Martinez

  • Martinez appointed to state’s reopening commission

    Sen. Iris Y. MartinezCHICAGO – To ensure underserved communities are considered in plans to restore the state’s economy after the COVID-19 crisis, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) has been appointed as a member of the bipartisan Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission.

    “Communities of color have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, and it’s up to state lawmakers to prioritize their needs while recommending policies and practices to safely reopen,” Martinez said. “I look forward to voicing concerns from my constituents and other minority residents in this collaborative group to recommend solutions that work for everyone in Illinois.”

  • Senate President Don Harmon announces appointments to Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission

    harmon 03052020CM0660SPRINGFIELD, IL – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced four appointees to the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, a group created to help guide Illinois through the reopening process following stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    Senators Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) will represent Senate Democrats on the commission. 

  • Martinez urges ComEd customers to explore new COVID-19 relief options

    Senator MartinezCHICAGO – To help Illinois families pay their electric bills during the pandemic, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is highlighting a new support package from ComEd and the Illinois Commerce Commission.

    “With unemployment numbers at a record high and rising every day, residents need assistance with utility bills,” Martinez said. “Hopefully, these measures can provide relief for families struggling to keep the lights on.”

    The package includes a number of provisions to help customers get back on their feet, including an extension of ComEd’s current policy suspending disconnections until the state moves to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan or Aug. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. Residential and small business customers will have an additional 30-day grace period, during which time ComEd will not disconnect service for nonpayment.

    Low-income households earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level are eligible for financial assistance for past-due balances. Under this package, customers will have more flexible payment options, including longer payment plans, and ComEd will waive reconnection fees and new deposit requirements for residential customers.

    These new supports supplement relief measures ComEd has already put in place, like budget billing options, grants and debt assistance.

    “Working families are struggling in many ways throughout the pandemic,” Martinez said. “It’s reassuring to see companies helping people get back on their feet.”

    Customers who are struggling to pay their outstanding balances and electric bills are encouraged to contact ComEd’s customer care team as soon as possible at (800) 334-7661, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information is also available at ComEd.com/CARE.

  • Latino Caucus: SCOTUS Ruling upholding DACA is right thing for nation

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  • Martinez to struggling families: Rent assistance is on its way

    martinez 031120CHICAGO – To support working families financially burdened by the COVID-19 outbreak, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is promoting the state’s effort to provide grant programs for residents struggling to make ends meet in disproportionately impacted areas.

    “Because of unemployment issues and other financial stresses during the pandemic, many working families have struggled to keep a roof over their heads,” Martinez said. “Thankfully, relief will soon be available for Illinois residents, especially in black and brown communities.”

    Prioritizing renters impacted by the pandemic, the Illinois Housing Development Authority is launching a $150 million program with $5,000 grants to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent. The program is scheduled for August 2020 and intended to run through the end of the year.

    IHDA is also launching a separate $150 million program for eligible Illinois homeowners with grants of up to $15,000 to provide support with mortgage payments. The program is also expected to launch in August 2020 and provide assistance through the end of the year. More information will be available in the coming weeks on IHDA’s website: https://www.ihda.org/.

    Other grant programs announced Wednesday include assistance for small business through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity totaling $85 million, resources to lessen effects of poverty for Illinois residents through the Department of Human Services totaling $32.5 million, and Emergency Senior Services Funds worth up to $5 million administered by the Department on Aging.

  • Martinez announces Chicago Public Schools to receive grant

    Senator MartinezCHICAGO – To recruit and retain quality educators at city schools, Chicago Public Schools will receive a $200,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to support teacher residencies, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) announced Thursday.

    “Although teachers have always played a vital role in our communities by educating our youth, we’ve really seen a wave of appreciation and support due to the extra sacrifices and hard work educators have exhibited during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martinez said. “Encouraging more people to join the teaching profession and investing in residency programs is an important step to offer the opportunity to inspired, educated individuals considering making a career change.”

    Teacher residency programs offer an alternative to the traditional teacher preparation experience. In partnership with state-recognized higher education institutions that have approved teacher preparation programs, residency programs provide clinical experience alongside mentor teachers, while also providing additional staffing in high-need areas.

    ISBE is accepting applications for the next round of Teacher Residency Planning Grants. The grant application is open to local education agencies that serve high numbers of students of color or low-income students, or have a high demand for new teachers.

    Interested applicants can learn more about the grants and apply here.

  • Martinez supports budget investing in underserved communities

    martinez 031120CHICAGO – In recognition of the vast economic devastation the COVID-19 outbreak continues to have on underserved communities, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is relieved by the investments made for students, business owners and seniors in next year’s budget, which the governor signed into law Wednesday.

