June 30, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – Public university students and residents relying upon state-funded social services can breathe a little easier thanks to a funding plan that passed the Illinois Senate today.

State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) sponsored a plan to give $1 billion to public universities including Chicago State University, community colleges, MAP grants recipients and more.

“Today’s college students face enough challenges,” said Trotter, chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee. “Eliminating the threat of college closures and scholarship shortages can help them succeed in their studies.”

The budget bill also includes more than $670 million for critical human services, including addiction treatment programs, mental health services, AIDS/HIV services, youth programs and senior services such as Meals on Wheels.

“We have the governor on board with this plan. This is a step toward ending the draconian cuts to critical services for higher education and also human services,” Trotter said...

June 29, 2016

ELMWOOD PARK, Ill. – On Tuesday, state Rep.Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, held a town hall meeting at Elmwood Park’s Village Hall to update residents about the latest developments from Springfield.

“Senator Harmon and I held a recent town hall meeting to discuss the work we were able to accomplish this year, as well as our continued talks on finalizing a responsible budget for the next fiscal year,” said Lilly. “The lack of a state budget is hurting our most vulnerable residents, so it’s imperative that we pass a budget as soon as possible.”

Lilly and Harmon provided a legislative update from the spring session and discussed their focus on working in bipartisan fashion to reach a fair and balanced budget for the state. Lilly and Harmon also answered questions from constituents ranging from the budget, state spending and taxes, pensions, and local property taxes.

“Our town halls offer the best way to distribute pertinent information to constituents,” Lilly...

June 29, 2016

CHICAGO – More than $25 million in state funding for youth employment and after-school programs is up for a vote in the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

“Once thriving after-school programs on Chicago’s South Side are struggling to remain open,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), a career advocate for youth jobs and violence prevention in the city. “Last year, I met teenage filmmakers at After School Matters who used their cameras to lead anti-violence efforts in our community.

Now, those teens are at risk of losing the very activities that kept them safe during dangerous summers.”

In November, Hunter visited the video and music production program TechKno Camp to participate in the students short docudrama focused on violence prevention.

An Illinois Senate-assembled plan would provide $13 million for youth programs like Teen Reach and $12 million for youth employment and after-school programs in the state.

Additional proposals to provide $655 million to public universities including...

June 21, 2016

OAK PARK, Ill. – Last week, state Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, held a resource fair for veterans to connect them to existing employment, school and legal benefits that may be available to them.

“Our veterans deserve to know the resources that exist to help them better live their lives and even start a new chapter with a potential job opportunity,” said Lilly. “I’m glad Sen. Harmon joined me in this effort to bring this critical information to our servicemen and women.”

Lilly and Harmon held their Veteran Resource Fair at Oak Park’s Public Library to bring together various unions, government agencies and additional vendors to elaborate on the potential opportunities and resources that are available to veterans. During the event, veterans approached the different vendors to discover the services that vendors provided, such as the Cook County Assessor’s Office with property tax exemptions, Triton College for college course, the Treasurer & Comptrolle...

June 8, 2016

CHICAGO – A bipartisan-backed human services emergency funding bill is sitting on the governor’s desk. Majority Caucus Whip Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement, urging the governor to sign the plan into law:

“A human services funding plan is sitting on the governor’s desk. The Senate and House worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft an emergency funding bill that will keep our state afloat.

“We are seeing in Chicago and across our state the devastating effects of not having a budget in place. Without critical programs like Redeploy Illinois, we will continue to see a rise in teen violence.

“Signing the stopgap budget into law is the first step toward turning our state around. Our at-risk teens, seniors and vulnerable residents who rely on human services cannot wait any longer.

“Our communities need a solution today. That solution, Senate Bill 2038, is ready to be signed.”

June 7, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A major Will County transit project is a step closer to reality as a result of legislation passed by state Rep. Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields, which will help local officials expand Weber Road and reduce traffic congestion around Interstate 55.

“The county’s current acquisition process is one that is lengthy and is not benefiting motorists or the taxpayers who are funding these road renovations,” said Riley. “I am all about efficiency and this bill does just that; it allows Will County government to run fluidly and efficiently.”

Riley received bipartisan support in the House and in the Senate for House Bill 1191, which would help Will County acquire land needed to complete a diverging diamond interchange at Weber Road near Interstate 55. Will County has been involved in an extensive legal process to acquire land needed to complete this traffic-reduction project, but estimates that without Riley’s legislation the project could be delayed upwards of three years.

“This bill...

June 5, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) secured Senate passage of legislation that expands and eases access to the legal process for the expungement and sealing of criminal records – a major hurdle for individuals seeking to gain employment and move on with their lives after an encounter with the criminal justice system. The measure lifts a ban on expungement petitions by people with prior but unrelated criminal records, eliminates all fees for juveniles applying for expungements and waives fees for individuals in Cook County who were wrongfully arrested or convicted and now seek expungement.

“For the sake of justice, we must end this practice of charging individuals money to clear their names and move on with their lives when our criminal justice system has concluded they did not commit the crime for which they were arrested,” Collins said. “Illinois is suffering from a shortfall in revenue, but if our solution involves picking the pockets of the poor and wro...

June 5, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement after voting to fully fund early childhood and K-12 education in Illinois, while establishing parity for the students of Chicago:

I am pleased that the Senate has approved a budget that fully funds our schools, allowing them to open on time this fall and steering equity grants to the districts where students are most in need. Additionally, House Bill 2990 levels the playing field so that the state contributes to Chicago educators’ pensions, as it currently does for every other district in the state. Chicago’s children deserve fair treatment, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in voting for parity. I urge the House to consider and pass this measure as soon as possible.

The governor has asked for a stand-alone education budget, and we seek to meet his request tonight while also reminding him that measures releasing resources for human services and higher education also sit on his desk, awaiti...

June 5, 2016

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill. – State Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, and state Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake, are encouraging residents to join them for coffee and conversation in Franklin Park on Tuesday, June 14 from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. at LuLu Belle’s Pancake House, located at 3147 Mannheim Rd, Franklin Park.

“Many of our constituents need to hear from Rep. Willis and me about the news and updates from the state Capitol. My top priority, as it has been over the last year, is to pass a fair and responsible budget,” said Lilly. “I have found these types of events are a great way to hear from constituents about their most pressing concerns.”

Lilly represents the 78th District, which includes parts of Chicago, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Franklin Park, Oak Park, and River Grove. If you need to contact her office, please call 773-473-7300 or email her at

June 5, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – The quality of Illinois foster care homes will improve for more than 13,000 children under legislation sponsored by state Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)

Under current state law, foster parents considered unfit to raise children can re-apply one year after losing their license. House Bill 4966 would ensure that past performance of a foster home is taken into account for future licenses.

“Wards deserve the same quality households as their peers who live with their biological parents,” Hunter said. “It is Illinois’ responsibility to prevent a revolving door of unfit, neglectful and sometimes abusive foster parents from harming our children.”

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services oversees about 15,000 students, 13,000 of whom live in foster homes across the state. In recent years, news reports have uncovered systemic abuse and neglect of children under the department’s care.

House Bill 4966 is a part of lawmakers’ efforts to reform the department and address...

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