Senator GillespieARLINGTON HEIGHTS – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) announced that she is taking action on the abuse of isolation rooms in public schools. A Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois investigation revealed that school staff placed children in isolation rooms over 20,000 times in the 2017-2018 academic year.

“Classrooms shouldn’t instill fear in our children,” Gillespie said. “Students deserve to feel safe with their teachers and school staff, not made to feel like literal prisoners.”

Isolation rooms function much like solitary confinement for prison inmates. They are small, locked chambers where children have no interaction with their peers and limited interaction with adults. Some don’t even have a place to sit other than the floor.

Senate Bill 2315 would make Illinois the 20th state to ban the use of isolation rooms in schools.
State Representative Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook) filed identical legislation in the Illinois House under House Bill 3975. The two legislators have vowed to work together to end the traumatic practice.

Current law allows school staff to isolate a student if they pose a danger to themselves or others. However, the investigation revealed that the isolation rooms are often used as a punishment for refusing to do classwork, swearing and other behavior that does not pose a threat to safety.

Governor JB Pritzker directed the Illinois State Board of Education to end the use of isolation rooms. ISBE amended their rules to only allow timeouts with a trained adult in the room, an unlocked door and “only for therapeutic reasons or protecting the safety of students and staff.”

Both bills will be considered when legislators return to Springfield in January.

Category: News

Senator GillespieSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) helped pass two government ethics measures today. The legislation strengthens statements of economic interests and creates a bipartisan commission to recommend where other ethics laws can be strengthened moving forward.

“These measures are starting a conversation on how we can regain public trust in our state institutions,” Gillespie said. “I am looking forward to hearing the commission’s recommendations on how we can take preventative measures against corruption.”

Senate Bill 1639 broadens the criteria for what must be disclosed on a statement of economic interests, requires the secretary of state to create a database of lobbyist contributions and statements of economic interests filed by state officials, and requires lobbyists to disclose their subcontractors.

House Joint Resolution 93 creates the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform. The commission will consist of 16 members appointed by legislative leaders, the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general. Appointees must be bipartisan and no member may have been a lobbyist in the past five years. The commission will hold a series of public hearings to review ethics laws and make their recommendations to the General Assembly by the end of March 2020.

House Joint Resolution 93 takes effect immediately and Senate Bill 1639 awaits the governor’s signature.

 

Category: News

Senator GillespieSPRINGFIELD –State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) celebrated the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) announcement that career and technical education (CTE) enrollment has increased.

Citing the first funding increase to CTE programs in over five years, ISBE announced that CTE enrollment has increased by nearly 5,000 students since 2016. Gillespie says it is vital to train more Illinois workers for in-demand, specialized jobs.

“Career and technical education programs offer an affordable alternative to higher education that train students with tangible, hands-on work skills,” Gillespie said. “Increased investments in workforce development will prepare young people for success and ensure that employers have an educated workforce with the skills necessary for their respective industries.”

Earlier this year, Senator Gillespie created the 21st Century Employment Grant Program to identify employment gaps and fund high school and community college programs to fill them. Gillespie also created the Apprenticeship Tax Credit to incentivize employers to invest in employee training and education at Illinois community colleges.

Category: News

Road work signARLINGTON HEIGHTS – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation’s five-year Highway Improvement Program includes major projects for U.S. Route 14 and Illinois Route 53.

U.S. Route 14 between Smith Rd. and Hicks Rd. will receive over $1.1 million for repaving and accessibility improvements for people with disabilities. Three other projects are outlined for U.S. Route 14 in the coming years, potentially including new crosswalks, bridge repair and new left turn lanes.

Illinois Route 53 will receive $1.1 million to repair bridges between U.S. Route 12 (Rand Rd.) and Illinois Route 62 (Algonquin Rd.). Three other projects are outlined for Illinois Route 53 in the coming years.

Palatine Rd. between Williams Dr. and Alison Dr. will receive $800,000 for general repairs.

“Commuters use Northwest Highway and Route 53 every day. They are some of the most-used roads in our community” Gillespie said. “Now that the bipartisan, statewide construction plan is becoming a reality, major roadways across the state will improve and drivers will begin to see savings on vehicle maintenance.”

The program will invest $23.5 billion in improving and expanding roads and bridges throughout Illinois. Projects outlined in the plan will cover 4,212 miles of roadway and 9.2 million square feet of bridge deck statewide between 2020 and 2025.

Category: News
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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
108D Capitol Building
Springfield IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-4471

Arlington Heights Office:
120 W. Eastman St., Suite 207
Arlington Heights IL 60004
Phone: 847-749-1880