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  • collins 030520Collins calls for action on gender-based violence, economic opportunity, health care

    SPRINGFIELD– Convened to study and recommend legislative solutions to systemic problems women face in all parts of life, the Illinois Council on Women and Girls issued its first report yesterday.

    The report, available in full here, highlights the barriers women face under the law and makes 14 specific recommendations related to gender-based violence, academic and economic opportunity, leadership and inclusion, and health care.

    Headed by Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, the council was first formed last year through a law sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago).

    “The barriers women and girls face must be given names,” Collins said. “The entrenched systems that keep women out of the halls of power can only be cast aside by specific efforts to dismantle them. I am committed to using the recommendations laid out in this report as the basis for future legislation in the future. I thank the council for its efforts.”

    The Illinois Council on Women and Girls’ report recommends actions be taken to:

    • Improve efficiency for publicly funded crime laboratories to reduce rape kit backlogs.
    • Create public awareness campaigns about gender-based violence, targeting veterans, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ communities.
    • Provide localized accounts of the prevalence of gender-based violence across Illinois by collaborating with local governments.
    • Ensure that elementary and secondary school students who are parents, expectant parents, or survivors of gender-based violence can safely stay in school, succeed academically, and complete their education.
    • Empower girls and young women by creating opportunities for them to engage with the executive branch on issues important to their communities.
    • Integrate efforts to better serve students and parents on Illinois military bases.
    • Increase access to affordable childcare, especially for working women and women in school.
    • Increase opportunities for trauma-informed services for college students who experience gender-based violence.
    • Encourage the involvement of women and girls in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) career pipelines by focusing on access for current and former youth in foster care, youth with disabilities, youth from LGBTQ+ communities, immigrants and refugees, and racially diverse groups.
    • Promote understanding of how to engage government by using local youth advisory boards led by elected leaders.
    • Encourage the expansion of internships targeting young women through partnerships between schools and high-growth industries.
    • Expand access to postpartum health care coverage to help reduce disparities.
    • Increase access to substance use and mental health services for pregnant and postpartum women to reduce rates of maternal morbidity.
    • Highlight health care disparities by improving data collection.
  • collins 013120CHICAGO– As an international transportation hub, Chicago is a major venue for one illicit industry: Human trafficking.

    Targeting victims who often have tenuous legal status or are otherwise without resources, human trafficking often goes unreported unless concerned citizens discover it and act to inform the authorities. As Human Trafficking Awareness Month comes to a close, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) announced legislation that would expand awareness training to include more types of service jobs in Illinois, giving employees the tools to spot and report human trafficking.

    “Human trafficking is industrialized kidnapping and modern-day slavery,” Collins said. “By expanding this training program, we are empowering more citizens to know when and how to step forward and do the right thing. These crimes against humanity are hiding in plain sight here in Illinois, and we must all be vigilant.”

    In Illinois, the Department of Human Services is developing training on how to spot the signs of human trafficking and report them to authorities. Once developed, employers in the hotel and motel industries will be required to periodically provide the training to employees. Collins’ legislation would expand that training requirement to include restaurants and truck stops as well.

    “This is especially urgent at a time when Illinois has committed to expanding gambling, which promotes the sort of travel and rise in entertainment and hospitality that can create the conditions that human traffickers seek to exploit,” Collins said. “By doing this, we’re giving working people the power to fight crime that enslaves people and undercuts law-abiding business.”

    Collins’ legislation has been drafted and awaits consideration in the Illinois Senate.

  • Mother and childSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today as Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the remaining pieces of legislation in a plan by her and State Rep. Mary Flowers to reduce rising infant and maternal mortality rates:

    “It’s fitting that this action comes the day after Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and mere days before Women’s Equality Day, because this is another stark reminder of how systemic bias harms not only women, but the many lives that a woman’s life touches,” Collins said. “When women of color’s medical concerns are ignored, their families pay the price.”

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    Gathering to call for a comprehensive and well-funded approach to reducing gun violence, advocates spoke at a “Stop The Violence” rally in front of the state capitol Wednesday.

    State Senator Jacqueline Collins joined other officeholders that included Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton to address activists, who included anti-violence group inVEST. Advocates called for a plan funded in part by the legalization of cannabis to fund programs aimed at attacking the root causes of gun violence and reinvesting in communities long hurt by punitive public policy.

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  • Senator CollinsSPRINGFIELD – Responding to staffing levels in Illinois nursing homes that are among the lowest in the nation and at the heart of severe safety issues for residents, State Senator Jacqueline Collins passed a plan out of the Illinois Senate yesterday to enforce mandatory staffing levels and increase transparency around nursing home practices.

    “Reporting by the Chicago Tribune and Kaiser Health News has revealed a clear picture of what many families in Illinois already have seen firsthand: Most nursing homes in Illinois are understaffed and resorting to practices which are unsafe for our elders and the personnel who care for them,” Collins said. “Bed sores, deadly infections and the administration of psychotropic drugs without clear consent are all recipes for disaster. That disaster is happening right now.”

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  • collins 030619SPRINGFIELD– Following an investigation by Chicago Tribune/Kaiser Health News revealing wide dissatisfaction in nursing home care and illuminating the burden it places on the families of elders, State Senator Jacqueline Collins introduced legislation today designed to enhance nursing home residents’ quality of care.

    “It has been both heartbreaking and motivating to me, through my work, to see how devastating it can be for an entire family when a loved one receives inadequate care in a nursing home,” said Collins (D-Chicago) in announcing Senate Bill 1510 at the state capitol to reporters today.

