Senators Michael E. Hastings and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant in committee

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois veterans may soon have a streamlined process to apply for small business contracts.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) advanced Senate Bill 1620 to create a one-stop shop for veterans to gain certification to bid on small business contracts.

“Our veterans have taken care of us, now it is our time to take care of them,” Hastings said. “Illinois has a wide range of programs available to assist Illinois veterans and honor them for their dedication and sacrifices. However, these programs are not useful if they are hidden behind red tape and multiple levels of bureaucracy.”

Senate Bill 1620 is Hastings initiative after listening to veterans across Illinois who were struggling to apply to be eligible to qualify for state-certification service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB).

“My goal is to clear up all confusion and create a streamlined process for veterans to apply for state, county and municipality veterans certifications,” Hastings said.

Under Senate Bill 1620, veterans who achieve state certification through Illinois Central Management Services would no longer have to reapply for county and municipality veteran certifications. The state certification would preempt local processes.

“Eliminating redundancies and paperwork will remove unnecessary hurdles for our nation’s heroes,” Hastings said. “Veterans should not have to prove their status at every level of government.”

Senate Bill 1620 passed the Senate’s Committee on Veterans Affairs with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases


SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) spent the week asking Illinois agencies to address Governor Bruce Rauner’s nearly $5 billion budget deficit.

The $5 billion budget deficit would in turn mean a 20 percent budget cut across the board for Illinois agencies and programs.

Hastings, chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Criminal Law, brought in agency directors from the Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Corrections to directly ask them where the 20 percent state agency cuts would come from.

Illinois Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin did not appear in front of the committee or notify the committee of any scheduling conflicts.

“The director of the Illinois Department of Corrections did not bother to notify the committee of his absence,” Hastings said. “It is offensive for directors to not come to Senate committees unprepared to answer questions. However, it is unimaginable for a director to not even bother to show up to committee. Come to work, do your job and explain the budget.”

The Illinois State Police (ISP) is hoping for additional state funding to meet public safety needs. ISP needs to train additional cadets to fill workforce needs and keep Illinois safe.
Governor Rauner did not seem to consult with the ISP while developing his proposed budget.

“There is a void in leadership,” Hastings said. “The governor needs to lead our state forward, not obstruct progress. We are going on year three without a budget. We know our people are hurting. Governor, you need to step up and do your job.”

ISP and IDOC did not list any potential budget cuts to meet the governor’s nearly $5 billion deficit.

Hastings is looking forward to meeting with the Director Baldwin during Senate appropriations hearings.

Category: Press Releases

Hastings Criminal LawSPRINGFIELD- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. MS requires a well-thought-out treatment plan that helps people manage their symptoms and live full and independent lives.

Under current law, companies are allowed to cap the number of physical therapy treatments covered for people with MS under their health insurance policy.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings is working to change that.

Read more ...

Category: Press Releases

Senator Michael E. Hastings promotes fair use of informant testimony

SPRINGFIELD- Donovan Allen was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 15 years based on testimony from a jailhouse informant who was provided incentives for testifying.

Because of DNA evidence, Allen case was overturned.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) advanced Senate Bill 1830 to help prevent people like Allen from being wrongfully convicted.

“If defense attorneys provided similar incentives, they would be charged with bribing witnesses,” Hastings said. “Cases similar to Allen are showing us that you get what you pay for. If you incentivize testimony, people are likely to lie and innocent people go to jail.”

Some of the incentives offered to “jail house snitches” include criminal charges dropped or lighter sentences given.

Senate Bill 1830 puts protections in place to work toward giving defendants a fair trial. It will allow jailhouse informant testimony to be challenged for reliability as well as require the prosecution to disclose any intent to introduce informant testimony at least 30 days prior to the hearing.

”Sending the wrong person to prison doesn’t make our neighborhoods any safer,” Hastings said.

The Illinois Innocence Project approached Hastings to introduce this initiative to help promote a fair and just use of testimony from jailhouse informants.

"Illinois is once again paving the way as a leader in addressing the causes of wrongful convictions. This bill would add much needed protections to ensure the reliability of jailhouse informant testimony, which will help ensure the rights of the innocent,” Amol Sinha, State Policy Advocate with the Innocence Project said. “We thank Senator Hastings for his dedicated leadership and look forward to working with stakeholders and both chambers of the General Assembly to prevent wrongful convictions in Illinois."

Senate Bill 1830 passed the Senate’s Committee on Criminal Law with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.


Category: Press Releases

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