SPRINGFIELD, IL – Frustrated by businesses preying on low-income families, State Senator Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago) proposed legislation last week that will place a cap on excessive fees charged by businesses that cash checks and sell pre-paid debit cards.

Consumers who purchase pre-paid debit cards will benefit from Senator Jones’ plan to reduce itemized fees and penalties which vary by card, but are often expensive. Some cards charge up to $9.95 for activation fees, in addition to significant cash withdrawal fees, reloading fees, balance inquiry fees, and customer service fees. Jones’ plan will limit activation fees to $1 or 1% of the value of the prepaid card. Under his plan it will be illegal to charge reloading fees, balance check fees, overdraft protection fees, dormancy fees, inactivity charge fees or service on these cards. Companies must also fully disclose a schedule of fees and charges on the face of the card or its packaging.

“This legislation is all about protecting the consumer in Illinois,” Senator Jones said. “These fees are obviously predatory and aimed at low income individuals who use these products because a traditional checking account is not a feasible option.”

In 2001, check cashers processed approximately 55 billion dollars in consumer’s checks each year with average fees worth 2.34 percent of the value of the checks. This is clearly illegal under current law as fees charged are not to exceed the greater of $.50 or 1% of the face value of the check cashed to a customer when the customer cashes a check at a retail merchant. The new legislation will require such merchants to register with the state regulator, making the merchant subject to fines up to $10,000 per violation.


“Limitations have to be placed on businesses who seek to nickel and dime our most vulnerable citizens. That’s why this legislation is so important” Jones added.


Category: News Releases

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Befitting the final day of Black History Month, State Senator Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago) passed a resolution out of the Senate which designates the bridge located at 99th and 100th Streets and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Rosemoor and Roseland Heights as the "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge."

King, who rose to national prominence in the late 1950’s by organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in Alabama during a time when Jim Crow segregation laws flourished in the southern states, was recently memorialized with a statue on the National Mall in Washington D.C. 

“The community has spoken,” said Senator Jones. “Dr. King dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of the most disenfranchised and underserved Americans, it’s only right that we honor his name by placing it on the bridge connecting these two neighborhoods.”

Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.

“There’s no way we can pay Dr. King back for his contribution to society, but we can pay our respect by memorializing his name,” Jones added.

The resolution will also have to be adopted by the Illinois House of Representatives before it can officially take effect.


Category: News Releases

New Law will Help Small Cemeteries Stay Open

Springfield, IL –In 2009, scandal rocked the Chicago-area African American community when authorities learned that Burr Oak Cemetery had been reusing human graves and callously discarding human remains.  In response, the Illinois General Assembly passed sweeping cemetery regulation reforms.  However, soon after the reforms became law, it became clear that they were so strict that small, private cemeteries would be forced to close their doors.  State Senator Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago), a proponent of the original bill quickly began working with cemetery owners to find a reasonable solution.  His compromise became law Monday.

Read more: New Law will Help Small Cemetaries Stay Open

Category: News Releases
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