Speaking Friday at Kennedy-King College, local state Rep. Kambium Buckner (D-26th) celebrated the economic equity bill just signed into law and outlined the work to be done in the remainder of the spring legislative session.
The economic reform restricts employers' ability to use a person’s criminal history in making hiring decisions, raises the goal for state contracting with minority-owned businesses, sets new standards for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to examine low- and moderate-income lending and caps the effective interest rate lenders can charge on payday loans and other small-dollar consumer loans at 36%.
"I'm incredibly proud of the work the work that the Black Caucus has done in spearheading these critical measures into law to help lift up Illinoisans who have been left behind for generations," he said. "The push for equitable solutions for the economic problems faced by African Americans and disadvantaged Illinoisans begins here … but it does not end here."
Asked what the Legislative Black Caucus' next priorities would be, Buckner said, "What we know from experience is that if you fight systemic racism, it will fight you aggressively back." He said work will be done to strengthen the reform pillars passed into law — in addition to economic equity, public safety, health care and education — and put forth "bills that that really make the things that we've done here even more practical and pragmatic."
As for his own priorities, Buckner cited economic empowerment and equity in his district — which spans from downtown down the south lakefront until North Kenwood, encompassing South Kenwood west of Woodlawn Avenue and Hyde Park west of Ellis Avenue, and parts of Woodlawn, South Shore and South Chicago — and the education system, "putting money and dollars where they need to go for our students."
As of press time, Buckner has 15 bills that have either passed committee or have hearings scheduled, ranging from a proposal for a Wrongful Prosecution Commission to investigate claims of people convicted of crimes in Cook County to a reform of the Chicago Public Schools evidence-based funding provision.