1. TRANSGENDER HEALTH CARE

In December, the CTA updated its insurance policy to cover transition related surgeries for transgender employees, as required by law.

Would you ensure that every City agency and private city-contractor has a policy that covers transition related healthcare and prohibits discrimination against employees who are transgender? If yes, please explain how you would implement this legal requirement in your first year in office.

LIGHTFOOT:

Mayoral Questionnaire
As mayor, I will require every city agency (and sister agency, such as CPS) to review their policies and guidelines related to health coverage to ensure that the policies are consistent with the city’s civil rights policies and specifically to ensure that there is coverage for transition healthcare. In addition, I will order these agencies to simultaneously to confirm that they have adopted policies barring discrimination against transgender employees. 
 
Similarly, using my position as mayor I will work to ensure that private city-contractors have or adopt policies covering transition related healthcare and discrimination against transgender employees.

2. LGBTQ & POLICE

Members of the LGBTQ community, especially individuals who are transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming, and who come from communities of color, report experiencing high incidents of violence and harassment from law enforcement, which erodes trust, and leads to a fear of law enforcement.

Will you pledge to work with the LGBTQ community to update CPD policies that would reduce violence and harassment, and increase trust between the transgender, intersex and gender-nonconforming community and the CPD? If yes, please describe the elements of an updated policy that would reduce the violence and harassment faced by the LGBTQ community.

LIGHTFOOT:
Mayoral Questionnaire
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and as someone with a deep background in law enforcement and public safety, I will work with the LGBTQ+ community and the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”) to protect my community and build trust and relationships with CPD. As discussed in my LGBTQ+ policy, I will begin by hiring three mayoral LGBTQ+ liaisons for the North, West and South sides of Chicago who will be responsible for working with city departments, including CPD, to heal the deep scars that so many feel from years of oppression under the law.
 
In addition, my administration will institute safeguards to ensure that each hate crime incident and complaint involving a member of the LGBTQ+ community is fully and properly investigated. My mayoral LGBTQ liaisons will be actively involved in ensuring that each case is properly tracked and victims and witnesses receive the support and resources they need. Liaisons will coordinate with the appropriate CPD district commander to ensure that properly trained detectives investigate each incident and complaint. In instances where a police officer is suspected of a hate crime, the mayoral liaisons will ensure that the Bureau of Internal Affairs or Civilian Office of Police Accountability conducts a thorough investigation.

3. RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED HEALTH CARE

Religiously-mandated restrictions – such as the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) – tie the hands of health care providers at religiously-affiliated institutions by prohibiting a wide range of services, including contraception and other types of essential reproductive health care.  Patients are harmed when religious restrictions require that their health care providers deny them basic health care services or withhold full information from them.

Will you oppose the extension of TIF and other taxpayer-funded resources to expand and advance health care institutions that deny comprehensive reproductive health care services and information on the bases of religiously-mandated restrictions? 

LIGHTFOOT:
Mayoral Questionnaire
City tax dollars should not go to religious organizations that provide health care services that do notprovide comprehensive reproductive health care services. I opposed the city’s decision to give TIFdollars to Presence Health for a number of reasons, including Presence’s failure to provide reproductive health services. If any future TIF dollars go to healthcare related organizations, then those organizations must make a commitment to provide reproductive services.

4. BREASTFEEDING IN CHICAGO

A breastfeeding parent who is not able to regularly nurse or express breast milk through pumping is likely to experience pain, discomfort, and engorgement, and may be at risk for possible infection and/or a reduction in the amount of breast milk produced.

Will your administration insure that every municipal building and office is accessible for breastfeeding parents, including a private, non-restroom space for parents who need to pump breast milk and provide staff training on the rights of breast-feeding parents?

LIGHTFOOT:
Mayoral Questionnaire
The city must provide private, secure, non-restroom space for parents who need to pump breast milk, whether they are city employees or visitors, and I will work to make that happen. In addition, the city must provide training to employees so they are aware of these spaces and can provide assistance to one another and to non-city employees who need to access to these spaces.

5. POLICE REFORM

In September, the City committed to reform the CPD by signing an agreement with the State of Illinois.

Do you support the consent decree between the City and the Illinois Attorney General designed to reform the CPD?  What three steps would you take immediately upon taking office to ensure that the decree is effectively implemented? 

