• Lightford backs grants for childcare providers

    Lightford052920SPRINGFIELD –After hearing concerns from childcare providers about the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) made it a priority to ensure funding was available to keep them afloat.

    The General Assembly recently approved this year’s budget, contained in Senate Bill 264, which provides funds for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Grant Program for childcare and daycare providers who have had to close their businesses during the current pandemic.

    “Childcare providers from across my district reached out to me with concerns about having to permanently close without financial support,” Lightford said. “I went to Springfield with their concerns in mind, and I am glad we were able to drive funds to this important issue.”

    Childcare centers are one of the many types of businesses that were widely affected by the closures required during the COVID-19 outbreak. Currently, childcare providers can only operate at a limited capacity to care for children of essential workers.

    The grants will be distributed through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity once the program is established and funds are made available.

  • Lightford protects workers under new plan headed to the governor

    lightford floor 052320SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) led a measure through the Senate Saturday to expand disability benefits for some frontline state employees, protect retail workers from assault, and allow horse racetrack casino, or racino, employees to organize.

    “The current pandemic has underlined the need for securing basic rights for working class people with disproportionate infection rates among populations with a high number of essential workers,” Lightford said.

  • Lightford announces $31.5 million in grant opportunities for historically underserved communities

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  • Lightford steps down as Black Caucus Chair after five years

    lightford 052819SPRINGFIELD –Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) released the following statement after stepping down as Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Sunday.

    “It has been an honor to serve as the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair for the last five years. I worked very hard to lay a foundation that will be passed on and built upon. The ILBC is strong and will continue to advocate for the Black community across the state. 

    “My time to move on from this leadership role has come, and I am proud to pass the torch to the next legislator chosen to carry on the work I began with this phenomenal group of legislators. I am committed to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and its mission, and will remain a supportive, engaged leader.

  • Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago Tonight

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  • State helps support struggling hospitals

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  • Lightford: IBHE to use $1.3M to improve early childhood education

    earlychildhood 051220SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker has awarded the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) $1.3 million in grants geared towards strengthening the early childhood workforce, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) announced Tuesday.

    “Educators and their effective skills are central to students’ experiences in the classroom,” Lightford said. “I applaud Governor Pritzker in his efforts to ensure educators receive resources that gives them the opportunity to shape our children’s future.”

  • Lightford announces COVID-19 testing facility in Melrose Park

    covid 19 test 042320MELROSE PARK – As testing continues to be a priority in stopping the spread of COVID-19, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) announced a new testing facility opening on May 11 in Melrose Park to serve Proviso Township residents.

    “Nearby increased testing is imperative for the communities I represent,” Lightford said. “I am grateful for the work Access Community Network has done to launch their site and their continued commitment to the health of our local residents.”

    As of May 7, Proviso Township had seen 2,052 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

  • Lightford reminds families of funeral and burial program

    lightford 041620SPRINGFIELD – In the wake of an increase in COVID-19 tragedies, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) reminds low-income families that the Department of Human Services offers support for funeral and burial costs.

    “My heart goes out to those who have lost a family member or loved one during this tragic time,” Lightford said. “I continue to stress that those who are healthy need to stay home to protect our healthcare workers, essential workers and most vulnerable people.”

  • Lightford announces expansion of COVID-19 testing in Black communities

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  • Lightford supports expanded services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors

    lightford 060219CHICAGO – Protecting vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) joins the Illinois Department of Human Services in announcing a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its current statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

    “Escaping a dangerous and frightening situation at home is never easy, and our current circumstances make it even harder,” Lightford said. “It is so important that Governor Pritzker and IDHS are expanding services to make sure there is a safety net for survivors.”

    The plan expands the role of the Domestic Violence Helpline by creating a one-stop access point for shelter needs. Survivors may call the Helpline directly at 1-877-TO END DV (1-877-863-6338 voice or 1-877-863-6339 TTY) and be connected to shelter through existing Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention shelter services or to emergency shelter through available hotels and motels. Survivors may also contact their local domestic violence programs for shelter assistance.

