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  • Illinois Senate President Applauds Mayor Emanuel’s Leadership on City Finances

    Illinois Senate President Applauds Mayor Emanuel’s Leadership on City FinancesCHICAGO – Senate President John J. Cullerton released the following statement regarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2016 budget address.

    “I join Mayor Emanuel in his efforts to both celebrate and protect our world-class city. We simply cannot ignore the painful reality that the city’s looming pension debt is threatening the financial stability of Chicago.  In the coming days, city and state leaders will be calling on Chicagoans to accept the challenges and financial obligations that come with maintaining the progress of the city that is the economic engine of Illinois.

  • Hastings, Cullerton support suicide prevention

    AFSP SPWAccording to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, over 40,000 suicides were reported in 2013. This places suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

    September 6-12 is designated Suicide Prevention Week to help spread awareness about the severity of this issue and put a stop to the steady increase in yearly suicide rates.

    The Illinois Senate recently passed legislation focused on preventing youth suicide, and it was signed into law on August 21. The sponsor of the legislation, Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park), initiated the plan after a traumatic local experience.

  • Kids, cocktails, corn: new laws, Fall 2015 edition

    new laws 0915With this year’s main session of the General Assembly over, Illinois has several new laws that could make a significant impact on your daily life.

    If you have kids, enjoy after-work cocktails or are a veteran, you should definitely check out our list of the most important and interesting new laws that took effect this summer.

  • Delgado partners with local vendors, community organizations for back to school fair (VIDEO)

    CHICAGO-In order to help students get prepared for the school year, State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) joined with local businesses to host a back to school health and education fair on Saturday, August 29. The event, hosted at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center in Hermosa, offered free school supplies, backpacks, flu shots, child identification cards, a dance fitness class and a wide variety of other services.

    “I’m so glad I was able to give back to this community that has already given me so much,” Delgado said. “The families and children that joined us today are my neighbors and friends. The generosity that all of these vendors has shown for all of them is truly inspiring.”

    "The 1st all kids back to school health and education fair was an initiative started by a concerned neighbor. Hair stylist and long-time Hermosa resident Sammy Soto came to Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and Senator Delgado with a concrete plan to make this event a reality. It was very humbling to see the community coming together under the leadership of Senator Delgado, who immediately made this event a priority,” said Omar Torres-Kortright, executive director of Segundo Ruiz.

    “His office went to work and secured sponsors and partners that provided free book bags, school supplies and medical services ranging from flu shots to dental, hearing and vision screenings. Sammy's Hair studio provided 100 free haircuts and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center was happy to provide its 4500 sq ft facility, staff, volunteers and a dance and fitness class to complement the many resources already available. The event was a complete success and a clear example of what can be accomplished when public officials partner with local residents and arts organizations for the good of all children," Omar Torres-Kortright said.

  • School carbon monoxide detectors become law

    manar lgdfSPRINGFIELD – Almost a year ago, a faulty exhaust pipe at North Mac Intermediate School in Girard sent 150 students and staff to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Since last September, the school has installed carbon monoxide detectors, but at the time there were none.

    Legislation requiring schools to install carbon monoxide detectors was signed into law Thursday. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal.

    “Last year, Girard could have faced an unimaginably horrific tragedy. We have an obligation to protect children while at school and ensure something like this can’t happen again,” Manar said.

    The law will require schools to install detectors within 20 feet of equipment that produce carbon monoxide. School buildings without carbon monoxide sources would be exempt.

    “We always look for lessons learned, and installing the detectors was a preventative measure that we needed to take to assure everyone that our schools are safe from this threat,” said North Mac Superintendent Marica Cullen.

    A similar incident occurred last October at Harper High School in Chicago when the school was evacuated and nine students were hospitalized.

    State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) sponsored the proposal in the House.

    The legislation was negotiated with the Illinois Association of School Boards and the Illinois School Management Alliance, which represent the interests of school administration in Springfield.

    California, Connecticut and Maryland have similar requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in school buildings.

    The new law, House Bill 152, takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.

  • Senate Democrats offer A+ laws for back-to-school season

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  • New law addresses racial disparities in school discipline

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  • Tom Cullerton’s good government measure signed into law

    tc civics 53015SPRINGFIELD-  Illinois high school graduates will now have a better understanding of state government.
     
    State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative that would require a semester of civics to graduate high school was signed into law today.
     
    Illinois has joined 40 other states in requiring at least one civics course as a graduation requirement for high school graduates. Illinois high school students are already required to complete two years of social studies. The high school curriculum will change starting with the freshman class of 2016-2017 to simply require one semester of the existing two year requirement to include a civics course.
     
    “This is a big step toward engaging more people in the democratic process. Our goal is to give our young people the tools to make informed decisions and take an active role in government at all levels,” said Cullerton.  
     
    The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education recommended that Illinois should require a civic education course for all high schools in Illinois. The class would focus on government institutions, current issues and discussions and simulations of the democratic process.
     
    Private funding will be provided to cover the costs associated with the implementation of the civics courses, such as professional development and other school needs.
     
    “We need to give our young people the tools to be civically responsible,” said Cullerton. “Our children are the future of our state and nation, we need them make sure they are involved in order to ensure this world a better place.”
     
    House Bill 4025 was signed into law on August 21 and goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

  • Delgado, Children’s Place rejoice over success of facility and students

    delgado childrens gradCHICAGO- After cuts proposed by the governor earlier this year threatened to shut down a majority of its operations The Children’s Place Association, a pre-K education facility, spent Thursday morning celebrating. State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) was in attendance as the facility and staff held a ceremony for their students’ graduation, as some of them will move up to Kindergarten.

    Children’s Place provides a wide variety of services to over 70 children a day. Most of whom come from low income families affected by debilitating diseases and disabilities including autism, HIV, heart ailments, epilepsy, spina bifida and hydrocephalus. For many of the children, this is the only early education facility they can attend due to their illness.

  • Van Pelt legislation to lifts lifetime bars to employment signed into law

    pvp teachSPRINGFIELD – Residents of Illinois who have been convicted of minor drug or sex offenses but have worked to turn their lives around may now have the opportunity to become educators in the state thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago 5th).

    The new law, proposed by the Illinois State Board of Education and Cabrini Green Legal Aid, to limit the types of convictions that would automatically disqualify individuals from employment within a school district, disqualify individuals from obtaining an educator’s license or result in revocation of an educator’s license.

    House Bill 494 states that persons convicted of possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis as well as those convicted of misdemeanor public indecency and prostitution will not be automatically disqualified for school district employment or obtaining licensing. The legislation also allows convicted drug offenders who have turned their lives around to apply for employment and licensing after seven years without committing new offenses.

    “Barring those who have made mistakes in their lives from gainful employment puts an undue burden on families and communities. By allowing those who have paid their debts to society a second chance, we are opening up opportunities to turn lives around and rebuild our communities,” Senator Van Pelt said.

    The new law was co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans and was promoted by the State Board of Education, along with other community stakeholders.

  • Collins’ plan requiring charter schools to disclose criminal investigations becomes law

    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.”