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Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

Reforms include required implicit bias training for medical professionals.

Before Vallena Adkinson’s 35-year-old daughter Helen Heath died in March from complications of the autoimmune disease lupus, Adkinson spent years navigating a health care system she said treated her daughter poorly because she was Black.

The  Illinois Legislative Black Caucus succeeded earlier this month in ushering in legislation that would, among other things, end cash bail. If signed by Governor Pritzker, Illinois would be the first state to completely end the use of money bonds. 

PETER MEDLIN

Nearly half of Illinois high school grads who enroll full-time at a community college get placed in a developmental education course. That includes 70% of Black students and, of them, only 8% graduate compared to 26% of white students.

JUSTIN FOWLER/STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER VIA AP

Some members of the Illinois State Board of Education are voicing concerns that the state will soon adopt high school graduation requirements too burdensome for schools to enforce.

The Illinois General Assembly passed an expansive criminal justice bill on the last day of the lame-duck session, which, among other changes, would end the use of cash bail and impose new certification requirements for police officers. The measure was a part of a slate of bills spearheaded by the Legislative Black Caucus.

Courtesy Chapin Rose

An education reform bill would force schools to test children even before they enter kindergarten. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus spearheaded the measure, which passed through both houses of the General Assembly this week.

Illinois lawmakers spent much of their weekend session debating criminal justice reform bills.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is using the lame-duck session to address a range of social equity issues, from healthcare to education to criminal justice.

Black Caucus Wants A Cannabis Equity Commission

Jan 4, 2021
OFFICE OF STATE REP. SONYA HARPER

Illinois State Representative Sonya Harper was among the most vocal critics of Governor J.B. Pritzker's attempt to distribute cannabis dispensary licenses through a lottery.

Bill Aims To Eliminate Cash Bail

Nov 13, 2020
Courtesy of Illinois Senate Democrats

Cash bond could be eliminated in Illinois if a push by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is successful.

Members of the Illinois General Assembly’s Black Caucus Tuesday released a four-pronged agenda that they say will dominate this fall’s legislative session. 

The group of lawmakers wants several areas addressed: criminal justice reform, which includes violence prevention and  police accountability; education and workforce development; economic opportunity and equal access; and health care and human services.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat,  said the time to address racism at the federal level, and in Illinois, with legislation is now.

As protests against police brutality continue throughout Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’s working on police and criminal justice reform, and investment in communities of color with lawmakers.