Legislative News from Senator Don DeWitte

DeWitte Calls Out Poor Planning, Rushed Process for Proposed Prison Closures

In March, the Pritzker Administration announced plans to demolish and rebuild Stateville Correctional Center in suburban Crest Hill. The rebuild plan calls for nearly doubling the prison’s capacity even though the prison is already half empty and the prison population statewide is down significantly.

At the same time, the Pritzker Administration also announced plans to demolish Logan Correctional Center, a women’s prison located in Lincoln, but did not commit to rebuilding the facility which employs about 500 people in around the community just north of Springfield. Residents have said that permanently closing the facility would devastate the local economy.

Illinois’ State Facility Closure Act requires public hearings must be held to consider all perspectives of closing a state facility and the impact it would have on the staffing, budget, and the local community. I am a member of Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability (COGFA) and attended the hearing in Joliet for Stateville and the hearing in Lincoln for Logan. Both were very well attended by community members who were not in support of the Governor’s proposals for the facilities.

I also attended a Friday meeting in Springfield, where COGFA members were supposed to take a vote registering our opinion on the proposed closures. Unfortunately, the future of the Stateville and Logan Correctional Centers remain uncertain because no official vote taken on Friday for lack of a quorum of commission members.

The Friday meeting had originally been scheduled as a virtual meeting, but Commission members learned early in the week that the Friday meeting was changed to be an in-person only meeting. The late notice of a Friday meeting in Springfield significantly affected attendance.

I was disappointed with this entire process. The issue of possibly closing one or more of our correctional centers is extremely important and should have been taken care of while we were still in session. We’re also talking about a prison population that is shrinking, and plans to rebuild and add even more space at Crest Hill? Those numbers just don’t make sense.

Click here to listen to my comments made at the Friday COGFA meeting.

Local Chambers of Commerce Awarded B2B Grants

More than 150 local chambers of commerce, including several in the 33rd Senate District, will be awarded a share of $5 million in grant funding through the state’s Back to Business (B2B) Local Chambers program.

The state’s B2B Local Chambers program, which the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity administers, provides additional support for local chambers of commerce still recovering from the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor’s lockdowns.

Eligible chambers of commerce include organizations of businesses and professionals dedicated to improving the economic and business development within their communities that experienced a negative financial impact from the pandemic and have an annual revenue of $1 million or less.

A full list of grant recipients can be found here.

Upcoming events in the 33rd Senate District

Summer events are continuing in the 33rd District, and next up are additional traveling office hours events in Algonquin and South Elgin, a event with the Illinois Tollway where motorists can switch out their IPASS transponders with the new IPASS sticker, a mobile Secretary of State “REAL ID” event in West Dundee, and a Senior Fraud Prevention seminar in Geneva.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming outreach events:

  • June 26: Traveling Office Hours, Algonquin
  • July 10: IL Tollway IPASS Sticker Event, St. Charles
  • July 11: Traveling Office Hours, South Elgin
  • July 23: Traveling Office Hours, Crystal Lake
  • August 1: Traveling Office Hours, Geneva
  • August 7: Mobile Secretary of State Event, West Dundee
  • August 15: Senior Fraud Prevention, Geneva
  • August 19: Traveling Office Hours, Carpentersville
  • September 24: I-CASH Unclaimed Property Day, Algonquin
  • October 15: Senior Expo, Crystal Lake

Please visit the Events Page on my website to learn more about these and other events.

Illinois Secretary of State’s Office Issues Notice of Data Breach

The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office is warning Illinois residents of a data breach that may have exposed their personal data.

Out of an abundance of caution, around 50,000 residents received letters concerning a “data security incident” that occurred in early April. The letter stated that an unidentified individual gained access to the Lake County government’s computer system and sent a phishing email to Illinois Secretary of State employees. The letter noted that the breach had potentially exposed names, driver’s licenses, and Social Security numbers.

In a statement shared by NBC Chicago, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office said, “The office’s Department of Information Technology and cyber security teams acted within hours to contain and mitigate the phishing incident, and none of the agency’s databases, including those containing driver and vehicle records, were compromised.” 

The Office also noted that they intend to enhance cybersecurity measures and plan to reinforce the security frameworks against future attacks. 

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