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Check cashing rate compromise passes General Assembly

collins 042418SPRINGFIELD – A proposal setting new rates on check cashing services, including lowering the rate on government assistance checks, passed the General Assembly without opposition last week and awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) worked alongside consumer advocates to reach the compromise in the wake of a proposal from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) which would have raised rates on check cashing services like those at a Currency Exchange. The measure now awaiting the governor’s signature includes lower rate increases on smaller checks and also caps the rates on all public assistance checks at a lower rate for many recipients.

Holmes passes proposal to study broadband access

holmes 022718SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) passed a proposal through the Illinois Senate to create the Broadband Advisory Council to study expanding broadband access in Illinois.

“Just like electricity and running water, having access to broadband is a critical tool for creating growth in communities and businesses,” Holmes said. “As a state, we need to ensure we are exploring all opportunities available to extend this critical resource to every corner of our state.”

To ensure the needs of a wide variety of citizens are heard, the council will have representatives from electric cooperatives, municipalities, public housing authorizes, the Community College Board, the Board of Higher Education, the Department of Aging, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services , AARP and several other organizations that represent a wide scope of interests.

The council is charged with several tasks, including:

  • Exploring ways to expand access to broadband
  • Identifying and eliminating barriers to broadband
  • Determining  if broadband companies are discriminating against low-income areas
  • Exploring the potential for increased use of broadband for the purposes of education and career readiness
  • Determining the potential benefits from increased broadband service that would allow seniors to live in their own homes longer

“Broadband is a vital resource our entire lives, from our children who are preparing for the workforce to our senior citizens who are trying to maintain comfortable lives in their own homes,” Holmes said. “I look forward to utilizing the findings of this council to best serve the citizens of our state.”

Holmes’ proposal, House Bill 5752, passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 57-0. It has now passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.

Stadelman seeks to cut down student credit card debt

creditcards 052118SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) passed a proposal through the Illinois Senate to seek solutions for skyrocketing credit card debt faced by college students.

While credit cards can be useful for students to purchase school supplies and pay for tuition, students run the risk of running up significant balances that take years to pay down. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, in 2016 41 percent of students graduated with credit card debt averaging $3,000.

Castro: Children shouldn’t have to choose between medication and education

castro 051718SPRINGFIELD– Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is sponsoring legislation to allow students to have access to medical cannabis on school grounds.

House Bill 4870 creates "Ashley's Law,” which would allow the administration of medical cannabis infused products on school premises or on the school bus to a student who is a qualifying patient.

“Children shouldn’t have to choose between their medication and their education,” Castro said.

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IMAGE Holmes passes proposal to study broadband access
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) passed a proposal through the Illinois Senate to create the Broadband Advisory Council to...

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