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Clayborne named state legislator of the year for new markets tax credit program

clayborne-leg-of-the-yrWASHINGTON D.C. - Senator James Clayborne (D-Belleville) will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in June to be honored at Novogradac & Company LLP’s New Markets Tax Credit Conference.

Clayborne was awarded the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Community Development Individual Achievement Award because of his support and contributions to the New Markets Tax Credit program.

The program began in 2000 and increases investments into businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities. The program achieves this by allowing individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their Federal income tax return in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities.

“As a senator I strive to be a leader, innovator and make a significant impact on public policy so that all families can and will succeed.” Clayborne said. “The program does remarkable work and I wanted to support it because I saw the impact it had on the community.”

Senator Clayborne was also named State Legislator of the Year for his support of the NMTC program. Clayborne’s strong support led to legislation that created the Illinois New Markets Development program, one of the first state NMTCs in the country.

Clayborne didn’t stop at just bringing the program to Illinois. He advocated and promoted it so well that the program received extensions for two years, which led to four state NMTC funding rounds that brought in a half-billion dollars for Illinois’ low-income communities.

“I am honored to be awarded legislator of the year,” Clayborne said. “My duty as a senator is to look out for families and individuals that need help the most. I will continue to participate in programs that do just that.”

Hunter’s new foster care internship aims to reduce homelessness

hunter-fostr-intrnSPRINGFIELD – In 2011, Illinois had the third largest number of youth in the U.S. who aged out of foster care at 21 percent, according to Northwestern University. The same year, University of Chicago reported that those young people face challenges including unemployment, homelessness and incarceration.

A plan from State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) to create internship opportunities for youth who have aged out of Illinois’ foster care system has passed the Illinois Senate and House.

“Affording foster care youth the opportunity to work prevents them from living on the street,” said Hunter, a career advocate for youth employment. “Internships teach youth strong work ethics and help them develop work skills they can carry with them throughout their career.”

Hunter modeled the program after similar foster care internship pilot programs in Maryland, Missouri and Florida. Illinois’ Foster Youth Summer Internship Program aims to prevent youth homelessness.

The program will begin on January 1, 2016 and operate for a two-year period before being assessed for long-term implementation.

Hunter’s measure gained strong support from the Department of Children and Family Services, the Illinois African American Family Commission, Foster Care Alumni of America - Illinois Chapter and social service organizations.

Senate Bill 1255 passed the Senate 49-1 and the House 115-0. The initiative now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed.

Jones measure to help slow spread of HIV/AIDs advances to governor’s desk

jones-hivaidsIn the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a health crisis, especially in the African-American community. The Roseland community, part of State Senator Emil Jones III’s district (Chicago – 14), has among the highest rates of AID/ HIV in the city. In an effort to fight this dangerous disease, Senator Jones supported a measure to extend a program that allows health care professionals to notify a spouse or civil union partner when HIV test results are positive.

“Informing people of their HIV/AIDs status is pivotal to stopping this disease from spreading,” said Senator Jones. “If people aren’t aware that they are at possible risk of having HIV, then the chances of it turning into full blown AIDs are much more likely.”

Currently, no person may order an HIV test without first receiving documented informed consent from a medical professional.

African Americans represent only 14 percent of the U.S. population, but account for almost half of all new HIV infections in the United States per year, as well as more than one-third of all people living with HIV in our nation.

“This measure is about awareness,” Jones said. “The measure is a step in the right direction towards slowing this epidemic.”

Health care facilities that administer HIV testing may offer opt-out testing where the patient or their representative has been informed unless he or she refuses.
                    
Today, House Bill 1004 passed the Senate unanimously and awaits the governor’s signature.

Senator Haine honors police, firefighters, first responders

haine-ffdayresoSpringfield, IL – Senator Haine (D-Alton) passed a resolution in the Illinois Senate today that designates May 14, 2015 as Statewide Police, Firefighter and First Responder Appreciation Day in Illinois.

“This resolution urges all Illinoisans to recognize and honor those who put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” said Haine. “It is important to continue to remember the hard work of all police, firefighters and first responders. Every day we go to sleep, we go to work and we depend on them to protect us. Statewide Police, Firefighter and First Responder Day celebrates the work these men and women do to keep our society safe.”

The intent of the resolution is for the members of the Illinois Senate to recognize and honor distinguished officers and citizens who devote themselves to public service, and who demonstrate great courage while providing for the care of the citizens of their community and the state.

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