Morrison in committeeA proposed law sponsored by state Senator Julie Morrison would let the people see who’s really paying for political campaigns, shining a light on those trying to buy influence at the state Capitol.

It would require political organizations that make independent expenditures – buying ads or paying for commercials on candidates’ behalf without their explicit permission – to report how much money they spend and how they spend it.

Any time a political action committee or some other person or organization spends more than $1,000 on a candidate, it would be required to report doing so to the State Board of Elections within five days. In the two months leading up to the election, they would have to report expenses within two days.

“The people have a right to know who’s trying to influence elections,” Morrison said. “We’ve seen an explosion of this independent spending. It shouldn’t be a way to bypass our campaign finance laws.”

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Sad ChildAfter a series of media reports last fall revealed that hundreds of children under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services were abused and assaulted at residential treatment centers, state Senator Julie Morrison introduced a plan to fix the problem.

This proposed law would require DCFS to force child care facilities to take immediate action when an employee commits an act of abuse or neglect. That plan is now on its way to the governor.

The key point is that employees who endanger kids or fail to report abuse would face immediate discipline. The law would also apply when employees fail to report abuse and neglect.

“Any employees of a child care organization who aren’t keeping abused and neglected children safe should be disciplined – up to and including losing their jobs,” Morrison said. “These are kids who have already experienced horrors many of us can’t even imagine. It’s our responsibility to help them rebuild their lives.”

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Human TraffickingA proposal to help people escape the horrors of human trafficking passed the Illinois General Assembly today.

The measure requires the state government to post signs warning about the dangers of human trafficking and display the phone number of the national human trafficking hotline in high-traffic areas, such as truck stops, bus stations, train stations, airports and rest stops.

“We need to make sure that human trafficking phone number is posted in places victims might actually see it,” said state Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield). “Public transit hubs are among the few places they actually see.”

More than one study has identified Chicago as a national hub of human trafficking, but exact numbers are hard to pinpoint. A 2007 study estimated that 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are involved in the commercial sex trade in the Chicago metropolitan area, and at least some of them are likely victims of human trafficking.

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Highland Park MetraIn response to a recent federal court ruling in support of Highland Park’s assault weapons ban, state Senator Julie Morrison introduced a measure to restore the right to ban assault weapons to every city and village in the state.

“This is about local control,” the Deerfield Democrat said. “Highland Park decided to protect its citizens by banning assault weapons. Every other city and village in Illinois should have that same right.”

The highly controversial 2013 law that allowed Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons also prohibited local governments from banning assault weapons.

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