June 2, 2023
The Honorable J.B. Pritzker, Governor
207 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Dear Governor Pritzker,
Thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing HB 1496, which will better prepare Illinois for a more accurate U.S Census count and give representation to those temporarily incarcerated at the time of the census in their home communities in the years to come.
We are representatives of groups with supporters and members from all around the state of Illinois. We are sending this letter to respectfully request your support for HB 1496, which was filed in the House by Rep. La Shawn Ford and carried in the Senate by Sen. Robert Peters.
In 2021, you and the members of the Illinois General Assembly led a growing movement when you enacted the No Representation Without Population Act, which restored representation for people who are incarcerated at the time of the U.S. Census to their home communities, rather than in the prisons where they temporarily are being held.
Since then, we have been working to ensure that the law is properly implemented and that people temporarily in Illinois prisons are counted in their home communities. It has become increasingly evident that the Illinois Department of Corrections lacks the last-known address data in any usable format for the majority of individuals housed in their facilities.
People who are incarcerated will continue to be underrepresented without these essential addresses. By lifting restrictions on how last-known addresses, HB 1496 seeks to resolve this problem. It uses current data, prioritizes information flow from various levels of government, and offers the chance for self-reported data from people who are directly affected by the law. The bill will:
- ensure addresses collected at the local government level are transmitted to the Illinois Department of Corrections,
- allow addresses collected for post-releases programs to be used if a last-known address is not on record, and
- allow a person to self-report their own last-known address through a request to update their master file.
HB 1496 passed out of the House on a 71–38 vote, on April 19, 2023, and out of the Senate on a 39–18 vote on May 4, 2023, with no organizations or state agencies slipping in opposition. We hope you will see the importance of the changes contained in this bill to ensure everyone in Illinois is properly represented and counted in their home communities. This legislation helps to restore the equity that was promised in the No Population Without Representation Act and will help all of us ensure an end to prison gerrymandering in Illinois. We, again, ask you to support it by signing it into law.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this important legislation.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
CHANGE Illinois Action Fund
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Common Cause Illinois
Equity and Transformation
Roberto Valdez, Jr.
Midwest Policy Director
Illinois Alliance for Reentry and Justice
Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative
Legislative Action Chair
Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization
Prison Policy Manager
John Howard Association
Allyson Haut, Ph.D.
League of Women Voters of Illinois
Dr. Dilara Sayeed
Muslim Civic Coalition
OMP Strategy & Advocacy Group
Co-Founder & CEO
R.A.G.E – Resident Association of Greater Englewood
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
Founder & President
Bishop Tavis Grant
Acting National Executive Director
Represent.us DuPage County
The Resurrection Project
Universal Housing Solutions
Workers Center for Racial Justice