• Villanueva votes to give essential workers more benefits, protect retail workers who enforce mask etiquette

    villanueva 052320SPRINGFIELD – With essential workers facing more risks on the job, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) voted to pass a labor package that increases public employee benefits, protects retail workers and expands collective bargaining rights.

    “Working people deserve dignity on the job,” Villanueva said. “Expanding paid disability leave, legal protections and the right to negotiate a fair wage will ensure that they have a safety net.”

    Senate Bill 471 would expand paid disability leave for first responders by 60 days due to decreased access to rehabilitative services. The legislation would also elevate a charge of battery of a retail employee to aggravated battery if the incident took place during or up to six months after a declared public health emergency. Aggravated battery would also apply to incidents that occur while an employee is performing duties that include relaying directions for health and safety precautions.

    “Retail employees are facing harassment and worse for enforcing face mask requirements,” Villanueva said. “We need to proactively expand legal protections to working people who put themselves at risk every day to provide essential services.”

    In addition to those provisions, the legislation would also require existing racetracks with 10 or more employees to engage in collective bargaining if the track wishes to expand to include a casino. While the horse racing industry is excluded from federal collective bargaining laws, Illinois has extended similar protections to most businesses.

    “As these facilities expand operations, they will also be expanding their workforce with janitorial, food service and other backstretch employees,” Villanueva said. “This measure will create a huge opportunity for those workers to improve their lives and receive the wages they deserve through the opportunity to collectively bargain.”

     Not all backstretch employees would be covered under this bill. Villanueva plans to introduce legislation to expand coverage during veto session.

    Senate Bill 471 passed the Illinois Senate 47-3.

  • Villanueva demands accountability for reapproved Hilco demolition

    hilco expl 051520CHICAGO – After Hilco Redevelopment Partners were approved to resume their demolition of the Crawford Coal plant in Little Village, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “It is unconscionable and careless for Hilco to continue their demolition of the Crawford Coal plant after they already caused so much damage and covered our neighborhood in a dust cloud. Their track record proves that they do not value the public health of our community, which already has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

    “The City’s decision to reauthorize the demolition is irresponsible and downright disrespectful to our community. Official notice still has not be given to neighbors, which is completely unacceptable.

    “The City cannot say that it prioritizes the health of black and brown communities and then allow a known polluter to continue their demolition. The mayor needs to deny the demolition permits and to stop work on the site immediately. We deserve actual protection during this crisis, not lip service.”

  • Villanueva demands mixed status families be included in federal relief packages

    villanueva 022620CHICAGO – Joined by members of Illinois’ Congressional Delegation and immigration lawyers, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) called on Congress to eliminate provisions in the federal relief package that exclude families with mixed immigration statuses.

    “It is repugnant and cruel of this administration to play with the lives of so many people, especially during a pandemic that disproportionately affects African-American and Latino communities,” Villanueva said. “No one, absolutely no one, regardless of status should be denied relief in this moment.”

    Under the CARES Act, U.S. citizens who are married to immigrant spouses without a Social Security number are ineligible for stimulus benefits. According to immigration lawyers representing an Illinois man who filed suit, 1.2 million Americans are denied relief under this provision. In Illinois alone over 3,700 families have been denied stimulus checks.

    Roughly 6,000 people, including 1,500 Illinois residents, have asked to join the lawsuit, which is in the process of obtaining class-action status. Vivian Khalaf of Khalaf and Abuzir, LLC has also filed similar suits in Wisconsin and California.

  • Villanueva bringing masks to Little Village

    masks 051220CHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) and other elected officials are partnering with community organizations to distribute masks to the Little Village community on Wednesday. Mask distribution is first come, first served, with priority given to seniors.

    “Little Village has the highest infection rate in the entire state, and we need to make sure that the most vulnerable people in our community are protected,” Villanueva said. “We all must take precautions to protect them, so please come by to get a mask if you do not have one.”

    Event partners include Enlace Chicago, Rincón Family Services and Telpochcalli Community Education Project.

    WHO: State Senator Celina Villanueva, Alderperson Michael Rodriguez, U.S. Representative Jesús “Chuy” García, Commissioner Alma E. Anaya, State Representatives Lisa Hernandez, Edgar Gonzalez and Aarón Ortíz

    WHAT:Little Village Mask Distribution

    WHEN:Wednesday, May 13, 2020 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

    WHERE:Second Federal Bank (West Parking Lot), 2520 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60623


  • Villanueva: Staying at home is a privilege that working people cannot afford

    covid 19 test 050720CHICAGO – With her home ZIP code experiencing the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the state, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “Staying at home is a privilege that working people literally cannot afford. With an overwhelmed unemployment system, no adequate safety net and lack of personal protective equipment, people in my community are forced to choose between getting infected at work or losing everything.

