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  • Donate Life MonthApril is National Donate Life Month. All around the nation, advocates and organizers are encouraging individuals to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. The campaign has not only been designed to increase the donor registry list, but to also celebrate those that have helped save lives through the gift of donation.

    This 100th General Assembly, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Secretary of State Jesse White brought forth new legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.

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  • Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black EducationSenators comment on this year's Black History Month theme, “The Crisis in Black Education.”

    Over the years the crisis in black education has grown significantly. In urban neighborhoods, public schooling systems lack resources and have overcrowded classrooms, which result to students of color reaping the disproportionate shortfalls of the racial achievement gap.

    In the past, whether by laws, policies, or practices, racially separated schools remained the norm in America. Because of that, black students today are underperforming and are not advancing like their white counterparts.

    This year’s national theme, The Crisis in Black Education, focuses on the evolution of black education and its meaning as it empowers students to grow, achieve and prosper.

  • lightford budgreax0216The governor’s budget address fails to help college students, vulnerable residents and disenfranchised communities. This was the core belief expressed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus at their budget press conference on Wednesday.

    ILBC Chair Kimberly Lightford joined members in calling student activists and the governor to action. She challenged the governor’s proposal to sell an outdated, broken education funding plan as true reform and his failure to address higher education concerns.

    “Funding our schools without reforming our unfair education system does more harm than good. No matter how much wealth you have, throwing money at a problem is not going to solve it without understanding the real issues at hand. Our decades-old funding formula has not done anything to meet the needs of today’s students. It has only led to the most regressive funding system in the nation."

  • trotter leadSPRINGFIELD - A measure preventing the leasing of properties with high levels of lead in building materials, paint passed the Illinois State Senate on Friday.

    Illinois has the second highest prevalence of lead poisoning in the country, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    "There's an alarming number of old apartments across Illinois that are filled with lead," said Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter, the bill’s sponsor. "Preventing owners and tenants from passing on the burden to an unknown owner or tenant can stave off the ill effects of lead contamination."

  • clayborne 020317SPRINGFIELD – Senators James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) joined Secretary of State Jesse White today in announcing new legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.

    “I am happy to be advocating for this legislation,” said Clayborne who is a kidney recipient.

  • hunter collins 120617Englewood would have no high schools under proposal by Mayor Emanuel

    CHICAGO – Joined by fellow lawmakers Wednesday morning, State Senators Jacqueline Collins and Mattie Hunter voiced their opposition to a move by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to shutter four schools in the Englewood neighborhood.

    “I stand alongside my colleagues, united in disappointment and outrage as, once again, Mayor Emanuel chooses to pull the rug out from under our public schools,” Collins said. “Years of negotiations in the General Assembly finally came to fruition this year when Democrats and Republicans rejected politics, embraced compromise, and came together to make a fairer system for our children.

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  • hunter org donSPRINGFIELD – With nearly 5,000 people on the Illinois organ donor waiting list, families may soon see a second chance at life for their loved ones thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.

    “Choosing to give life to another is a wonderful gift,” Hunter said. “Opening the donor registry will broaden the number of overall donations and save countless lives. For donors, their decision to register can turn a troubling time into a source of comfort for families and individuals in need.”

    Under current law, an individual must be at least 18 to join the registry. While this legislation leaves the decision up to teenagers, Senator Hunter and Secretary of State Jesse White encourage youth to discuss their decision with their parents.

    This month, Senator Hunter celebrated National Donate Life Month. All around the nation, advocates and organizers are encouraging individuals to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. The campaign has not only been designed to increase the donor registry list, but to also celebrate those that have helped save lives through the gift of donation

    By joining the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, 16- and 17-year-olds can give consent to donate their organs and tissue at the time of their death. However, the procurement organizations, Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Network and Mid-America Transplant, are required to contact a parent or guardian to ensure approval of the donation. Ultimately, the parent or guardian will have the opportunity to overturn the child’s decision.

    Senate Bill 868 passed 56-0 and moves to the Illinois House of Representatives for further debate.

  • hunter 052517SPRINGFIELD – Feminine hygiene products will now be free and accessible for students grades 6-12 in public and charter schools thanks to legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

    “This is not only about personal hygiene but about dignity as well,” said Hunter. “One of the reasons girls miss many days of school is because they do not have access to these products. We as women know that a menstrual cycle is something we don’t plan, it just happens, so it’s an absolute necessity to supply our younger women with the resources they need.”

    House Bill 3215 is an initiative of “Illinois Moving Women Forward,” a group that aims to remove gender inequalities in order to enable women to achieve their full potential. Of their three principles, the group’s main focus is to protect and improve access to affordable healthcare for women.

    “Our younger women deserve to be taken care of and we as a state can do so at a small expense,” Hunter said.

    The legislation will make the products available, at no cost to students, in the bathroom of school buildings.

