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  • villivalam presser 010919 SPRINGFIELD – Asian-American leaders statewide today announced plans to unify their voices and advance issues that are vital to Asian-American communities throughout Illinois.

    The leaders, including state legislators and local government officials, formed the Joint Asian-American Leaders Caucus

    “Ten years ago, there were no Asian Americans elected to major political offices in Illinois. Today, there are dozens, from the U.S. Senate to local municipal offices throughout the state,” said caucus chair Josina Morita. In 2016, she became the first Asian American elected to a countywide board in Illinois.

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    SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers held its Advocacy Day event earlier this morning. State Senators Robert Peters and Ram Villivalam both gave remarks in front of the NASW audience.

    NASW Illinois has over 7,000 members consisting of social workers across the state of Illinois. Its annual Advocacy Day is an opportunity for members to talk to lawmakers and spread information about the issues important to the Association.

    Villivalam (D-Chicago), who spent time prior to joining the State Senate as a legislative coordinator for Service Employees International Union Healthcare, spoke about the importance of the social work profession.

  • villivalam 011819SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam issued the following statement regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive order calling for the enforcement of House Bill 40.

    “I applaud Gov. Pritzker’s continued support of a woman’s right to choose,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “We need to ensure legislation is actually working once it is signed, and this executive order will do just that. I look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and members of the Illinois General Assembly in taking the next steps to further protect and advance women's rights.”

    Executive Order 2019-05 calls for a Department of Central Management Services review of the coverage in all state employee health insurance, then submitting a report to the governor detailing the coverage for abortion in each plan, specifically identifying where coverage is restrictive.

  • Sen. Ram VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Efforts to modernize the state’s water infrastructure present an opportunity for job growth under a plan State Senator Ram Villivalam introduced this morning alongside environmental, faith and labor advocates.

    “The ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan is a prime example of what can happen to communities when their water infrastructure is neglected by their government for long periods of time,” VIllivalam (D-Chicago) said. “By creating this program, we will provide the training necessary to help Illinois communities avoid a similar fate.”

    SB 2146 would require the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create a Clean Water Workforce Pipeline Program that would provide grants and other financial assistance to prepare people for careers in water infrastructure.

  • villivalam 021519SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House today approved a measure that will gradually increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 an hour.

    “I’m thankful that the House followed the Senate's lead in moving this vital legislation forward," said Villivalam (D-Chicago). "This legislation will provide working people with a sense of dignity, fairness, and stability in everyday life. Furthermore, it will allow working families to spend money on things they need, which results in a boost to our local economies."

    This legislation is the result of the hard work and collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders. It includes tax credits for small businesses while putting 1.4 million workers on a path to a living wage. Labor organizations and business groups, such the Illinois Restaurant Association, are in support.

    Senate Bill 1 will be phased in over six years to provide businesses time to adapt to a new minimum wage in Illinois.

    SB 1 will raise the minimum wage to:

    •             $9.25 per hour from Jan. 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020
    •             $10 per hour from July 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020
    •             $11 per hour from Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021
    •             $12 per hour from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022
    •             $13 per hour from Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2023
    •             $14 per hour from Jan. 1, 2024, to Dec. 31, 2024
    •             $15 per hour on and after Jan. 1, 2025


    The bill now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed.

  • villivalam 012419 2SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam released the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order protecting immigrant families in Illinois.

    “I commend Gov. Pritzker for prioritizing and raising the voices of immigrant families like mine in Illinois,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “We have a president who constantly spouts anti-immigrant rhetoric, and those who enter this country seeking opportunities for themselves and their family need to know that the people of Illinois are on their side.”

    Executive Order 2019-07 calls for the Department of Human Services to expand access welcoming centers for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. In addition, state agencies are required to inform immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers of their rights and opportunities available to them in the state of Illinois.

  • Senator Villivalam

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) released a statement following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address this afternoon.

    "It is a relief to serve with a governor who shares our values,” Villivalam said. “We have difficult choices ahead of us. This budget won’t be a solution to all of the problems we face in Illinois, but it's a start.”

    The budget proposed by Pritzker, which covers July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, calls for increased funding for education paid for by revenues that will be primarily created with the legalization of recreational marijuana and sports gambling.

    “Investing in education is one of the most important things we can do as legislators. To keep our young people in Illinois we need to provide quality higher education opportunities in our state so they go to school here, get jobs here and choose to raise their families here,” Villivalam said. “By no means will these new revenue sources solve every problem we face, but ensuring that all students in Illinois in K-12 and beyond have the tools to succeed is a good start.”