    “As we continue adapting to this pandemic, we must address the amplified economic and health disparities in our communities. It is black and brown ZIP codes that have the highest rates of infection, so addressing that starts with additional testing sites in our neighborhoods.

    “I am grateful that the governor announced he is partnering with community health centers to make testing more available, as well as covered by emergency Medicaid regardless of status. I urge the governor to continue these partnerships and to reach out to local businesses to ensure that they are strictly following health and safety guidelines for the thousands of service industry and other essential workers who are putting their lives on the line.”

  • Villanueva encourages microbusinesses to apply for new grant program

    microbusiness2 050120CHICAGO – With the coronavirus pandemic forcing thousands of businesses to close, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) urges eligible Chicago business owners to apply for the new Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program.

    “Many of the assistance programs available are not accessible to the most vulnerable in our community,” Villanueva said. “Working people deserve relief regardless of status. This program is open to those who are too often left behind.”

    The Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program will award 1,000 businesses with four or fewer employees a one-time grant of $5,000. The grant money, funded entirely by private donations, must be used as working capital for expenses such as payroll, rent, insurance or taxes. Applications are available in English and Spanish on the City of Chicago’s website and are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 4, 2020.


    Eligibility requirements for the program include:

    Applicants must provide a valid ID and completed W9 form. CityKey is an accepted form of ID. Recipients will be chosen by a lottery on May 11 and issued their grant within two business days.

  • New COVID-19 testing center open in Little Village

    covid 19 test 042320CHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) announced today that a new COVID-19 testing facility is open in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.

    “The systemic health disparities my community faces have existed since well before this pandemic, but are now on display for everyone to see,” Villanueva said. “I am grateful that the state is increasing testing availability in the communities hardest hit by coronavirus. Everyone deserves access to quality health care, regardless of their ZIP code.”

    The new testing facility will be administered by Howard Brown Health and located at Project Vida, 2659 S. Kedvale Ave., Chicago. They can be reached by phone at 773-388-1600. Services will be available to all residents regardless of immigration status.

    Other COVID-19 testing sites in and near the 11th Senate District include:

    • AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center, 5101 Willow Springs Rd., La Grange (708-245-9000)
    • Esperanza Health Center, 2001 S. California Ave., #100, Chicago (773-584-6200)
    • Esperanza Health Center, 4700 S. California Ave., Chicago (773-584-6200)
    • Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 Ogden Ave., Chicago (872-588-3000)
    • Mile Square Health Center, 1220 S. Wood St., Chicago (312-996-2000)
    • Rush Oak Park Hospital, 520 S. Maple Ave., Chicago (708-383-9300)
    • Saint Anthony Hospital, 2875 W. 19th St., Chicago (773-484-1000)
    • Sinai Health System, 1500 S. Fairfield Ave., Chicago (773-542-2000)

    Many testing sites require you to make an appointment with your primary health provider before getting tested for COVID-19. Please call in advance to see what steps are necessary before getting tested.

  • Lyons school district to vote on cutting custodial staff, hiring administrators

    custodians 042420CHICAGO – With the Lyons Elementary School District 103 board scheduled to meet tonight to consider cutting custodial staff, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “The school board needs to rethink reducing custodial staff during a global pandemic. Custodians have been essential to our public health even before this pandemic so firing them now will put students at higher risk.

    “I am calling on our community to come together for these hard-working individuals whose labor is underappreciated and undervalued. It is an insult that their livelihoods are on the line at the same time that administrative positions with six-figure salaries are being considered.”

    People interested in making a public comment must email their public comment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 22, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Comments are limited to 200 words and will be read during the meeting.

  • Villanueva outraged at Hilco demolition for putting community at risk

    coal explosionCHICAGO – After the Hilco Redevelopment Partners’ demolition of the Crawford Coal plant sent a dust cloud racing through the Little Village neighborhood, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “Hilco’s decision to demolish the Crawford plant on a holiday weekend during a pandemic that has caused respiratory issues for thousands of people was reckless and inexcusable. The lack of consideration for our community is appalling and our families and essential workers could suffer for it.

  • SNAP recipients will receive maximum benefits through May

    villanueva 02182020HAO0695CHICAGO – With working families facing food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is promoting the state’s expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

    “Thousands of people have been thrown out of work and need to feed their families,” Villanueva said. “We can’t allow the most vulnerable among us to go hungry during this crisis.”

