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Aquino’s RISE Act signed by Pritzker

graduates 062119CHICAGO – Undocumented and transgender students in Illinois will now be eligible to receive state financial aid for higher education as Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act into law today. State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“Every student, regardless of their immigration status or gender identity, deserves full access to higher education,” said Aquino. “Now that we will provide these students with the means to attend an institution of higher education, we will see a massive return on investment when they graduate and enter the workforce as productive employees.”

The RISE Act, filed under House Bill 2691, allows transgender students who have not registered for selective service and undocumented Illinois residents to apply for state financial aid such as the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grant.

Aquino worked with students and immigration activists to develop the bill with Representative Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero).

House Bill 2691 takes effect immediately.

For-profit detention banned in Illinois

aquino 041019CHICAGO – Illinois will no longer allow for-profit civil detention centers under a bill Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law today. State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) co-sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“Today is a major victory for those who value justice,” said Aquino. “Now that we have banned for-profit detention, the next step is to craft policies that will rehabilitate and prepare people to re-enter society as involved and productive citizens.”

Private prisons are already banned in Illinois, but other privately run detention centers were not. House Bill 2040 expressly prohibits the State of Illinois, any unit of local government, county sheriff or state agency among others from coordinating the development of any private detention center. The bill was filed partly in response to a decision by the Village of Dwight to annex land to build an immigration detention center. The detention center was slated to be managed and operated by Immigration Centers of America, a for-profit corporation.

“It is completely immoral to profit off of detaining people,” said Aquino. “Today Illinois made the right decision to end this horrible practice.”

House Bill 2040 takes effect immediately.

Voting rights expansion advanced by Senator Aquino

aquino 051419SPRINGFIELD – A measure that would safeguard the voting rights of incarcerated individuals awaiting trial introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) passed the House this week.

“Participating in our democracy is a fundamental right of all citizens,” said Aquino. “Even though we are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, too many people are systematically denied that right because of incarceration. I want to guarantee that every person in Illinois who is eligible to vote has the equal chance to voice their concerns on the ballot.”

Under the Illinois Election Code, those in jail awaiting trial and who have not been convicted of a crime are still eligible to vote. Senate Bill 2090 would require each election authority in a county to work with the county jail to provide an opportunity to vote by mail for those individuals.

Senate Bill 2090 awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Black, Latino Caucuses and community stakeholders announce progress in fight to stop to suspending driver’s licenses for non-moving violations

aquino 052819 3Impacted individuals call for further reforms

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) and State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Champaign) gathered with community advocates to announce a step forward in the passage of Senate Bill 1786, which would protect upwards of 50,000 Illinoisans whose driver’s licenses are suspended every year due to non-moving violations like an inability to pay parking and compliance tickets, fines and fees. Legislators and advocates made a commitment with the mayor of Chicago to continue to work together through the summer in the effort to secure passage of the bill during veto session this coming fall.


Sen. Omar Aquino

Senator Omar Aquino

2nd Senate District

Years served: 2016 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Vice-Chairperson); Appropriations II; Education; Government Accountability/Pensions (Chairperson); Higher Education; Licensed Activities; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago; B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology, Loyola University Chicago; Bilingual Case Manager at Central West Case Management Unit at the Jane Addams School of Social Work; Legislative Assistant in the Illinois House of Representatives; Outreach Coordinator for Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth; Devoted to improving education, aging services and human services.

Associated Representatives::
Luis Arroyo
Delia C. Ramirez