forum0916Thank you to everyone who participated in our forum on criminal justice in Illinois! I appreciated the thoughtful discussion on this extremely important topic, and I look forward to working to reform a system in a way that will strengthen both our communities and our state budget. Below you can access the handouts provided by our fantastic panelists.

From Laura Brookes, Director of Policy, TASC Inc.: pdfIncarceration_SUDs_and_Tx_in_the_CJS.pdf

From Mary Ann Dyar, Program Administrator, Adult Redeploy Illinois: pdfAdult_Redeploy_Illinois_Dashboard_-_091113.pdf

Category: Latest

biss75x75SKOKIE — On Sunday, State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) will host the third of six monthly discussions in his 2013 Critical Issues Series. The last several decades have seen a dramatic spike in incarceration rates throughout America. A growing body of evidence suggests that the status quo is destructive to neighborhoods and families but also unnecessarily expensive. Biss will be joined by panelists familiar with today's criminal justice challenges who will discuss the effort to reform the system through a variety of lenses: policies and legislation, community resources and organizations and cultural norms and expectations.

  • WHO: Sen. Daniel Biss
    • Panelists:
      • Laura Brookes, Director of Policy, TASC, Inc.
      • Mary Ann Dyar, Program Administrator, Adult Redeploy Illinois (Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority)
      • Todd Belcore, Staff Attorney, Community Justice, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
  • WHAT: Panel discussion: "Exploring Criminal Justice in Illinois"
  • WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15
  • WHERE: The Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave., Evanston


The schedule for the remaining discussions in the Critical Issues Series is as follows. All events will be held at 3 p.m. at The Levy Center.

Oct. 13: The Affordable Care Act and Upcoming Health Care Transition
Nov. 10: Transportation Policy for a 21st Century Global Hub
Dec. 15: Addressing the Looming Retirement Crisis

Category: Press Releases


As part of our Critical Issues Series, we'll be hosting our third forum at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Levy Center in Evanston. This month, our topic is Exploring Criminal Justice in Illinois. The past several decades have seen a dramatic spike in incarceration rates throughout America. There is a growing conversation about the fiscal, social and public safety impacts of this trend, with a growing body of evidence suggesting that the status quo is destructive of neighborhoods and families and is also unnecessarily expensive.

This discussion has recently been given additional attention on the national level by Attorney General Eric Holder's effort to curb the population in federal prisons because "widespread incarceration at the federal, state and local levels is both ineffective and unsustainable." It has also been a focus of many leaders closer to home. On Sunday, I'll be joined by a fantastic group of panelists who will discuss the challenges we face in the effort to reform our criminal justice system through a variety of lenses: policies and legislation, community resources and organizations, and cultural norms and expectations.

I'm grateful to our panelists and excited about this forum; making the right changes would have a significant impact both on the lives of people in the system, but also on our state budget. I hope you'll join me for this important discussion.

Event details:

  • Date: Sept. 15
  • Time: 3 p.m.
  • Location: Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave, Evanston
  • Panelists: Laura Brookes, Director of Policy, TASC, Inc; Mary Ann Dyar, Program Administrator, Adult Redeploy Illinois, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority; Todd Belcore, Staff Attorney, Community Justice, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Please give my district office a call at 847-568-1250 with any questions, and I hope to see you on Sept. 15!

Category: Latest

concom0703As a member of the pension conference committee, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide a brief update. There are two topics that I would like to address: the timing of our work and recent news reports about items under consideration by the committee.

Regarding timing, I know that many people are frustrated that the committee has not yet completed its work and are anxiously awaiting our official proposal. Please know that I share this frustration: Hundreds of thousands of people rely on these pension systems to provide them with a secure retirement, and they deserve clarity and resolution as soon as possible. This problem weighs heavily on our state's fiscal condition and reputation, and we will all be better off when it is appropriately resolved.

This process has been lengthy, partly due to the difficult and contentious nature of the issue -- even as we hone in on a recommendation, conference committee members are hashing out every aspect of the topic carefully, and many components require significant compromise from all participants. Perhaps even more importantly, we are taking very seriously the need for a robust, credible actuarial evaluation of our final product. Consequently, we are requesting very thorough -- and, yes, time-consuming -- studies of our ideas.

These facts notwithstanding, the problem still stands before us and demands a resolution as soon as possible. I am completely committed to achieving this, and I am hopeful that I will be back in touch before too long to discuss our proposal.

This brings me to my second topic: a leaked media report about some of the committee's deliberations. On Friday, August 23, several news outlets published a list of items under consideration by our committee. These items included:

  • A decrease in employee contributions by 1%;
  • Replacing the current 3% automatic annual increase with a cost of living adjustment of one-half the consumer price index, potentially with floors and caps;
  • Staggered delays to cost-of-living adjustments;
  • Fully funding the pension plans over 30 years;
  • Dedicating the pension funds money that is currently being used to make bond payments, beginning in Fiscal Year 2019;
  • Switching to the Entry Age Normal actuarial cost method; and
  • Changing interest rates used to calculate the money purchase option formula.


These ideas are in fact all under discussion by the conference committee, but nothing has been finalized yet and our conversations remain in a state of flux. That means that this is an ideal moment for you to share your feedback on these items as well as any other thoughts you have on the pension issue. Please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call my office at (847) 568-1250. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we hopefully enter the late stages of our deliberations, and I very much hope that we will be able to reach a compromise that, while painful, will be manageable for all stakeholders and will put our pension systems on a clear path to stability.

Category: Latest

Contact Me

District office:
3706 Dempster St.
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 568-1250
(847) 568-1256 FAX

Springfield office:
417B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119


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