Collins

  • collins laquanmcdonaldmarchCHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16) issued the following statement calling for a bold, swift response to revelations about the death of Laquan McDonald and the year-long delay in prosecuting Officer Jason Van Dyke:

    To be effective, our outrage must be focused, our demands specific and sharp. Charging Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder is not enough. There was a cover-up, and anyone involved in it must be held accountable. If we do not tear down the blue curtain of silence once and for all, Laquan McDonalds will continue to die in our city. We must never forget that the video – and the truth – were not simply handed to us. Instead, they were ripped from reluctant hands by journalists, citizens and the courts.

    Policing reform legislation I co-sponsored this year provides a pathway to the appointment of a special prosecutor in cases such as this one. The law takes effect in January, and it must be used to help bring to justice rogue cops and those who cover for them. In the meantime, we need a fresh start. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez must step down. She has failed in her responsibility to timely, openly prosecute a heinous crime that not only took a life but betrayed the public trust.

    I am immensely proud of all who have protested peacefully in Chicago, and on Friday, I was honored to march alongside young people and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement alike on Michigan Avenue. I am more confident than ever that apathy and self-absorption will not succeed in suppressing the human bent toward basic fairness. Not only people of color, but all people who respect justice should be outraged and engaged, and that is the unity I have witnessed since the release of the video last week.

    But if these protests do not result in top-to-bottom change, we will be here again – perhaps a month from now, maybe six months or a year from now. Our voices must not die away. We must not stand by while police officers act as judge, jury and executioner on our streets. We will remain united for justice.

  • You pay at the pump, why is Springfield keeping your money?

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  • backtoschool

  • collins fedfundSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) hailed the governor’s signing of legislation she sponsored to require organizations that seek to open charter schools in Illinois to disclose any ongoing criminal or civil investigations into their activities.

    “Charter schools are funded primarily with public money, so it is important to hold them to high standards and subject new proposals to the highest possible degree of scrutiny,” Collins said. “Ongoing investigations should be a part of the picture when local school districts evaluate charter applications, and we are ensuring that districts have all the information they need to make prudent decisions for families and taxpayers.”

  • collins reversemrg mrSPRINGFIELD – In the wake of revelations that at least one con artist used a risky financial product called a reverse mortgage to scam dozens of senior citizens, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) was pleased to announce today that the governor has signed her legislation designed to protect consumers from losing their homes in reverse mortgage schemes.

    “A reverse mortgage is a complicated financial product that can leave homeowners and their families vulnerable to scams and unable to pay when the loan comes due,” Collins said. “This legislation requires lenders to provide potential borrowers with accurate information about the product, a list of counselors they can contact if they need help and the opportunity to reconsider within three days of signing the paperwork.”

    For almost 30 years, a lawsuit filed by the state alleges Chicago remodeler Mark Diamond tricked senior citizens into taking out reverse mortgages – which pay out cash advances based on a homeowner’s equity – and then use the loan proceeds to pay his company to make home improvements. Instead, Diamond took the money while the repairs remained unfinished or poorly done. Many of his victims and their families faced losing cherished homes they’d owned for decades when the homeowner died or moved into long-term care and the loan (the cash paid out, plus interest) came due. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a court to put Diamond, who kept his scheme going by conducting it under the auspices of different companies, out of business for good. Diamond’s practices are also under federal investigation.

    Collins worked with Madigan, Housing Action Illinois and other advocates on Senate Bill 1281, which ensures potential borrowers are informed about the risks of reverse mortgages and also prohibits someone who facilitates a reverse mortgage from accepting any of the proceeds in exchange for services, as Diamond did. Finally, the legislation prevents conflicts of interest by banning lenders from receiving compensation in exchange for trying to sell borrowers on other financial products, such as life insurance policies and investments.

    “The senior citizens I represent take great pride in their homes; many have worked hard their whole lives to pay off their mortgages,” Collins said. “Strong consumer protections can help them avoid unscrupulous schemes so they can live out their later years in peace and dignity and not worry about whether the family home will be there for their children and grandchildren.”

  • collins fedfundAlso funds cancer screenings, LIHEAP, job training, addiction services and more

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on budget legislation the Senate passed today to allow $4.8 billion federal funding to be used for purposes such as energy bill assistance, infant nutrition, cancer screenings, substance abuse treatment, developmental disabilities services and job training:

    As a public servant, I uphold and fight for the democratic values that define this state and nation. Justice and equality demand that the people and their representatives not ignore the needs of those who cannot care for themselves or advocate for themselves.

    Yet in the ongoing state budget impasse, their needs have been ignored in shocking ways – frail senior citizens denied home care services, at-risk youth with nowhere to go after school but the streets, a day care center for children with HIV/AIDS threatened with closure and families whose medically fragile infants must have expensive, specialty formulas told that at the end of this week, they will be on their own.

    I was proud to vote my values today as the Senate, in an encouraging show of bipartisanship, passed legislation that releases federal funding for a wide variety of state programs, including those that serve our most vulnerable populations. I urge my colleagues to continue to push for a budget resolution that recognizes our shared moral responsibility to assist and uplift those in need.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 2042, must now be approved by the House before going to the governor’s desk.

  • Credit-based pricing perpetuates racial inequalities and the cycle of debt

    Collins’ plan would ban car insurance from looking at credit scoresSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) has introduced legislation to ban auto insurance companies in Illinois from basing their prices on a customer’s credit score. The Senate Insurance Committee heard from advocates yesterday about the role this practice plays in exacerbating existing racial and socioeconomic inequalities and helping fuel the self-perpetuating cycle of poor credit.

    “It’s absurd and unacceptable that in Illinois today, a person with poor credit but a perfect driving record pays, on average, substantially more for car insurance than a person with great credit and a drunken driving conviction,” Collins said. “That certainly doesn’t make our roads safer or create incentives for responsible driving, and it makes it even harder for people who are in debt to drive to work so they can get out of debt.”

    Consumer Reports magazine and the Consumer Federation of America extensively researched the relationship between credit scores and auto insurance rates and found the following:

    • Nationally, people with low credit scores are charged car insurance premiums that are substantially higher – in some cases more than twice as expensive – than people with high credit scores, even when other factors such as age, gender, zip code and driving record are identical.
    • In Illinois, a person with poor credit and no record of traffic violations pays on average 51 percent more per year for car insurance than a person with excellent credit who has been convicted of a DUI.
    • Twenty percent of Illinois residents have credit scores considered non-prime (less than 620), but in zip codes with predominantly African-American populations, that percentage rises to 54 percent, and in predominantly Latino zip codes, it’s 30 percent; thus, credit-based insurance pricing disproportionately affects drivers in minority communities.
    • Twenty percent of surveyed credit reports contained errors that negatively affected scores (this result was duplicated in a Federal Trade Commission study).
    • More than half of overdue debt on credit reports is medical debt.

    “For many Illinoisans, auto insurance is not an optional purchase; it is what allows them to get to work so they can earn income and get out of debt,” Collins said. “A credit score is a predictor – and an imperfect one at that – of a person’s ability to repay a debt; it was never designed to predict driving behavior. The same communities of color hit hard by redlining, subprime mortgages, the recession and the housing crisis are still needlessly paying more for a basic product their residents need in order to rebound.”

    California, Massachusetts and Hawaii already prohibit credit-based auto insurance pricing.