Harris 082918CHICAGO – Gov. Bruce Rauner voted against safe, affordable drinking water in poor suburban communities this week with a veto of a water infrastructure bill sponsored by State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey).

Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2376, which was designed to help economically disadvantaged Cook County communities fix troubled drinking water infrastructures. Harris and the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago), said they hope to take an override vote in November.

“The smaller Cook County suburbs don’t have the funds to fix their infrastructure and it’s nearly impossible for them to qualify for Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan programs,” Harris said. “I will seek a veto override to make sure Ford Heights, Harvey and other towns are first in line when capital funds become available.”

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Category: News

Harris072718SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) is lead sponsor of legislation that was signed into law today requiring every community college and public university to offer a course studying the events of Black History.

“Education is the only way we can combat negative African-American stereotypes seen on the news, social media and in movies,” Harris said. “It should be a priority for our universities to offer a course that teaches students about our culture and the contributions we’ve made to society.”

The course must include:
• The history of African slave trade, slavery in America and the vestiges of slavery in the United States
• Contributions made by individual African Americans in government, the arts, humanities and sciences to the economic, cultural and political development of the United States and Africa
• The socio-economic struggle which African Americans experienced collectively in striving to achieve fair and equal treatment under the laws of the United States

House Bill 4346 allows public institutions of higher education to meet this requirement through online program or course, and extends that opportunity to elementary and high schools which already have the requirement.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Category: News

Harris053018SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) supported the Senate’s approval of the FY 19 state budget on Wednesday.

“Our job as legislators is to ensure the state is providing the services our communities need,” Harris said. “This budget works with the revenue we have to provide support in significant areas.”

The Senate budget includes a funding increase of $350 million in K-12 funding, which keeps up with the state’s commitment to the new evidence-based funding formula that was approved last year. This investment ensures no school district will receive less money than last year, and many will receive additional funding through the formula’s tier-based system.

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Category: News

State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) recently submitted the folowing op ed:

Could someone please explain to me how, in 2018, in America, we could on one hand have the country rushing to make even more money off athletes thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting, while on the other hand NFL owners strip those very athletes of their First Amendment rights and tell them to shut up and get back to work.

Is this what we’ve become in Trump’s America?

While you enjoy watching these players risk life and limb every weekend, people who look just like them are disproportionately victimized by poverty, police, politics and just about every other aspect of society.

The real problem is not these athletes taking a knee, but race relations and classism in America. When people of color speak out and want to have a discussion to better their condition, a deaf ear is turned. Simply put, America wants blacks and minorities to suffer in silence. Get out of line and lose your job.

Think about it.

When professional players run afoul of the law, they are scoffed at and told they should be role models and community leaders. They’re told to be better.

But heaven help the player who dares speak his mind about what’s really going on in the community. When that happens, they are scorned, mocked and told to get back to work because no one care what they think.

That NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 32 owners chose to tell players in a majority black league that they can’t protest injustice is unacceptable on so many levels. Not one of those owners is black. Neither is Roger Goodell. It smacks of plantation politics and no one should tolerate it.

The league never consulted with the players’ union about this change in policy. It’s supposed to be a partnership, not a dictatorship. I am appalled and embarrassed as a former NFL player to be associated with a league that would treat its players as second-class citizens and so brazenly attempt to remove their constitutional rights.

Ten years ago, I watched a black man become president of the United States in a moment that gave us all hope. America was changing, we were told. We were fool enough to believe it was real.

Now we’re stuck with a president who spews vile, racist tweets and whose rhetoric and policies seek to send this country back to the 1950s if not further. In case you forgot, those weren’t good times for people of color.

Trump doesn’t care about problems in our community. Rather than actually try to solve a problem and make American better, he makes things worse. He wraps himself in the flag and accuses anyone who disagrees of being  unpatriotic.

It’s mindboggling that Trump gets away with it.

I’m stunned that Goodell and the NFL owners now feed this cynical frenzy.

We can’t continue to sweep problems under the rug and pretend that injustices never happened or we’ve somehow magically moved on. We haven’t. Slavery happened. Lynching happened. Jim Crow happened. Segregated schools happened. Police brutality still happens. Social injustice runs rampant across our country.

If you want NFL players to stop kneeling, take a moment to try to understand why they are kneeling. They’re not trying to insult your patriotism or ruin your Sunday sports viewing. They’re trying to make you aware of something.

That something is a very serious problem regarding race relations in America.

We need to talk about these things. We need to figure out how to do something about these things. That’s what players are trying to tell us.

If you want NFL players to stop kneeling, the first step is to start listening. You might be surprised at what you hear, and you might then want to join us in trying to do something about it.

-- Napoleon Harris III is a former NFL player and currently serves in the Illinois State Senate.

Category: News

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Springfield Office:
Senator 15th District
M113 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8066

District Office:
1350 E. Sibley Blvd., Suite 403
Dolton, IL 60419
(708) 893-0552
(708) 566-4108 FAX