kifowit, Marine Corps: Toys for Tots

With the holidays quickly approaching, State representative Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, is announcing that she is a partner with The Marine Corps Toys for Tots for another year to be a drop-off location for new toys. Donations will be collected at her district office at 1677 Montgomery Road, Suite 116 in Aurora, through December 9.

“Everyone deserves to enjoy the holiday season; we can help bring joy and celebration to families in the community,” said Kifowit. “Unfortunately for some families, the holiday season may be particularly difficult. It can be a very sad and depressing time.”

Kifowit, a U.S. Marine Veteran, has been a partner with Toys for Tots every year to help bring the joy of the season and send a message of hope to the community’s children who need some holiday cheer. Kifowit will be collecting new, unwrapped toys at her office from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday until she has to turn the toys into the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots organization December 9.

“This holiday season, it is important that we give back to the children in our community who can use a toy during the season to let parents see a smile in their children’s faces,” said Kifowit. “I encourage everyone who can to stop by my office and donate a gift of their choosing. You never know how far gestures of kindness can go to help rebuild the family spirit.”

For more information about Kifowit’s Holiday Toys for Tots Drive, please contact her full-time constituent office at 630-585-1308, or send an Email to

— State representative Stephanie Kifowit

Feeds,News,City: Aurora,KC,Region: W Suburbs

via The Voice

November 22, 2022 at 03:40PM

What’s next for the controversial SAFE-T Act? Gordon-Booth forecasts veto session changes

With the November election cycle drawing to a close, the Illinois General Assembly soon will return to Springfield for the fall veto session.

One of the main topics legislators will consider is revisions to the SAFE-T Act legislation that was signed into law nearly two years ago.

The no-cash bail provision of the law that’s set to go into effect on Jan. 1 came under fire from opponents during the campaign season, while dozens of lawsuits challenging the SAFE-T Act have been consolidated into a single case against the state.

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria says that while she feels much of the outcry over the SAFE-T Act has been politically motivated, she admits more changes are necessary.

“I’m always very sensitive to issues that make people – from a legislative standpoint, not from a political standpoint, because politics is politics, which is a different thing – but policies that could be even perceived as making communities less safe,” said Gordon-Booth.

“When I say that there’s a lot of politics that’s happening, I also don’t want to be dismissive of any real issues that may exist. So as we continue down this path, … I’m very confident that next month, we’ll be going to veto session (and) we’re going to have a body of work and a work product that is going to be a good work product.”

Gordon-Booth, who serves as the House’s deputy majority leader, says some negotiations on possible revisions to the SAFE-T Act have already taken place. But she said it would be improper to reveal details yet on what changes are being considered.

“The majority of things that we’re talking about that have been brought to the table, that we’re going to make the effect of changes on, there’s consensus around it,” she said. “There may be like maybe one or two things that we’re not at consensus point yet. But that’s why we’re continuing to work.”

Gordon-Booth says lawmakers have already updated the SAFE-T Act three times since it was signed into law in January 2021. She says over the past nine months, she’s gotten regular input from Peoria County State’s Attorney Jodi Hoos, Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria, former Sheriff Brian Asbell and now Sheriff Chris Watkins in seeking guidance for updating the SAFE-T Act.

“No voice is going unheard. It’s critically important that we’re listening to folks and also being mindful of how we got here in the first place,” said Gordon-Booth. “All of this was passed coming out of the summer of 2020, where people were demanding that we change this broken justice system. So we’re working to do just that.”

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November 9, 2022 at 04:22PM

Yednock Wins Despite Heavy GOP Lean In Big Part Of His District

Democrat Lance Yednock was able to win another two-year term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

The Ottawa lawmaker won all 3 counties in the 76thDistrict in defeating Republican challenger Jason Haskell. Yednock picked up about 5,100 more votes when you combine La Salle, DeKalb and Bureau counties.

With both Bureau and La Salle counties voting heavily Republican, Yednock says it shows he listens to all voters, doesn’t vote down party line and has conservative traits despite being a Democrat.

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November 9, 2022 at 09:46AM

Scherer reelected in 96th House – Decatur – Herald & Review

DECATUR — Following an election season dominated by debate over Illinois’ SAFE-T Act, incumbent State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, has won reelection over her opponent in the race for the 96th Illinois House District.

With 100% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, unofficial results showed Scherer defeating political newcomer Lisa Smith by nearly 5,000 votes. Scherer earned 17,828 votes, compared to Smith’s 12,916. 

Scherer spent election night with family and supporters at her own home rather than somewhere having a watch party as results came in.

 “I’m very happy,” she said. “I don’t like all that big hoopla stuff.”

 Her son sent her a text when it was clear she’d won, she said.

 “He said he was so proud of me for continuing to fight to make the community a better place, and I think that says it all,” Scherer said.

The 96th District was drawn to favor Democrats. 

Illinois Democrats, who controlled the state’s post-Census redistricting process, carved down the district so it stretched from the urban cores of Springfield to Decatur and excluded rural communities such as Kincaid, Edinburg, Stonington and Blue Mound. 

The 96th was also the only contested House race in Macon County. William Hauter, R-Morton, in the 87th; Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, in the 88th; Tim Butler, R-Springfield, in the 95th; and Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, in the 107th all ran unopposed. 

A full-time legislator, Scherer has served in the Illinois House since January 2013. She previously worked as a teacher in the Decatur and Maroa-Forsyth public school districts for over 30 years.  

Scherer serves on multiple education committees, including Elementary & Secondary Education Appropriations and Higher Education. 

Scherer faced criticisms from Smith and from other local Republicans for her vote in support of the SAFE-T Act in 2021. As one of just 60 House members who voted for the act, and as one of the final representatives to cast her vote, Scherer was one of the bill’s deciding votes. 

Smith said it was Scherer’s SAFE-T Act vote that helped convince her to run. 

Smith is a pediatric nurse practitioner from Auburn. She spent much of her campaign rallying against the SAFE-T Act, arguing that it should be repealed and replaced. 

In an interview earlier this month, Scherer told the Herald & Review she stood by her vote. The elimination of Illinois’ cash bail system could stand to help certain minority populations, she said. 

“For people to say that, you know, rapists are going to be running free, that is just, it’s inciting unnecessary fear is what it’s doing,” she said. 

Scherer said would support trailer bills amending the SAFE-T Act but declined to specify which changes she’d like to see. Democratic SAFE-T Act discussions are ongoing leading up to the legislature’s veto session Nov. 15-17.

Contact Taylor Vidmar at (217) 421-6949. Follow her on Twitter: @taylorvidmar11. 

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November 8, 2022 at 11:48PM

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