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New law puts African-Americans in charge of minority-focused programs

Hunter070214State Senator Mattie Hunter’s plan to include African-Americans in the planning process of minority-focused programs was signed into law today. The law changes the composition and objectives of the Illinois African-American Family Commission.                   

“Including African-Americans in the development and planning process of policies is another step toward promoting equality within Illinois,” said Hunter, a Chicago Democrat and member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. “With collected statistics, we can address problems often overlooked within the African-American community.”

Hunter’s measure (Senate Bill 121) requires the commission to monitor existing legislation and programs designed to address the needs of African-Americans. The commission will also identify and research issues affecting the community while serving as a resource for community groups across the state.

“Helping local community groups develop strategies to enhance the social, cultural and economic status of residents will improve the commission’s effectiveness,” Hunter said.

The measure also changes the structure of the commission to mirror that of the Illinois Latino Family Commission.

The governor and four legislative leaders will appoint one member to the commission for the terms that will expire in 2015 and 2016. For terms that expire in 2017, the governor must appoint five members to the commission.

The new law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Juneteenth: The Road from Slavery to Freedom

State Senator Mattie Hunter commemorates Juneteeth Day

HunterJuneteenth2014On June 19, 1865, Texan slaves learned two-and-a-half years later of their pending freedom and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. On the 140th anniversary of their freedom, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) passed legislation designating the third Saturday of every June, Juneteenth Day in Illinois.

Hunter, an advocate for civil and human rights, released the following statement today:

“Juneteenth, the oldest celebration of the ending of slavery, marks freedom for all African-Americans. African-American history is American history. It is Illinois’ history.

“Because of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Union soldiers who informed southern slaves of their freedom, we now have great African-American leaders like President Barack Obama.

“I passed legislation in 2003 to recognize our ancestors who worked tirelessly to build this country. It served as a reminder of how far we’ve come as a society and how far we need to go. I wanted to ensure that young people were aware of the great struggles, the great triumphs, which have shaped Illinois and the U.S.”

New law raises money for Illinois Special Olympics

HUnterGoldLottery061314State Senator Mattie Hunter’s (D-Chicago) plan to help support the Special Olympics with a new lottery ticket will be signed into law today. The measure secures money for Olympians and children with Olympic aspirations.

“The ‘Go for the Gold’ lottery ticket will raise much-needed dollars to fund statewide training programs and competitions for Special Olympic Athletes,” Hunter said. “Some of the money will also help our next generation of Olympians by supporting the Special Children’s Charities Fund.”

The scratch-off is the latest of a series of Hunter-sponsored lottery tickets. The measure creates two funds and secures 75 percent of the money for adults and 25 percent for the children’s fund.

Senate Bill 219 passed the General Assembly on May 30th. It will go into effect on July 1st.

Hunter, DCFS create new youth scholarships

HunterDCFS052814Plan to expand DCFS’ Department Scholarship Program sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) gained senate approval today. The measure requires DCFS to provide scholarships for a minimum of 53 students every year.

“Teens under DCFS’ care will have a greater opportunity to attend college without worrying about the financial strain,” said Hunter, Majority Caucus Whip. “We’ve seen the costs of college skyrocket, incomes slash and a gap widen between high school graduates and students with higher degrees. This program would help close that gap.”

The measure changes current law by increasing the number of students awarded scholarships from a maximum of 48 to a minimum of 53. The plan also increases the length students can receive assistance from only four consecutive years to at least five.

Beginning August 24, DCFS will collect data regarding the success of the program. The department will monitor the number of youth applying for and receiving scholarships, the percentage of recipients completing their degree within five years, and the outcomes five and 10 years after being awarded the scholarships.

“We are restructuring the program to ensure the dollars are used wisely,” said Hunter, while discussing the measure on the floor. “This program has been in operation for over 40 years. It’s important for us to support young people interested in attending college.”

House Bill 4652 now goes to the governor’s office to be signed into law.

Sen. Mattie Hunter

Senator Mattie Hunter

3rd District
Majority Caucus Chair


Years served:
2003 - Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive (Chairperson); Human Services; Public Health; Subcommittee on Special Issues (EX) (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Special Issues (HS); Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com.; Transportation (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago – 3rd District) has served in the Illinois Senate since 2003. She is Chairperson of the Senate Energy Committee and serves on many other committees like Human Services and Public Health. She is also appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Health Committee and is Co-Chair of the Council of State Government Health Policy Task Force.

Associated Representatives:
Sonya M. Harper
Lamont J. Robinson, Jr.