• April is Donate Life Month

    Donate Life MonthApril is National Donate Life Month. All around the nation, advocates and organizers are encouraging individuals to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. The campaign has not only been designed to increase the donor registry list, but to also celebrate those that have helped save lives through the gift of donation.

    This 100th General Assembly, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Secretary of State Jesse White brought forth new legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.

  • Hunter: Department of Public Health must refocus priorities

    State Senator Mattie Hunter SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) criticized the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday for proposing cuts to programs and services that would disproportionately affect minority communities.

    The Senate Appropriations I Committee heard testimony Wednesday morning from Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget.

  • Hunter: It’s time to prioritize social service agencies (AUDIO)

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  • Senator Hunter seeks to accelerate human service payments in ongoing budget impasse

    hunter 032917SPRINGFIELD – To help human service agencies that continue to suffer in the ongoing budget impasse, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) put forth a plan that would handle payments to all human services the same, rather than prioritizing certain contracts over others.

    “We should treat the people that care for our most vulnerable citizens fairly,” Hunter said. “Programs like Redeploy Illinois, homeless youth services and others have been bearing the financial burden of the state of Illinois for the almost two years we’ve gone without a budget. This legislation will not only prioritize the payments human service providers need but also compensate organizations for delayed payments.”

  • Sen. Hunter supports the bipartisan budget deal

    hunter 022817SPRINGFIELD – Today, State Senator Mattie Hunter and the Illinois Senate voted on pieces of the bipartisan grand bargain, a package of deals to end the budget stalemate.

    Many public universities, senior and mental health services, addiction centers, and other programs have gone without state funding since Jan. 1, when the emergency budget deal expired.

    “It’s time to better serve our students and residents by replenishing the services that have been taken away due to the financial drought,” Sen. Hunter said. “Today in the Senate, both parties put aside partisan politics and worked to pass reforms that will help the residents and businesses that have been suffering.”

    The grand bargain allocates funding to higher education, human services and also introduces various sources that aim to bring revenue to the state. 

    The budget deal is designed to ensure funding through the rest of the 2017 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

  • Hunter, White work to expand organ donor registry

    hunter 021517Secretary of State Jesse White joined State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) in the Senate Public Health Committee today to announce new legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First-Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.

    “Choosing to give life to another is a wonderful gift,” Hunter said. “Opening the donor registry will broaden the number of overall donations and save countless lives.”

  • Few specifics, missed opportunities in governor's budget speech (VIDEO)

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  • Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black Education (VIDEO)

    Black History Month 2017 - The Crisis in Black EducationSenators comment on this year's Black History Month theme, “The Crisis in Black Education.”

    Over the years the crisis in black education has grown significantly. In urban neighborhoods, public schooling systems lack resources and have overcrowded classrooms, which result to students of color reaping the disproportionate shortfalls of the racial achievement gap.

    In the past, whether by laws, policies, or practices, racially separated schools remained the norm in America. Because of that, black students today are underperforming and are not advancing like their white counterparts.

    This year’s national theme, The Crisis in Black Education, focuses on the evolution of black education and its meaning as it empowers students to grow, achieve and prosper.

  • Sen. Hunter moves “Sugarless Wednesday” in the state of Illinois

    hunter 020817SPRINGFIELD – Today State Senator Mattie Hunter took a pledge to go sugarless each Wednesday in the month of February. “Sugarless Wednesday”, an initiative led by the American Heart Association and the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity, aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of added sugar in our daily diets.

    “Sugarless Wednesday” began Jan. 4 with a goal of people eliminating soda and cutting back on sweets and sugary snacks each Wednesday of the month. Minority communities are disproportionately experiencing higher rates of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer which are often linked to excessive amounts of sugar consumption.

    “By taking the proactive approach, I plan to protect children and families from the epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and obesity plaguing the country and this state,” said Hunter. “Sugary drinks and snacks contribute to more than 25,000 American deaths per year. We can reduce those deaths by starting programs like this one that promote clean and healthy eating.”

    Last year, Senator Hunter was the lead sponsor of The Healthy Eating Active Living Act in the Illinois General Assembly. The HEAL Act imposed a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. The money generated would fund health care programs and invest in communities to educate children and families about eating healthier.

    Senate Resolution 8 was adopted declaring each Wednesday in February, “Sugarless Wednesday” in Illinois.

  • Clayborne, Hunter push to expand Organ/Tissue Donor registry

    clayborne 020317SPRINGFIELD – Senators James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) joined Secretary of State Jesse White today in announcing new legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.

    “I am happy to be advocating for this legislation,” said Clayborne who is a kidney recipient.

  • Black Caucus: State of the State address lacked solutions (VIDEO)

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  • Sen Hunter: Wednesdays should be sugarless in Illinois (VIDEO)

    hunter sugarlessSPRINGFIELD – A spoon full of sugar may help the medicine go down, but too much sugar in your diet can mean a lifetime of expensive health problems. That’s why Senator Mattie Hunter is partnering with the American Heart Association and the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity to promote “Sugarless Wednesday”, an initiative aimed to raise awareness of the harmful effects of added sugar in our daily diets.

