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Bush seeks to expose gender-based discrimination in pricing for services

bush 040617SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) to increase transparency in pricing among service providers received the unanimous support of the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

Senate Bill 298 would require hair salons, barbers, dry cleaners and tailors to provide customers with a price list for services upon request, giving consumers the resources necessary to make educated choices when deciding which businesses to frequent.

“Too often women are charged more than men for the same services, while at the same time being paid less for doing the same job. This is unacceptable,” Bush said. “Transparent pricing among service providers will help women know whether they are getting a fair deal for services.”

Dry cleaners, barbers and tailors have frequently been examined in studies on gender-based pricing and have been found to charge women more than men for the same services. Bush hopes the measure will make service providers take a second look at their prices and charge women more fairly.

Last session, Senator Bush’s “pink tax” legislation repealed sales tax on feminine hygiene products. This latest push builds on Bush’s work to remove economic barriers for Illinois women.

Senate passes Martinez plan to improve student trustee residency requirements

martinez 040617SPRINGFIELD — In response to an undocumented University of Illinois student being unable to run for the position of student trustee because he was not registered to vote in Illinois, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate yesterday to change residency requirements to be a University of Illinois student trustee.

“It’s important that students who are accepted and enrolled in the University of Illinois can run for the position of student trustee if they want to,” Martinez said. “Our institutions of higher education should be about promoting leadership opportunities. Being a student trustee is one good way students can serve and enhance their skills.”

Martinez’s proposal was inspired by a student who was unable to run for the student trustee position, despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident. The University of Illinois is a proponent of the initiative.

The University of Illinois Trustee Act requires students to be residents of Illinois in order to be selected as a student trustee.

Residency is currently demonstrated by three factors:

  • Evidence of the student’s residence in Illinois for at least the previous six months
  • A valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card
  • Being registered to vote in Illinois

But under Martinez’s proposal, Senate Bill 598, to demonstrate Illinois residency and be able to run for student trustee, a student would have to meet two out of the following three factors: proof of residence for the past six months, a voter registration card and a driver’s license/identification.

Martinez passed similar legislation last year, but it was vetoed by the governor.

“I have worked with the governor’s office on this legislation,” Martinez said. “I am hopeful that the Illinois House will pass the measure, and the governor will sign in it into law.”

Senate Bill 598 now moves to the Illinois House for consideration.

Report: Car insurance companies charging minorities higher rates

Car insuranceCollins: “This is a pattern of discrimination all too familiar to people of color.”

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Jacqueline Collins expressed disappointment at news that a major insurer has been charging minority clients more for car insurance, and also called for a renewed push for car insurance rate regulations Wednesday.

“This is a pattern of discrimination all too familiar to people of color at every level of modern life,” said Collins, D-Chicago. “I commend the journalists who looked into this issue. Their work verifies what many suspect: That the playing field is not level.”

Hunter: Department of Public Health must refocus priorities

State Senator Mattie Hunter SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) criticized the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday for proposing cuts to programs and services that would disproportionately affect minority communities.

The Senate Appropriations I Committee heard testimony Wednesday morning from Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget.