Respecting All Illinoisans
Protecting Illinois values and communities
As a citizen of Illinois, Daniel believes that his sense of duty comes not from being a politician but from being a neighbor. A prosperous community is one with social programs that people can depend on without fear of them being cut. Where rehabilitation of formerly incarcerated people can lead to a fresh start. Where women have access to the care they need, without interference from the government.
Illinois’ population is getting older, and the state’s financial and healthcare infrastructure are not strong enough to help seniors retire and age with dignity. Here’s what Daniel has done to make this right:
- Creating the Secure Choice Program. As a first step, Daniel created the Secure Choice program, which provides an automatic enrollment retirement account for the millions of workers whose employers do not provide retirement plans—finally giving them a decent shot at a dignified retirement. The Secure Choice Program, the first of its kind, has since become a national model. Read more>>
- Advocating for the Community Care Program. Financial security isn’t all that matters—leaders must ensure that Illinois families will have the at-home care and support they need as they grow older. It’s why Daniel advocated so strongly against changes to the Community Care Program which helps seniors stay in their own homes longer. Read more>>
- Making nursing homes safer. Daniel has been the chief sponsor of legislation that would require nursing homes to have enough staff to provide residents with the decent, humane care that they deserve. Read more >>
As governor, Daniel will continue to fight for programs letting seniors to live comfortably and securely in retirement.
Equal Rights for All
The government of Illinois has a responsibility to protect and expand the civil rights of the people of Illinois. Illinois must not only stand with people of color, immigrants, refugees, and the LGBTQ community against discrimination, but state leaders must also create systemic change that does not allow for discrimination in the first place. Here’s how Daniel has fought for social justice reforms:
- Protecting undocumented immigrants. Daniel backed the Trust Act, which creates safe havens for immigrants in state buildings and prevents Illinois law enforcement from assisting in federal immigration actions without a warrant. Read more>>
- Banning “gay panic” defense. Under Illinois law, the fear of someone’s sexual orientation or identity can be used as an acceptable defense for violence. Daniel’s bill ends this archaic practice and puts Illinois on the right side of history. Read more>>
- Prohibiting youth conversion therapy. Daniel sponsored the Youth Mental Health Act, which prohibits “gay conversion” therapy for minors in the state of Illinois. Read more>>
- Enacting the Equal Rights Amendment. Daniel proudly voted for the ERA in 2014 and is currently a co-sponsor of the legislation in the current legislative session. Daniel believes passing the ERA an important, overdue step towards the goal of ending gender disparities. Read more>>
Illinois can only achieve its full potential when its laws and leaders ensure equal access and equal opportunity to all people.
Criminal Justice Reform
Illinois has long suffered from a criminal justice system that ignores the critical function of rehabilitation. This has created a system of mass incarceration with critical consequences for Illinois, particularly for the state’s African American communities. From policing to sentencing to reentry, existing policies are formed with the wrong incentives.
Daniel has advocated for sensible criminal justice policies, including the legalization of marijuana, as well as job training and employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated people to reduce recidivism rates. Here’s how Daniel has worked to change it:
- Legalizing marijuana. Legalizing and regulating marijuana will increase tax revenue, reduce law enforcement costs, and bring jobs to Illinois. More importantly, the application of marijuana laws disproportionately targets African Americans despite similar rates of use between white and black Americans. This is why Daniel co-sponsored a bill that would fully legalize marijuana in Illinois. Read more>>
- Reducing recidivism. People returning home from prison often experience high levels of discrimination, which in turn leads to high levels of recidivism. These collateral consequences include discrimination in housing, education, jobs, social services, and other means to creating stable and productive lives. By dismantling this legalized discrimination, we can reduce the immense cost of recidivism to taxpayers. This is why Daniel advocates for long-term solutions to crime reduction rather than unproductively harsh punishment. Daniel also introduced and passed legislation discontinuing a law allowing the state of Illinois to sue former inmates to cover the cost of their incarceration, which Governor Rauner then vetoed. Read more>>
- Training inmates for lawful jobs. Illinois’ current approach to criminal justice does not address the root causes of criminal activity, such as poverty and lack of education. Job training provides people with histories of incarceration, many of whom come from marginalized communities, with a lawful way to support themselves after they reenter society. We need to strengthen these programs by training both incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people for careers rather than low-level jobs. Read more>>
It is time to create systemic change that reflects Illinois’ priorities for the future, not the practices of the past.
Defending Women’s Rights
With Donald Trump in the White House and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, women’s equality and women’s reproductive rights are under attack—and with Bruce Rauner in Springfield, conditions are even worse for women in Illinois. The rights and opportunities of all citizens should be protected.
- Compensating women equally. It’s 2017, and yet a conversation is still being had about whether or not women should be paid equally to men for equal work. In Illinois last year, women made an average of $41,327 to men’s $52,161 – that is unacceptable. Daniel passed legislation to strengthen the Illinois Equal Pay Act by prohibiting employers from asking job seekers about their previous compensation. Read more>>
- Protecting the right to choose. The federal government will not tell the women of Illinois what to do with their bodies. Daniel sponsored HB40, which protects a woman’s right to choose even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Read more>>
- Providing paid family leave. Businesses should offer paid family leave so that women and men can be employed and take care of their family. Without state-wide access to paid family leave, the economy and families will hurt. This is why Daniel introduced legislation guaranteeing employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Read more>>
- Providing health care options for patients. Daniel respects health care providers’ right to deny care that is not in accord with their faith. However, Catholic hospitals handle 1/4 of all hospital admissions statewide. Daniel proposed legislation that respects the religious rights of Catholic hospitals by allowing them to deny services to patients so long as they inform the patient of alternative resources. Read more>>
Equality for women should be nonpartisan and a no-brainer. As governor, Daniel will continue to fight alongside women in Illinois.
Protecting Social Programs
Community supports are often the first thing on the chopping block in a state budget crisis. Funding for human service providers has been cruelly slashed over the last decade. Why? Because they aren’t backed by big money or any political machine. Daniel has led the fight in Springfield to protect these programs:
- Fought for human service providers. As past chair of the Senate Human Services committee, Daniel helped make sure that human service providers and, just as importantly, their clients had a voice in Springfield. Read more>>
- Expanded access to SNAP. Daniel worked hard to restore cuts to childcare programs—and to expand it. Even during the current budget stalemate, he was able to expand access to SNAP benefits so that almost 40,000 working families now have access to food. Read more>>
- Community Care Program. Daniel fought to protect the Community Care Program for seniors. And, just as importantly, Daniel fought to make sure that human service providers have adequate rates to pay frontline staff a living wage. Read more>>
Daniel has and will continue to make sure that state government serves people, not big money and the machine.