bail

CHICAGO—A plan that would protect Illinoisans’ right to a public defender passed the Senate recently.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) sponsors the proposal, which creates the Public Defender Bail Reform Grant Program. The aim is to assist counties in following the current law, which requires counsel to be present at bail hearings.

“We cannot continue to deny Illinoisans their right to an attorney,” Sims said. “Bail hearings are a crucial part of the justice process, and everyone deserves an attorney at every step.”

Currently, many counties do not provide public defenders for bail hearings. Some small counties do not even hire a full time public defender.

There have been instances in these smaller counties where a defendant is not given a bail hearing. Instead a county sheriff calls the judge and tells them the name of the individual and their charges, and the judge will communicate the bail amount over the phone to the sheriff.

“In many cases, the handling of bail hearings in Illinois have been completely unjust and unacceptable,” Sims said. “The livelihood of these people, who have not been convicted of a crime, is affected by the bail amount. These defendants have the right to have legal representation to ensure that the bail fits the crime.”

Senate Bill 1966 is set to head to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD—A plan to attract more film and TV companies to Illinois recently passed the Senate.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) is sponsoring the proposal, which would expand the state’s film production tax credit with the aim of raising Illinois’ national standing in the film and television industry.

“This effort will help us gain momentum in the media production industry,” Sims said. “We have seen much growth in this area, but expanding the film tax credit would help us attract more film companies and really thrive.”

Senate Bill 1595 changes the Film Production Services Tax Credit Act to allow the first $200,000 of out-of-state wages paid or acquired by production companies to qualify for the film production services tax credit.

“This is an opportunity to reverse downward trends of business in Illinois,” Sims said. “We saw many companies leave amidst financial turmoil. This plan will help keep and attract film business to the state.”

SB 1595 is set to head to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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CHICAGO--Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is the recipient of a $1.5 million grant for energy improvements, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. announced today.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is taking advantage of the United States Department of Energy’s State Energy Program to reduce the energy burden for Illinois residents.

“This grant will provide long-term savings for the plant, which ultimately helps lift the burden on Chicagoans,” Senator Sims said. “These savings are crucial for many throughout Chicago, especially low-income, working families.”

The grants go through May 2020 and allow plant recipients to make energy-efficient upgrades to equipment based on past energy audits, in some instance at no charge by the Office of Energy.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD — A plan to give students time off from school to vote passed out of the Senate Wednesday.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) spearheaded the effort to encourage youth voting after students at one of his local schools were not allowed to participate in a “March to the Polls” event during school hours.

“This effort is intended to help and encourage our young people to understand the importance of voting early on. We should make voting easy and accessible for everyone all across Illinois, including our students,” Sims said. “This is not a new concept; state workers get time off to vote, and it makes sense to provide our students with the same opportunity.”

Senate Bill 1970 amends the Election Code to allow students who are 18 or older to leave school for up to two hours to vote in a primary, general or any other election in the state that requires a popular vote.

The school can decide which hours students can be absent to vote.

The plan is modeled after current rules for employers and employees.

“Our young people are the next generation, and their input is just as valuable as any other demographic of voters,” Sims said. “This is an opportunity to excite young people and encourage them to take their civic duty as voters seriously. Let’s break down this barrier to voting, so they can raise their voices in the next election.”

SB 1970 passed out of the Senate. It is now headed to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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