052420210087 rSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) that would require the monitoring and reporting of racial bias in hiring processes that rely on Artificial Intelligence passed the Senate on Tuesday.

“It’s important to ensure that qualified applicants have the employment opportunities they deserve,” Connor said. “We wouldn’t stand for racial bias in interpersonal hiring processes, why should we accept it in technological ones?”

An increasing number of large companies are using Artificial Intelligence in their hiring processes. Prospective employees use a web link to record themselves answering a series of designated questions either verbally or by typed response, and the company’s AI software then analyzes the video to assign scores to facial expressions, word choice, body language and vocal tone. Advancement of applicants is based on this assigned score.

House Bill 53 requires companies that rely on AI screenings to select candidates to document and report the race and ethnicity of all screened applicants, both those hired and those rejected. Under this legislation, these reports are to be sent to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, where the data would be analyzed and shared with the Governor and General Assembly.

The legislation passed the Senate with 43 votes.

Category: Press Releases

051920210454 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) that extends homestead exemptions for individuals with disabilities and senior citizens without reapplication advanced out of the Senate Monday evening.

“I am always proud to step up and be a voice for populations in our state who may be most in need,” Connor said. “Providing an exemption for at-risk communities means keeping more Illinoisans safe from exposure to COVID-19 or other potentially dangerous illnesses.”

Homestead exemptions can be approved for people with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and older adults without new applications under House Bill 3289. Any property that was approved for the exemption in the 2019 taxable year will qualify, provided that the county the property is in declared a local disaster related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipients of the exemption are required to reapply every year, but the pandemic resulted in a waived reapplication requirement—a trend that Connor would like to see continue, due to concerns that applicants may potentially be exposed to COVID-19 or other communicable diseases when seeking help in-person.

The legislation passed the Senate with 55 votes.

Category: Press Releases

051820210030 rLOCKPORT – State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) announced Tuesday that local governments in the 43rd Legislative District will be receiving nearly $16 million in the newest round of Rebuild Illinois grants.

“I am very pleased to see such a considerable investment being made in our district.” Connor said. “Having safe and reliable infrastructure not only makes a positive impact on our communities every day, but brings good jobs and boosts our local economy for years to come as well.”

The funding is being distributed in an effort to ensure that local governments have the necessary resources to repair and maintain infrastructure, as well as create jobs and boost the economy on a local level. Cities and municipalities may choose to use the grant for road and bridge improvements, traffic signal upgrades, new storm sewers and bike paths, sidewalk replacements and other long-term maintenance needs, with financial oversight from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“When we invest in the roads we drive on and the bridges we cross, we invest in our communities, and I’m excited to see what these grants mean for the future of the 43rd District,” said Connor.

This funding comes as the fourth of six rounds of $1.5 billion in grants through the Rebuild Illinois program. Those interested can find a complete list of awards here.

Category: Press Releases

051220210426 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) to increase groundwater monitoring in areas near quarry fill sites advanced out of committee on Wednesday afternoon.

“Water is one of our most precious natural resources,” Connor said. “We have to make protecting it a priority so that our residents have reliable, clean water to drink for generations to come.”

House Bill 653 is an initiative of the Illinois Environmental Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center that provides funding to hire additional inspectors and carry out increased testing of clean construction and demolition debris facilities. This testing and monitoring will help to ensure that contaminants are kept out of fill sites where clean construction demolition debris is dumped, and in turn kept out of groundwater.

“Investing in our environment is investing in our future,” Connor said.

The legislation remains in the Senate for further discussion.

Category: Press Releases

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