LIGHTFOOT
Mayoral Questionnaire
I support the consent decree, but as I have said publicly, and as I outlined in a six page letter to Judge Dow (which I have attached), the consent decree does not go far enough. As mayor, I will immediately take the following steps to ensure that the consent decree is effectively implemented: ensure sufficient budget, personnel and transparent accountability measures over and above the monitoring to ensure that we are making meaningful steps toward transforming the police department.

6. CHANGES TO CPD

Are there any elements of the consent decree that you would want to change? If so, what changes would you make? 

LIGHTFOOT
Mayoral Questionnaire
As set forth in my public safety plan, I have made a series of recommendations for reforming CPD. These include, but are not limited to, implementing civilian oversight of CPD, training officers on interacting with youth, implementing a co-responder system in which mental health professionals work with OEMC and CPD to link individuals to community-based treatment options, and expanding efforts to diversify CPD, including the hiring of a chief diversity officer.

7. POLICE CONTRACTS

If new contracts have not been negotiated by the time you enter office, what changes would you demand in a new FOP contract in order to advance the police reform process? Do you support the 14 recommendations promoted by the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability?  

LIGHTFOOT
Mayoral Questionnaire
I support the recommendations made by the Police Accountability Task Force, which I chaired, as well as the 14 recommendations promoted by the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability.

8. LICENSE SUSPENSION

Suspension of a person’s drivers license for unpaid tickets is currently being used as a debt collection tool. Tickets often go unpaid simply because people lack the financial resources to pay tickets on time. For these individuals, license suspensions only make matters worse.  Many Chicagoans need to drive for their jobs, and even many non-driving jobs still require employees to have a valid driver’s license.

Will you support ending the use of driver’s license suspension as a penalty for non-moving violations, including unpaid parking and compliance tickets? What concrete policy changes will you initiate or support?

LIGHTFOOT
Mayoral Questionnaire
It is unacceptable that our ticketing system is having such a devastating impact on low-income people and people of color. To identify and address racial disparities, I will direct that an audit be conducted into potential bias in ticketing. Additionally, right now people who owe money to the city aren't allowed to work for the city or as taxi or ride-hail drivers. I would end this policy for people whose outstanding payments are below a certain threshold, and would seek to stop the suspension of drivers’ licenses for non moving violations.

9. PARKING TICKET DEBT

Implementing “ability to pay” hearings and affordable payment plan terms would benefit low-income Chicago residents by allowing them to keep driving legally and avoid having their cars towed or booted.

Will you support creating a citywide process to determine a person’s ability to pay fines and fees, and adopting standards to ensure that payment plans for people who owe ticket debt must be affordable and accessible?

LIGHTFOOT
Mayoral Questionnaire
For the reasons discussed above, I support adopting standards to ensure that payment plans are affordable and accessible for Chicago’s most vulnerable drivers. The consequences of losing one’s license or being forced into bankruptcy based on an inability to pay fines and fees can be devastating and can significantly and adversely impact one’s quality of life and ability to seek employment.

10. WELCOMING IMMIGRANTS

Chicago prides itself on being a welcoming city for immigrants, newcomers and asylum-seekers.  The current policy that the City is defending against a challenge by the Trump Administration is considered inadequate by many, since the policy allows someone to be reported to ICE if they have a prior felony conviction, a criminal warrant, a pending felony prosecution, or they are on the City’s gang database – a database that is notoriously inaccurate.

Will your administration support closing the loopholes listed above, in the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance?

LIGHTFOOT
Mayoral Questionnaire
I support amending the Welcoming City Ordinance to remove the four exceptions to the general rule to not arrest or hold anyone based solely on an ICE warrant or hold request, especially where the ICE warrant or hold request is not signed by a judge. These exceptions involve individuals with prior felony convictions, pending felony charges, open warrants or listing in the city’s “gang database.” I would only comply with valid warrants or court orders that are signed by a judge.

11. TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT

Open, transparent government is a critical value in our system of government. Over the past several years, the City has refused to release material about important public policy matters, even when requested through the Freedom of Information Act process.  Such denials have led to litigation and delays in releasing information to the public. 

Will your administration commit to ensuring that city, and all of its agencies, promptly and completely respond to FOIA requests?   How will you act to implement your commitment? 

LIGHTFOOT:
Mayoral Questionnaire
As set forth in my plan to clean up city government, my administration will comply with the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) and affirmatively and regularly disclose more information to ensure the public has access to information to which it is legally entitled. The current administration flouts its obligations under FOIA in an effort to keep people from gaining access to important information about how city government functions. This abuse has financial costs to taxpayers,and it will end when I am mayor.
 
