Castro

  • castro 050918SPRINGFIELD– 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.

    This measure is a result of a recent case of an 11 year old who uses medical cannabis to alleviate symptoms of her leukemia treatment. Although she is a qualified medical cannabis patient, her school is legally bound to prohibit her from administering her medicine at school under current state law.

  • castro 042618SPRINGFIELD– Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is working to ensure that Illinois consumers get rebates in a fair way.

    Senate Bill 3102 makes it unlawful for retailers to offer consumers a rebate made on a store-value card that charges inactivity fees or other post-issuance fees.

    “If a consumer is owed money from a rebate, they shouldn’t be hindered by dormancy fees,” said Castro. “It is unlawful and unfair. Consumers shouldn’t be at risk of being charged for getting a rebate. That is their money.”

    The measure amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, which is designed to protect consumers against fraud and deceptive practices.

    In the past, companies would issue a rebate in the form of a check to a consumer. Under current law, if the check is not cashed within three years, the company is required to turn the amount of the check over to the Treasurer's Office as unclaimed property.

    The State Treasurer and the Attorney General have worked together to protect Illinois consumers who have money owed to them from rebates.  

    Senate Bill 3102 passed the Illinois Senate today 35-17 and now moves to the House for consideration.

  • castro 042518SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) passed a measure today that 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 Senate Bill 2846, certain youth from DCFS, after applying for FAFSA, would have the opportunity to receive a scholarship that would cover the remaining tuition and fees for any community college, university or college in Illinois.

    “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.”

    Currently, there are scholarship opportunities provided through DCFS, but the number is limited. Only 53 scholarships are provided each year and approximately 250 students apply annually.

    “This measure 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. Their talents and dreams shouldn’t be limited.”

    Castro’s measure will allow scholarship waivers to be available to students for at least the first five years that they are enrolled as long as they make progress toward completing their degree. The youth must enroll before the age of 26 to qualify.

    Senate Bill 2846 passed the Illinois Senate and will now move to the House for consideration.

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  • castro 042318SPRINGFIELD– Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) held a press conference today to acknowledge Distracted Driving Awareness Week and discuss the risks of distracted driving. She was joined by State Representative Anna Moeller, along with representatives from the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Police Association and AAA Chicago.

    “Many people think texting one quick message while driving or taking their eyes off the road for a split second to change the radio is harmless,” Castro said. “We have to get the message across that this can be life-changing.”

  • castro 041718SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is sponsoring a measure to ensure out-of-state businesses making sales in Illinois pay their fair share of taxes and meet the same requirements as in-state businesses.

    Senate Bill 2577 would establish guidelines for what constitutes an in-state business in regard to retailers that are not physically located in Illinois, but that sell to Illinois consumers.

  • sandoval 041218SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois Senate passed a resolution today condemning Gov. Bruce Rauner’s statement that he would comply should President Donald Trump order Illinois National Guard soldiers to the Mexican border.

    State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), son of immigrants and Illinois Latino Caucus co-chair, sponsored the measure, Senate Resolution 1593, and had strong words for the governor.

  • castro 031518SPRINGFIELD – The U.S. Constitution is one step closer to adopting a new constitutional amendment to guarantee gender equality.

    State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) worked with the Illinois State Senate to pass Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 4, which proposes to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution.

    “Illinois could play a part in this historic role in the fight for gender equality,” said Castro, a sponsor of the measure. “This fight has lasted over 40 years and Illinois could be the 37th out of the 38 needed to ratify the amendment to the U.S. Constitution, placing us on the right side of history.”

    Currently, there is not a Constitutional provision that specifically guarantees equality based on sex. Without the ERA, current laws protecting women’s rights are often ignored, weakened or even reversed. 

    “My responsibility is to represent the people of my community and state. This amendment protects both men and women,” Castro said. “By passing this, Illinois is taking a huge step in the right direction, not only for our state, but for our country.”

    SJRCA 4 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

  • castro 041118SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released a response to Governor Rauner’s decision, if requested by President Trump, to send Illinois National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border.

    “The members of the Illinois National Guard are a well-trained group ready to take on numerous responsibilities,” said Castro. “Providing political cover for the president’s growing personal scandals should not be one of them. It is irresponsible of Governor Rauner to use our National Guard to help further the president’s agenda.”

  • castro 031518ELGIN– Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) announced today that School district 46 will receive more than $22.4 million in new money under Illinois’ new education funding formula.

    The Illinois State Board of Education issued vouchers to the state comptroller on Thursday for school districts around the state to begin receiving their money under Illinois’ new evidence-based model.

