Blue tie floorSPRINGFIELD – Recreational cannabis could soon be legal in Illinois under legislation cosponsored by State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) that passed the Illinois Senate Wednesday.

House Bill 1438 would allow individuals over the age of 21 to legally purchase and possess cannabis for recreational purposes in Illinois.

The measure would also allow for the expungement of minor cannabis offenses and create programs to encourage minority participation in the industry.

“If we’re going to legalize recreational cannabis in Illinois, we need to do it in a fair and equitable way,” Sandoval said. “I feel confident that we’ve struck a good balance with this legislation.”

House Bill 1438 would create a Social Equity Program, which will foster minority participation in the cannabis industry by providing grants and loans to defray the costs of participating in the market.

It also establishes the Recover, Reinvest and Renew Program (R3), which would provide grants to minority communities to help resolve the negative effects of the illicit cannabis market.

Cannabis businesses are also required to submit an annual report on their employee and contractor diversity.

“The cannabis market has had significant negative effects on people of color both in terms of their lack of participation in the industry and the impact the illicit market has on minority communities,” Sandoval said. “These provisions are going to provide needed opportunities in this market for minorities and start repairing the damage that decades of marijuana prohibition has had on underserved communities.”

The legislation also provides for the expungement of some marijuana offenses. Any arrests for minor cannabis offenses under 30 grams would be expunged automatically under House Bill 1438.

It would also create a process by which individuals with higher level cannabis convictions could see their records expunge.

“Our criminal justice is incarcerating non-violent drug offenders who pose no threat to the public at an alarming rate,” Sandoval said. “It’s time to stop imposing overly harsh penalties on these men and women and allow them to integrate back into our society.”

House Bill 1438 will now go to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

Gas Tax Presser 1SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) unveiled a plan Wednesday that would provide sustainable annual funding to address years of neglect of Illinois’ roads, bridges and transit systems.

“Our transportation system has been underfunded for far too long and it’s time for Illinois to transition to a more sustainable funding method to fix our crumbling roads and the more than 2,300 bridges in our state that are rated as structurally deficient,” Sandoval said. “We’ve been kicking this can down the road for decades and it’s time for us to finally step up and find a solution.”

House Bill 3233 provides a historic, sustainable revenue source for making Illinois’ transportation needs a priority for the future. The measure would update Illinois’ motor fuel tax to reflect current market prices and keep up with inflation. Illinois’ motor fuel tax has not changed since 1990 and, as a result, the state has been had difficulty keeping up with maintenance to ensure that its transportation system is safe and efficient.

The measure is estimated to provide an additional $2.4 billion in funding for needed projects throughout the state.

“This proposal is kicking off the conversation in earnest about the best way to invest in our transportation network,” Sandoval said. “We’re going to have to pay for these upgrades somehow and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find a solution that makes Illinois’ transportation system work for its residents.”

The legislation also creates the Illinois Works Jobs Program, which would develop a statewide network to recruit qualified men and women to work on the newly funded construction projects

“It’s important to note that not only are we going to build up Illinois, but we’re also going to put Illinoisans to work doing it,” said Sandoval. “This proposal will provide jobs to thousands of men and women and provide a massive economic boost to our state.”

Blue tie floorSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) that would improve the safety of children on school busses passed the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

House Bill 2121 makes changes to the eligibility standards for individuals with criminal convictions applying for a bus driver license. The legislation would add several criminal offenses to the list of those that would make an individual eligible for a lifetime ban from receiving a license.

“We need to make sure that schools are safe and nurturing environments for our students and that includes ensuring that they have a safe commute to and from school every day,” Sandoval said. “It’s critical that those charged with transporting our children safely have been properly vetted and are deemed fit to carry out their work.”

Criminal offenses that would newly allow an individual to be banned for life under the legislation include permitting the sexual abuse of a child, all aggravated battery offenses and loitering of a sexual predator near a public park.

“It’s just common sense that people who have been convicted of these crimes are not fit to take care of our children every day,” Sandoval said.

The legislation also eliminates the lifetime ban on applicants with convictions for misdemeanor marijuana offenses and replaces it with a 20 year ban.

“It’s time to stop punishing non-violent offenders with minor marijuana convictions so harshly and allow them to return to being productive members of our communities,” Sandoval said. “These men and women should not be barred from a career opportunity for life because of a mistake they made years prior.”

The measure will now go before the entire Senate.

Red tie floorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) voted Wednesday for a tax reform package that – if passed by voters would implement a fair tax system in Illinois and provide tax relief to 97 percent of the state’s taxpayers.

The fair tax package includes a constitutional amendment that would require Illinois’ wealthiest residents to pay their fair share while providing income tax relief to middle and working class taxpayers. The package also includes a measure that would provide property tax relief to homeowners.

“It’s absurd that families who are struggling to make ends meet are paying the same income tax rate as the wealthiest residents of our state,” Sandoval said. “It’s long past time to implement a fair and equitable tax system that will provide relief to middle and working class taxpayers who have been carrying an undue financial burden in this state.”

Illinois is one of only nine state in the nation that currently have a flat income tax. A fair tax system would help bring fiscal certainty to the state after several years of financial instability.

“It’s no secret that the budget impasse under the last administration left us in a significant financial hole,” Sandoval said. “This proposal is the best option available to continue returning stability to Illinois without cutting needed services or subjecting middle and working-class families to greater financial stress.”

Along with implementing a fair tax system, the package would also freeze property taxes for Illinois residents as long as the state fully funds public schools.

“Illinoisans shouldn’t have to choose between reasonable property taxes and a quality education for their children,” Sandoval said. “This is a serious issue we’ve been seeing for a long time and I’m proud to vote for any measure that will lessen the burden on homeowners.”

The package will now go before the House of Representatives.

Office Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 12th District
111 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-5304

District Office:
5807 W. 35th Street
Cicero, IL 60804
708-656-2002