SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After the final day of session, state Rep. Curtis Tarver, D-Chicago, discussed the accomplishments from his first legislative session as state Representative and the work he looks forward to next year.
“Illinois is one of just a handful of states that taxes the wealthy at the same rate as the poor, meaning a much larger portion of a working person’s check will go to the government than a millionaire’s,” Tarver said. “For years there have been efforts to make Illinois’ tax system work better for everyday people. This week, I voted to put a Fair Tax Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that will keep rates the same, or provide relief, for 98% of my district – keeping more money in the pockets of folks who need it most.”
Advocating for greater access to quality education, Tarver introduced legislation this year that would establish a higher minimum wage for teachers and supported an initiative that would require children to start kindergarten sooner in an effort to close the educational attainment gap down the road. However, one of the biggest challenges to receiving a good education is the woefully inadequate level of funding for Chicago Public Schools.
“I voted to send a bill legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use to the governor. My hope is that the revenue goes exactly where it was promised – to our schools and to the communities that have been harmed the most by over-policing and selective enforcement of the law, which has led to the incarceration of so many people from my district for possessing even small amounts of cannabis,” Tarver said. “One of the first bills I introduced into the General Assembly would automatically expunge the records of people who’ve been convicted of marijuana possession. Under the initiative to legalize cannabis that passed the House this week, families will be reunited. People will be given a second chance at opportunities that seemed impossible just months ago.
“It’s incredibly difficult for a person who has been incarcerated to rebuild their lives. They’ve paid their debt to society and yet they remain locked out of opportunities for jobs, school and even a place to live,” Tarver said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my work to ease restrictions for professional licensing and to prevent landlords from denying to rent or sell property to an individual simply based on an arrest or a criminal record that’s been expunged or sealed.”