• Hunter appointed to Illinois Commission to End Hunger

    hunter 031020CHICAGO – To help ensure every Illinois family has access to fresh, healthy food, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) has been appointed to the Illinois Commission to End Hunger.

    “My career in public service has been dedicated to helping families lead safer and healthier lives, which is why I’m honored to join the Illinois Commission to End Hunger,” Hunter said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the commission to identify and execute solutions to address the systemic factors that give rise to poverty and child hunger.”

  • New Hunter law expands access to health care for low-income communities

    New Hunter law expands access to health care for low-income communities

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  • Hunter appointed co-chair of Kidney Disease Task Force

    hunter 020420Commits to meaningful investments to close racial disparities in kidney health

    CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) has been appointed co-chair of the Kidney Disease Prevention and Education Task Force, a new panel charged with raising public awareness and presenting solutions to reduce the prevalence of kidney disease and racial disparities in diagnoses and outcomes.

    “Especially in the African-American community, a largely preventable disease is claiming the lives of our neighbors simply due to lack of awareness and access to treatment,” Hunter said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the leading professionals on the task force to reduce the burden of kidney disease and eradicate the racial inequities in kidney health. It’s time for meaningful investments in outreach, research, and health coverage to close this disparity.”

    The task force will work with leading educational institutions in Illinois to create health education programs to increase awareness of and examine chronic kidney disease, early detection, transplants and kidney donations, and the greater rates of diagnosis in minority groups. This will include a public outreach campaign consisting of health education workshops, seminars, preventative screening events, and social media, TV, and radio outreach.

    African-Americans are four times as likely to develop kidney failure as Caucasians, while Hispanics are twice as likely. Almost half of the people waiting for a kidney in Illinois identify as African American, but, in 2017, less than 10% of them received a kidney.

    Hunter is a long-time advocate against racial health inequality. In recent months, Hunter has bolstered her calls for accelerated investments and policy solutions following the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.

    “Closing the vast health disparities can no longer be an afterthought. It must be an urgent and primary priority for leaders at every level,” Hunter said.

    Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. If chronic kidney disease is detected early and managed correctly, swift treatment can slow and even stop kidney deterioration.

    Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. Roughly one in four adults with diabetes has kidney disease. An estimated 31 million Americans, including 1.12 million Illinois residents, are living with chronic kidney disease.

    The task force will consist of legislators, doctors, non-profit leaders, and officials from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. It is required to submit a report to the General Assembly on or before December 31, 2020, and then be dissolved.

  • Hunter calls on African-American blood donors to help address shortage

    Senator HunterCHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is calling on healthy, eligible African-Americans in Illinois to help replenish the state’s blood supply, which is declining rapidly due to blood drive cancellations at businesses, churches and schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    African-American blood donors are particularly needed to help patients battling sickle cell disease amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sickle cell patients are at high risk of serious complications from coronavirus infection.

    “For the black community, this is another layer to our public health emergency. Sickle cell disease tends to affect African-American communities, which are disproportionately suffering from COVID-19 and already lack equal access to preventative health care and treatment,” Hunter said. “Even one donation could save the life of someone in our community.”

    Red Cross blood centers have seen donations by African-Americans drop by more than 50% since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in March. Patients with sickle cell disease depend on transfusions from donors with closely matched blood – beyond the A, B, O and AB types – to reduce the risk of complications. According to the American Red Cross, each donation center is required to follow the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance.

    “This is a matter of life or death for patients with sickle cell disease and those who rely on transfusions to make it through surgery,” Hunter said. “Now is the time to support our neighbors. I strongly encourage all healthy, able Chicagoans to step up and help fill this void.”

    Many blood centers throughout the state have extended their operating hours to meet the critical need for donations. To make an appointment to donate blood with the Red Cross, residents can visit or call 800-733-2767.

  • Hunter: Lounging cops prove two different standards of policing in Chicago

    hunter 020420CHICAGO - State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to reports that 13 Chicago police officers were caught on tape lounging and sleeping in the congressional campaign office of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush while violence and destruction ensued in the surrounding neighborhood:

    "The disrespectful and careless behavior of these officers shows that there are two different standards of policing in Chicago, depending on which neighborhood you live in. It also further erodes public trust in law enforcement at a time when cultivating a positive relationship between police and the residents they serve couldn’t be more important. Needless to say, our neighborhoods deserve better than this."

