Sen. Toi HutchinsonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) released the following statement this afternoon after voting to increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025:

“Every Senator in this body represents constituents in our districts who wake up every morning when it is still dark outside and go to work. They work all day and string together hourly jobs just to make ends meet. Then they get up and do it all over again. They don’t have a lobbyist to fight for their behalf – they only have us.

“Today is our day to lift up millions of working Illinoisans who despite their hard work, still live every day in poverty.”

Senate Bill 1 would gradually increase Illinois’ minimum wage starting with an increase to $9.25 scheduled on January 1, 2020. Illinois’ minimum wage has been stagnant at $8.25 since 2010.

Senate Bill 1 passed on a 39-18 vote and now heads to the Illinois House for further debate.

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prop tax billSPRINGFIELD – Homeowners and small businesses across the South Suburbs will see decreases in their property tax bills under a new state grant program that seeks to provide relief to school districts in high-taxed areas.

The Property Tax Relief Grant was included in the historic school funding reform law that has already provided millions of dollars in new state funds to school districts that need it the most. In the first year alone, the 40th Senate District received nearly $10 million in additional state funding.

“Communities with little property wealth have been forced to increase their taxes year after year, placing a high burden on homeowners and small businesses and cheating students out of a quality education,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) said. “For many South Suburban communities, this has only increased economic disinvestment and neighborhood stagnation.”

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Two-hundred years ago today, Illinois became the nation’s 21st state.

In recognition of our bicentennial, State Senator Toi Hutchinson highlighted the Kankakee County Courthouse, its history and impact on Illinois’ rich past and its bright potential.

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02202018CM0491RSPRINGFIELD – Illinois farmers will now have the ability to cultivate industrial hemp under a proposal by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) that was signed into law over the weekend.

“Illinois has some of the best farmland in the Midwest, with fertile agricultural land across all regions of our state,” Hutchinson said. “This new law ensures our farmers have the ability to produce a product that is already available in our stores.”

Hutchinson’s new law, contained in Senate Bill 2298, creates the Industrial Hemp Act and allows farmers to apply to the Illinois Department of Agriculture for a license to cultivate and process industrial hemp.

In 2014, the federal farm bill for the first time allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to develop pilot programs to study the cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp. Illinois passed legislation in 2015 allowing state universities with four-year agriculture degrees to research hemp.

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