    “The way our public schools have been funded has been unfair until now,” said Castro. “It is nice to finally have a plan that places the groundwork for public schools to be fairly funded by the state. Our teachers, our communities and most importantly our students deserve this.”

    The distribution is the first step to ensure that every school district receives equitable support from the state. The model ensures that schools will not receive less state funding than they do today.

  • whm mainEvery March, Senate Democratic members take time to honor the contributions and achievements of women throughout our history.

    Women’s History Month dates back to 1987 when the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to designate the month of March as Women’s History Month. Since that time, every U.S. President has taken part in the tradition.

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    Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, issued the following statement in response to the governor’s press conference at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy today:

    “Another press conference, another plan, another contradiction and more waiting for our military veterans and their families as Governor Rauner tries to hide his mistakes and failures. Three years later and Gov. Rauner is still drafting plans but refusing to take any action.

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  • castro 050417SPRINGFIELD– The director of Illinois’ public health agency should resign, State Senator Cristina Castro said today, pointing to new information that calls into question his priorities and his ability to lead in a crisis.

    Castro (D-Elgin) is urging Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah to resign after emails emerged, as reported by WBEZ radio, regarding the Rauner administration’s bungled response to the Legionnaires’ epidemic at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

    Castro said she is deeply concerned about the way Shah and others handled the disease outbreak and the deaths of 13 veterans.

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  • ivhq signVILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged at news of two more confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

    "While the governor continues to live in a fantasy world, creating bureaucratic task forces and dodging requests for information, two more of our nation's heroes have tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease," Cullerton said. "Gov. Bruce Rauner has failed our veterans once again. Our nation's heroes need a solution now. They cannot afford to wait another three years for the governor to finally do his job."

  • castro 020718SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) continues to look for answers from state officials regarding a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that caused 13 deaths in the last three years at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

    “I want to be part of a solution,” Castro said. “But that requires the Rauner administration – the people who are supposed to run state government – to come clean, be honest and actually put forth a plan to solve the problem.”

    At the Wednesday Veterans Affairs Committee meeting, Castro focused on a 2016 engineering report that the Rauner administration commissioned to try to solve the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Quincy home.

    The plan included replacing the plumbing in select facilities, including those that house the veterans most susceptible to infection. That 2016 report was never acted upon by the Rauner administration. Its existence was not made public until the evening prior to the committee hearing.

    Castro was stunned to learn of its existence and the administration’s failure to do anything with it even as the public health epidemic continued at the Quincy facility.

    “Why did the Rauner administration sit on this report and do nothing?” Castro asked. “The governor and his administration failed our veterans and now they’re trying to paper over their failure with new reports and bureaucratic red tape. That’s unacceptable.”

    The engineering firm is now being asked to expand the plumbing replacement to the entire campus, and Castro said it is long past time to act.

    “If the governor would have taken charge of the situation, he could have solved the problem back in 2016,” said Castro. 

  • castro 110917SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) attended the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Joint Committee Hearing regarding the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy. There have been over a dozen deaths caused by this disease in the past three years.

    “Governor Rauner’s administration should have taken immediate action three years ago,” said Castro. “His administration not being here today for this hearing shows me they aren’t taking this seriously. If they knew this was happening, why did they just sit on the CDC’s recommendations? Why did it take so long?”

    Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by bacteria found in plumbing systems. Thirteen residents at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy have died due to this disease over the past three years.

    “Pro-action, pro-action,” said Castro. “I’m tired of excuses. These are our veterans and they deserve dignity. A permanent solution needs to be found.”

  • phone contractELGIN – Veterans will be able to avoid the financial inconvenience of a cell phone or cable contract cancellation under a law sponsored by state Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

    The Elgin Democrat sponsored and passed House Bill 2449, allowing those in the armed forces to cancel or suspend certain contracts when they receive orders to relocate or are deployed. Businesses who don’t comply would be breaking the law under this act.

    “The brave men and women serving our country shouldn’t be penalized when they have to relocate or are deployed,” Castro said. “They are putting their lives on hold to protect and defend our country. The least we can do is make sure they have an easy way out of a binding contract when circumstances arise.”

    Currently, service members are allowed to suspend cell phone contracts, bulk long distance services, gas and electricity services, and property and motor vehicle leases. Under Castro’s measure, service members also will be allowed to terminate internet services, television and cable services, gym memberships and satellite radio services.

    The new law will apply to contracts entered into on and after Jan. 1, 2018.