  • Gillespie, Hunter announce commemorative coin celebrating 100 years of women’s right to vote

    Commemorative coinSPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs and State Senators Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) announced a new commemorative state coin this week to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

    Senate Joint Resolution 28, sponsored by Gillespie and Hunter, authorized the State Treasurer to issue a coin to celebrate the landmark moment in history. The measure was approved unanimously by the General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session.

    “One hundred years after women secured the right to vote, I am honored and privileged to celebrate the women who dedicated their lives to the suffrage movement, including African-American suffragists who continued to face racial barriers to the ballot box long after the ratification of the 19th amendment,” Hunter said. “Let us always remember and strive to emulate the persistence, courage and grit of these women and all who have fought to give a voice to the voiceless. There is nothing more American.”

    “I am proud to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our hard-fought right to vote with this commemorative coin and by continuing our work to ensure that all people are included in our democracy,” Gillespie said. “We can't take anything for granted and we won't go backward.”

    The coin was designed by Illinois artists Leslie Bodenstein and Jason Pickleman of JNL Graphic Design. They were selected through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. The coin is being minted by MTM Recognition out of Princeton, Illinois.

    Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on June 4, 1919. It was ratified by the Illinois General Assembly on June 10, 1919, followed by 35 other states. The 19th amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920.

    The coin can be purchased online here.

  • Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials hosts Days of Action

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  • Hunter: FY21 budget will help mend health and economic damages caused by virus, stronger investments needed in the future

    hunter floor 0523CHICAGO - State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to the signing of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget by Governor JB Pritzker:

    “This budget will go a long way toward mending the health and economic damages caused by the current pandemic, which have been largely concentrated in black communities I represent. Additionally, it will help protect the health and well-being of older Illinoisans and people with disabilities by strengthening the Community Care Program and the Home Services Program, which are key to our fight against COVID-19.

    “While it will take bold investments for years to come to close the vast racial health inequities further exposed by the pandemic, this budget lays the groundwork by expanding funding for Medicaid and community health centers. I appreciate Governor Pritzker recognizing that critical need, and I hope he will continue to make these disparities a priority when we return to Springfield.”

  • Hunter joins Day of Action for South Side event

    hunter dayofaction 050520CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and other black leaders called for solutions to address police violence and systemic racism at a South Side Day of Action event Friday afternoon.

    “Now is the time to do away with this broken system that protects racist police officers over the basic human rights of our brothers and sisters,” Hunter said. “If we lived in a country that held police accountable for their actions, the man who murdered George Floyd would’ve never had the chance to kneel on his neck after 18 incidents of misconduct on his record. He would’ve been dealt with the first time he abused his power to violate the rights of another American.”


  • Hunter: Looting will end, black Americans will continue to live and die under police violence without real reforms

    hunter 031020CHICAGO— State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to protests and riots in Chicago brought on by the murder of George Floyd:

    “I’m saddened and angered as we mourn the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement. They are painful illustrations of the deep-rooted systems of oppression, and systems of protection for bad actors, that continue to burden African-American families. These murders sow further hopelessness, anger, and agony, which have been expressed over the past few days through widespread protests.

    “However, some have seen this as an excuse to commit shameful acts of destruction and lawlessness. Those who hijack our protests to stir chaos demean and drown out the pleas of black families who are crying out for justice. Vandalism and looting shouldn’t be tolerated, but I refuse to let that shift focus away from the root issue. At some point, looting will end, but black Americans will continue to live and die under the menace of police violence unless we upend this broken system with real reforms. Police officers that engage or are complicit in unnecessary violence or racist acts should be fired the first time it happens, investigations should be swift and public, and discipline must always match up to the weight of the offense.

    “As for the majority of protesters, it was heartening to see countless Chicagoans, of all generations and backgrounds, who have taken to the streets to peacefully demand justice and make our voices heard in a productive way that respects the businesses and community institutions that Chicago families have worked so hard to build. Over the past 48 hours, many of the same individuals have taken action to help businesses and organizations recover from acts of vandalism and looting. These inspiring individuals represent the true unbreakable spirit of our city.

    “Above all, our path forward must not end with protests. Now is the time to harness our collective anger to galvanize a movement toward ending police violence and eradicating all systemic inequalities, including disparities in economic opportunity, health, and education. Black families can’t wait any longer.”

  • Hunter helps pass legislation to cover cancer clinical trials for Medicaid beneficiaries

    hunter floor 0523SPRINGFIELD – With Gov. Pritzker’s signature, Illinois Medicaid recipients would be eligible for life-saving clinical trials to treat cancer and other serious diseases.

