Illinois State Senate
Illinois State Senate
CORRECTING A WRONGFUL CONVICTION. Kyjuanzi Harris
In 2011, Mr.Harris was arrested without cause and held against his will for two years in the county jail. In December of 2013 he went to court for 3 days were a jury came back with a a guilty verdict. Convicting him of life in prison without parole. He’s been in prison for 9 years. What you need to know. 1.) No evidence linking Mr.Harris to the case. 2.) key witness of prosecution admitted to purging initial accusations.
Governor Quinn: Don't Let Big Plastic Bully Me!
My name is Abby Goldberg, and as a 13-year-old girl who, after seeing the devastation that millions of plastic bags have caused the environment and ocean life, I made my school project this year to be getting a local ban on single-use plastic shopping bags in my home town Grayslake, IL. My friends and I were making great progress, until the oil and chemical industry pulled a dirty trick to kill my campaign; these lobbyists used the politicians that they bought to pass a bill that would make it illegal for towns across Illinois to create plastic bag bans! Even worse, they’re trying to make it look like a green environmental bill, by putting in a few ridiculously-low requirements for so-called “recycling” of plastic bags, and are bragging they’re going to make it "a model bill for all states!” Now it’s in the hands of our Governor to stop them with a veto, but he needs to hear from all of us! I am heartbroken and so angry, because kids and adults like me are standing up to Big Oil and Big Plastic by creating bans everywhere, including in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Seattle, Toronto, Austin, Mexico City, Mumbai, Italy, Rwanda and more! Why? Because bag bans can be literally 2000% more effective than “bring your own bag” campaigns! I am not scared – even though I’m just a kid, I care too much about animals, our environment, and our future natural resources to let them beat down my town, just so they can make an extra buck. Now I need your help to stop them, and give hope to other people around the world that they can stand up for their own rights! The governor could sign at any minute, so we need your voice as soon as possible, or my dream of getting a healthier environment for my town, our environment and our world will be totally crushed. Thank you!!
Dog Protection Act - Illinois
A horrifying headline as written in December 2016 by Fox News in Denver after two companion animals were shot in Battle Creek, Michigan: Federal court rules police can shoot a dog if it moves or barks when officers enter a home. The Department of Justice estimates that nearly 25 dogs are killed by law enforcement every day in the United States, which makes a total of 10,000 per year. It is as simple as this - in Illinois there is currently no means to protect companion dogs, including in your very own home, from being shot and killed if local law enforcement, in any way, deems your dog a threat to their safety. This is a petition to Illinois State Senate and House to put forward legislation that protects dogs from this possible fate. The statute would require local law enforcement to undergo training in order to prevent the shooting of dogs by local law enforcement officers in the line of duty. Specifically, this statute would put forth assistance in the training of law enforcement officers so that they can differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, as well as to employ non-lethal means whenever possible. I urge you to read Colorado's new legislation, Dog Protection Act, which was developed for exactly this reason: Colorado's Dog Protection Act. I am asking for replication of these efforts in Illinois and, eventually, U.S. wide. I have a Boxer who loves to bark and even run at the door. She would rather lick you to death than harm you, but it is a huge fear that if law enforcement needed to enter my home and my dog ran at them or barked that she could be killed for it. It is for this reason, and for all of the other dogs out there, that I propose this legislation.
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!
Palatine Police Department Opening the Death Investigation into James Ryker Biel
My son James Ryker Biel died on October 31st 2019. Palatine Police Department put out a press release on November 1st, without an autopsy even being performed that there were no signs of foul play, this is despite my son bleeding and foaming from his nose and mouth. A Palatine Police Detective involved with previous cases regarding my sons 9 hospitalizations for prolapsed rectums, officer Leydon, watched as an unlicensed medical examiner did an autopsy on my son. It was well known that John Walsh did not have the neccessary credentials to perform this autopsy. John Walsh also kept all of my sons neck organs as well as his heart and brain, even after his autopsy had been complete. It was mentioned to Palatine Police Detective Mike Tulley, Commander Steve Bratcher and various others that this man legally could not perform the autopsy. John Walsh ruled my sons death as "unexplained natural" shortly after Palatine Police Department, sent out a letter stating that they were closing their investigation. This was despite them knowing that there was a second autopsy being performed by a licensed and experienced forensic pathologist who already had relayed her preliminary findings to Detective Tully on December 31st, regarding deep tissue back bruising. This licensed Forensic Pathologist has now finished her exam, through the assistance of legal aid she was able to view James neck organs, heart and brain at the Office of the Cook County Medical Examiner. Her findings are that James Ryker Biel's death was caused by trauma to his cervical spinal cord, it is stated in her report that more investigation is needed to confirm what caused the injury. Both Palatine Police Department and DCFS have been informed more investigation is required. The only incidents that could lead to this type of cervical spinal cord injury would be, unreported car accident, fall, sports injury or child abuse. There was never any mention of any incident in the Palatine Police report. Someone is clearly not being forthright about what happened to James Ryker Biel on the night of October 31st 2019 and despite overwhelming evidence, Commander Steve Bratcher is refusing to reopen the investigation into Jame's death, knowing full well another child is in that home and the same thing could very well happen to her. Somebody needs to be arrested and somebody needs to be held accountable for the death of James Ryker Biel.
