The day before the governor's budget address, I joined the crew of The Afternoon Shift on WBEZ to preview the state budget and discuss some of the challenges we face, including new concerns about pension reform.


State of the State react webI’ve been in the business of improving Illinois for many years now. We’ve abolished the death penalty, overhauled workers’ compensation, protected voting rights and expanded minority participation in state contracts. I welcome Gov. Rauner to the effort. I’m ready to work with anyone who comes to the table with reasonable ideas and a willingness to compromise.

I do want to see more specifics and a detailed blueprint of where the governor is proposing to lead us and how he plans to get there. The time for bashing Illinois and focusing on past problems is over; it's time to govern this great state and start shaping its future.

Gov. Rauner has reached out to me for input on our next steps in criminal justice reform, and I'm confident that this is an area where we can find common ground. I'm very pleased with initial indications of the Rauner administration's direction on this issue – both his statements today and the individuals he has chosen to advise him. I look forward to working with the governor on a more just, humane and fiscally responsible approach to public safety.

New law helps block those who commit felonies connected to public employment from collecting pensions

pensionsSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) announced that a measure he sponsored to make it harder for felons to receive public pensions became law today. Outraged by a pension board’s decision to allow convicted former Chicago police commander Jon Burge — who oversaw the torture of more than 100 suspects — to continue receiving a pension, Raoul worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to clarify that courts can intervene to stop such payouts.

Read more: Raoul: “It’s unconscionable that Jon Burge is receiving a pension”

Pledge to continue working on statewide rules for officer-worn cameras

Raoul, Nekritz secure passage of eavesdropping reformsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) and State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Buffalo Grove) secured passage today of a carefully crafted eavesdropping measure that respects reasonable expectations of privacy while allowing people to record conversations that are clearly public, including law enforcement encounters in public places. At the same time, the legislation’s chief sponsors pledged to continue working to allow the use of uniform-mounted cameras by police officers.

Read more: Raoul, Nekritz secure passage of eavesdropping reforms

“I stand ready to continue the process of negotiating constitutional reforms that protect public employees as well as core services.”

Raoul responds to pension reform rulingSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th), co-chair of a conference committee that sent a compromise plan for pension reform to the courts last December, issued the following statement in response to Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz’s opinion that the measure does not pass constitutional muster:

Read more: Raoul responds to pension reform ruling