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The Majority Report 10/22/18 - Senate reviews pension system diversity goals

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Senate reviews pension system diversity goals

Sen. Iris Y. MartinezIncreased diversity among financial services contractors that work with state pension funds was the subject of two Senate hearings last week.

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) chaired the hearings, during which State Treasurer Michael Frerichs and representatives of state, county and municipal pension funds testified about the importance of accountability and the need for diversity from the top down.

“I remain committed to the examination of the participation of qualified minority and women-owned firms in order to ensure that a level playing field exists among those seeking to do business with the public pension systems,” Martinez said.

Under Illinois law, public employee pension systems must set and work toward diversity goals. They must increase access to state contracts for investment management firms, brokerages and other vendors owned by minorities, women or people with disabilities.

Since 2004, the Senate has held annual hearings to receive updates from the pension systems on their progress in meeting these goals and to discuss ways in which the state can continue to break down barriers for diverse emerging investment managers and other financial professionals. Read more.

 


Hutchinson announces grant for state park

Kankakee River State Park

A $1.8 million state grant will help reopen the Kankakee River State Park’s campgrounds to visitors, State Senator Toi Hutchinson announced.

“This is welcomed news for Kankakee residents who have missed the opportunity to enjoy these public lands for the last three to four summers,” Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) said. “I am excited to see families and visitors at the Chippewa and Potawatomi campgrounds again.”

The money for the campgrounds was included in the FY19 budget and is a part of more than $14 million in capital improvement projects at state parks and recreation areas managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The Potawatomi campground closed before the 2015 season for planned improvement and the Chippewa site closed after the 2015 season due to a failed water well. These closures have been cited as a reason for recent attendance decline at Kankakee River State Park.

The campgrounds are expected to reopen in spring 2019. Read more.

 


Staunton schools benefit from funding increase

Sen. Andy ManarSmaller class sizes, school safety improvements and more emotional and behavioral support for students are some of the gains Staunton public schools have experienced as a result of school funding reform, State Senator Andy Manar learned during a recent tour of the district.

“Staunton schools are seeing significant benefits from the new school funding formula,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “The district is making long-overdue changes and improvements that make good sense for families and students in this community.”

Staunton public schools will have received more than $770,500 in additional money in the first two years of the new formula.

Some of the changes that have been possible as a result of the increased funding include the hiring of additional teachers and support staff, including a part-time counselor; expansion of the district’s agriculture and music programs; school safety improvements; and the addition of a family engagement position for preschool families. Read more.

 


Illinois at 200

On This Day, Oct. 16, 1827To mark the countdown to Illinois’ bicentennial on Dec. 3, all this year the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus has published daily tributes to the people, places and events that have helped forge the state’s rich history.

From inventors and entertainers to our communities and the Capitol, Illinois has a lot to celebrate.

Last week’s bicentennial countdown featured Daniel Pope Cook, namesake of Cook County, who died in 1827; the dedication of Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in 1874; and Emmy-nominated actor George Wendt, who was born in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago in 1948.

To find all of our historical vignettes, visit I Like Illinois online, on Facebook and on Twitter. #IllinoisProud

 


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