  • villivalam 011619SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam released the following statement regarding the governor’s executive orders and the law that were signed yesterday.

    “After four years of attacks on working people from our previous governor, it is refreshing and long overdue that we enact progressive policies to better their lives,” Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “With these executive orders and the signing of SB 203 into law, Governor Pritzker has demonstrated that he is on the side of Illinois’ working families.”

    Executive Order 2019-02 will no longer require potential State of Illinois employees to disclose their salary history due to salary disadvantages women have previously faced. It will also direct the Illinois Department of Labor to expedite all cases of wage theft in an effort to protect workers and hold malicious actors accountable.

    In addition, the governor signed SB 203, a vital piece of legislation that protects workers’ wages and promotes diversity in companies that are contracted by the state. The Illinois Department of Labor will be required to release reports on the diversity of those employed on public works projects, and will be asked to make recommendations on how to increase employment of women and people of color.

    “I appreciate the fact that the governor included pay equity and wage theft among his top priorities. I look forward to working with both my colleagues and the governor to enact other progressive policies, including the establishment of a $15 minimum wage in Illinois.”

  • Sen. Ram Villivalam

    SPRINGFIELD - Legislation to assist Alzheimer’s patients seeking care passed the Senate Human Services Committee this afternoon.

    State Senator Ram Villivalam is the chief sponsor of the initiative.

    “People with early onset Alzheimer's and dementia and their caregivers often don't know where to start when looking for helpful resources,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “This bill will make it clear which services are available and how to access them.”

    SB 187 would require the Illinois Department on Aging to develop educational materials, including a website, that indicate the services that are available to all diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder as defined under the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Act, regardless of age.

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  • villivalam 030619SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to protect workers from local right-to-work laws passed the Senate Labor Committee today.

    “I am proud to sponsor legislation that would make it crystal clear that local right-to-work zones have no place in the state of Illinois. Workers deserve the right to collectively bargain for living wages and better working conditions in every part of our great state,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “Furthermore, there is no question that the regulation of collective bargaining should be a responsibility of state government.”

    Senate Bill 1424 is designed to support economic development, protect the quality of essential services that are provided to the taxpayers of Illinois, and confirm the state’s commitment to maintaining and producing a highly trained workforce.

  • villivalam 030719SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to protect workers from local right-to-work laws passed the Illinois Senate today.

    “I am proud to sponsor legislation that would make it crystal clear that local right-to-work zones have no place in the state of Illinois. Workers deserve the right to collectively bargain for living wages and better working conditions in every part of our great state,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “Furthermore, there is no question that the regulation of collective bargaining should be a responsibility of state government.”

    Senate Bill 1474 is designed to support economic development, protect the quality of essential services that are provided to the taxpayers of Illinois, and confirm the state’s commitment to maintaining and producing a highly trained workforce.

    “The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act is commonsense legislation that keeps a level playing field in Illinois for employers and employees,” said Michael T. Carrigan, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “Right to work zones will only create a race to the bottom concerning wages and economic security in our communities. This bill protects middle class families.”

    The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

  • Hotel EmployeeSPRINGFIELD – Legislation to improve the safety of hotel and casino employees passed the Senate today.

    “I’m proud that the first piece of legislation I filed in Springfield proactively ensures that workers at hotels and casinos are protected against sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Senator Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “One of my top legislative priorities is furthering protections for working people in Illinois, and this bill protect some of the hardest working people in the hospitality industries.”

    Senate Bill 75 calls for hotels and casinos to ensure that a sexual harassment policy is in place to protect their employees. In addition, it requires that employees who work in closed spaces have access to a safety button or notification device that would alert security to the presence of assailants.

    Similar measures have been adopted in Chicago, Seattle, New York City, and Miami Beach. In the wake of this movement, a number of prominent hotel operators have voluntarily pledged to roll out safety buttons by 2020, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and InterContinental Hotels Group.

    “No one deserves to feel unsafe in their work environment,” Villivalam said. “By following the example of some of the nation’s most populous cities, we will provide a safer and more productive workplace to those who work at these facilities. I also want to thank UNITE HERE, the Hotel and Motel Association and Caesars Entertainment for their advocacy on this legislation.”

    The legislation now moves to the House for consideration.

