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Collins urges governor to sign religious garb discrimination ban

woman 851893New law would prohibit punishing employees’ religious garb or hair

CHICAGO – With a non-discrimination measure awaiting the governor’s signature to become law, State Senator Jacqueline Collins and State Rep. Theresa Mah joined Muslim and Arab-American advocates in Bridgeview today to call on the governor to act and make it a civil rights violation for an employer to impose any condition that requires a person to forgo any sincerely held religious practice or attire.

Senate Bill 1697 passed the General Assembly in June. Representatives of the Mosque Foundation, The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and Arab-American Family Services joined Mah and Collins to speak on the importance of the legislation in today’s political climate.

“Fighting prejudice isn’t as simple as getting a bill signed into law,” Collins said. “But prohibiting discrimination – protecting opportunity and supporting each American’s God-given rights – is the first small step in fighting prejudice. I want to congratulate and thank everyone here who worked together on legislation that we need now more than ever, and to urge Governor Rauner to sign it into law.”

“The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is clear that our country is meant to be a place with freedom of religion and cultural customs,” said Mah. “We all come from different backgrounds and choose to worship how we please. I am calling on the governor to sign this bill into law, because it is important that we are sensitive to the rights of others and do not interfere with practices that are sacred to these people, especially in a safe space like the work place.”

Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins


16th District

Years served:
2003 - Present

Committee assignments: Financial Institutions (Chairperson); Insurance; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Higher Education; Commerce and Economic Development; Public Health.

Biography: Full-time state legislator. Born December 10th in McComb, Mississippi. Studied journalism at Northwestern University; MA from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; MA in Human Services Administration from Spertus College; MA in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, June 2003. Former Emmy Award-nominated news editor at CBS-TV in Chicago, and 2001 Legislative Fellow with United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.