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Castro creates non-binary sex option on driver’s licenses

Published: Monday, August 26, 2019 09:38 AM

Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD – Drivers will soon be able to choose a gender-neutral option to put on their driver’s license or ID cards under a new law by Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

Castro’s law will allow applications to choose between “male,” “female” or “non-binary” when defining their sex on their driver’s license or ID card.

“It has always been stressed that our driver’s license and state ID cards should be as accurate as possible,” Castro said. “Allowing a gender-neutral option only helps to make it more accurate. It has been long enough, and it’s time for not only the state, but also its agencies to adapt. I am happy to see the governor sign my bill.”

Martinez law works to protect students from sexual abuse

Published: Monday, August 26, 2019 09:35 AM

Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — A new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) will overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

Martinez passed the legislation out of the Senate this year as a bipartisan effort to address the issue of educator misconduct in classrooms across the state.

“The importance of protecting our children is an issue we can all agree on, no matter our political party,” Martinez said. “The report released last year was shocking, and I am thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to work on a solution. Students should be able to feel safe at school.”

Collins and Flowers’ plan to fight maternal and infant mortality signed into law

Published: Monday, August 26, 2019 09:13 AM

Mother and childSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today as Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the remaining pieces of legislation in a plan by her and State Rep. Mary Flowers to reduce rising infant and maternal mortality rates:

“It’s fitting that this action comes the day after Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and mere days before Women’s Equality Day, because this is another stark reminder of how systemic bias harms not only women, but the many lives that a woman’s life touches,” Collins said. “When women of color’s medical concerns are ignored, their families pay the price.”

Hastings lauds mental health care reform for first responders

Published: Friday, August 23, 2019 10:24 AM

police fire 032019SPRINGFIELD – Legislation supported by Senator Michael E. Hastings which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues among first responders was signed into law on Friday.

“We need to make sure that those in the first responder community who are struggling have properly trained help readily available to them,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “This ensures that these men and women receive the best possible treatment and are unafraid to seek it.”

House Bill 2766 ensures individuals tasked with providing peer support counseling to law enforcement and firefighters are properly trained and that those who seek out mental health treatment will be protected under the law without fear of termination or discrimination.

Additionally, the new law will create a task force to study recommendations to help reduce the risk of suicide among first responders.

A 2017 study by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that more police officers and firefighters died due to suicide than all line-of-duty deaths combined. The study also highlighted the vast underreporting of suicides, with concerns that the problem is much more complex than experts had anticipated.

“The lifestyle of a first responder is a unique experience, and that means we need to provide them with a different sort of care. I am thrilled that we are on the path to helping them find it with this legislation,” Hastings said.

House Bill 2766 goes into effect immediately.

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