May 27, 2016

SPRINGFIELD- Continuing the conversation on much-needed education funding reform, Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford sponsored a measure approved by the Senate today that merges two solutions for the way the state distributes education funds.

The measure, which passed 31-18-8, applies Senator Andy Manar’s Senate Bill 231 for next school year and introduces an evidence-based method beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

“For years, we’ve talked about the ineffectiveness of our current formula. This is a reform that invests in our most vulnerable children’s success,” Lightford said. “We need to put funds in the right place, ensuring that all children are being prepared for a bright future.”

Senate Democrats have taken the lead on this issue and showed they were serious when Manar’s plan was approved in the Senate earlier this month. Following that vote, they were joined by more groups looking to

find a solution for children lacking resources throughout the state.

“There’s nothin...

May 27, 2016

CHICAGO – To help community members find employment, state Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago, will be hosting a free job fair on Monday, June 7 from noon to 2 p.m. at Fosco Park Gymnasium, located at 1312 S. Racine, in Chicago.

“Finding a job is extremely stressful,” Turner said. “This job fair will help people connect with potential employers and learn about different careers. Good paying jobs not only help the individual and their families, but when more people are employed our entire community benefits.”

Turner’s job fair is free and open to the public. Participants should bring copies of their resumes to leave with potential employers. Over thirty businesses are signed up to meet with job seekers, accept resumes and provide additional information on programs for the unemployed and underemployed.

For more information, or to RSVP for the Career Boot Camp, please contact Turner’s full-time constituent service office at 773-277-4700 or

May 24, 2016

SPRINGFIELD- When a school board determines a student is a nonresident of a district, parents seeking to appeal a school board’s decision are faced with the financial burden of taking the issue to an appeals court, making it difficult for parents to afford the process.

Under a plan which was approved in the Senate today, parents could soon have an affordable avenue for appealing student residency issues. House Bill 4606 provides a process for appealing the decision of a school board to the regional superintendent of schools for decisions of student residency.

“Parents deserve to have their voices heard in this kind of situation,” State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) said. “Taking residency issues to an appeals court is too costly for families who may face this circumstance. We’re creating a fair process for both the student and the school district.”

Furthermore, the legislation requires a school board to give specific reasons why the board believes a student is a nonresident of a...

May 23, 2016

ELMWOOD PARK, Ill. – State Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, and state Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, are inviting residents to join them for coffee and conversation on Thursday, June 2 from 8 to 9 a.m. at Seph’s Sweets, located at 12 Conti Pkwy, Elmwood Park to discuss state and local matters.

“As the regular session months come to a close, it is crucial that I bring news and updates to our communities that may affect them. Whether it is knocking doors, making calls to constituents or hosting coffees, spreading the word about our work in Springfield needs to be highlighted,” said Lilly. “Several funding measures have passed related to schools and human services, but more work is needed to finally reach a budget deal that will benefit our most vulnerable populations.”

May 23, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – Youth participation in Illinois elections would increase under legislation that State Sen. Mattie Hunter voted for on Thursday.

The Illinois Senate passed a measure to create automatic voter registration for Illinoisans.

“Increasing youth participation will allow a necessary voice to be heard in our political system,” said Hunter, a career advocate for youth rights. “Today, we’re moving Illinois forward by making it easier for residents, especially young people, to exercise their voice and their right to vote.”

Under current law, Illinois has an opt-in voter registration system where the default status is unregistered. The burden lies on individual voters to register.

Senate Bill 250 would streamline the procedures in a cost-effective and easy to implement manner.

Automatic voter registration switches the default so that qualified voters will be automatically registered to vote.

Unregistered voters who wish to opt out may do so.

Senate Bill 250 passed the Senate and now goes to...

May 23, 2016

SPRINGFIELD- Small businesses may soon have better opportunities at acquiring and maintaining contracts with the Illinois Department of Transportation, thanks to a proposal the legislators approved Thursday.

House Bill 4477, which passed the Senate 56-0, requires contracts using the services of a subcontractor to include terms for making advanced payments to the subcontractor for preliminary spending purposes, such as purchasing tools and machinery for a project.

“The goal is to promote small business participation in state contracts,” State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) said. “Subcontractors are often in a position where they’re waiting far too long for a payment. That’s unacceptable.”

Small contracting firms struggle to take on subcontracts due to payment delays from prime contractors. Mobilization payments to a subcontractor would be based on the total value of the subcontract on a tiered scale.

The legislation was approved in both chambers and will head to the governor.

May 17, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, voted for House Resolution Joint Constitutional Amendment 58, which would establish an independent, bipartisan commission to draw state legislative districts in Illinois.

“I supported this measure because we should take the map drawing process out of the hands of elected officials and turn it over to an independent commission,” said Lilly. “Unfortunately, the Senate did not act on this measure, so voters will not have the opportunity to be able to support this effort in November.”

The Lilly-backed measure answers concerns about a lack of fairness in the drawing of legislative districts by creating a plan to put an independent commission in charge in the future. The measure allows for the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court and the highest ranking justice of the opposite party on the Court to name eight members to this commission. The bill bans current and recently elected officials from serving on the panel, along with lobbyists, bu...

May 17, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Rauner’s veto of House Bill 580, which would require interest arbitration between the governor and public employee unions to resolve collective bargaining impasses:

“I am disappointed, yet not surprised, that Gov. Rauner turned his back on thousands of state employees by vetoing this measure to prevent a potential government shutdown. After walking away from negotiations with state employee unions months ago, it’s clear that the governor is more focused on trying to weaken unions rather than negotiate with them on a fair, responsible contract.

“This measure is a fair compromise that would require interest arbitration, which is a well-respected, fair process that has worked in past disputes and, most importantly, would prevent a disruption in critical state services that many families rely on.

“I promise to continue fighting for the hardworking public employees – including correctiona...

May 13, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – Critical dollars may soon keep youth employment and after-school programs open for at-risk youth, hot meals at the doorsteps of seniors and timely breast and cervical cancer screenings available for women and men.

Today, State Senators Mattie Hunter and Donne Trotter backed a bipartisan funding proposal to restore the state’s critical social services.

“Keeping our social safety net intact will help residents in needs find the services that keep them healthy, safe and for many youth, off of the streets,” said Hunter, a member of the Senate Human Services and Public Health committees. “These critical dollars will help prevent our youth from entering the criminal justice system by creating educational and occupational opportunities for them.”

Senate Bill 2038 would address the underfunding for senior services, family services, human services, public health and health care.

“Today, we put the people first,” said Trotter, Senate Appropriations II Committee chair. “It would cost th...

May 13, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) voted today for legislation she co-sponsored to keep essential social services afloat while budget negotiations continue. The measure, which releases $715 million set aside in a number of state funds for human services, passed the House and Senate today with overwhelming bipartisan support and now goes to the governor’s desk.

“While the fight for full funding is not yet over, today’s action is an encouraging sign and a lifeline extended to a wide variety of vital services for our at-risk youth, our food-insecure seniors and other vulnerable residents,” Collins said. “If the governor signs this measure into law, it will finally provide relief to organizations that have been working without pay to serve the ‘least of these,’ even as they themselves have been held hostage.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 2038, funds Youth Build and other youth employment programs, homelessness prevention and affordable housing, Adult Redeploy...

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