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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State SenateCandidate for District 28

Photo of Laura Murphy

Laura Murphy

Democratic
Elected Official
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Put Springfield on the side of middle class familikles by imposing a Property Tax Freeze
  • Close corporate loopholes
  • Create legislation to limit the terms of legislative leadership.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Elected Official
State Senator, 28th District, Illinois State Senate — Appointed position (2015–current)
Committeeman, Maine Township Democratic Organization — Elected position (2003–current)
Parental Responsibility Coordinator, Illinois Liquor Control Commission (2010–2015)
Alderman, City of Des Plaines — Elected position (2001–2009)
Practice Manager, Practi-Col Business Services (1998–2001)
Practice Adminstrator, Centegra-Horizons Behavorial Health (1994–1998)

Education

University of Virginia, Darden Business School Emerging Leaders, Leadership Training (2016)
Illinois State University Bachelor Science, Political Science (1981)

Community Activities

Volunteer, Catholic Charities Community Meals (2014–current)
Volunteer, Our Lady of Destiny School (2006–2011)
Volunteer, Maine West Jr. Warriors Football (2007–2009)
Volunteer, Meals on Wheels (2007–2009)
Board Member, Maine Center for Mental Health (2000–2002)

Questions & Answers

Questions from Chicago Sun-Times (15)

Do you support term limits for legislators? Do you support term limits for legislative leaders? Please explain.
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I support term limits for the leadership of the House and Senate.  I introduced an amendment (SJRCA 18) that limits the number of years the majority and minority leaders can serve in a leadership role to eight consecutive years.  The leadership is not popularly elected; limiting the number of years they can serve in a leadership role will allow a more fair and transparent flow of ideas in the General Assembly.  It should also prevent the leaders from having total control of the agenda.

 

I support the democratic process; voters have a chance to impose term limits on their rank-and-file elected officials by voting them out of office.  

Who do you think bears responsibility for the budget stalemate? Do you have your own ideas on how to resolve it?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I think everyone in the General Assembly can bear some responsibility for the budget impasse to the extent they could demand the leadership act.   However, the lion’s share of responsibility for the impasse falls on the leadership.  I believe at the end of the day “the buck stops” at the Governor’s desk.   The Governor decided to tie the budget to his Turnaround agenda and; the Governor has to accept responsibility.   It was inherently wrong to hold social services, college funding and MAP grants hostage while playing politics.  Social Service agencies in my district like Lutheran Social Services and the Maine Center for Mental Health were forced to close their doors and/or discontinue necessary programs.   Over 1900 college students in my district rely on MAP grants to attend college and they didn’t know if they could continue to go to school. 

 

Going forward, it is essential that all parties sit down and talk and realize that there is simply too much at stake not to find solutions.  All parties need to respect that everyone is accountable to all the people of Illinois and begin there to restore relationships.  Dialogue should include input from all legislators and should continue until real solutions are developed.

A June 3 New York Times op-ed was headlined “Higher Education in Illinois is Dying” because of significant funding cuts. Do you agree or not with Gov. Bruce Rauner that additional large cuts could be necessary?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I strongly disagree with Governor Raurner’s actions in withholding and cutting funding to higher education. Education has always been the most successful ladder out of poverty.  It frustrates me that the Governor has chosen to put middle class and poor kids’ college opportunities in jeopardy while billionaires continue to receive huge tax credits.  Corporate loopholes have allowed two thirds of Illinois’ major corporations to pay no tax.  It is estimated that loopholes have cost the State almost $73 billion over the last five years alone.  I am the chief co-sponsor of SB 2148 that attempts to change this tax structure and limit these loop holes providing the State a mechanism to pay for roads, schools, and infrastructure.  Forcing corporations to pay their fair share. I also support SB 282, this attempts to provide transparency to corporate tax payments.

 

All the while, junior colleges, colleges, universities and other specialized schools received less money.  An educated work force is the only way out of the fiscal crisis facing the state but we must invest in education.   We need to create more partnerships with business to meet the changing demands of the work force and develop more programs like the insurance apprenticeship program that was created at Harper Community College with Zurich Insurance Company.  It is the first and only program of this type in the United States.  

How should the state’s school funding formula be changed to give all children a better chance at a quality education?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

Illinois’ school funding formula is antiquated, archaic, and unequal.  It is time that these inadequacies are addressed and the funding formula is restructured to maximize every student’s potential. There is an over-reliance on property tax dollars to fund public education. Illinois ranks in the top 25% of all states income per capita, however, we are dead last in the percentage of state revenue provided for K-12 education. This is the direct cause of skyrocketing property taxes across Illinois and in the 28th district. Illinois needs to endIt is obvious that Illinois taxpayers need some relief. It is way past time for Illinois to live within its means.  Both parties are responsible for the fiscal mess that has resulted from over three decades of mismanagement and both parties should be responsible for developing solutions. Illinois is the fifth richest State in the United States; the residents of Illinois deserve better and need to demand better.

