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  • ILBC lightford 012716The message was clear and the call for action united as members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus gathered outside the Senate chamber to voice their response to Governor Rauner’s State of the State address.

    The press conference began with ILBC Chair Kimberly Lightford giving opening remarks setting the stage for a number of initiatives important to the African-American community to be discussed, including education equity, restoring essential social services and police brutality and incarceration reform.

  • Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black EducationSenators comment on this year's Black History Month theme, “The Crisis in Black Education.”

    Over the years the crisis in black education has grown significantly. In urban neighborhoods, public schooling systems lack resources and have overcrowded classrooms, which result to students of color reaping the disproportionate shortfalls of the racial achievement gap.

    In the past, whether by laws, policies, or practices, racially separated schools remained the norm in America. Because of that, black students today are underperforming and are not advancing like their white counterparts.

    This year’s national theme, The Crisis in Black Education, focuses on the evolution of black education and its meaning as it empowers students to grow, achieve and prosper.

  • lightford budgreax0216The governor’s budget address fails to help college students, vulnerable residents and disenfranchised communities. This was the core belief expressed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus at their budget press conference on Wednesday.

    ILBC Chair Kimberly Lightford joined members in calling student activists and the governor to action. She challenged the governor’s proposal to sell an outdated, broken education funding plan as true reform and his failure to address higher education concerns.

    “Funding our schools without reforming our unfair education system does more harm than good. No matter how much wealth you have, throwing money at a problem is not going to solve it without understanding the real issues at hand. Our decades-old funding formula has not done anything to meet the needs of today’s students. It has only led to the most regressive funding system in the nation."

  • trotter leadSPRINGFIELD - A measure preventing the leasing of properties with high levels of lead in building materials, paint passed the Illinois State Senate on Friday.

    Illinois has the second highest prevalence of lead poisoning in the country, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    "There's an alarming number of old apartments across Illinois that are filled with lead," said Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter, the bill’s sponsor. "Preventing owners and tenants from passing on the burden to an unknown owner or tenant can stave off the ill effects of lead contamination."

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  • Legislation protecting tenants from lead poisoning set to take effectCHICAGO – Legislation preventing the leasing of properties with high levels of lead in building materials and paint is set to take effect this January.

    According to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, older buildings built before 1978 have a higher chance of containing lead-based paint.

    Senate Bill 2300 seeks to address this issue by requiring landlords to address lead concerns before entering into any new leases.

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  • Prohibition against selling lead-contaminated properties signed into law

    SPRINGFIELD – Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) took an important step toward preventing Illinoisans from lead contamination by passing a measure, signed Friday, that will prevent the resale and sale of properties with high lead levels.

    Senate Bill 2300 aims to protect children from lead exposure, which research shows negatively impacts children in classrooms and is cited as one of the causes of violence and aggression among youth. Currently, it is legal to sell and resell contaminated properties without warning owners and tenants of the hazardous effects.

    "Illinois cannot afford to wait for lead poisoning to become a statewide epidemic before it takes action," said Trotter, who serves as Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate. “Far too many families are affected with lead toxins in their homes and it is our job to protect them and their children.”

    Majority Caucus Whip and member of the Senate's Public Health Committee Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) also sponsored the legislation.

    "Children in every neighborhood should have access to clean water and lead free homes,” Hunter said. “Unfortunately, low-income and minority communities are disproportionately affected by the side effects of lead poisoning. Families are living in homes where properties still have lead pipes that can cause brain damage for residents.”

    Another notable member supporting the bill in committee was State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago).

    “We must learn our lesson from the tragedy of Flint, Michigan, and work quickly and proactively to guard our youth against this preventable poison,” Collins said. “This law will empower renters and homeowners to protect their families.”

    Furthermore, the bill will prevent the lease, sale, or renewal of properties with high levels of lead in building materials and paint.

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  • Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) discusses his sponsorship of SB 2043 and the importance of MAP grant funding on the Senate floor on January 28, 2016.

  • Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)speaks about his vote to override the governor's veto of MAP grant funding on March 2, 2016.

  • Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) speaks to the importance of MAP Grants at a press conference prior to delivering SB 2043 to Governor Rauner on February 16, 2016.

  • Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) shares his thoughts immediately following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016 in this exclusive audio.