    The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

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  • hunter 041018SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to increase wages for home care aides who provide in-home services for nearly 100,000 seniors, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) backed legislation to improve the quality of health care in the state of Illinois.

    “Home care aides provide valuable services that not everyone can handle or are willing to do,” said Hunter. “The tasks that come with their work load are difficult but much needed in this state. The individuals willing to serve in this profession deserve to be compensated with higher pay and health coverage.”

    Currently, the average wage for home care aides through the Illinois Department on Aging’s (IDOA) Community Care Program is only $10.98 per hour. Senate Bill 3511 aims to increase that wage to $19.89 on July 1, 2018 and by $1 each year after that.

    “Better wages and benefits would bring stability to a vital workforce that experiences high rates of burnout and turnover.” Hunter said. “Unfortunately, many of our skilled professionals leave the industry in search of better paying jobs. High turnover causes confusion and uncertainty in the lives of these seniors who rely on the workers for daily care and compassion.”

    For seven years, the program rates have gone unchanged. Workers that have chosen to stay in the field struggle with low wages falling further behind as cost-of-living continues to increase.

    The legislation passed out of the Human Services Committee and will be called in the Illinois Senate for further consideration.

  • keyboardSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect governmental information from phishing schemes and coordinated cyber-attacks legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) was signed into law that will require state employees to take cyber-security training on an annual basis.

    “Hacking experts are becoming more creative by identifying new ways to obstruct governmental information systems,” said Hunter. “Training our employees in cybersecurity is critical in reducing the risks of such sophisticated attacks.”

    The initiative was modeled after a Florida law which was enacted to ensure that the state’s data and staff resources are maintained reliably and safely and are recoverable in the event of a disaster.

    “This legislation will not only improve the accessibility of electronic information and information technology but will increase education, employment and access to governmental information and services,” said Hunter.

    The security training attached to House Bill 2371 will include:
    • Detecting phishing scams
    • Preventing spyware infections
    • Preventing identity thefts
    • Preventing and responding to data breaches

    The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

  • hunter 050417SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) will aid qualified homeless and court-involved youth in finding potential job openings.

    “Cuts made to the budget have decimated critical funding for youth employment programs,” said Hunter. “It seems as though year after year we make more cuts failing our youth and their future opportunities.”

    House Bill 2987 requires a state agency to notify the Department of Human Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Family Services of available job openings. Those agencies are then required to notify qualified applicants, and then keep record of the number of job applications they receive.

    “This legislation is simply about giving youth a fighting chance to enter the workforce,” Hunter said. “Our youth should not be left homeless and jobless. We all heavily rely on employment and other resources to meet our basic living needs.”

    Qualified applicants are to be 21 years of age or younger, and are currently or have been a dependent child in foster care, a homeless youth or a court-involved youth.

    The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

  • SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool’s resignation:

    “With today’s departure of Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, I am calling on Janice Jackson and Frank Clark to keep our schools open and put the resources in place to educate and support our children.” 

    Janice Jackson currently serves as Chief Education Officer for Chicago Public Schools. Frank Clark currently serves as President of the Chicago Board of Education.

  • hunter062917SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) expressed her congratulations to all the recent high school graduates who are able to attend college thanks to scholarships from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

    “This is a great example of the state doing something positive for young men and women’s lives,” said Hunter. “They’ve been through so much and still managed to excel through the many obstacles they’ve faced. I appreciate the state’s efforts in encouraging young people to take the next step.”

  • hunter 062816CHICAGO – More than $25 million in state funding for youth employment and after-school programs is up for a vote in the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

    “Once thriving after-school programs on Chicago’s South Side are struggling to remain open,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), a career advocate for youth jobs and violence prevention in the city. “Last year, I met teenage filmmakers at After School Matters who used their cameras to lead anti-violence efforts in our community. Now, those teens are at risk of losing the very activities that kept them safe during dangerous summers.”

    In November, Hunter visited the video and music production program TechKno Camp to participate in the students short docudrama focused on violence prevention.

    An Illinois Senate-assembled plan would provide $13 million for youth programs like Teen Reach and $12 million for youth employment and after-school programs in the state.

    Additional proposals to provide $655 million to public universities including Chicago State University and increase Chicago Public Schools’ funding by $286 million are on the table for Wednesday.

    “I hope the governor will give our youth a fighting chance by adequately funding youth programs, K-12 education and public universities,” Hunter said.

    The Senate will convene on Wednesday at noon to take action on pending budget measures.

  • Hunter urges community to join and help prevent gun violenceCHICAGO - In response to gun violence in the city, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is calling for greater commitment to violence prevention and youth programs.

    At least 60 people were shot, and four killed, over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Halfway through this year, there have been nearly 315 murders, more than 1,600 shootings and 1,953 shooting victims in Chicago.

    “Rather than focusing on youth programs as a costly burden we need to focus on the costs of lives lost to gun violence,” Hunter said.