Lightford

  • lightford 060219CHICAGO – Protecting vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) joins the Illinois Department of Human Services in announcing a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its current statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

    “Escaping a dangerous and frightening situation at home is never easy, and our current circumstances make it even harder,” Lightford said. “It is so important that Governor Pritzker and IDHS are expanding services to make sure there is a safety net for survivors.”

    The plan expands the role of the Domestic Violence Helpline by creating a one-stop access point for shelter needs. Survivors may call the Helpline directly at 1-877-TO END DV (1-877-863-6338 voice or 1-877-863-6339 TTY) and be connected to shelter through existing Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention shelter services or to emergency shelter through available hotels and motels. Survivors may also contact their local domestic violence programs for shelter assistance.

    DVPI providers will also receive a three-month advance of their current grant to support continuations of services and respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors, such as hotels, emergency supplies, transportation, food, technology supports and other related services.

    Furthermore, IDHS is working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with assistance needs related to COVID-19.

    IDHS will also provide the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers statewide to aid sexual assault survivors. The agency also will advance grant funds to Partner Abuse Intervention Program grantees for programs costs related to COVID-19.

    More information about COVID-19 is available at www.CoronaVirus.Illinois.gov.

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  • Lightford031120CHICAGO – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) announced legislation on Wednesday that would establish parole opportunities for older adults.

    “Older adults who have served 20 to 30-year sentences deserve an opportunity to have their case heard before a parole board,” Lightford said. “If they no longer pose a risk to public safety, they should be granted parole and have the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives.”

    Senate Bill 2114 would allow those who have reached age 60 and have been incarcerated 20 consecutive years or greater, or people who have served 30 consecutive years or greater, to petition the Prisoner Review Board seeking parole. The legislation also provides that victims and/or their families are notified in a timely manner and given the opportunity to participate in the hearing.

  • lightford 031020Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) passed a resolution urging the President and Congress of the United States to reauthorize the Older Americans Act and adjust funding levels for inflation.

    “The programs funded under the Older Americans Act are vital to the wellbeing of one of our most vulnerable populations,” Lightford said. “Our federal government needs to make sure they can continue to serve all those in need.”

    The Older Americans Act provides essential services that help older adults live independently including meal plans, home assistance, support for family caregivers, transportation and protection from abuse.

    The Act was reauthorized in 2016 through 2019. However, funding for services has not increased since 2010, leaving many without much-needed services.

    According to 2015 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 24% of low-income older adults were food insecure, and of that number 83% of them did not receive home-delivered or congregate meal services.

    Senate Resolution 974 was approved by the Illinois Senate last week.

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    Martwick introduces policy to support first responder mental health data

    Sen. Robert Martwick

    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is taking steps to facilitate and assist the mental health needs of emergency first responders under legislation sponsored by State Senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago).

    Martwick introduced Senate Bill 3333, which requires the Department of Human Services to create and maintain an online database and resource page of mental resources geared toward first responders on its website.

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Hastings unveils plan to expand sick leave for airline employees

    Sen. Michael E. HastingsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) partnered with Southwest Airlines employees to hold a press conference advocating for the expansion of sick leave for airline employees Wednesday.

    “The fact that hardworking individuals are unable to use their earned sick time to care for their loved ones is unacceptable,” Hastings said. “Since this is an issue with federal law, we’re doing what we can at the state level to demonstrate that in Illinois, we put workers and their families first.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Hayli's lemonade law passes Public Health Committee Sen. Patrick Joyce and Hayli Martinez

    SPRINGFIELD – As the heat of summer approaches, some kids are working to make a little bit of cash mowing lawns, babysitting or establishing a lemonade stand outside their home.

    Hayli Martinez, an 11-year-old girl from Kankakee, had the perfect idea last summer to sell lemonade with different flavors in order to earn money for her college funds.

    However, after much success, her lemonade stand was flagged by Kankakee Health Department officials and it was shut down soon after.

    To prevent other kids from losing their lemonade stands, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) introduced Hayli’s Law.

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    Lightford and United Way launch report on Illinois ALICE families Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford and Sen. Celina Villanueva

    SPRINGFIELD – Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) joined the United Way in releasing their report on Illinois ALICE households – asset-limited, income-constrained and employed.

    The report focuses on families living above the federal poverty level, but below the threshold of a basic survival budget of $57,144 for a family of four and $19,212 for a single adult.

    “People all over Illinois are struggling to get ahead. We know this intuitively, and we see it in our communities. I see it every day in my west side and west suburban district,” Lightford said. “ALICE allows us to put some real data behind that intuition.”

