Martinez

  • Legislation protecting immigrant communities moves forward

    martinez 040517SPRINGFIELD — After legislation that would protect immigrants and restore trust between immigrant communities and local police was passed by the Illinois Senate Executive Committee today, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “Here in Illinois, we need to lead the way in promoting trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement and protecting immigrants from federal overreach. That’s why moving this initiative forward today was positive. I want the immigrant community to know that I have their back and will continue fighting so that no one is deported when seeking medical treatment at the hospital or dropping their kids off at school.”

    Martinez is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 31, which would create the Illinois Trust Act. Certain components of the measure are listed below:

    • Clarifies that state and local police are not deputized immigration agents and therefore are not expected to expend resources enforcing or complying with federal civil immigration detainers and administrative warrants.
    • Prohibits law enforcement agencies from using state resources to create discriminatory federal registries based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes.
    • Establishes safe zones at schools, medical facilities, courts and properties operated by the Illinois secretary of state, where federal immigration enforcement would not be admitted without a valid criminal warrant.

    The Illinois Trust Act will have to be approved by the Illinois Senate before being considered by the Illinois House.

  • Democrats reject Rauner’s empty promise of CPS funding, demand real money to fix his mistake

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    SPRINGFIELD — Months after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would have secured funding for Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Senate Democrats rejected his attempt to promise $215 million to the school system without any funding source to provide it.

    “This measure would have made yet another promise to Chicago students without taking the necessary steps to ever follow through on it,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago. “We already approved a measure last year – which the governor saw fit to veto – that would have addressed this very problem in a responsible way, with the necessary funding. As it is, this is another broken promise in the making.”

  • Martinez: Deportation fears are victimizing women twice

    Sen. Iris Y MartinezCHICAGO — In response to a report that undocumented immigrants who have been victims of domestic violence aren’t showing up to court because they fear deportation, Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “It breaks my heart to see women victimized twice, once when they suffered domestic violence and then when they refuse to report their perpetrators for fear of being deported thanks to President Trump’s immigration policies.

  • Martinez: GOP plan makes unfunded CPS promise, sinks state $215 million further in debt

    martinez 010817SPRINGFIELD — Senate Republicans are offering an empty promise to Chicago schools in an attempt to cover up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s ill-advised veto of a plan that would have solved a problem for the financially stressed school district, said Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

    “All this does is sink the state $215 million further in debt by promising CPS that there’s a check in the mail that we know may never come,” Martinez said. “At best, this is a thinly veiled attempt to solve the governor’s public relations problems with CPS, but the reality is that it won’t get a dollar in the classroom anytime soon, and certainly not in time to help. CPS students, teachers and administrators deserve better than this.”

    Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville), Senate Bill 2172, commits the state to provide $215.2 million to Chicago Public Schools. However, it isn’t tied to any funding.

    “What we’ve got here is legislation that would blow a $215.2 million hole in Rauner’s already unbalanced budget for this year,” Martinez said. “This comes at a time when the state is already $13 billion behind in paying its bills.”

    Senate Bill 2172 could be heard in tomorrow’s Senate Executive Committee.

  • Martinez plan allows DACA recipients to become pharmacists

    martinez 010817SPRINGFIELD — An initiative that would allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, known as dreamers, to become a licensed pharmacist is being sponsored by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

    Today, Martinez passed the legislation out of the Senate’s Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee.

    “Given the investment we have made in our dreamers, it is only natural to open the gates of opportunity for employment in a career in heavy demand in Illinois,” Martinez said. “These kids have a proven record of academic and personal achievement and are eager to serve their communities. They should be allowed to pursue a career that benefits the health of the public.” 

    Senate Bill 308 is an initiative of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational fund (MALDEF).

    No other profession regulated by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation requires proof of immigration status to obtain licensure. Martinez’s legislation simply brings pharmacy in line with requirements for other professions.

    Former President Barack Obama’s executive order created DACA. Under DACA, people brought into the country unauthorized as children are allowed to stay in the country to work and attend college.

  • Martinez legislation to license midwives approved by Senate committee

    martinez 010817SPRINGFIELD — A plan to license midwives in Illinois through the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation was passed by the Illinois Senate’s Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee today.

    Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is the measure’s Senate sponsor.

    “If a mother wants to deliver her child at home with the help of a midwife, then she should be able to make that choice,” Martinez said.  “My plan will improve health care access and ensure that midwives have the training and licensing needed to participate in safely delivering babies.”

    Under Martinez’s legislation, Senate Bill 1754, the Home Birth Safety Act would be established to provide midwives who are not nurse-midwives the ability to provide home birth services by establishing two-year licenses for certified professional midwives.