Public bodies sometimes abuse the FOIA process to avoid disclosing embarrassing or harmful records. This happened recently with this administration and CPS, which for months ignored, delayed and denied requests from the Chicago Tribune for documents that proved instrumental in uncovering sexual abuse in Chicago public schools.CPS attempted to thwart the Tribune’s requests even though CPS lacked any legal basis for withholding most documents. The school district relented and produced documents only after the Tribune threatened to sue. Fortunately, the Tribune had the resources to fight CPS’ repeated attempts to avoid its statutory obligations.
 
Other public bodies, like the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”), simply ignore FOIA requests. CPD can avoid complying with its FOIA obligations because it knows requestors typically lack the time and resources to hold CPD accountable. My administration will follow and comply with the FOIA statute and will not seek to shift the burden of enforcing compliance onto the requestor.
 
Lack of transparency is also a problem. FOIA requests are a matter of public record and public bodies typically maintain online logs showing all requests they have received. While some public agencies take this responsibility seriously, others do not. As a result, the public cannot see what types of information have been requested, and by whom and what public records have and have not been produced. I will take immediate steps to bring greater transparency to city government.
 
One of my first priorities will be to make more information and records publicly available on city websites so that citizens, the media and watchdogs do not have to file FOIA requests to get information to which they are entitled by law. I will sign an executive order which directs all agencies to minimize the use of exemptions to the FOIA statutes to avoid costly and unnecessary litigation. I will also hold agencies and personnel accountable for failure to respond to FOIA requests.
 
I also intend to convene a panel of journalists, attorneys, public watchdogs and other stakeholders that frequently file FOIA requests to make recommendations for increasing transparency and access to information, and improving the city’s compliance with the FOIA statute.

12. SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS

As one of the most surveilled cities in the world, Chicago collects vast amounts of sensitive information about its residents every day.  The city employs an extensive, unchecked, surveillance camera system that is utilized by an unknown number of agencies, including CPD.

What specific steps would your administration take to limit and regulate the use, and how will you ensure that the public knows how these systems work, and what technology is being utilized? 

LIGHTFOOT:
Mayoral Questionnaire
Security cameras are an important law enforcement tool because they have a deterrent effect and can provide police with invaluable leads to help solve crimes. For instance, the strategic placement of police cameras could have either deterred the mass shootings that took place during the weekend of August 3, 2018, in which 70 people were shot and 12 were killed at outdoor parties, or provided police with leads so they could have made more than one arrest. While I support the use of police cameras, police cameras should not be on every corner and traffic light and they should not be used to replace beat officers.
 
In addition to police cameras, the city has an extensive network of public and private cameras that feed into the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. This extensive camera network is more troubling because there is so little transparency surrounding it and the system amounts to a surveillance state, capable of capturing a person’s daily routine. I am aware of and would look to implement guidelines and recommendations made by the City’s inspector general so that there is oversight and auditing of camera use. Going forward, the city must articulate a rationale for having such a large surveillance network, and if it cannot do so the city should begin to winnow the number of cameras. Additionally, the city must educate the public about this system, explain how it works, tell the public where cameras are located, how data are used, stored and protected, who has access to data, and how the city oversees and monitors the system. The city also must follow the lead of other cities in the United States and conduct periodic audits of the system and its applicable policies.

13. FACIAL RECOGNITION

The use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement has been criticized because those systems have been shown to be susceptible to discrimination and bias.

What steps would your administration take to limit and regulate the use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement and private businesses?  How would your administration generally support or oppose the use of facial recognition technology in Chicago?  

LIGHTFOOT:
Mayoral Questionnaire
I am opposed to using facial recognition technology without a
legitimate law enforcement purpose. In other words, I oppose using the technology simply because we can or because it is available.
 
As mayor, I will confirm whether the city’s camera network uses facial recognition technology. If it does, then I will convene a panel to examine what technology is used, how and why it is used, how information is protected, and the circumstances under which such technology should be used in the future, among other things. During this process I will place a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology or its expansion absent an emergency situation arising from a legitimate law enforcement need.

14. SURVEILLANCE DATABASES

Do you believe in using civilian oversight to ensure transparency and accountability for police practices, including the use of automated and surveillance technologies for law enforcement decision-making? How would you incorporate civilian oversight and ensure transparency in CPD’s use of automated and surveillance technology?

LIGHTFOOT:
Mayoral Questionnaire
I am on record as supporting civilian oversight of CPD, and I have come out in favor of many of the recommendations made by the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability.

 

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