    DVPI providers will also receive a three-month advance of their current grant to support continuations of services and respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors, such as hotels, emergency supplies, transportation, food, technology supports and other related services.

    Furthermore, IDHS is working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with assistance needs related to COVID-19.

    IDHS will also provide the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers statewide to aid sexual assault survivors. The agency also will advance grant funds to Partner Abuse Intervention Program grantees for programs costs related to COVID-19.

    More information about COVID-19 is available at

  • Lightford announces support for families, people experiencing homelessness and child care providers

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  • Lightford announces plan to allow older adults to petition for parole

    Lightford031120CHICAGO – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) announced legislation on Wednesday that would establish parole opportunities for older adults.

    “Older adults who have served 20 to 30-year sentences deserve an opportunity to have their case heard before a parole board,” Lightford said. “If they no longer pose a risk to public safety, they should be granted parole and have the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives.”

    Senate Bill 2114 would allow those who have reached age 60 and have been incarcerated 20 consecutive years or greater, or people who have served 30 consecutive years or greater, to petition the Prisoner Review Board seeking parole. The legislation also provides that victims and/or their families are notified in a timely manner and given the opportunity to participate in the hearing.

  • Lightford urges Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act

    lightford 031020Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) passed a resolution urging the President and Congress of the United States to reauthorize the Older Americans Act and adjust funding levels for inflation.

    “The programs funded under the Older Americans Act are vital to the wellbeing of one of our most vulnerable populations,” Lightford said. “Our federal government needs to make sure they can continue to serve all those in need.”

    The Older Americans Act provides essential services that help older adults live independently including meal plans, home assistance, support for family caregivers, transportation and protection from abuse.

    The Act was reauthorized in 2016 through 2019. However, funding for services has not increased since 2010, leaving many without much-needed services.

    According to 2015 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 24% of low-income older adults were food insecure, and of that number 83% of them did not receive home-delivered or congregate meal services.

    Senate Resolution 974 was approved by the Illinois Senate last week.

  • The Majority Report 03/09/20 - Senators unveil legislation to support first responder's mental heatlh, sick airline employees


    Martwick introduces policy to support first responder mental health data

    Sen. Robert Martwick

    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is taking steps to facilitate and assist the mental health needs of emergency first responders under legislation sponsored by State Senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago).

    Martwick introduced Senate Bill 3333, which requires the Department of Human Services to create and maintain an online database and resource page of mental resources geared toward first responders on its website.

    Read more.




    Hastings unveils plan to expand sick leave for airline employees

    Sen. Michael E. HastingsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) partnered with Southwest Airlines employees to hold a press conference advocating for the expansion of sick leave for airline employees Wednesday.

    “The fact that hardworking individuals are unable to use their earned sick time to care for their loved ones is unacceptable,” Hastings said. “Since this is an issue with federal law, we’re doing what we can at the state level to demonstrate that in Illinois, we put workers and their families first.”

    Read more.




    Hayli's lemonade law passes Public Health Committee Sen. Patrick Joyce and Hayli Martinez

    SPRINGFIELD – As the heat of summer approaches, some kids are working to make a little bit of cash mowing lawns, babysitting or establishing a lemonade stand outside their home.

    Hayli Martinez, an 11-year-old girl from Kankakee, had the perfect idea last summer to sell lemonade with different flavors in order to earn money for her college funds.

    However, after much success, her lemonade stand was flagged by Kankakee Health Department officials and it was shut down soon after.

    To prevent other kids from losing their lemonade stands, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) introduced Hayli’s Law.

    Read more.


    Lightford and United Way launch report on Illinois ALICE families Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford and Sen. Celina Villanueva

    SPRINGFIELD – Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) joined the United Way in releasing their report on Illinois ALICE households – asset-limited, income-constrained and employed.

    The report focuses on families living above the federal poverty level, but below the threshold of a basic survival budget of $57,144 for a family of four and $19,212 for a single adult.

    “People all over Illinois are struggling to get ahead. We know this intuitively, and we see it in our communities. I see it every day in my west side and west suburban district,” Lightford said. “ALICE allows us to put some real data behind that intuition.”

