SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D–Tinley Park) weighed in on the Governor's budget address:

"Past reckless spending decisions have left our state in a dire financial situation, and we have to be honest about how we are going to tackle this issue. We simply cannot cut our way out of this mess. We have already laid off thousands of teachers and closed vital health service centers throughout the state. More cuts will mean more reductions in aid to seniors and resources for our children.

I’m open to ideas to ensure our schools are adequately funded, our roads are properly maintained and that we continue to provide for our seniors. I think building a casino in the Southland is an idea we should seriously consider.”

Category: Press Releases

casino-hastingsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Hills) and area leaders are hoping Country Club Hills will be one of five locations chosen to host a casino if a gambling expansion bill is approved by lawmakers in Springfield.

Hastings, a sponsor of the gambling expansion bill in the Senate, offered testimony Monday evening to a panel of House lawmakers in support of building a casino in Country Club Hills at a site near Interstates 57, 80 and 294.

“A new casino will generate new revenue for infrastructure projects and create hundreds of new jobs in the Southland area,” Hastings said. “But we have to choose a location that is practical for the area and our communities.”

The gambling expansion plan would add five casinos, including one in Chicago, as well as slot machines at horse tracks and O’Hare and Midway airports. Current and future casino licensees would also be allowed to apply for online gambling licenses.

The site for a Southland casino has not been chosen.

"A south suburban casino will have to compete with not only the existing casinos in Joliet and Aurora, but also with a proposed Chicago casino that will draw significantly from tourist traffic and citizens in the suburbs," Hastings said. "That is why it is important to choose a site-specific location that would best benefit the south suburbs. The gaming board needs to make a prudent business decision, rather than a political decision when choosing the location of a casino. In the end, Country Club Hills is the best answer."

This is the fourth time in as many years that the General Assembly has tried to expand gambling. Quinn vetoed bills in 2011 and 2012 based on ethical and regulatory concerns. Last year, the gaming expansion proposal only passed the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Michael HastingsSPRINGFIELD – Legislation making it a felony to post sexually explicit videos or photos of another person, without their consent, to an Internet site was approved earlier today by the Illinois Senate and now moves to the Illinois House.

State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Park), the bill sponsor, commended his colleagues for supporting the measure.

“I believe we have a well-crafted proposal that will put in place criminal penalties to prevent future victims from this type of harassment,” Hastings said. “I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for recognizing that our laws need to reflect changes in technology, because unfortunately, new technology can have unintended negative consequences.”

Hastings noted that revenge porn is a growing problem with the rise of social media, when photos and videos that were made privately during a relationship can make their way onto hundreds of websites. Oftentimes, the posts include names, addresses, e-mail addresses and other information that invites varying forms of harassment, including cyberbullying and cyberstalking.

“This can be extremely devastating and humiliating to an unsuspecting victim,” Hastings said. “There are reported instances where the victims are forced to change their names and even move to escape the barrage of unwanted harassment.”

In Illinois, it is illegal to post identifying or graphic information of a minor, or an adult without consent, on a pornographic site, but there is currently no state law to prevent exes from sharing explicit photos after a bad breakup. If passed, the law would make revenge porn a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to 3 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.

Senate Bill 2694 would exempt the news media for publishing explicit images or videos of substantial public interest, such as the images that were made public during the Anthony Weiner scandal.

Category: Press Releases

Hastings-revengeporn-hearing2State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Park) moved legislation today that would make it a felony to post sexually explicit videos or photos of another person, without their consent, to an Internet site.

“Revenge porn is the ultimate form of cyberbullying, and we currently don’t have a criminal recourse that would deter a person from committing this heinous act,” Hastings told members of the Senate Criminal Law Committee.

Diana Pisone, a resident of Oak Park who testified at the hearing, said her ex-husband threatened to post explicit pictures and videos of her on the Internet in 2010. At the time, her only course of action was to file an emergency order of protection against him, which has since expired. She is now worried that her ex-husband could follow through on his threat at any time.

“Those pictures and videos are a noose around my neck,” Pisone said during her testimony.

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Category: Press Releases

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