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    Lightford minimum wage increase now under effect
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  • Sen. Elgie R. Sims and Sen. Dave Koehler with students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy

    SPRINGFIELD – Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “I shared a wonderful day with my constituent Esha Dani who attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The Senate was honored to host such a brilliant group of students and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold,” Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said.

  • black caucus budget 2020SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address on Wednesday.

    Black Caucus leaders discussed areas within the governor’s budget proposal that specifically affect black communities, including early childhood education, economic development and public safety.

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Chair of the ILBC:

    “I am thrilled Governor Pritzker has a significant plan for education from birth to college. I share his enthusiasm for educating our young people because it is proven that their success lies in the quality of their education.

    “Educating our young people has always been a central focus of the Black Caucus. We understand that in order for communities to grow and advance, they need to be educated. We look forward to joining the governor in the fight for equitable funding and access to education.”

  • lightford 020520SPRINGFIELD – Property taxes will be lowered for some homeowners and business owners in South Suburban communities thanks to a new state grant program that seeks to lift some of the burden on school districts that are heavily taxed.

    The Property Tax Relief Grant is part of the education funding reform package that has been put in place to level the playing field to better serve struggling school districts.

    “This is a positive step forward in bringing long-term property tax relief to the community of Broadview,” Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said. “Property taxes have been an extremely important issue, which is why I am pleased to see this grant awarded to Lindop School District.”

    Eligible school districts must submit an abatement resolution to their county clerks by March 30 to receive the grant. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will then distribute the grants to the school districts once they have received the Certificate of Abatement Form.

    More information on the Property Tax Relief Grant and a listing of each eligible school district can be found at www.ISBE.net/proptaxrelief.

  • SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s State of the State address on Wednesday.

    Leaders of the Black Caucus discussed key issues brought up by the governor’s address that specifically affect black communities throughout the state, including early childhood education, health care and criminal justice reform.

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Chair of the ILBC

    “The governor’s address highlighted some areas where we were finally able to see progress for our communities under his leadership, including a new capital plan to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure and create jobs that are desperately needed in our communities, and additional funding for K-12 and early childhood education.

    “One of our top priorities is educating our communities. We pride ourselves in fighting to ensure there is equitable funding in education, and that there is adequate after school support, especially for our at-risk youth.

    “With all that we have accomplished, there is still a lot of work to do to provide stability for the people of African-American communities. I was pleased to hear the governor talk about diversity, acknowledging inequities in the communities we represent. We look forward to working with his administration to ensure people of all backgrounds have a fair shot at success in Illinois.

    State Representative Camille Lilly, House Chair of the ILBC

    “Today, the governor affirmed our commitment to build on the progress we have made over the past year. Building a stronger Illinois that is inclusive and fair means prioritizing reforms that require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, and supporting working and middle-class families.

    “The people of Illinois should never be forced to compromise their well-being due to high costs from the health care system and big pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, we need impactful property tax relief to provide stability and confidence for the people of Illinois that they can afford to live here long term.

    “As we begin a new legislative session, I will continue to advocate for vulnerable populations and strengthen ILBC communities as a whole. More work remains to get Illinois under-resourced communities back on track after decades of crisis, but I am encouraged by the Governor’s commitment and this new direction.”

    State Senator Christopher Belt, Senate Chair of the ILBC

    “I am glad to see Gov. JB Pritzker’s top priorities will revise our state’s ethics procedures, early childhood education and provide property tax relief for residents throughout the state. Providing property tax relief will help people with their basic expenses and hopefully retain our residents.

    “In addition, I support his vision for economic development for Illinois. He is continuing to push a statewide construction and infrastructure plan, which will help the economic growth in my district by creating jobs and increasing the quality of life of the community.”

  • Senator LightfordSPRINGFIELD – Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s State of the State Address on Wednesday with the following statement:

    “Last year, the governor gave the General Assembly an extra push to get some big items done, and I look forward to building on such a successful session. I am particularly excited about investing in early childhood education and working to make college more affordable.”

    “Education is a vital tool in lifting people out of poverty, and I am glad Governor Pritzker shares my commitment to the children of Illinois.”

  • library 011520SPRINGFIELD – Ten local school districts will receive more than $16,000 in grants through the Illinois secretary of state’s School Library Grant program, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) announced today.

    The grants, which are issued by the Illinois State Library, are meant to help public schools offer more library books and materials to students.

