060121HAO00197 rSPRINGFIELD – A resolution sponsored by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) to honor a local state trooper killed in the line of duty passed out of the Senate Tuesday.

“Trooper Richard G. Warner was an example of selfless duty, and his loss rocked a community,” Connor said. “All police officers, whether state troopers, sheriff's deputies, or local police departments, experience risks every day that few of us fully appreciate.”

A veteran of the Battle of Okinawa, Trooper Warner was shot to death at the Illinois State Police Headquarters District 5 in Lockport on April 21, 1969 after responding to a simple traffic accident where a fellow Navy combat veteran had attempted to kill himself. The driver had been hospitalized at the VA two years earlier for what was then called a "nervous breakdown."  After Trooper Warner left him in an office briefly in District 5 headquarters, the driver grabbed another trooper's handgun from a desk and fired two shots, fatally wounding Trooper Warner and injuring another trooper.

“If the driver that Trooper Warner was attempting to help had received comprehensive mental health treatment in 1967, prior to his suicide attempt, he and Trooper Warner might never have crossed paths on that fateful day,” Connor said. “We must do better for all our veterans so that they have access to the best mental health treatment available after experiencing the horrors of war."

The stretch of Route 53 that passes by Illinois State Police Headquarters District 5 will now be designated Trooper Richard G. Warner Memorial Highway, after the late Trooper Warner.

Category: Press Releases

05312021CM0472 rSPRINGFIELD – An initiative by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) to require increased groundwater monitoring near quarry fill sites passed the Senate Friday.

“This clean water initiative is the watchfulness that our constituents expect.  Increasing our vigilance to ensure that we have clean water to drink doesn’t just matter today—it will matter for generations into the future,” Connor said. “Enforcing standards that keep our water clean means that our communities can grow and thrive for years to come.”

Connor was joined in this initiative by Representative Dagmara Avelar (D-Bolingbrook), who filed the bill in the House, and State Senator Laura Ellaman (D-Naperville) who filed identical legislation during the previous General Assembly and has been an advocate for the cause in the Senate.

“The legislature has been working for close to 10 years to resolve the issue of protecting groundwater and preventing contamination, and I commend all stakeholders who worked with us in passing this bill,” Avelar said. “We are contributing to environmentally friendly practices and protecting our natural resources for generations to come."

This legislation is an initiative of the Illinois Environmental Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center. If signed into law, it would allocate funding to expand teams of inspectors tasked with monitoring clean construction and demolition debris facilities. The increased monitoring and testing facilitated by this legislation would ultimately ensure that contaminants are kept out of groundwater where clean construction demolition debris is dumped.

“I have been proud to champion this issue, and I couldn’t be happier to see this legislation pass,” Ellman said. "In particular, this is important to residents of Will County, which is home to more Clean Construction Demolition Debris sites than any other state in Illinois. Families who rely on groundwater will now have more measures in place to ensure the safety of their drinking water."

House Bill 653 passed the Senate with 55 votes.

Category: Press Releases

052420210087 rSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) that would require the monitoring and reporting of racial bias in hiring processes that rely on Artificial Intelligence passed the Senate on Tuesday.

“It’s important to ensure that qualified applicants have the employment opportunities they deserve,” Connor said. “We wouldn’t stand for racial bias in interpersonal hiring processes, why should we accept it in technological ones?”

An increasing number of large companies are using Artificial Intelligence in their hiring processes. Prospective employees use a web link to record themselves answering a series of designated questions either verbally or by typed response, and the company’s AI software then analyzes the video to assign scores to facial expressions, word choice, body language and vocal tone. Advancement of applicants is based on this assigned score.

House Bill 53 requires companies that rely on AI screenings to select candidates to document and report the race and ethnicity of all screened applicants, both those hired and those rejected. Under this legislation, these reports are to be sent to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, where the data would be analyzed and shared with the Governor and General Assembly.

The legislation passed the Senate with 43 votes.

Category: Press Releases

051920210454 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) that extends homestead exemptions for individuals with disabilities and senior citizens without reapplication advanced out of the Senate Monday evening.

“I am always proud to step up and be a voice for populations in our state who may be most in need,” Connor said. “Providing an exemption for at-risk communities means keeping more Illinoisans safe from exposure to COVID-19 or other potentially dangerous illnesses.”

Homestead exemptions can be approved for people with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and older adults without new applications under House Bill 3289. Any property that was approved for the exemption in the 2019 taxable year will qualify, provided that the county the property is in declared a local disaster related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipients of the exemption are required to reapply every year, but the pandemic resulted in a waived reapplication requirement—a trend that Connor would like to see continue, due to concerns that applicants may potentially be exposed to COVID-19 or other communicable diseases when seeking help in-person.

The legislation passed the Senate with 55 votes.

Category: Press Releases

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