    Martinez’s legislation is an initiative of the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives.

    “With the number of home births increasing, there is a real need to have professional licensing in place for midwives,” said Martinez. “Now is the time to license midwives in Illinois.”

    In 31 states, midwives practice legally within the health care system. In Illinois, they practice outside of the system. Many mothers already seek to have a home birth, but approximately half of Illinois home births are attended by underground providers.

    According to the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives, home birth rates increased nationally by more than 77 percent between 2009 and 2014. In 2014, 57 Illinois counties had no obstetrical doctors.

  • Martinez: Improving student trustee residency requirements is best for students

    martinez sos 012517SPRINGFIELD — In response to an undocumented University of Illinois student being unable to run for the position of student trustee because he was not registered to vote in Illinois, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation to change residency requirements to be a University of Illinois student trustee.

    “If a student is enrolled in the university and wants to run for student trustee, there should not be barriers preventing them from doing so,” Martinez said. “We need to make sure all college students have opportunities to grow and participate in leadership opportunities while they’re on campus.” 

    The student who inspired Martinez’s proposal was unable to run for the student trustee position, despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident.

    The University of Illinois Trustee Act requires students to be residents of Illinois in order to be selected as a student trustee.

    • Residency is currently demonstrated by three factors:
    • Evidence of the student’s residence in Illinois for at least the previous six months
    • A valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card
    • Being registered to vote in Illinois

    But under Martinez’s proposal, Senate Bill 598, a student would have to provide proof of residence for the past six months and either a voter registration card or driver’s license/identification to demonstrate Illinois residency.

    The University of Illinois is a proponent of the initiative.

    Martinez passed similar legislation last year, but it was vetoed by the governor.

    “While the governor’s veto was disappointing, I’m not going to stop fighting for what’s best for our students,” Martinez said.

    Senate Bill 598 was passed by the Illinois Senate’s Higher Education Committee yesterday and will now have to go before the full Illinois Senate for consideration.

  • Martinez: A budget would put the people of Illinois first

    martinez 021617SPRINGFIELD — After voting to fund human services and higher education as part of a proposed Senate “grand bargain” package, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “Illinois has gone too long without a budget and needs one now. The harm not having a state budget is causing to human service organizations, college students and the state’s finances cannot continue. It is time to compromise and put the people first by getting a budget done. Today, as part of an effort to help people in my district and throughout Illinois, I voted to fund higher education and key human service programs that help our seniors, people dealing with addiction and victims of sexual abuse. I will continue working as hard as I can to get Illinois a budget.”

    Senate Bill 6 provides the needed spending authorization to finish out the second half of the current budget year. Key components funded include higher education and human services.

  • Martinez: Governor’s budget proposal would hurt immigrants

    martinez 021617SPRINGFIELD — Today, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is expressing her anger with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed cuts to programs that are vital to immigrants.

    “Governor Rauner and President Trump have the same agenda of harming immigrants,” Martinez said. “It’s sad that the governor unveiled a budget yesterday that would eliminate services designed to help immigrants make contributions to Illinois’ economy and culture.”

    The governor’s proposed budget would eliminate funding for immigrant integration services and welcoming centers. In all three of his budgets he has proposed eliminating funding for these programs.

    Immigrant integration services include language assistance, health care, citizenship services and other basic supports. Welcoming Centers serve as lifelines to our state’s newest residents by offering classes and providing information on topics such as employment training and home ownership.

    “I’m appalled by the governor’s lack of support for our state’s newest residents,” Martinez said. “Governor Rauner and President Trump’s policies demonstrate why it’s so important to support immigrants. Today and every day, I wholeheartedly support efforts to honor our immigrants and invest in their future.”

    The governor gave his budget address one day before A Day Without Immigrants, which occurs today and is a day of action designed to honor immigrants and push back against Trump’s immigration policies. Pro-immigrant groups and activists will be highlighting the importance of immigrants.

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

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  • Martinez Passes REAL ID Act legislation out of Senate Committee

    martinez 010817SPRINGFIELD — Drivers could apply for a driver’s license that meets federal ID requirements and makes it easier for them to fly under a plan passed through the Senate Executive Committee today by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

    Martinez’s initiative creates a two-tiered REAL ID system under which applicants for drivers’ licenses and identification cards may choose to apply for either a REAL ID-compliant license/ID card or a non-compliant license/ID card.

    “What’s good about having a two-tiered system is that it gives people a choice,” Martinez said. “If someone knows they aren’t going to be flying or choose not to be REAL ID compliant, then there is another option available for them.”

