Black Caucus meets in Rockford
By Jeff Havens, Staff Writer
State Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-67) hosted the first annual Illinois Legislative Black Caucus retreat last week. The retreat was held at the Ramada Suites in Rockford.
Jefferson said, The most pressing issue facing Illinois is the budget. The state faces an estimated $2.5 billion deficitalmost one billion more than six months ago. It is important that we facilitate the needed budget conversations now.
Specifically, the purpose of the retreat was to give black legislators the opportunity to discuss how poor people, minorities and senior citizens will remain part of the state budget in these difficult economic times. The retreat participants discussed gambling, convicted felons, education, taxes, health care, human services and economic development.
The caucus supports state-sponsored gambling, expunging Class IV felonies from criminals records who have completed their time in prison, providing more equitable distribution of public education funding and minimizing cuts in state human services.
Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Mike Madigan (D-22) was the most senior legislator to address the participants.