SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader and lead negotiator of cannabis legalization, state Rep. Jehan-Gordon Booth, D-Peoria, issued the following statement after the end of the legislative session:
“This year, Illinois began to move beyond the failed tenure of former Governor Bruce Rauner to come together for historic criminal justice reforms to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, provide civics education for incarcerated individuals to help reduce recidivism, and continue to work to improve police and community relations by preventing racial profiling. As a lead negotiator, we were also able to enact measures to increase economic opportunity by making sure minimum wage workers are paid a fair wage, women are paid equally for performing the work as men, and that lower-income families have access to banking services.”
“By legalizing adult-use recreational cannabis, Illinois can provide a model for the nation on how to put the needs of citizens ahead of big businesses and out-of-state interests, while also providing equity and economic opportunity to communities that have been harmed by the War on Drugs. Under this measure, state revenue from cannabis sales can fund a community renewal program for communities across Illinois that have historically faced disinvestment, particularly communities of color.”
Gordon-Booth created an equity workforce opportunity at community colleges across the state to help communities fill the local skills gap and provide people with head of household jobs with an equity centered focus.
Economic opportunity measures supported by Gordon-Booth included Senate Bill 1, an increase in wages for minimum wage workers combined with a tax credit for small businesses to help offset the cost of the wage increase. Gordon-Booth also sponsored House Bill 834, which significantly strengthens the state’s equal pay laws to ensure women are paid equally to men for performing the same work and making it unlawful for an employer to require a job applicant reveal their past wage or salary history during the application process. Additionally, Gordon-Booth sponsored the Illinois Bank On Initiative to help low-income families access banking services and build financial literacy. Together, these measures will help Illinois build a stronger middle class and lift up more families by expanding economic opportunity.
Gordon-Booth represents the 92nd District, which includes Bartonville, Bellevue, Peoria, Peoria Heights, and West Peoria.