    “Because of our state’s current fiscal responsibilities, this budget recognizes Illinois’ commitment to funding essential services for students, employees and seniors,” Martinez said. “By providing vital resources, the state is supporting our residents who need the most help in response to the pandemic.”

    The FY 21 budget:

    • Continues to fulfill the state’s commitment to fully fund P-12 and higher education, with an additional $12.7 million going to the Illinois State Board of Education,
    • •Appropriates over $600 million in funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19, with grants and other resources specifically for daycare providers and underserved communities,
    • •Provides an additional $201.7 million to the Illinois Department on Aging and $28 million in new money to the Community Care Program, which supports seniors who live independently in their homes, and
    • •Allocated an additional $32 million in funding for services to immigrant welcoming centers to help recent immigrants get the COVID-19-related help they need.

    Another priority of the Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus was passed in the FY 21 budget, which included expanding Medicaid eligibility to low-income undocumented people over 65 years old.

    “Expanding Medicaid coverage to undocumented seniors is an additional resource to allow them to prioritize their health and security — not just for themselves and their families, but from financial devastation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martinez said. “Once testing positive, residents should only be worrying about recovery, not about the financial burden related to medical bills.”

    In addition, the budget appropriates nearly $60 million in funding to the Department of Employment Security to address the challenges with the unemployment system, allowing the department to hire more staff for assistance on claims.

    The FY 21 budget is effective July 1, 2020.

  • Women’s Caucus calls for justice and peace as protests continue across Illinois

    collins 013120CHICAGO—The women of the Illinois Senate came together to issue a united call for justice and peace. Lawmakers from both parties called on the state to address the issues that have led to the protests and to join together in healing.

    “We cannot condone violence in any form,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Deputy Majority Caucus Chair (D-Chicago). “That means that we must have justice for Americans who have been brutalized by the violence of law enforcement. Voices across Illinois join those across the nation in loudly proclaiming that Black lives matter, and that peace cannot come about without justice.”

  • Senator Martinez warns of COVID-19 cyber scams

    martinez 031120CHICAGO — More scams are popping up as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) urges people to be careful when responding to requests for money or personal information.
     
    “We can all understand the desire to help others during this time, but I can’t stress the importance of using extreme caution when giving personal information over the phone or computer,” Martinez said.
     
    Attorney General Kwame Raoul said attorneys general from across the nation have seen an increase in reports of people posing as charitable organizations or public health agencies. Those scams, according to Raoul, include cyber scams, telephone and text messaging scams, counterfeit product offers, bogus door-to-door offers of tests and products related to the coronavirus and solicitations for donations to phony charities.
     
    Some of the most common scams seen by Raoul include:
     
    •   Emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and other health care organizations, offering to share information about the virus;
     
    •   Emails asking for the verification of personal data, including Medicare or Medicaid information, in exchange for receiving economic stimulus funds or other benefits from the government;
     
    •   Email phishing scams, text messages from unknown sources which may include hyperlinks to what appear to be automated pandemic updates, or interactive infection maps;
     
    •   COVID-19 vaccinations and home test kits that are made online, in stores, through electronic messages or over the phone.
     
    For more information or to report scams connected to COVID-19, please visit the attorney general’s website: https://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/​. 

  • Martinez seeks to add stronger protections for immigrant communities

    martinez 031120SPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is advancing an initiative to classify crimes against individuals based on their actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status as hate crimes.

    “Hate crime laws are intended to protect individuals against biased crimes,” Martinez said. “Expanding the definition to include citizenship or immigration status is necessary to defend immigrants against senseless, discriminatory crimes.”

    Under current law, crimes by reason against people of an actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals are considered hate crimes.

    The measure seeks to add citizenship or immigration status to the list of qualifications.

    Senate Bill 2345 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee and moves for further consideration before the full Senate.

  • Martinez commends governor’s plans prioritizing families, diversity

    Senator MartinezSPRINGFIELD – Pleased by the governor’s commitment to continue progress for a more equal, fair state benefitting all Illinois residents in his State of the State address to lawmakers Wednesday, State Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “Our state is back on track toward financial responsibility, while taking the needs of minorities into consideration. I believe we’re progressing to a state government that works for everyone.

    I also share a passion with his administration to continue investing in the care and education our children need to succeed making Illinois the best state to raise our young ones. I commend the governor’s sincerity and look forward to what we can accomplish this legislative session.”

  • Martinez law to invest in training for building trades

    Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — A new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) will create training programs for young people looking to enter the building trades.

