Collins

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  • water fountainCHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) is encouraging Southside parents and anyone concerned about lead found in drinking water at three 16th District elementary schools to attend meetings being held this week to discuss the problem. She also urged a speedy House vote on legislation the Senate passed last month to require lead testing in schools and improved communication with the public in the wake of the preventable drinking water disaster in Flint, Michigan.

  • collins 053116SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) has secured passage of legislation that expands and eases access to the legal process for the expungement and sealing of criminal records – a major hurdle for individuals seeking to gain employment and move on with their lives after an encounter with the criminal justice system. The measure lifts a ban on expungement petitions by people with prior but unrelated criminal records, eliminates all fees for juveniles applying for expungements and waives fees for individuals in Cook County who were wrongfully arrested or convicted and now seek expungement.

    “For the sake of justice, we must end this practice of charging individuals money to clear their names and move on with their lives when our criminal justice system has concluded they did not commit the crime for which they were arrested,” Collins said. “Illinois is suffering from a shortfall in revenue, but if our solution involves picking the pockets of the poor and wrongly accused, we have more than a fiscal problem; we have a moral problem.”

    The fee to petition for expungement in Cook County is $120. Collins hopes to expand her pilot program to Illinois’ other counties, where fees can be as high as $400. House Bill 6328, which Collins worked with Representative Art Turner and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to craft, would waive fees for juvenile expungement requests statewide. There would be no fee for adults petitioning in Cook County when the individual was arrested but then released without being charged, the charges were dropped or a criminal conviction was reversed. According to Sheriff Dart, 19 percent of those detained in the Cook County Jail at any given time are released after the charges against them are dropped. Finally, the legislation allows individuals to petition for expungement of a new arrest or charge, even if they already had a criminal record.

    “These reforms speak to the fundamentals of our justice system, which is based on evidence, not assumptions,” Collins said. “Limiting access to those with no prior record is a policy based on stereotypes and fear, not facts. We must reject laws that create a population assumed to be a criminal class – chained to their past arrest records, always under suspicion and perpetually poor.”

    HB 6328 has cleared both chambers and now goes to the governor’s desk.

  • collins 052716SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) advanced legislation today to address the legal and social justice concerns of families affected by the incarceration of a loved one. Currently, a telecommunications company and the state split millions in profits from collect calls prisoners make to family members at a rate of 11.8 cents per minute. Collins’ legislation would cap that rate at seven cents per minute, with no additional service fees.

    “The driving objective of our criminal justice system should be rehabilitation, not profit,” Collins said. “Exorbitant rates, fees and minimum charges for phone calls isolate inmates from their loved ones, tearing the fabric of families and communities.”

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  • Collins' plan would ban car insurance from looking at credit scoresYour credit score determines a lot more than whether you qualify for a loan. What many consumers don’t know is that it plays a major role in determining how much you pay for car insurance.

    Consumer Reports published a study of insurance rates in its September 2015 issue, and its research shows that in many cases, a driver’s credit score is an even more important factor than his or her driving record. Unbelievably, in Illinois, a person with a clean driving record but poor credit pays, on average, 51 percent more for car insurance than a person with a DUI conviction but excellent credit.

  • Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) discusses SB2208 which states that auto insurers cannot base customer's premiums on that person's credit score.


  • muslim action daySPRINGFIELD – Chicago senators took on hate in a statehouse press conference by recognizing April 19 as Illinois Muslim Action Day.

    Senate Resolution 1748 recognizes the national Take on Hate Day and efforts to fight anti-religious hate crimes.

    State Sens. Mattie Hunter and Jacqueline Y. Collins joined the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) for a press conference and recognized pages for the day on the Senate floor.

     

  • trotter sb2046Today, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that could essentially end the 2016 budget year stalemate.

    Some 90 percent of the state spending plan already is in place because of various court orders, leaving just higher education and many social services, which serve thousands of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens, left unfunded. This afternoon the Senate concurred with the House on Senate Bill 2046 and approved spending authority for the state’s public universities and social services left unfunded during the budget impasse.

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  • Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) expresses disappointment in the governor's second budget address.


  • Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) shares her hopes for the upcoming legislative session ahead of the governor's State of the State address.


  • collins sb274“Why not try fully and fairly funding our schools before declaring bankruptcy?”

    CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement that Gov. Rauner’s allies in the General Assembly will file legislation allowing a state takeover and bankruptcy filing for the Chicago Public Schools:

    The shortfall in the Chicago Public Schools’ budget is roughly equal to the additional resources our schools would receive from the state if the funding formula and pension law treated CPS the same as every other Illinois school district.

    Gov. Rauner and Republicans in the General Assembly have not acted to bring justice and equity to the way the state distributes resources to schools. The governor has vetoed the budget we passed, starving after-school programs, youth anti-violence initiatives and assistance to homeless families of the resources Chicago’s at-risk children need to stay in school and succeed. Now he and his legislative leaders propose a takeover of CPS by the State Board of Education, an agency already struggling to fulfill its current mission without a budget and ill-equipped to manage the nation’s third largest school district. They propose a bankruptcy declaration for CPS – a legal maneuver that has exacted a punishing human toll in Detroit and Flint. And their plan would throw existing contracts and collective bargaining agreements into turmoil at a time when Chicago’s educators need greater stability and support, not less.

    Why not negotiate a balanced budget for state government before burdening it with drastic and unworkable new duties? Why not try fully and fairly funding our schools before declaring bankruptcy? And why not start with an elected school board instead of stripping all local control from CPS, with a promise to phase in school board elections at a later date?  

  • collins avrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) joined colleagues this morning as they explained why Illinois needs automatic voter registration. Illinois is ranked 23rd in the nation in percentage of eligible residents registered to vote, and the result is low levels of turnout and civic engagement. Supporters of Senate Bill 2134 say allowing eligible voters to opt out of being registered rather than having to opt in will also improve efficiency, accuracy and fraud detection.

    “Today’s young people are activists, and they are aware, but we need to help them make the link between protest and policy change, to become fully engaged in all facets of life in our democracy,” said Collins, who noted that only 40 percent of Illinoisans between the ages of 18 and 24 who are eligible to vote are registered. “That link is made at the ballot box.”

    The legislation Collins is co-sponsoring, SB 2134, would automatically register voting-eligible residents whenever they apply for, update or renew their driver’s licenses, unless they ask not to be registered. Because obtaining or changing the address on a driver’s license requires rigorous proof of identity and residence, registering more voters at Driver Services facilities could actually decrease the probability of voter fraud. The new approach would also streamline the voter registration process, eliminating duplicative paperwork.

    “Through immense struggles that defined us as a nation, many of those forgotten and marginalized have found their voices in the vote,” Collins said. “Now, we need to hear the voices of the next generation, as we bend toward greater inclusion.”

  • seiu pr martinezAs Gov. Bruce Rauner celebrates his first year in office, he should reflect on how he has failed to live up to his promise of ensuring Illinois is a compassionate and competitive state, a group of Democratic state senators and human service providers urged Wednesday.

    Flanked by providers who, along with their clients, bear the brunt of Gov. Rauner’s budget impasse with the General Assembly, state senators Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) called on the governor to stop holding the state’s poorest and most vulnerable residents hostage in pursuit of an anti-family, anti-worker agenda that lacks legislative support.

  • Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) discusses her thoughts on Automatic Voter Registration laws at a press conference on January 13, 2016.


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