 

 

We start putting Illinois on the right fiscal foot by putting Springfield on the side of working families. This starts by expanding our job base so that there are opportunities for middle class families to earn a living wage.  We should make the necessary investment in education, to eliminate the skills gap which in Illinois left 30,000 jobs unfilled in the science, technology and high tech manufacturing arenas.    We need to make the investment in technology, clean energy, and solar energy which is estimated to produce over 30,000 new high paying jobs.  We need to create more partnerships with business to meet the changing demands of the work force and develop more programs like the insurance apprenticeship program that was created at Harper Community College with Zurich Insurance Company.  It is the first and only program of this type in the United States. 

 

 

Without a budget, Illinois is spending much more than it takes in, leading to an ever-growing stack of bills, underfunded services and a growing deficit. What new revenue sources do you support to help fix this problem?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

It is obvious that Illinois taxpayers need some relief. It is way past time for Illinois to live within its means.  Both parties are responsible for the fiscal mess that has resulted from over three decades of mismanagement and both parties should be responsible for developing solutions. Illinois is the fifth richest State in the United States; the residents of Illinois deserve better and need to demand better.

We start putting Illinois on the right fiscal foot by putting Springfield on the side of working families. This starts by expanding our job base so that there are opportunities for middle class families to earn a living wage.  We should make the necessary investment in education, to eliminate the skills gap which in Illinois left 30,000 jobs unfilled in the science, technology and high tech manufacturing arenas.    We need to make the investment in technology, clean energy, and solar energy which is estimated to produce over 30,000 new high paying jobs.  We need to create more partnerships with business to meet the changing demands of the work force and develop more programs like the insurance apprenticeship program that was created at Harper Community College with Zurich Insurance Company.  It is the first and only program of this type in the United States. 

We also need pension reform, however, after the Illinois Supreme Court’s strike down of 2013 pension reform, it is clear we cannot be unilateral in efforts - I will bring all parties to the table to be a part of decisions on solutions.

We should also reduce state spending by consolidating duplicative government services, which would (Illinois has over 7,000 local units of government) save money and increase efficiency.

 

I further support a property tax freeze and am supporting SB 318 and HB 696 which should freeze property taxes; Illinois needs to focus on getting its fiscal house in order rather than taxing its citizens.

A constitutional amendment is on the ballot that would require money raised for transportation not be spent elsewhere. Do you support this concept? Also, transportation planners say more money is needed for roads and bridges, Metra, CTA rail services and the like. Do you agree and, if so, where would you get the funding?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

Yes. A strong, modern and safe transit system is key to our state economy; it is one of the areas that separates and makes Illinois standout from neighboring states.  We should focus efforts on minimizing the consumer costs of updating our transportation system by getting our fiscal house in order, including fixing our pension crisis, streamlining of Illinois’ 7,000 different units of government, and preventing sweeps of funds meant to pay for infrastructure upgrades

 

We need to require fiscal restraints and prevent sweeping of account and ensure money allocated for transportati9on is given to transportation projects We can raise money for these projects by closing corporate loopholes that have cost the State of Illinois over $ 73 billion in the last office years alone.

In the last session, the governor and Legislature turned their attention away from pension reform. What initiatives do you support to reduce the costs of pensions?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

In order to enact real and sustainable pension reform it is essential that all the stakeholders are at the table, work together, and act quickly - Illinois cannot afford to put its problems off any longer. I support reviewing elements of the consideration model originally negotiated with unions, as well legislative action to restructure bond payments and prevent costly pension abuses.

 

I am interested in revisiting elements of compromise pension bill SB 2404, which gave state employees a choice between pay increases or COLA increases and would save Illinois billions. Additionally, I would support refinancing pension bonds; this should restructure our required bond payments. It is beyond unfortunate that in the past 16 months, under the new administration, not one pension payment has been made. We also need to continue to eliminate pension abuses like pension spiking and implement reforms like SB 2156 that prohibits severance packages in the SURS system to be pension eligible and HB 4259 that limits positions that are pension-eligible. We need both major reform and to chip away at the smaller, still costly pension problems that have plagued the Illinois for decades.