    “We know that African-Americans are significantly underrepresented among those who participate in clinical trials, meaning we lose out on life-saving opportunities and unanswered questions then remain on the effectiveness of these medications for blacks,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago). “Because Medicaid recipients are much more diverse, this measure will help reduce that disparity for black patients and for low-income white residents, while advancing the overall fight against cancer.”

  • Hunter reminds Chicago students and educators to use state’s new Wi-Fi hotspot map

    wifi hotspots 051120CHICAGO– In light of Gov. JB Pritzker’s recent announcement that Illinois schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is encouraging Chicago’s remote learners and educators to use the state’s new drive-up Wi-Fi hotspot map to find free wireless internet locations.

    “Lack of internet access for urban families is one of many significant problems underscored by COVID-19,” Hunter said. “While it will take long-term solutions to close this divide, this interactive map is a great tool for the thousands of students whose academic progress has been thrown off balance in the middle of the school year.”

    Designed to assist students at every level who don’t have consistent internet access in their homes, the interactive map provides drive-up Wi-Fi locations throughout the state and specific log-in instructions for visitors. Students and their parents or guardians should continue to practice social distancing by remaining in their cars while using the hotspots.

    As of May 11, the Wi-Fi map has 380 hotspots students can use to complete coursework.

    “Low-income students in our community already face problems that hinder their educational outcomes,” Hunter said. “It’s important we do everything we can to help keep student support networks strong, in addition to keeping them on track academically.”

    To find a hotspot near you, click here.

  • Hunter: Full and accurate census count in Chicago is more important than ever

    Census 2020CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is encouraging Chicago residents, particularly in underserved communities, to help secure their fair share of federal funding and protect their voice in government by completing the 2020 Census.

    “Many of the neighborhoods I represent recorded some of the lowest response rates in Chicago during the 2010 Census. Those same communities continue to face long-standing racial disparities in health-care access and quality and have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19,” Hunter said. “With health-care dollars on the line, a full and accurate census count is more important than ever.”

  • Hunter emphasizes ABCs of safe sleep for infants

    infantsleep2 042320CHICAGO — State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is emphasizing the importance of safe sleep for infants during a time when many parents are experiencing heightened stress levels and alternative daily routines, which could include new caregivers for their children.

    Parents should remember the ABCs of sleep safety. A child should be alone and never sleeping with someone else, placed on their back and not on their sides or stomach, and in a crib rather than on a bed or couch.

    “Some families, especially those of essential workers, are developing new daily routines during this unprecedented time, which could include new child care providers or caregivers,” Hunter said. “I would encourage every parent to have a conversation with any alternative caregiver about the ABC’s of sleep and other rules for a safe sleep environment.”

    Sleep suffocation is the leading cause of reported child deaths in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

    Last year, between January 1 and June 30, 53 infants in Illinois under the age of 1 died as a result of being put to sleep unsafely. Being placed in a location to sleep other than a crib, bassinet or pack and play; lying in positions that weren’t on their back; or co-sleeping lead to the deaths.

    Babies are safest when they are alone in a crib with a firm mattress and tightly-fitted sheets. The crib should not have any pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. Additionally, a baby should never be put to sleep on an adult bed or couch.

    “These are simple and vital steps every parent and caregiver should keep in mind when saying goodnight to a little one,” Hunter said. “There are many products on the market that promise to reduce the risk of accidental suffocation or SIDS, but parents should know that practicing the ABC’s of sleep is the safest measure we can take to ensure safe and healthy sleep for babies and infants.”

    Parents having difficulty getting their baby to sleep should contact their pediatrician or the Fussy Baby Network at 1-888-431-BABY (2229) for professional guidance.

    Parents can also visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Crib Safety Information Center for sleep safety tips and a list of recalled products.

  • Hunter measure adds protections against discrimination based on hair style and texture in schools, workplace

    hunter 031020SPRINGFIELD – School administrators and employers would no longer be able to enact policies banning dreadlocks, braids and other hairstyles, or punish those who wear them, under legislation introduced by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

    “Hair styles are a core part of African-American history and culture,” Hunter said. “Far too often, black women, men, and children are forced to suppress their cultural identity in order to more closely align with someone else’s culture. This legislation would end that.”