  • Illinois Legislative Black Caucus SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first budget address on Wednesday.

    Leaders of the Black Caucus discussed some of the main issues facing black communities, ranging from criminal justice reform to higher education.

    State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, Chairman of the ILBC:

    “The governor’s budget plan is a great start to tackle some of the key challenges we are facing including ensuring a living wage for working families and that students around the state receive a quality education.

    “His speech was very realistic about the hole that we are in and how we can climb out of it over time, while continuing to support crucial services like mental health support and violence prevention programs.

    “We look forward to working with our colleagues and the governor’s administration to guarantee that the issues facing the black community are prioritized in the next state budget.”

  • collins ok 081318CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) was the recipient of the first Lillie Pearl award from Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE) in recognition of her legislative efforts on the same day a Chicago area legal clinic called on victims of alleged housing fraud to seek their help.

    Collins received the award as Reverend Robin Hood, a West Side community activist and founding member of MOVE, and attorneys from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic announced they will partner on behalf of victims of Mark Diamond, who the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois charged with defrauding more than 120 homeowners in a reverse mortgage scheme. Hood presented Collins with the award on the organization’s behalf at William Penn Elementary School during the observance of Martin Luther King Day, citing her legislation providing homeowners protections from reverse mortgage fraud.

  • collins 042418CHICAGO — State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today as Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law a measure requiring all firearms dealers in Illinois to receive Illinois State Police certification and take measures to prevent theft.

    “I proudly acted as chief co-sponsor of this legislation in the Senate because I believe that to stem the tide of violence in our city and our state, we must put an end to a culture of irresponsibility around firearm ownership and sales,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “Guns used in 17 percent of crimes in Chicago came from just three of the state’s gun dealers. We need to hold irresponsible businesses accountable.”

    Senate Bill 337 requires firearms dealers to certify with State Police, train employees in conducting background checks, and take steps to prevent theft that leads to firearms trafficking.

    “The previous administration obstructed this long overdue measure,” Collins said. “I’m glad to see a step toward sensible gun reform and call on the governor and my colleagues in the legislature to ensure that it will not be the last one.”

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  • collins 042418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins is urging the governor to sign her legislation adding synthetic cannabinoids to the Controlled Substances Act.

    The Illinois Department of Public Health yesterday announced more cases of severe bleeding among individuals using synthetic cannabinoids. According to the agency, more than 160 people in Illinois have experienced similar symptoms, and four people have died.

  • collins 042418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) joined members of the Illinois Senate Education Committee in a public hearing in Chicago to question Chicago Public Schools representatives in the wake of reports that allege faculty and staff have permitted a culture of sexual harassment and abuse against students for years.

    CPS CEO Janice Jackson was not present at the hearing at the Bilandic Building Wednesday.

    “Dr. Jackson’s absence today is inexplicable. The CPS witnesses were not the decision makers and they failed to answer many of the more detailed questions required to discern negligence,” Collins said. “The Chicago Public Schools system is a public entity, accountable to the public. We should have heard from the CEO today.”

    Collins called for the hearing after an in-depth report by the Chicago Tribune detailing a lax background check policy which allowed the hiring of teachers with red flags in their histories and allegations by dozens of students against faculty and staff within the school system across a 10-year period. She has called for a study into what mandatory reporting laws are already on the books and how and why personnel have allegedly failed to comply with them.

    “I don't think apologies are enough,” Collins said, addressing Morgan Aranda, 22, a former student of Walter Payton College Prep who testified to the committee about her experiences while she was a student. “I think we already have laws on the books that were violated. What’s to say once the media spotlight is off the issue, we won't be confronted with the same issue? If we're all in this endeavor to protect our children, this has been a systemic failure by all adults.”

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  • collins 042418SPRINGFIELD – A proposal setting new rates on check cashing services, including lowering the rate on government assistance checks, passed the General Assembly without opposition last week and awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

    State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) worked alongside consumer advocates to reach the compromise in the wake of a proposal from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) which would have raised rates on check cashing services like those at a Currency Exchange. The measure now awaiting the governor’s signature includes lower rate increases on smaller checks and also caps the rates on all public assistance checks at a lower rate for many recipients.

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  • spice syntheticCollins: ‘We must act now to stop future deaths.’

    SPRINGFIELD – In the wake of a wave of deaths related to synthetic cannabis overdoses, the Illinois Senate approved a plan by Sen. Jacqueline Collins to broaden the classification of such drugs, which often skirt the law through minute tweaks to their formulae.

    “After the careful consideration taken to weigh the implications of new restrictions on drugs, I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for swiftly passing this legislation, and I urge the House to do the same,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “Many synthetic cannabinoids are already illegal, but by broadening the criteria, we ensure that they can’t be made legal by small and potentially deadly changes to their chemical formulae.”

  • Sen. Patricia Van PeltSPRINGFIELD – Use of controversial gang databases by police would be reformed under legislation introduced today by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt.

    “My goal is to reform the use of gang databases so that we can ensure the data is accurate and can be effective in helping reduce gang-related activity while still protecting people’s rights.” Van Pelt, a Chicago Democrat, said. “We need to make sure people aren’t being added to the gang database when they shouldn’t be, something that has proven to be problematic for countless Chicagoans over the years.”

    The legislation was crafted after experts, advocates and community members voiced their concerns at an April 20 Senate committee hearing about the Chicago Police Department’s use of gang databases and its effect on communities.