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  • aquino 042318SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino’s (D-Chicago) proposal to allow bilingual participants in an educator preparation program was recently approved by the Illinois Senate. The legislation would increase the amount of bilingual teachers by creating the Growing Future Educators Program, a pathway to a paraprofessional license.

    The measure, Senate Bill 2844, advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

    Aquino released the following statement:

    “Our students need bilingual educators and Illinois has plenty of talented people with firsthand experience as English language learners who are willing and able to do the job. The aim of the Growing Future Educators Program is to connect these talented people with careers in education while improving the capacity of our schools to educate bilingual students. I hope that this program receives the same bipartisan support that it has received in the Senate as it advances through the legislative process.”

  • martinez 042318SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation today that ensures Spanish-speaking Illinoisans are kept up to date on changes to their phone service.

    The measure would require AT&T to provide notice in both English and Spanish before they disconnect a resident’s landline.

    “Studies show that low-income and minority communities are more likely to use landline phone service,” Martinez said. “Everyone should get fair notice of a decision to terminate service so they can either make other arrangements or appeal the decision.”

  • castro 042318SPRINGFIELD– Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) held a press conference today to acknowledge Distracted Driving Awareness Week and discuss the risks of distracted driving. She was joined by State Representative Anna Moeller, along with representatives from the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Police Association and AAA Chicago.

    “Many people think texting one quick message while driving or taking their eyes off the road for a split second to change the radio is harmless,” Castro said. “We have to get the message across that this can be life-changing.”

  • stadelman 041918SPRINGFIELD – With the proliferation of cashless tolls, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) advanced a proposal that offers protection for rental car drivers. After returning a rental car, many drivers may be surprised to find they were charged additional fees for a tollway collection device, similar to an I-PASS. Stadelman advanced a proposal through a Senate committee today to allow drivers to opt-out of using these devices.

    “Drivers deserve to know up front what they are paying for, instead of finding out when it is already too late,” Stadelman said.

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  • Sen. President John J. Cullerton and Mantvydas Bakesius, the consul general of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago

    Senate President John J. Cullerton welcomed the consul general of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago to the Senate on Wednesday.

    Mantvydas Bakesius has served in the foreign service for nearly 20 years. He began his career in the public relations department of the Ministry of Defense in Lithuania.

    He went on to complete two special missions in Afghanistan before returning to Lithuania to serve as chief of staff for the speaker of Parliament and then as deputy foreign minister.

    He became the consul general in 2017.

    You can listen to or watch his full remarks to the Senate below.

  • koehler 041718SPRINGFIELD – Legislation guaranteeing that mass transit workers are allowed to take bathroom breaks while on duty passed the Senate Transportation Committee today.

    Senate Bill 2210 would guarantee up to ten minutes of restroom breaks for every four hours worked by a transit worker. The legislation would also guarantee the workers are not docked any pay for taking the break.

  • sandoval 041218SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois Senate passed a resolution today condemning Gov. Bruce Rauner’s statement that he would comply should President Donald Trump order Illinois National Guard soldiers to the Mexican border.

    State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), son of immigrants and Illinois Latino Caucus co-chair, sponsored the measure, Senate Resolution 1593, and had strong words for the governor.

  • sims 041218SPRINGFIELD—Many mothers across the state struggle to use the court system in Illinois because they lack a place to breastfeed and pump.

    State Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) passed Senate Bill 3503 out of the Senate today. The legislation requires circuit courts to have a lactation room.

    “Mothers should not have to worry about where they’ll be able to pump and breastfeed while they’re working or visiting our courthouses. A simple solution is to provide them with space to pump and feed their children so they can return to court,” said Sen. Sims.

  • sandoval 041118CHICAGO – State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), the son of immigrant parents who crossed the Mexican border in 1959, issued the following response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s statement that he would comply if President Donald Trump ordered Illinois National Guard soldiers to the Mexican border:

    “Governor Rauner has shown us time and time again that he is totally unwilling to speak out against the president’s offensive, racist policies and statements. Sending Illinois National Guard soldiers to the border would be a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. It would also send a message to immigrants in our state that they should be treated like criminals instead of valuable members of our communities. The governor needs to be a leader and stand up for the millions of immigrants living in Illinois.”

     

     

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  • Illinois Senate Womens' Caucus

    Caucus endorses ratification of Equal Rights Amendment

    SPRINGFIELD – The Equal Rights Amendment is the first measure to earn the backing of the Senate Women’s Caucus, members of the bipartisan group announced today.

    “The intention of the Illinois Senate Women’s Caucus is to advance legislation that supports, empowers and protects women of all aspects of life, and that’s exactly what we are doing today,” said State Senator Karen McConnaughay, a St. Charles Republican and co-chairwoman of the caucus.

    SJRCA 4, the Equal Rights Amendment proposes to ratify the ERA to the U.S. Constitution and solidify equality for women. Women do not currently have guaranteed equal rights under the federal Constitution.

  • manar 030218Senate committee votes to update Illinois statute for first time since 1980

    SPRINGFIELD – Ensuring teachers earn a livable minimum salary is one significant step Illinois can take to recruit more educators into rural and downstate classrooms and address the ongoing shortage, State Senator Andy Manar said today.

    The Senate Education Committee approved his measure raising Illinois’ minimum mandated salary for full-time teachers for the first time since 1980.

    “Fewer talented young people are going into the teaching profession for numerous reasons, one of which is pay. Would-be teachers can get a higher salary right out of college in other areas of the workforce, which his opposite of our priorities and our needs in this state,” he said.

  • 0410 EqualPayDay byEthnicityAs the United States observed Equal Pay Day today – the day which signifies when the average woman has earned as much as the average man did in the previous year – the Illinois Senate issued its own call for fair pay for the same work.

    Senator Toi Hutchinson led the efforts behind Senate Resolution 1362, which declares April 10, 2018 Pay Equity Day in the interest of raising awareness of an issue that continues to hold back the state’s economic development. The resolution passed the Senate today.

  • school lunchSPRINGFIELD – In many school districts, students who are unable to pay for lunch can be stigmatized with a special wristband or handstamp, and in some cases – even denied lunch.

    To stop this practice known as “lunch shaming” in Illinois, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) passed Senate Bill 2428 through the Illinois Senate Education Committee today.

    “Lunch shaming punishes kids for the mistakes of their parents,” Stadelman said. “Every student, no matter what their background or parents’ income level, deserves to eat. In some cases, this may be the only hot meal the students eat all day.”

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  • vets presser 031318SPRINGFIELD – Three years after the initial outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy, residents of that facility and others like it are still waiting for Gov. Bruce Rauner to be proactive in detecting and removing Legionella bacteria from state-run facilities.

    State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has taken charge in the governor’s absence, advancing bipartisan legislative measures this week to improve water management and notification requirements at state facilities.

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  • biss 022818Citing studies that clearly show a drastic increase in the elderly population projected over the next decade, Senator Daniel Biss joined state Rep. Chris Welch to announce a measure that would put Illinois on the path to a system of universal long-term care for the state’s elderly and disabled populations.

    “Here’s the question we need to be asking: In a world where the population is aging, what is our responsibility to one another?” Biss said, speaking at the Capitol today. “Should we hope that families will, on their own, be able to care for their aging loved ones? Or should we instead come together as a community and decide, jointly, that everybody has a human right to age with dignity near their family, in their community. That’s the moral thing to do.”

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