SPRINGFIELD – Last April, a man named Elisha Brittman was found naked and unresponsive under a car in Chicago, beaten so badly his face was unrecognizable. The police failed to identify him through fingerprints or DNA. Instead, they used a mugshot to identify him as Alfonso Bennett. In turn, the hospital notified Bennett’s family, who decided to take Brittman off life support. Now, both of the families involved are filing a lawsuit.

After learning of what happened to her constituent, Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is leading an effort to make sure no other family is ever faced with such an unthinkable situation.

“Hospitals must make life or death decisions every day, but they must take every possible precaution in cases like this. Though the misidentification was the fault of the police, Mercy shouldn’t have notified the family until they were absolutely sure,” Van Pelt said. “That is why I’m sponsoring legislation to prevent things like this from happening in the future.”

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Category: Press Releases

imagesCHICAGO – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt is leading an effort to allow an early learning and youth development center to purchase the state-owned property it has occupied for decades from Illinois Department of Children and Family Services control, a move that would require General Assembly approval.

Last year, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning received approvals for this transaction from the Governor Pritzker’s office and DCFS. However, because the property is not in the surplus property queue, the transaction requires specific legislation.

“The Carole Robertson Center is in need of renovations that the state is simply unable to perform,” Van Pelt said. “Selling off state property is not a move anybody involved makes lightly, but in this case it is the right thing to do. Thousands of disadvantaged children on Chicago’s West Side served by the Carole Robertson Center will benefit from renovations that will now be possible to the site under the Center’s ownership. I am proud to lead the effort to support families in our community with this legislative action.” 

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Category: Press Releases

Coronaviruses 004 loresCHICAGO – In response to reports from the Illinois Department of Public Health that a second Illinois resident has contracted coronavirus – this time from person-to-person contact in the United State – Senator Patricia Van Pelt, chair of the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee is urging residents to stay calm but take reasonable precautions.

“Now that the second case of the coronavirus has been identified in Illinois, I want to remind residents of the Chicagoland area to take necessary precautions,” Van Pelt said. “Though the coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency, there’s no need to panic. As confirmed by the Department of Public Health, the risk of the coronavirus being an epidemic in our state remains low.”

“Though it isn’t receiving as much media attention, the flu still presents a higher risk,” Van Pelt continued. “So please, wash your hands often. Cover your coughs and your sneezes. Stay home when you are sick, and consult a doctor when needed. Stay informed. Be aware. Let’s all do our part to prevent the spread of flu and coronavirus.”

Recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s websites for more information on the outbreak and how to stay safe.


Category: Press Releases

01282020HAO_0022.JPGSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) listened as families relived the terrible days their loved ones were murdered during a Senate Public Health Law committee hearing this afternoon.

“Our voice is not being heard," said Kristena Hopkins, Director of Missing and Murdered Women and Girls, whose cousin, Shantieya Smith, was slain back in 2018. “I feel like they want us to just shake it off and keep moving, but I refuse to because she has a eight-year-old daughter who deserves to know what happened to her mom.”

Latonya Moore, Shantieya’s mother, was also in attendance. After nearly two years of painfully awaiting any updates on her daughter’s case, she expressed her frustration about the lack of justice. This was her third time testifying before this committee.

“…My daughter, to me, feel like a John Doe... She don’t even exist.” Moore cried. “If you was born in my same shoes, how would you feel? Because it feel like I’m reaching out and I’m not getting no help.”

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Category: Press Releases

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