Castro

  • castro 010919SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) voted Wednesday to hit the reset button on the Illinois Toll Highway Authority Board and give the next governor the chance to increase transparency and ethics. 

    “The hiring and spending at the tollway has been disturbing. It was time to fumigate the board and start over,” Castro said.

    Multiple investigations done by the Daily Herald found that there was likely unethical behavior going on within the Illinois Toll Highway Authority involving political favoritism regarding its hiring practices and contracts.

  • castro 041118ELGIN – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement regarding the unanimous decision by the Legislative Ethics Commission to appoint Carol Pope as the legislative inspector general:

    “I am confident that Judge Pope will fulfill her duties and meet our expectations as the legislative inspector general. She will bring her experience and knowledge to our commission and help us move forward and become stronger.”

  • castro 031518ELGIN – A new state law that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019, will give children in foster care and under supervision of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) the opportunity to go to college, thanks to Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

    “Kids in foster care are less likely to attend college,” said Castro. “This affects their futures, including their income levels and employment stability. I don’t want there to be barriers for these kids who are in situations that they had no control over.”

    The law will allow certain youth from DCFS, who file for FAFSA and do not receive a DCFS fee waiver, to have the opportunity to receive a scholarship. The scholarship will cover the remaining tuition and fees for any public institution of higher learning in Illinois.

    “This law will give kids from DCFS the tools to be successful,” said Castro. “They will then go out and contribute to our economy and make the job market stronger in our state. Their talents and dreams shouldn’t be limited.”

    House Bill 5122 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

  • castro 020718ELGIN – Starting Jan. 1, 2019, nurses will now be protected under the Healthcare Violence Prevention Act thanks to State Senator Cristina Castro’s new law.

    “Health care providers devote their lives to helping their patients,” Castro said (D-Elgin). “Now it is time that we help them. Nurses deserve to go to work and feel safe.”

    The new law creates the Healthcare Violence Prevention Act to protect health care providers, puts in place a violence prevention program and adds whistleblower protections for nurses who report violence to law enforcement.

    Castro introduced the legislation in response to an incident that occurred in Kane County on May 13, 2017, at Delanor Hospital. Two nurses were taken hostage by an inmate undergoing treatment who managed to obtain a handgun.

    “The incident that happened in my home county at Delanor Hospital was both alarming and upsetting,” Castro said. “These nurses went to work that day to do their jobs and help their patients, but instead they were assaulted. That’s why I brought forth this legislation. Our nurses deserve to be protected.”

    House Bill 4100 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.  

  • castro 041118ELGIN – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) was named to governor-elect JB Pritzker’s Job Creation & Economic Opportunity committee today at the 1871, which is a non-profit small business incubator that has created over 7,000 jobs.

    Castro currently sits on the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee and is excited to lean her expertise and practical experience to the new administration.

    “Our state’s economy is vulnerable right now. We need to prioritize economic growth and job creation so people can feel confident in the future and make Illinois their home,” Castro said. “I am excited to be a part of this vital committee and I can’t wait to get started.”

    The 37-member committee will have its first meeting one week from today where members will focus on opportunities across the state, diversity and ensuring small businesses have the tools to grow and thrive.

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  • Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Castro met with colleagues today urging for an override of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill she sponsored to address Illinois’ gender wage gap in Illinois and protect working women.

    Had it become law, House Bill 4163 would have banned employers from asking prospective new employees about their salary history. This would ensure wages were based on experience rather than the employee’s history.

    “It’s a vicious cycle,” said Castro, an Elgin Democrat. “If a woman is unfairly paid a lower wage at one job, and that unfair wage can be used to determine her wage at her next job, then she might never be able to earn the wage she is duly deserved.”

  • castro 020718SPRINGFIELD – Advocates for small business are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to better implement a law he signed but has thus far neglected to enforce.

    State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) sponsored a law to ensure businesses benefiting from tax credits are taking care to do business with companies that are minority- or woman-owned. The legislation requires any business receiving an EDGE tax credit report on its supplier diversity numbers to the state.

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  • Ashley's Law

    ELGIN – Illinois children who are qualified medical cannabis patients will now have access to their medicine on school grounds thanks to Elgin Democrat, State Senator Cristina Castro.

    Castro’s bipartisan initiative creates "Ashley's Law” which allows for the administration of medical cannabis-infused products on school premises. It was signed into law Wednesday.

    “Children shouldn’t have to choose between their medication and their education,” Castro said. Qualified patients have the right to have access to their medicine no matter where they are. I’m happy to see this measure signed into law.”

  • Murphy072518At the urging of State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines), the Senate Transportation Committee convened a subject matter hearing on Tuesday morning in Chicago to discuss potential irregularities in Tollway procurement.

    Illinois Deputy Chief Procurement Officer Jan Morrow, Tollway Director Liz Gorman and Tollway Chief of Procurement John Donato testified on procurement policies for engineering contracts and how proposals are reviewed.

    “This was a good start to the conversation,” Murphy said. “We discussed the nuts and bolts of how contracts are awarded, but I’d like to see more transparency in the process. When politically connected organizations are awarded contracts, it erodes public confidence.”

