Rauner protects immigrants, gays & voters

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Monday, Governor Bruce Rauner started his week on a high note after a rough few days.

He’s receiving praise from critics after signing several controversial bills into law; taking a stance on issues like immigration protections, gay rights and automatic voter registration. But, not everyone’s happy.

The governor was met with applause, celebrating a day of triumph for Illinois’ immigrant community.

After teetering on the issue for months, Rauner signed the Trust Act into law. It protects undocumented people from being arrested without a warrant.

“I think it’s incredible. I think that Illinois is a leader in the nation by passing the Trust Act, so I’m very glad, very relieved,” says UIS Diversity Outreach Coordinator Sophai Gehlhausen Anderson. 

Anderson works with students who aren’t legal citizens.

“I think it’ll allow people to just feel more at ease and be able to focus on their studies, not worry about looking over their shoulders.”

But, those who opposed the act say it puts communities at risk.

“So called Trust Act is not necessary because we don’t want to limit the ability of law enforcement from doing their job,” says Rep. Dave McSweeney (R- Barrington Hill).

The Trust Act isn’t the only law rustling a few feathers. The governor has been busy signing dozens of laws and some are sparking debate within his conservative base.

“I respect all people, but I feel it was unnecessary.”

Now, by law, transgender people can change their gender identification on their birth certificates.

“It gives them a sense of validation,” says LGBTQ advocate Jonna Cooley.

“It’s just progressing our human rights movement. We want to have equal rights for everyone.”

One law is giving everyone a reason to celebrate: automatic voter registration. After vetoing it last year, Rauner had a change of heart Monday.

“I think Governor Rauner is doing the right thing by protecting people’s right to vote and protecting people’s right to feel safe,” says Anderson. 

Illinois is now the 10th state to have automatic voter registration. People will have the choice of opting out.

All the laws go into effect in January.

Following the governor’s decision to extend protections to immigrants, a Department of Justice spokesperson condemned the move saying the law puts communities at risk by stopping law enforcement from doing their jobs.

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