  • Senate passes Hunter measure making domestic battery convictions a disqualifier for school bus drivers

    school buses 030420The measure also allows individuals convicted of providing liquor to minors over 20 years ago to become school bus drivers

    SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that makes various changes to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Driver Services Department, including a provision that would prohibit those convicted of aggravated domestic battery from obtaining a school bus driving permit. Senate Bill 2752 is sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

    “This is a matter a child safety. Serious violent crime convictions should be a non-starter for anyone responsible for the well-being of children,” Hunter said. “Parents deserve the peace of mind of knowing their children are in safe hands coming to and from school.”

    Current law prohibits a person convicted of the lesser offense of domestic battery from obtaining a permit, but an individual convicted of the more serious offense of aggregated domestic battery can still obtain a school bus driving permit.

    SB 2752 also includes changes that would make it easier for individuals with certain non-violent convictions to find jobs as school bus drivers. The legislation would allow a person convicted of providing liquor to a minor more than 20 years ago to obtain a school bus driving permit. Currently, those convicted of providing liquor to a minor are banned for life from obtaining a school bus driving permit.

    “Punishments should always line up with the severity of the offense,” Hunter said. “Imagine a 21-year old provided liquor to underage peers. If they’ve dealt with the consequences of that conviction and gotten their act together since then, we shouldn’t be punishing that person 20 years later by barring them from certain job opportunities.”

    Additionally, SB 2752 would allow the Secretary of State to issue a state ID card to a person in the custody of the Department of Human Services any time prior to their release.

  • Hunter measure takes multipronged approach to fight sickle cell disease

    hunter 030320SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) advanced legislation out of the Senate Public Health committee Tuesday that would take a multipronged approach to fighting sickle cell disease that includes new funding and programs for educational materials, research, and treatment of the condition affecting roughly 3500 people in Illinois.

    “The goal here is to curb the deep social impact and mortality rate of sickle cell disease,” Hunter said. “We know it tends to affect underserved communities, who consistently lag behind when it comes to access to comprehensive care and preventative treatment. This is a meaningful step toward closing that gap for future generations of African-American children.”

  • Manar advances measure to cover cancer clinical trials for Medicaid beneficiaries

    Sen. Andy ManarSPRINGFIELD – Illinois Medicaid recipients considering clinical trials for cancer treatment would no longer face possible rejection of coverage for care under legislation advanced out of the Senate Human Services Committee by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) on Wednesday.

    “Access to the latest, most advanced cancer treatments can mean the difference between life and death for patients,” Manar said. “I take issue with the fact that some people are granted that access and others aren’t, simply depending on which insurance plan they have. This legislation solves that.”

    An initiative of the American Cancer Society, Senate Bill 2499 requires Medicaid to cover routine care costs incurred for an approved clinical trial involving the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer or any other life-threatening disease, as long as Medicaid would normally cover those same routine care costs for a non-clinical procedure.

  • Hunter moves to abolish red-light cameras

    hunter 020420CHICAGO – Illinois motorists would no longer suffer hefty fines by municipalities through the use of red-light cameras under legislation proposed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

    Senate Bill 2902 prohibits any unit of government from using automated traffic law enforcement systems at intersections for the purpose of recording a driver's failure to stop and yield at a red light.

    “It’s clear that the red-light camera program has been sustained and expanded by corruption,” Hunter said. “Traffic laws should be driven by safety, not bribery, shakedowns or the need to boost revenue. An industry that benefited from foul-play shouldn’t be able to continue to siphon money from the pockets of motorists.”

    Red-light cameras have been a source of frustration for Illinois motorists since they were first legalized in 2006.

    According to reports in the press, red light cameras have generated over $1 billion in revenue for local governments in Illinois over the past decade. Reports indicate that red-light camera revenue increased by roughly 111% between 2008 and 2018, from $53.5 million to $113.2 million.

    SB 2902 limits the ability of units of government to use automated traffic enforcement systems except for the following:

    • school safety zone violations
    • failure to yield for a stopped school bus
    • railroad crossing violations.
  • Hunter calls for more investments in affordable housing to create stronger communities

    Sen. Mattie HunterSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) joined community leaders and affordable housing advocates from across Illinois at the State Capitol today in calling for more investments in affordable housing in the capital budget.

    “Right now, we have an opportunity–one that has not come around in more than a decade–to make a sizable impact on the affordable housing needs of our communities,” said Hunter, the Chairman of the Senate’s Special Committee on Housing. “There are neighborhoods in my district that are still struggling to recover from the economic crisis and are starved for investment, and I know that many communities across the state from urban, suburban and rural communities face similar challenges.”