    Read more.


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    Lightford minimum wage increase now under effect
  • Lightford and United Way launch report on Illinois ALICE families

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  • Illinois Senate welcomes students from Illinois Math and Science Academy

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims and Sen. Dave Koehler with students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy

    SPRINGFIELD – Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “I shared a wonderful day with my constituent Esha Dani who attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The Senate was honored to host such a brilliant group of students and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold,” Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said.

  • Black Caucus: Governor’s vision sets state on path to help black communities

    black caucus budget 2020SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address on Wednesday.

    Black Caucus leaders discussed areas within the governor’s budget proposal that specifically affect black communities, including early childhood education, economic development and public safety.

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Chair of the ILBC:

    “I am thrilled Governor Pritzker has a significant plan for education from birth to college. I share his enthusiasm for educating our young people because it is proven that their success lies in the quality of their education.

    “Educating our young people has always been a central focus of the Black Caucus. We understand that in order for communities to grow and advance, they need to be educated. We look forward to joining the governor in the fight for equitable funding and access to education.”

  • Lindop school district to receive property tax relief grant

    lightford 020520SPRINGFIELD – Property taxes will be lowered for some homeowners and business owners in South Suburban communities thanks to a new state grant program that seeks to lift some of the burden on school districts that are heavily taxed.

    The Property Tax Relief Grant is part of the education funding reform package that has been put in place to level the playing field to better serve struggling school districts.

    “This is a positive step forward in bringing long-term property tax relief to the community of Broadview,” Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said. “Property taxes have been an extremely important issue, which is why I am pleased to see this grant awarded to Lindop School District.”

    Eligible school districts must submit an abatement resolution to their county clerks by March 30 to receive the grant. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will then distribute the grants to the school districts once they have received the Certificate of Abatement Form.

    More information on the Property Tax Relief Grant and a listing of each eligible school district can be found at

  • Black Caucus: State has made great strides, but there’s work still to be done

    SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s State of the State address on Wednesday.

    Leaders of the Black Caucus discussed key issues brought up by the governor’s address that specifically affect black communities throughout the state, including early childhood education, health care and criminal justice reform.

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Chair of the ILBC

    “The governor’s address highlighted some areas where we were finally able to see progress for our communities under his leadership, including a new capital plan to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure and create jobs that are desperately needed in our communities, and additional funding for K-12 and early childhood education.

    “One of our top priorities is educating our communities. We pride ourselves in fighting to ensure there is equitable funding in education, and that there is adequate after school support, especially for our at-risk youth.

    “With all that we have accomplished, there is still a lot of work to do to provide stability for the people of African-American communities. I was pleased to hear the governor talk about diversity, acknowledging inequities in the communities we represent. We look forward to working with his administration to ensure people of all backgrounds have a fair shot at success in Illinois.

    State Representative Camille Lilly, House Chair of the ILBC

    “Today, the governor affirmed our commitment to build on the progress we have made over the past year. Building a stronger Illinois that is inclusive and fair means prioritizing reforms that require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, and supporting working and middle-class families.

    “The people of Illinois should never be forced to compromise their well-being due to high costs from the health care system and big pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, we need impactful property tax relief to provide stability and confidence for the people of Illinois that they can afford to live here long term.

    “As we begin a new legislative session, I will continue to advocate for vulnerable populations and strengthen ILBC communities as a whole. More work remains to get Illinois under-resourced communities back on track after decades of crisis, but I am encouraged by the Governor’s commitment and this new direction.”

    State Senator Christopher Belt, Senate Chair of the ILBC

    “I am glad to see Gov. JB Pritzker’s top priorities will revise our state’s ethics procedures, early childhood education and provide property tax relief for residents throughout the state. Providing property tax relief will help people with their basic expenses and hopefully retain our residents.

    “In addition, I support his vision for economic development for Illinois. He is continuing to push a statewide construction and infrastructure plan, which will help the economic growth in my district by creating jobs and increasing the quality of life of the community.”