Do you support measures to reduce Illinois’ prison population and divert more money into community-based services?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

Illinois has had a costly over-reliance on prison which has grown exponentially in the last four decades, from 6,000 inmates in 1974 to almost 49,000 today. It is clear; our prison system needs reform.   Of that population only 45% are incarcerated for a violent offense.  Many incarcerations are for drug offenses and property crimes which is a very costly endeavor for the State.  As long as we keep focus on public safety, reducing the prison population can save Illinois money while still serving justice and deterring crime.  Illinois’ prison levels can be expensive, unnecessarily punitive, and sometimes against the greater goal of maintaining public safety.

Nonviolent drug offenders can be diverted into mental health or drug rehab programs and kept from reoffending through electronic monitoring, home confinement and strict enforcement of probation requirements and treatment.

 

We also need to provide more and better programs that help reintegrate released prisoners into their communities, almost half of ex-offenders return to prison within three years, as well as assist in job placement or educational training toward job placement.   Otherwise we create a revolving door.

There are calls to reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture system, which allows police and prosecutors to seize and take – permanently – property from someone who has not been convicted of a crime? What is your view?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

The forfeiture laws were created to give law enforcement an essential tool in ceasing illegal activity immediate and preventing the “sabotage” of evidence mostly for drug crimes. However, it seems contrary to the presumption of innocence doctrine that assets could be seized without some type of due process.

 

I would bring a group of stakeholders together to look into reforming state and federal forfeiture laws. 

Do you support allowing transgender persons born in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery first?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I completely support the need and right of people to  live their lives true to themselves.  I will not support any legislation that differs from the federal title IX law, which bans sex discrimination in schools, has been interpreted by courts and the US Justice and Education Departments to prohibit discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming students.

 

 I would like to study the issue of changing birth certificates more.  

What is your view on so-called “death with dignity” — physician-assisted suicide — which has become a contentious issue in other states? California’s End of Life Option Act took effect on June 9.
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I believe all people should have the right to live with dignity and die with dignity.  I would like to see laws that provide more protection to people in health care settings or home settings that ensure a quality of life to the end of life. Terminally ill patients should be made as comfortable as possible and what is “comfortable” should be flexible to allow each terminal patient to define for themselves.  I believe the final decision is with the person, their doctor, and their God.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I believe that violence is one of the most important issues that legislators should address this next cycle.  There is something inherently wrong with the amount of violence we are experiencing throughout the country and in particular our cities.  We also need to accept that this is not strictly an inner city problem.  The violence and illegal possession of guns has become an issue in suburbia as well.  People should have a reasonable expectation to feel safe in their homes and in their neighborhoods.  The accessibility of illegal guns in Illinois contributes to escalated violence.  We must enact laws that truly punish illegal gun possession, sales and transportation.   I would support increasing penalties for those illegally in possession of weapons and enforce the penalties for those who have committed crimes with weapons.  I believe tougher punishment is warranted for those who illegally sell guns and we must close any loopholes that allow guns to be sold and not registered.  We must also improve our mental health facilities to better identify those with undiagnosed problems and prevent them from accessing guns. 
Lastly, we must support programs like Ceasefire that have documented proven success and work to change the community norms of accepting violence.

A number of states and local jurisdictions (including Chicago) have recently increased the minimum wage. Do you support or oppose a statewide increase in the minimum wage? If so, what should the new minimum be, and by when? Should local jurisdictions be prohibited from passing their own minimum wage laws?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

It is fundamentally wrong that people who are working two full time jobs and can still live in poverty.  Minimum wage earners are no longer the high school student looking to buy iTunes.  Minimum wage earners are predominately single mothers working to support their families and; 58.7% of wage earners are making minimum wage. 

 

In efforts to establish a fair minimum wage I would bring all the stakeholders to the table and determine the appropriate rate and then continue with a phase in program as done in other cities, i.e. New York, California and the City of Chicago.

In the past couple of legislative sessions, there has been a proposal to add a 1 cent tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Illinois. Do you support or oppose such a measure, and why?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I think this sugar tax will only hurt working families and small businesses.  I don’t support any additional taxes on working families

In recent years, there has been a growing push to increase the development and use of renewable energy sources. Do you support or oppose these preferences?
Answer from Laura Murphy:

I strongly support the state’s investment in renewable energy.  I am a sponsor of the Clean Jobs Bill, which would by 2030 increase to 35 percent the share of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, in the state. Our current commitment is at least 25 percent by 2025.  In addition the  Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will save customers a minimum of $1 billion in net present value through 2030 through energy efficiency alone .  By updating and strengthening our energy efficiency and renewable energy laws, we can lower electricity costs, generate an estimated 32,000 new jobs per year in Illinois, and leave Illinois and safer and healthier place for future generations

Videos (1)

— September 30, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Incumbent Laura Murphy tells why she should remain the state senator from the 28th district.

Candidate Contact Info

Email info@lauramurphy4senate.com
Phone: (224) 244-7518

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