Biss wants pot in, Madigan out

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State senator Daniel Biss brings a very progressive agenda to the Democratic primary.

He joined us on 4 The Record.

It’s hard to differentiate the Democratic candidates on the issues. The progressive income tax, raising the minimum wage, expanding workers’ rights… they’re all the same.         

But, there are some issues where Biss takes a different stand.

He supports free college tuition in Illinois, taking a page from Bernie Sanders.

We asked him how he would you pay for that.

“That actually brings us to another crucial distinction,” Biss said. “Right now, if you — in Rock Island County — go to the hardware store and buy a screwdriver, you pay 6.25 percent sales tax to the State of Illinois. But when someone goes to the Chicago Board of Trade and makes a multi-hundred million dollar trade, they don’t pay anything. I’m the only candidate to support what’s called a LaSalle Street Tax, or a Wall Street Tax. Put a small tax on financial transactions at the Chicago Board of Trade. It’s a tiny percentage, but because of the volume of trades people are doing… that would raise billions of dollars for the state and allow us to finally have a government that works for the rest of us.”

Illinois now has a medical marijuana program in place and decriminalized some of the penalties for possession.

Biss wants to adopt full legalization of recreational marijuana.

We asked him why and if he really thinks Illinois voters are ready for that step.

“I actually think this is one of those issues where the voters are way ahead of the politicians,” Biss said. “Politicians are being cautious and careful and concerned and most voters are saying, ‘Listen, it’s time for legalization.’ The most important reason is those laws are not applied equally… In affluent, mostly white suburbs of Chicago, people get off easy. But in mostly black and brown communities, families are torn apart based on undue enforcement of marijuana laws. Prohibition isn’t working. Let’s finally legalize it, regulate it properly, regulate it effectively and tax it. And have a system that’s fair for everybody.”

Biss also supports term limits for leadership positions like Senate President and Speaker of the House. He thinks it’s time for Michael Madigan to step aside.

Biss talked about the leadership limit and why he prefers it over term limits for elected office.

“First of all, you bet it’s time for Mike Madigan to step aside. He’s been there too long. He’s too powerful,” Biss said. “The very problem we’re trying to solve is the problem that gets in the way of passing it. But it’s the right thing to do, and I’m going to keep on fighting for it. Now, why not everyone? … With longevity comes knowledge, with knowledge comes power and here’s who you can’t term limit — lobbyists.”

Watch the full interview in the video above.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you. It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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