Justice for Jelani Day
Make Insurance Companies Grant Full Benefit Access During Covid
My 84-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s and a brain tumor; the brain tumor impacts her mobility. She no longer drives and is therefore unable to run errands on her own and increasingly can't perform daily self care and management tasks. She is often disoriented including unaware of time of day or where she lives, can’t recall how many cats she has, periodically loses use of her legs, etc, etc. She has long term care insurance through AARP MetLife that she has been paying into since 2005. However, while still at home, she is not eligible for the full benefits awarded as if she were in a retirement/memory care facility...but the facility we selected isn’t taking memory care residents until at least spring 2021, saying they can't ensure keeping residents safe during Covid. Her local paper daily reports Covid cases and deaths in elder care facilities/retirement homes...even if we could place her in a retirement/memory care facility, given Covid, it would not be the ethical thing to do. While her insurance does cover some in home care, she needs access to her full benefit as she would receive if in a facility. The right thing to do is for insurance companies to open up full benefit access during this unprecedented time. I called the Alzheimer’s association for help and they directed me to the Illinois elder advocacy office; I left a message and have not heard back. I’m sure we’re not the only family in such a situation. Help, please. Quickly advance legislation instructing insurance companies to change policy for benefits access during Covid.
Tina's Law: Domestic Violence Offender Registry
On the morning of November 24th 2017, Tina Stewart was brutally murdered by her boyfriend. Tina's boyfriend beat her to death; beating her to the point that he broke both of his own hands. On the day of court the judge stated, "This individual has a history with violence and why wasn't this known?". It was at the moment, Don Estes, Tina's Uncle, made a promise to his niece, he would do everything in his power to change the law so there wouldn't be a next time that a judge, girlfriend, boyfriend, or anyone have the need to ask why they weren't aware of someone's violent history. It's time to make a difference. It's time to take a stand. And, it's time to change the law! We have a registry for sex offenders and we even have a registry for animal cruelty across the country. Why do we not have one for individuals that are abusing men, women, and children? Tina's Law would require any person with a history of domestic violence, violent offenders, and individuals with Protection Orders Against them to be registered; similar to sex offenders. We need to hold these individuals accountable for their actions. Making this change in the law across all states would prevent someone that's been charged (as mentioned above) from moving to another state and starting over, as if they've never been convicted of a crime. This would be a national registry so hiding or moving to another state is not going to keep anyone from knowing their history with violence. If you're convicted of domestic violence, you will go on the registry. If Tina had known about her boyfriend's violent history, she would have never gone out with him. This law will save lives! We need your help by taking a stand with us to change the law. We're not only asking you to sign the petition, we're asking you to also share the petition and help us with making a change.
End Death By Incarceration in Illinois
Note: As of March 21, 2021, this petition have been updated to represent the bill's current title and number. Originally introduced as SB3233, Earned Discretionary Release, it has been reintroduced as SB2333, Earned Discretionary Reentry. The COVID-19 crisis in U.S. prisons has shone a light on the horrific conditions and overcrowding that have turned many prisons into death traps. But it is only a reminder of the fate of many people incarcerated in Illinois who face death-by-incarceration every year, due to decades of extreme and inhumane sentencing policies. Victims of crime, convicted people, and their loved ones all suffer when people are locked up for years beyond the needs of public safety. Nearly every other state has mechanisms to release long-term incarcerated individuals who are ready to rejoin society. Illinois does not. If nothing changes, over 5,000 Illinoisans will be required to grow old and die in prison. We stand with Parole Illinois, a coalition of activists inside and outside of prison dedicated to reversing the harms of extreme sentencing, in urging you to support Illinois Senate Bill 2333 (SB2333), Earned Discretionary Reentry. Sponsored by State Senator Celina Villanueva (D) and State Representative Carol Ammons (D), Earned Discretionary Reentry (SB3233) takes a crucial step toward healing our communities by establishing the state’s first fair and inclusive system of Earned Discretionary Reentry (EDR). It also gives every incarcerated Illinoisan the right to rehabilitative programming and requires that any needs-assessment tools be periodically reviewed for bias. Earned Discretionary Reentry (SB3233) would not let everyone out. It would, however, ensure that no person is warehoused and forgotten about without at least having fair opportunities to return home. It thereby gives incarcerated Illinoisans incentive to improve their lives and paths to productive return to society. Earned Discretionary Reentry provides relief for victims of racial bias. Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011. But the same biases that plagued implementation of the death penalty continue to infect long-term sentences. In fact, while Black people comprise only 15% of Illinois’ population, they make up 68% of the people sentenced to spend the remainder of their lives in prison Earned Discretionary Reentry makes good financial sense. Experts agree that we would save millions of dollars with very little risk to public safety by releasing people before they become elderly and infirm and when they still can be productive members of society. Most importantly, Earned Discretionary Reentry (SB3233) would give hope to the many family and loved ones of people incarcerated across Illinois that their mothers, fathers, children, and loved ones can finally have a fair chance of coming home. We urge you to take a bold stance for rehabilitation and redemption and make Illinois a model of community healing by passing SB3233, Earned Discretionary Reentry. Sincerely, Parole Illinois Over 40 community organizations in Illinois have endorsed the bill (list in formation): Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF)Uptown People's Law CenterBlack and Pink Chicago Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD)Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICCIRR)Liberation Library Grassroots Collaborative Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of IL MAMAS (Mothers Activating Movements for Abolition and Solidarity)Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (IL-CHEP)Freedom To Learn IllinoisChicago Votes BPI Chicago#LetUsBreatheSoapbox Productions and OrganizingChicago 400 AllianceGood Kids Mad City Chicago Books to Women in PrisonJudicial Accountability PACFaith In Place Action FundIndivisible IllinoisPrecious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation To see the full list of endorsing organization, visit paroleillinois.org/letter. If your organization would like to sign on to endorse, please email email@example.com to be added. # Parole Illinois is a coalition of people inside and outside of prison who are raising awareness about inhumane sentencing policies in our state. We believe in the power of redemption and transformation; and that it is inhumane to order people to spend decades in prison until they die there without any periodic assessment of whether such sentences are necessary for public safety. The bill can be found here. More information about the bill can be found here.