Millions of dollars owed to local communities will soon be on their way. This week the Illinois Senate voted to approve funding for items such as winter road maintenance, critical funding for mental health facilities and funding for community colleges.
This measure is a great step forward in getting Illinois back on track. These funds are important to local communities and should have never been tied up in the first place. This week, we were able to compromise and now municipalities across Cook and Will counties will receive the funding they need to provide essential services.
I was a proud sponsor of this measure. Now local governments can perform basic road maintenance and repair, and keep the streets clean and safe this winter. Furthermore, the budget package includes $165 million for assistance to seniors and low-income families, $75 million to local 911 call centers, along with funding for domestic violence shelters and other critical services provided by local governments.
With this measure, we have made great progress in pushing Illinois forward. Nonetheless, there is still much to do.
A call to action
I was one of the first strong voices in calling on the United States Attorney General to investigate issues of force and accountability within the Chicago Police Department. I continue to speak out and I am happy to see others join the cause to make sure we have justice, and that law enforcement is held accountable.
This week, as I welcomed the news that the Attorney General announced she will continue this investigation, I urged federal officials to broaden the scope by extending the investigation to the Homan Square detention facility.
Transparency protects our police officers and the people they interact with. When 7,000 people are held by police with few public records, it raises red flags and I feel we have a responsibility to look further into it.
Homan Square does not generate public booking records, which leaves relatives and lawyers without information for their relative’s or client’s whereabouts. Arrestees held in Homan Square are disproportionately black, making up 85 percent of detentions over 11 years. Detainees have also reported being denied phone calls and being interrogated without their lawyer present.
Given the current climate surrounding the Chicago Police Department’s operations and alleged practices of abuse, I find it very difficult to stand idle and allow these “secret operations” to exist within the Homan Square facility.
Stay tuned and stay informed
Please be on the lookout for announcements of future events, and information on legislative measures. I encourage you to visit my website for information on events, news and opportunities. Additionally, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.
As always, please feel free to contact me if I can ever be of assistance to you. It is an honor to serve as your senator.
Thank you for your generous time and consideration.
Senator Napoleon Harris, III
15th District – Illinois