    Illinois has been taking strides to become fully REAL ID-compliant and has an extension from the federal government to become compliant by October 2017. However, the Department of Homeland Security has said that by January, 2018, passengers with a driver’s license issued in a state that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act will have to show an alternative form of identification to board a plane.

    Under Martinez’s proposal, applicants for REAL ID-compliant identification must present documents including a certified copy of their birth certificate and immigration documents or a U.S. passport. Non-compliant licenses and ID cards will be issued pursuant to current requirements.

    “The two-tiered system has been used successfully in other states that have achieved full REAL ID compliance,” Martinez said. “It’s imperative that Illinois has a system in place that is efficient and responsive to the needs of the people of our state.”

    States such as Arizona, Nevada, West Virginia and Wisconsin offer the two options. In Wisconsin, only 22 percent of citizens have chosen to apply for the REAL ID-compliant card. Wisconsin officials have stated that many citizens who do not fly or visit federal facilities have opted for the noncompliant card.

    Martinez’s legislation, Senate Bill 674, is supported by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

    “This legislation gives customers the right to choose between applying for a REAL ID-compliant DL/ID and a noncompliant DL/ID,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “If you are someone who doesn’t use air travel or have a reason to visit a federal facility or military base, or prefer to use a U.S. passport which itself is considered REAL ID compliant, the noncompliant card may be a viable option.”

    The federal REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, establishes standards for issuing identification cards and prevents federal agencies from accepting identification cards from state’s that have not implemented the act’s requirements.

  • Martinez: Rauner should stand up for his constituents by opposing Trump’s plans on immigration

    martinez sos 012517SPRINGFIELD — Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address in which he did not address President Trump’s immigration plans:

    “It’s unfortunate that Governor Rauner did not use his State of the State address to stand up for the residents of our state who will be hurt by the president’s action on immigration.

  • Law sponsored by Martinez gives former offenders a second chance

    martinez 052016CHICAGO — A new law that gives ex-offenders a chance to pursue a career in the health care field becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

    Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the initiative in the Illinois Senate.

    “I’m a believer in second chances, especially when someone has committed a non-violent offense at a young age,” Martinez said. “We’ve taken a needed step forward by giving former offenders an opportunity to prove that they are rehabilitated and be able to petition the state for a health care license.” 

  • Martinez demands resolution to issues at Logan Correctional Center (VIDEO)

    martinez120116SPRINGFIELD — In response to a new study funded by the Department of Justice that found dire conditions among the inmate population at Logan Correctional Center, Majority Caucus Whip and Latino Caucus Co-Chair Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “I was strongly opposed to the closing of the Dwight correctional facility in 2013 and the transfer of female inmates, many of whom are from the Chicago area, to a state prison in Lincoln. As the new report states, this decision has put inmates and Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) staff in untenable conditions.

  • Martinez: We should protect benefits for child care workers, not take them away

    Martinez Senate bill 2536 OverrideSPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would have protected health care benefits for child care providers.

    Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the measure to prevent the governor from harming the state’s child care system.

    “Our child care workers are some of the most important employees we have in Illinois,” Martinez said. “They care for our children, and it’s important that we invest in their success, treat them fairly and ensure they get the health care they need and deserve.”

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

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  • Top new education laws for Illinois in 2016

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  • Martinez appointed to Human Trafficking Task Force

    Martinez04212016Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) was appointed by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton to the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force yesterday.

    “There have been too many victims in Illinois and more has to be done to address this problem,” Martinez said. “I look forward to working with members of the task force on developing strategies for preventing human trafficking and protecting the rights and safety of victims.”

    According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, there have been 837 cases of human trafficking in Illinois since 2007.

    The task force will conduct a study on human trafficking in Illinois and hold hearings to develop a state plan to address human trafficking. A report of recommendations must be submitted to the governor and General Assembly by June 30, 2017.

    Martinez and other members of the task force will serve without compensation. The task force was created by HB 2822, legislation Martinez co-sponsored that was signed into law this summer.

    If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained Hotline Advocate. Support is provided in more than 200 languages.

  • Honoring Hispanic heritage in America

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  • Martinez gets kids ready for school, keeps community healthy

    Martinez Family Wellness and Back to School Fair PhotoCHICAGO — Hundreds of children and adults attended Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez’s (D-Chicago) annual Family Wellness and Back to School Fair last week.

    At the event, children got free backpacks, school supplies, physicals, immunizations, dental screenings and other services. Adults were able to receive health screenings, too, and learn about services offered by government agencies and local organizations.

    “I enjoyed meeting the children and adults who attended this event, and I would like to thank all of the vendors that participated,” Martinez said. “The services offered ensure our children are ready to start school and that both adults and children are healthy and up to date on wellness screenings.”