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  • April is Donate Life Month

    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.

  • Black Caucus: State of the State address lacked solutions (VIDEO)

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  • Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black Education (VIDEO)

    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.

  • Black lawmakers react to governor’s budget address

    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 She challenged the governor’s proposal to sell an outdated, broken education funding plan as true reform and his failure to address higher education concerns.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."

  • Chicago senators push for lead-free properties

    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, Hunter push to expand Organ/Tissue Donor registry

    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.

  • Expanding the Organ Donor Registry passes Senate

    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.

  • Few specifics, missed opportunities in governor's budget speech (VIDEO)

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  • Governor vetoes MAP, community college funding for Illinois students

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  • Hunter urges action on youth employment, education funding

    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 help prevent gun violence

    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.

  • Hunter urges community to join and help prevent gun violence

    Hunter urges community to join and help prevent gun violenceCHICAGO - In response to the gun violence during the weekend, 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.

  • Hunter votes for Cook County, LIHEAP funding

    hunter 120715SPRINGFIELD – Cook County residents soon will receive $93.94 million in critical funding for LIHEAP, winter road maintenance and local shares of video gaming and motor fuel tax revenue.

    “I voted so that vulnerable residents and seniors could receive the energy assistance they deserve,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3). “Hopefully Governor Rauner will stand with us and sign this bill so our local communities can receive critical funding.”

    The Senate approved legislation today to free up gas tax money for Cook County residents and recipients of LIHEAP. According to last year’s estimates, Cook County received $93.94 million in gas tax dollars, while the state received $275.53 million.

    Senate Bill 2039 also includes funding for the following:

    •    $1 billion to the Lottery for prizes
    •    $165 million for home heating bill assistance
    •    $77 million for 911-related costs
    •    $45 million to the Dept. of Revenue so local governments can receive their share of video gaming proceeds
    •    $43 million to the Community College Board for career and technical education activities
    •    $31 million to IDOT to purchase road salt
    •    $28 million for nursing home licensing and inspections
    •    $3.1 million to the Illinois Department of Public Health for the Tobacco Quitline
    •    $2.5 million for breast cancer services and research

    The bill now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. While Gov. Bruce Rauner stated he supports this plan, he vetoed similar measures in June when the budget impasse began.

  • Hunter welcomes trauma center to Chicago’s south side

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  • Hunter, White work to expand organ donor registry

    hunter 021517Secretary of State Jesse White joined State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) in the Senate Public Health Committee today to announce 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.

    “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.”

  • Hunter: Department of Public Health must refocus priorities

    State Senator Mattie Hunter SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) criticized the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday for proposing cuts to programs and services that would disproportionately affect minority communities.

    The Senate Appropriations I Committee heard testimony Wednesday morning from Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget.

  • Hunter: Drug, alcohol testing should follow all officer-involved shootings

    Sen. Mattie Hunter

    SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to increase accountability among law enforcement officers, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) passed legislation that requires sobriety testing following all officer-involved shootings.

    The initiative aims to improve credibility in police department investigations. It would require officers to submit drug and alcohol test results no later than the end of his or her shift.

    Police-involved shootings have gained much attention over the years as the number of victims has increased drastically. In 2014 alone, more than 1,000 people were killed by police officers.

    “Whether these attacks have been targeted or unfortunate accidents, this policy will hold law enforcement accountable for the frequent tragedies of deadly force,” Hunter said.

    “Officers must be held to the same standard as other professionals who are responsible for the lives of human beings. This should be a standard operating procedure for every police department.”

    The legislation passed the Senate 53-0 and is now in the House for further consideration.

  • Hunter: If we continue to kill each other, who will uphold our legacies?

    hunter 071816SPRINGFIELD – At least 17 people were killed and 41 others wounded, including four teenagers, an eighth-grade student and twin 17-year-old boys, making it Chicago’s deadliest weekend of the year. State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “Our communities are in pain and instead of uniting together, we find ourselves battling one another for survival. But if we continue to kill each other, who will uphold our legacies? It is disheartening to watch communities suffer at the hand of gun violence.

  • Hunter: It’s time to prioritize social service agencies (AUDIO)

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  • Hunter: Lower rates for prison phone calls signed into law

    prison phonesSPRINGFIELD – Families will be able to communicate with incarcerated loved ones at lower costs because of legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) that was signed into law Monday.

    House Bill 6200 limits the rates charged for telephone usage by prison inmates and prohibits additional service fees. It would cap rates at 7 cents per minute and remove excess charges.

    The law aims to address the legal and social injustice of the extreme costs families face when communicating with their children, family and friends.

    “Our prison system should be a place for growth and rehabilitation, not profit,” said Hunter, who co-sponsored the measure in the Senate. “It’s a shame families are faced with a costly burden while maintaining communication with their loved ones. The expense keeps inmates away from their families when I feel they need them most.”

    Previously, the state of Illinois and the prison’s telecommunications providers split millions in profits from collect calls prisoners made to family members at a rate of 11.8 cents per minute.

    “This legislation will give inmates and families the opportunity to maintain vital human relationships while they are in prison,” Hunter said. “Prisoners should not have to feel alone due to the high costs of a single phone call.”

    So far New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia, and now Illinois have taken steps to make these costs more affordable for families

    The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.