    The hearing was called following the award of a $6.6 million subcontract to Morreale Communications which was tacked onto an engineering contract. The CEO of Morreale is married to Republican State Representative Michael McAuliffe.

    Though the Tollway contended that Morreale Communications disclosed the potential conflict of interest, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) remarked that it is important to avoid the impression of a conflict of interest, which can be just as undermining.

    During the hearing, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) questioned some work Morreale was performing, such as writing speeches for the chairman of the Tollway, when the Tollway employs an 11-member communications staff. Donato testified that he believes Tollway communications staff’s budget is $1.6 million annually.

    The Tollway was also under fire for a $157 million contract with Omega and Associates, a company which employs the children of Tollway executives. The firm has also contributed to board members’ charities.

    “I’ll keep asking questions about these contracts and the award process,” Murphy said. “I believe the Tollway owes a transparent process and efficient use of funds to the public.”

  • latinocaucusCHICAGO – On World Refugee Day, the Illinois Senate Latino Caucus demands an end to the Trump administration’s inhumane practices of ripping apart families at the border.

    As a result of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ orders in April to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossings, including people requesting asylum, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their families and held in inhumane conditions.

  • castro 051218SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is urging Governor Bruce Rauner to sign House Bill 4922 into law to prohibit rebate cards that charge inactivity fees and avoid unclaimed property laws.

    HB 4922 recently passed the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan support. The measure makes it unlawful for retailers to offer consumers a rebate made on a store-value card that charges “dormancy” or inactivity fees or other post-issuance fees.

  • castro 053018SPRINGFIELD – Both the Illinois House and Senate passed legislation sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) today to protect nurses from workplace violence.

    “Health care providers devote their lives to helping their patients,” Castro said. “It is time that we help them. Nurses deserve to come to work and feel safe.”

    This legislation is in response to an incident that occurred in Kane County on May 13, 2017 at Delanor Hospital. Two nurses were taken hostage by an inmate undergoing treatment who managed to obtain a handgun.

    “The incident that happened in my home county at Delanor Hospital was both alarming and upsetting,” Castro said. “These nurses went to work that day to do their jobs and help their patients, but instead they were assaulted. That’s why I brought forth this legislation. Our nurses deserve to be protected.”

    In Illinois, violence against a nurse is deemed a class three felony charge, but there are no laws that require health care employers to provide protection to nurses, staff, patients and visitors.

    House Bill 4100 will create the Healthcare Violence Prevention Act to protect health care providers, put in place a violence prevention program and add whistleblower protections for nurses that report violence to law enforcement.

    House Bill 4100 passed both the House and Senate and now moves to the governor’s desk for consideration.

  • castro 052918SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro’s (D-Elgin) measure that passed both chambers would help provide children in foster care and under supervision of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) the opportunity to go to college.

    Under House Bill 5122, certain youth from DCFS, who file for FAFSA and do not receive a DCFS fee waiver, would have the opportunity to receive a scholarship that would cover the remaining tuition and fees for any public institution of higher learning.

  • 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.

  • Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD– Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is pushing for stronger protections for Illinois workers.

    House Bill 4572 would expand the Illinois Human Rights Act to cover employers with one or more employees. The bill would give these employees a remedy under Illinois law for work-related discrimination and retaliation.

    Currently, only employers with 15 or more employees are covered under the Act.

    “Expanding the Illinois Human Rights Act is the right thing to do,” Castro said. “We have to ensure that every employee in the state has the same protections when it comes to discrimination in the work place.”

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  • Senate Latino Caucus meets with immigration advocates

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate Latino Caucus members joined Senate President John Cullerton, President Pro Tempore Don Harmon and immigrant and refugee rights advocates this week to discuss the Senate’s recent actions taken to protect immigrant communities.

    “I’m the son of hard-working immigrants, and as an elected official it is my honor and duty to support policies that continue to give the immigrant community the opportunities my family has had in the United States of America,” Latino Caucus Co-Chair Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) said. “Donald Trump is trying to take away these opportunities in the land that I love, but policies like these give hope to our people and show we are a force that can use our sacred legislative process to fight back against bigotry.”

  • castro 050918 2SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro’s (D-Elgin) measure to protect undocumented immigrant tenants from landlord harassment passed the Senate today.

    Senate Bill 3103 creates the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, which prohibits landlords from questioning a tenant’s immigration status as a means of harassment or to force an eviction.

    “Most landlords do the right thing, but some try to take advantage of their tenants,” said Castro. “We have to put a protection in place to ensure that landlords are not holding their tenants’ immigration status over their head to pressure higher rent or eviction.”

    Castro’s measure will allow tenants to report criminal activity or habitability issues without being targeted based on their immigration status.

    Currently, the Illinois Human Rights Act does not protect individuals based on immigration status, nor does it place any limitations on when a landlord may request or share that information. 

    “Tenants should feel free to come forward and report these important habitability issues no matter their status,” said Castro. “It is important, not only for the tenant’s safety, but the safety of the municipality.”