    Her measure creates the “Training in the Building Trades Program,” which would award grants to community-based organizations to establish training programs for people ages 18-35 with interest in that industry.

    “There is no one-size-fits all career path for young people, so we need to provide them with a variety of opportunities to learn and train for their future,” Martinez said. “These programs will give future trades professionals the tools they need to obtain a good-paying job and to give back to the state.”

  • Martinez law to expand opportunity for professional licenses

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her work to ensure all qualified applicants are eligible for professional licenses, regardless of their citizenship status.

    “If anyone in our state wants to contribute by working hard and paying taxes, they should not be denied because of where they were born,” Martinez said. “I am glad to continue the work we started last year by expanding the ability for immigrants to apply for professional licenses.”

    Martinez passed a law last year ensuring that citizenship is not required for licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional or State Board of Education. It also requires the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to allow an applicant to use a taxpayer identification number as an alternative to a Social Security number.

  • Martinez law works to protect students from sexual abuse

    Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — A new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) will overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

    Martinez passed the legislation out of the Senate this year as a bipartisan effort to address the issue of educator misconduct in classrooms across the state.

    “The importance of protecting our children is an issue we can all agree on, no matter our political party,” Martinez said. “The report released last year was shocking, and I am thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to work on a solution. Students should be able to feel safe at school.”

  • Martinez leads effort to support, grow worker cooperatives

    Sens. Peters, Hunter and MartinezSPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke Thursday on the need for clarity in state law regarding worker cooperatives, a model in which businesses are owned and controlled cooperatively by workers.

    “Worker cooperatives are a proven model that provide living wage jobs, especially for workers in communities of color, who often work in the low-wage economy where wage theft and discrimination are extremely common,” Martinez said.

    Martinez is sponsoring House Bill 3663, which would provide clarity of what a worker cooperative is and the benefits and rights of those that operate under its construct. It also sets guidelines for organizing and managing a worker cooperative.

  • Martinez calls for complete 2020 Census count during Latino Unity Day

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSpeaking at a Latino Unity Day press conference on Wednesday, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez stressed the importance of a complete count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

    “Each person not counted means revenue lost for the State of Illinois from the federal government,” Martinez said. “This means fewer dollars for roads and infrastructure, less money for education, less reimbursement for cities and towns, less money for essential human services and less money for the most vulnerable among us.”

    Martinez is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1408, which would appropriate $25 million to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide grants to community providers and local governments to encourage full participation in the upcoming Census.

  • Martinez bill would expand opportunity for professional licenses

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her work to ensure all qualified applicants are eligible for professional licenses, regardless of their citizenship status.

    “If anyone in our state wants to contribute by working hard and paying taxes, they should not be denied because of where they were born,” Martinez said. “I am glad to continue the work we started last year by expanding the ability for immigrants to apply for professional licenses.”

    Martinez passed a law last year ensuring that citizenship is not required for licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional or State Board of Education. It also requires the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to allow an applicant to use a taxpayer identification number as an alternative to a Social Security number.

  • Martinez measure would require nontoxic ammunition when hunting

    ducks 040519SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation yesterday that works to move away from the use of lead ammunition for hunting in Illinois.

    The measure mandates that only steel or other non-toxic shotshells can be used to take waterfowl. It also bans the use of any shotgun larger than 10 gauge or smaller than a .410 bore to take wildlife and the use of lead shotshells on Department of Natural Resources properties on or after Jan. 1, 2022.

    “As we become more aware of the dangers of lead exposure, we must work to eliminate it in all forms,” Martinez said. “There is no reason why people should not be able to hunt safely without endangering animals or people with lead ammunition.” 

    The Centers for Disease Control states that there is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead ammunition puts animals at risk, but anyone who eats meat from animals killed with lead-based ammunition is also at risk of exposure.

    Senate Bill 780 passed the Senate without opposition and now heads to the Illinois House for consideration.

  • Lawmakers, advocates stress importance of accurate 2020 Census count

    Sens. Elgie R. Sims Jr., Emil Jones III, Iris Y. Martinez and Kimberly A. Lightford

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate lawmakers and advocates gathered Thursday to stress the importance of getting a full and accurate count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke to the potential consequences of an undercount.

    “The census is used to determine federal funding and representation for our state,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said. “That means, if we are undercounted, we stand to lose billions in federal funding, along with two congressional seats and two Electoral College votes.”

    Martinez is the sponsor of legislation, contained in Senate Bill 1408, that would appropriate $25 million to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide grants to community providers and local governments for the purposes of encouraging full participation in the 2020 federal census.

  • Celebrating Elderly Women of Wisdom

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