Mayor Richard M. Daley today called on the Illinois General Assembly to pass key legislation important to the people of Chicago before its scheduled adjournment next week.
“I understand that the General Assembly has a lot on its agenda -- starting with dealing with budget issues –but it has yet to act on key gun, foreclosure and property tax relief legislation,” Daley said in a news conference held at Tuley Park, 501 E. 90th St.
“These laws would help make our city safer, more affordable and improve our quality of life, while protecting our schools and students,” he said.
Daley thanked members of the Chicago City Council who are in Springfield today to carry that same message.
The Mayor said it should be “abundantly clear to everyone that we need stronger gun laws, not just in Chicago, but across Illinois.
“Passing the gun laws we have proposed will help us make it clear to everyone that we're serious about ending the violence, especially against our city's young people,” he said.
The Mayor said that HB 5832, the City’s proposal to strengthen the penalties for unlawful use of a weapon has passed the House and will be taken up by the Senate soon.
“We are very optimistic about its chances. If this bill becomes law, people caught carrying loaded weapons will not be let off scot-free as many of them are today,” he said.
He said the City continues to work towards passage of its proposals to:
• Make it a mandatory Class 1 felony for knowingly selling or transferring a gun to a known gang member.
• Require background checks for the sale of private guns so that known criminals cannot purchase guns as easily as they can now; and
• Limit the number of handgun purchases to one per month.
Next, Daley again challenged Springfield to enact the property tax relief the City has proposed.
“By working with General Assembly and other elected officials over the past six years, we have been able to provide substantive relief. But if new exemptions are not enacted this session, then the property tax bills that go out this fall will be higher for a large number Chicagoans,” the Mayor said.
“It is critical during these tough economic times that we help keep Chicago affordable by giving our hard hit homeowners the relief they need and deserve,” he said.
To help maintain the quality of life in Chicago’s neighborhoods, Daley again asked the legislature to enact legislation to require banks to maintain their foreclosed properties in Chicago.
“To me, they have an obligation to make sure their properties don't become havens for crime and gang, gun and drug activity. All of this harms the quality of life in a neighborhood and creates a greater sense of uncertainty,” the Mayor said.
“We continue to work with the General Assembly on this issue and we are hopeful this legislation will be passed before adjournment,” he said.
The Mayor also asked the legislature to at least maintain last year's funding level for public education.
“If funding is cut, my concern is that Chicago Public Schools will be forced to increase class size, reduce classroom personnel and make other cuts in after school and early childhood programs that we desperately need to fund. Don't cut spending on the backs of our children,” Daley said.
There's a lot at stake in the next few days in Springfield. I hope our legislators understand the importance of acting and acting now on the challenges I've raised today. The people of Chicago want us to get these things done” he said.
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