    “I am delighted that many deserving schools will benefit from this years’ library grants,” said Lightford. “Having access to new library books and additional educational materials encourages students to experience the joy of reading and learning exciting information.”

    Schools receiving school library grants include:

    • Bellwood School District 88 — $1,656.75
    • Berkeley School District 87 — $1,797
    • Proviso Township High School District 209 — $3,254.25
    • Forest Park School District 91 — $750
    • Hillside School District 93 — $750
    • Lyons Township High School District 204 — $3,038.25
    • LaGrange School District 102 — $2,209.50
    • Komarek District 94 — $750
    • River Forest School District 90 — $1,072.50
    • Westchester School District 92.5 — $815.25
  • lightford 201519SPRINGFIELD-- Outraged by allegations brought forth by a recent WBEZ story about the possible cover up of a rape detailed in a state government email exchange, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford urged that appropriate authorities, including the Champaign County State’s Attorney, the Illinois State Police, and the Illinois Executive Inspector General, take immediate steps to investigate this report.

    The WBEZ story referenced a 2012 email to officials in then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration sent by lobbyist Michael McClain that among other things makes mention of a state employee who kept quiet about “the rape in Champaign”, asking that the administration keep that individual employed by the state.

    Majority Leader Lightford issued the following statement regarding this incident:

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  • Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordSPRINGFIELD – Students across Illinois could soon have consent taught as a part of their sex education curriculum. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) passed House Bill 3550 through the Senate on Wednesday.

    “The stigma of being sexually assaulted has kept so many victims silent for decades,” Lightford said. “Teaching consent helps young people establish boundaries and feel empowered to speak out against an abuser.”

    The legislation requires students in grades 6-12 to learn the meaning of consent and how to respect personal boundaries. Under current law, consent is briefly mentioned in the School Code, but no definition or guidance is provided.

  • lightford 022019SPRINGFIELD – More support for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder could be available under a measure led by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).

    House Bill 2126 authorizes K9s for Veterans to issue decals for the universal special license plate. The fees collected for issuing and renewing the plates would be deposited into the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Fund to be used for support, education, and awareness of veterans with the disorder.

    “Our veterans who are struggling with mental health issues need our support, and we are giving Illinoisans an opportunity to do so through the special license plate program,” Lightford said.

    Applicants would be charged a $25 fee in addition to the standard registration fee each year the decal is renewed. The Universal Special License Plate was established in 2016 to allow drivers to support any organization who has been authorized for a decal. An organization that would like to create a decal for the universal plate must have at least 2,000 applications before the Secretary of State can approve their application for a universal plate.

    The legislation was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee and will head to the full Senate for consideration.

  • Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordSPRINGFIELD – To protect consumers from being taken advantage of due to misinformation from alternative retail electric suppliers, Senate Majority Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is leading legislation that was approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

    “The data clearly demonstrates that alternative suppliers focus their signup efforts on low-income neighborhoods, those where English is a secondary language, and communities of color,” Lightford said. “I am proud to stand with Attorney General Raoul to protect our most vulnerable residents from unknowingly signing contracts that will result in rate hikes they cannot afford.”

  • lightford 041119SPRINGFIELD – Children could soon be required to start school at age 5 under a proposal spearheaded by Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).

    Senate Bill 2075 lowers the compulsory school age from 6 to 5, and was approved by the Senate on Thursday.

    Parents could choose to hold their child back a year if they have a birthday after May 31.

    “This proposal makes learning a habit for children across Illinois,” Lightford said. “When we get students in the classroom at an early age, especially those from underprivileged communities, they are more likely to continue their education as they grow older.”

    In 2006, Lightford established a universal preschool program that helps prepare 3- and 4-year-olds for Kindergarten, a measure that increased the state’s early childhood education investments by $45 million.

    Since then, Illinois has continued to invest more in these type of programs with the latest commitment from Gov. JB Pritzker to increase early childhood funding by $100 million.

    The legislation now heads to the House for approval.

  • Sens. Elgie R. Sims Jr., Emil Jones III, Iris Y. Martinez and Kimberly A. Lightford

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate lawmakers and advocates gathered Thursday to stress the importance of getting a full and accurate count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke to the potential consequences of an undercount.

    “The census is used to determine federal funding and representation for our state,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said. “That means, if we are undercounted, we stand to lose billions in federal funding, along with two congressional seats and two Electoral College votes.”

    Martinez is the sponsor of legislation, contained in Senate Bill 1408, that would appropriate $25 million to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide grants to community providers and local governments for the purposes of encouraging full participation in the 2020 federal census.