State Senator Toi Hutchinson has earned a reputation as a highly effective and well-regarded public servant with a strong commitment to the residents of the 40th district. Upon joining the Senate in January 2009, Hutchinson was faced with a national recession, a state budget crisis and pending impeachment proceedings against Illinois’ Governor. Given these hurdles, Hutchinson has still been able to sponsor numerous legislative measures that have helped working families.
A proud mother of three children, Hutchinson has placed a high importance on improving education since joining the Senate. Ensuring afterschool programs are effective and accountable, Hutchinson sponsored legislation that created standards for existing afterschool programs as well as offered assistance to communities that currently have no programs in place. Through this legislation, programs will be examined to determine their effectiveness as well as offered proposals to ensure all afterschool programs are utilizing their resources to the best of their ability.
As recently named chairwoman of the Senate Revenue Committee, Hutchinson has teamed with the House Revenue and Finance Committee in traveling around the state for a series of hearings dedicated towards evaluating Illinois’ business tax structure. With the negative perception given to Illinois’ business climate, the joint-committee is charged with focusing on ways to improve the business tax structure to ensure Illinois businesses are able to stay competitive with neighboring states.
Hutchinson sponsored and helped pass legislation in 2010 that laid the groundwork for the construction of the Illiana Expressway, a new highway connecting Interstate 55 in Illinois to Interstate 65 in Indiana. Since the passage of this legislation, both the Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation have commenced the early planning needed to complete this long needed expressway. Recently, community meetings have been held both in Illinois and Indiana to discuss the proposed route and receive community feedback on various aspects of construction. When complete, the expressway will provide an alternate route between Illinois and Indiana, reducing traffic congestion, aiding economic development efforts and will help put Illinoisans’ back to work, making it the first east/west expressway to be built in the Chicagoland area in more than 20 years.
Increasing public transportation options for south suburban residents, Hutchinson sponsored legislation creating the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District. The creation of this district will allow for the application of federal dollars for the construction of a new Metra line connecting eleven south suburban communities and downtown Chicago. The formation of this line will give south suburban residents additional transit options while also creating economic growth opportunities for the south suburbs.
In her efforts to keep all citizens safe from violence and exploitation, Hutchinson has sponsored and helped pass numerous pieces of legislation that will protect women, children, seniors and the disabled. Working with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Hutchinson sponsored legislation that allows a victim of sex trafficking to apply for relief from judgment when the victim has a conviction for prostitution.
Hutchinson teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Senate Bill 3269, groundbreaking legislation requiring testing of all Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits, also known as rape kits, within ten days of obtaining evidence. Prior to this legislation, many law enforcement agencies did not require the testing of rape kits, leaving victims feeling helpless and attackers not being brought to justice. With the signing of this legislation, Illinois became the first state in the country to mandate such testing. Hutchinson also worked with Attorney General Madigan on expanding last years cyberstalking legislation that will now include stalking conducted through a cell or landline phone.
Ensuring the most vulnerable members of our society are not taken advantage of, Hutchinson increased the fines for financial exploitation of seniors and those with disabilities, making the financial exploitation of between $5,000 and $50,000 a Class 2 Felony.
A dedicated public servant for over 15 years, Senator Toi Hutchinson has served the 40th District since January of 2009. Hutchinson represents portions of Cook, Grundy, Kankakee and Will counties.
Hutchinson earned a Bachelor of English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana and was a student at Northern Illinois University’s School of Law when she began her first term in the Illinois Senate.
Hutchinson and her husband Paul live in Olympia Fields with their three children.