CHICAGO – August 13, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed House Bill 1547, creating the Commission to End the Disparities Facing the African-American Community. The commission will research the disparities facing African-Americans in the areas of healthcare, health services, employment, education, criminal justice, housing, and other social and economic issues. Its findings will be reported to the General Assembly.
“We know that disparities exist within the African-American community, preventing some from achieving their full potential,” Governor Quinn said. “In Illinois, we want everybody in, and nobody left out. We won’t shy away from examining the root causes of inequality, and working to correct them.”
The commission will be comprised of a bipartisan group of legislators from both houses of the General Assembly, the directors of the Departments of Human Services, Healthcare and Family Services, Children and Family Services, Public Health, Aging, Labor, Employment Security, Commerce and Economic Opportunity, State Board of Education, Board of Higher Education, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, or their designees.
It will also include the Executive Director of the Illinois African-American Family Commission, and up to 10 other individuals representing African-American communities around the state with backgrounds in the research areas. The president of the Illinois Senate and speaker of the Illinois House will name co-chairs for this Commission, and all members will serve without compensation.
The Commission must hold one or more public hearings, and report findings with recommendations to the General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2013. The Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago will provide staff and administrative support services.
House Bill 1547, which was sponsored by Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) and Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), goes into effect immediately.