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Lightford proposals helping youth, minority teachers and veterans now law

Sen. Kimberly A. LightfordSPRINGFIELD - Measures led by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) increasing counseling sessions for minors, expanding eligibility for a minority teachers scholarship and promoting the awareness of cancer in veterans were signed into law on Friday.

Minors 12 years and older seeking counseling will receive more sessions without having to receive prior consent from a guardian under one of the recently approved laws. House Bill 3709 allows counselors to continue serving youth in circumstances where seeking parental permission may be detrimental to the youth.

“Young people, especially LGBTQ and homeless youth, may sometimes feel like they have no one to turn to in dealing with hardships. They will now have more accessibility to counseling, and I hope it will encourage our youth to seek help when they need it,” Lightford said.

Steans creates new protection for social service providers

Sen. Heather SteansSPRINGFIELD – Under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), social service providers will have at least 30 days’ notice of a change in contracts with the state.

House Bill 3110 allows authorized social service providers and the state to terminate, suspend or reduce a contract for any reason as long as the other party is provided with 30 days’ notice.

“Immediate contract changes can create an immense financial hardship for social service providers and those they serve,” Steans said. “In the aftermath of the budget impasse, I felt it was important to increase protections for social service contracts and afford providers with more notice so that they can better prepare for financial changes in the future.”

Hunter: Governor’s veto will further delay funds to our most vulnerable citizens

Sen. Mattie HunterSPRINGFIELD – In response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto to House Bill 3143, a plan that would expand the Prompt Payment Act to ensure all human service contractors and vendors receive payments on time, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) released the following statement:  

“We should treat the people that care for our most vulnerable citizens fairly. Human services have suffered tremendously for the two years we’ve gone without a budget. Programs like Redeploy Illinois, homeless youth services and many others have been bearing the financial burden of the state of Illinois.

The governor’s veto will further delay funds to our most vulnerable citizens. It’s time we prioritized the payments human service providers need but also compensate organizations for delayed payments.”

Plan to study chronic absence cases becomes law

Empty school hallwayCHICAGO – To better understand the scope and effects of truancy and absences so officials can address them, a new law will require schools to collect and review chronic absence data. Sponsored in the Illinois Senate by State Senator Jacqueline Collins, the measure was signed into law Friday.
 
“There are many complex causes behind absences or chronic truancy,” Collins said. “We need to identify those factors and how widespread they are so we can work directly with schools and families to address the root causes of why so many of our children are not making it to class. And I want to thank the bill’s House sponsor, Representative Linda Chapa LaVia for sponsoring this legislation.”
 
The legislation also encourages schools to provide support to students who are chronically absent. The legislation was House Bill 3139, and takes effect in July of 2018.