    “Sugarless Wednesday” began Jan. 4 with a goal of people eliminating soda and cutting back on sweets and sugary snacks each Wednesday of the month.

  • Sen. Hunter addresses heroin, opioid epidemic with skillful plan

    hunter heroin 111616SPRINGFIELD – Today, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) announced a new plan to tackle the heroin and opioid epidemic spreading across the state. State officials, community leaders and families joined Sen. Hunter to share their experiences while working to help those struggling with substance abuse.

    "As a certified substance abuse counselor I’ve had the opportunity to work as a support system for those struggling with drug addiction,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter.

  • Senate overrides governor's veto of automatic voter registration (VIDEO, AUDIO)

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  • Hunter: If we continue to kill each other, who will uphold our legacies?

    hunter 071816SPRINGFIELD – At least 17 people were killed and 41 others wounded, including four teenagers, an eighth-grade student and twin 17-year-old boys, making it Chicago’s deadliest weekend of the year. State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “Our communities are in pain and instead of uniting together, we find ourselves battling one another for survival. But if we continue to kill each other, who will uphold our legacies? It is disheartening to watch communities suffer at the hand of gun violence.

  • Hunter welcomes trauma center to Chicago’s south side

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  • Hunter: Lower rates for prison phone calls signed into law

    prison phonesSPRINGFIELD – Families will be able to communicate with incarcerated loved ones at lower costs because of legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) that was signed into law Monday.

    House Bill 6200 limits the rates charged for telephone usage by prison inmates and prohibits additional service fees. It would cap rates at 7 cents per minute and remove excess charges.

    The law aims to address the legal and social injustice of the extreme costs families face when communicating with their children, family and friends.

    “Our prison system should be a place for growth and rehabilitation, not profit,” said Hunter, who co-sponsored the measure in the Senate. “It’s a shame families are faced with a costly burden while maintaining communication with their loved ones. The expense keeps inmates away from their families when I feel they need them most.”

    Previously, the state of Illinois and the prison’s telecommunications providers split millions in profits from collect calls prisoners made to family members at a rate of 11.8 cents per minute.

    “This legislation will give inmates and families the opportunity to maintain vital human relationships while they are in prison,” Hunter said. “Prisoners should not have to feel alone due to the high costs of a single phone call.”

    So far New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia, and now Illinois have taken steps to make these costs more affordable for families

    The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

  • Prohibition against selling lead-contaminated properties signed into law

    Prohibition against selling lead-contaminated properties signed into law

    SPRINGFIELD – Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) took an important step toward preventing Illinoisans from lead contamination by passing a measure, signed Friday, that will prevent the resale and sale of properties with high lead levels.

    Senate Bill 2300 aims to protect children from lead exposure, which research shows negatively impacts children in classrooms and is cited as one of the causes of violence and aggression among youth. Currently, it is legal to sell and resell contaminated properties without warning owners and tenants of the hazardous effects.

    "Illinois cannot afford to wait for lead poisoning to become a statewide epidemic before it takes action," said Trotter, who serves as Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate. “Far too many families are affected with lead toxins in their homes and it is our job to protect them and their children.”

    Majority Caucus Whip and member of the Senate's Public Health Committee Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) also sponsored the legislation.

    "Children in every neighborhood should have access to clean water and lead free homes,” Hunter said. “Unfortunately, low-income and minority communities are disproportionately affected by the side effects of lead poisoning. Families are living in homes where properties still have lead pipes that can cause brain damage for residents.”

    Another notable member supporting the bill in committee was State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago).

    “We must learn our lesson from the tragedy of Flint, Michigan, and work quickly and proactively to guard our youth against this preventable poison,” Collins said. “This law will empower renters and homeowners to protect their families.”

    Furthermore, the bill will prevent the lease, sale, or renewal of properties with high levels of lead in building materials and paint.

  • Senate Dems: Voting access should be a top priority for Illinois

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  • Hunter: New Law will help former alcohol, drug offenders

    hunter 051216SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) to extend the time a drug and alcohol offender has to file a motion to overrule his or her conviction.

    Currently, if an individual has successfully completed alcohol or drug addiction treatment as a condition of probation, he or she faces a short, 30-day window to find housing, transportation and employment.

    The bill would extend the 30-day timeframe to 60 days following a successful discharge from probation and allow ex-offenders to ask a judge to vacate his or her conviction.

    "This bill makes it easier for people to get back on their feet,” Hunter said. If people have served their time and corrected their wrongs, they should have longer than a month to restart their lives."

    Senator Hunter was concerned with the 30-day restriction and didn’t think the current state statute was fair.

    “We should not let people's past mistakes ruin their futures. Instead we should encourage them in their efforts to start over,” Hunter said. “When former offenders can’t find the means to support themselves, they turn back to crime and end up where they started.”

    The law is effective immediately.