  • hotelworker 032019SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to improve the safety of hotel and casino employees passed the Senate Labor Committee today.

    “I’m proud that the first piece of legislation I filed in Springfield proactively ensures that workers at hotels and casinos are protected against sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Senator Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “One of my top legislative priorities is furthering protections for working people in Illinois, and this bill protect some of the hardest working people in the hospitality industries.”

  • Sen. VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Legislation to protect immigration status in a civil case passed the Senate Wednesday.

    State Senator Ram Villivalam is the chief sponsor of this initiative.

    “In spite and especially because of what Donald Trump says and does at the national level as it relates to immigrants, SB 1429 cements the fact that the state of Illinois is a welcoming state to all immigrants,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “People are clearly afraid that their immigration status will be used against them should they even make it to a civil proceeding. This legislation will ensure that immigration status remains confidential and cannot be used against them.”

  • Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Legislation to protect immigration status in a civil case passed the Senate today.
    State Senator Ram Villivalam is the chief sponsor of this initiative.

    “In spite and especially because of what Donald Trump says and does at the national level as it relates to immigrants, SB 1429 cements the fact that the state of Illinois is a welcoming state to all immigrants,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “People are clearly afraid that their immigration status will be used against them should they even make it to a civil proceeding. This legislation will ensure that immigration status remains confidential and cannot be used against them.”

  • childcare 040419SPRINGFIELD – Legislation introduced by State Senator Ram Villivalam that would promote the availability of the Child Care Assistance Program passed the Senate unanimously today.

    “Public services are only valuable when those who they are designed to work for are aware of them,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “It is important for DHS to promote the availability of CCAP so families can take advantage of quality childcare options, allowing parents to work or attend school.”

  • Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Legislation introduced by State Senator Ram Villivalam would promote the availability of the Child Care Assistance Program.


    “Public services are only valuable when those who they are designed to work for are aware of them,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “It is important for DHS to promote the availability of CCAP so families can take advantage of quality childcare options, allowing parents to work or attend school.”


    SB 1321 would require the Illinois Department of Human Services to promote the Child Care Assistance Program, targeting all families with children under age 13, families eligible for child care assistance and child care providers.


    Former Gov. Bruce Rauner reduced the eligibility of CCAP by lowering the income threshold to 50 percent of the federal poverty level. Though it was raised to 162 percent FPL in November 2015, 30,000 families were still impacted by the changes in eligibility. CCAP is still recovering from all the changes to the eligibility, and families have been slow to re-enroll in the program.


    “I’m hoping this bill will increase awareness of programs designed to help working families, and will simultaneous allow those families with young children to trust that their government is back to working for them,” Villivalam said.

  • Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam, an advocate for social workers statewide, is proposing that March be declared Social Work Month in Illinois:

    “I’m thrilled SR 59 was adopted by the Senate today,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “Social workers dedicate their lives to enhancing the well-being of those they serve. It is encouraging to me that this profession is one of the fastest growing nationwide.”

    The social work profession is expected to grow faster than average over the next seven years, with more than 682,000 people nationwide expected to be employed as social workers by 2026. Social workers elevate and empower people, giving them the ability to solve problems, cope with personal roadblocks and get resources they need to succeed.

    “Ensuring that March is dedicated to paying homage to the profession of social work is the least we can do,” Villivalam said. “They are ready and willing to help solve pressing issues, most notably the availability and quality of mental health services. Thank you to those who have dedicated themselves to helping others in this capacity.”

  • Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Legislation Sponsored by State Senator Ram Villivalam to advance equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) older adults passed Senate on Wednesday.

    “It is important to protect our LGTBQ population at all ages. The older members of this community face very specific challenges as they age,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “We need to ensure that aging programming by service providers and the environments in assisted living facilities are welcoming and inclusive, and I’m proud to say this legislation does just that.”

    Senate Bill 1319 would both highlight to service providers the need to develop aging programming that includes LGBTQ people and help cultivate affirming environments in assisted living facilities for LGBTQ older adults.

    “LGBTQ older adults face many challenges as they age, including fears about neglect, abuse, and harassment because of their identities,” Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois said. “Sometimes, many LGBTQ older adults are forced by circumstances to go back into the closet as they age because of the absence of inclusive programming by service providers and a lack of affirming care in long-term care facilities. As they age, we must ensure laws and programming support and affirm them. Thank you, Sen. Villivalam, for leading this charge.”

    The bill now moves to the House for consideration.