    The Illinois Department of Human Services announced that all SNAP recipients and new applicants will receive the maximum benefit beginning this week, impacting over 450,000 households. The increased benefits will be loaded onto Link cards automatically through May, so there is no need to call or re-apply.

    SNAP benefits are determined by the size of the recipient’s household. The maximum benefits are as follows:

    ·         1 person - $194

    ·         2 people - $355

    ·         3 people - $509

    ·         4 people - $646

    ·         5 people - $738

    ·         6 people - $921

    ·         7 people - $1,018

    ·         8 people - $1,164

    ·         Each additional person – Add $146


  • Villanueva: Increased funds for social services are needed during COVID-19 crisis

    SNAPCHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) praised the governor’s moves to increase funding for food, homeless and childcare programs throughout the state.

    “We need to do all we can to protect our most vulnerable friends and neighbors,” Villanueva said. “Expanding these services is the moral thing to do and I am grateful for the governor’s commitment to making sure that nobody falls through the cracks during this crisis.”

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which feeds nearly 900,000 Illinois families, received a $80 million increase in funds. SNAP applications are now available online at

  • Villanueva: Survivors of domestic abuse can’t slip through the cracks

    Sen. Celina VillanuevaCHICAGO – With domestic violence hotlines experiencing an increase in calls during the Stay at Home order, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) urged survivors to be aware of the options still available to them.

    “In the midst of this crisis, we can’t let anybody slip through the cracks,” Villanueva said. “Survivors need safety during the Stay at Home order and our community can step up and be there for them.”

  • Villanueva: Keep up on mental health care during Stay at Home order

    villanueva 022620CHICAGO – After Gov. Pritzker issued a statewide Stay at Home order, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) is sharing resources with community members on how to care for their mental health while at home.

    “This is a stressful time for working people who face job insecurity and are struggling to keep up with rent and put food on the table,” Villanueva said. “Even for people who are fortunate enough to work from home, mental health care is more important now than ever.”

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a 24-hour Chicago hotline at 833-626-4244 for anyone who may experience a mental health crisis. You can read NAMI Chicago’s full statement on their services during the Stay at Home order here.

  • Villanueva: Our criminal justice system does not exist to serve ICE

    villanueva 022620SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) released the following statement on Illinois’ policy to no longer refer undocumented immigrants who have served their sentences within the Illinois prison system to federal immigration custody:

    “I am the daughter of immigrants and hearing my colleagues and members of law enforcement repeat the President’s racist rhetoric breaks my heart.

    “Our criminal justice system does not exist to serve ICE. Law enforcement should not aid and abet the deportation machine. Communities of color, specifically immigrant communities, need to know that they can trust law enforcement regardless of citizenship status.

    “These sheriffs are the same people who profit from the jailing of immigrants communities. It is clear that they are more concerned with losing profits than with upholding the dignity and human rights of immigrants of color.

    “Law enforcement is strongest when it has a strong relationship with the community. The policy to stop the Department of Corrections from coordinating with ICE, as outlined in the TRUST Act, is a step in the right direction and will help communities of color rebuild their relationship with law enforcement.

    “I want to thank Gov. Pritzker for complying with state law and for using his voice to support our communities. I look forward to working with him to make Illinois a welcoming state for immigrants.”


    Villanueva: Nuestro sistema de justicia penal no existe para servir al ICE

    SPRINGFIELD – La senadora estatal Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) publicó la siguiente declaración sobre la póliza estatal de no remitir a los inmigrantes indocumentados que han cumplido sus sentencias en el sistema penitenciario de Illinois a la custodia federal de inmigración:

    “Soy la hija de inmigrantes y al escuchar a mis colegas y a las autoridades de la ley repetir la retórica racista del presidente me rompe el corazón.

    “Nuestro sistema de justicia penal no existe para servir a ICE. Las autoridades de la ley no deben ayudar o instigar al aparato de deportación. Las comunidades inmigrantes necesitan saber que pueden confiar en las agencias de ley a pesar de su estatus inmigratorio.

    “Estos sheriffs son los mismos que se benefician del encarcelamiento de las comunidades de inmigrantes. Está claro que están más preocupados por la pérdida de sus ganancias y no por la defensa de la dignidad y los derechos humanos de los inmigrantes.

    “Las agencias de ley trabajan mejor cuando tiene una buena relación con la comunidad. La póliza para evitar que el Departamento de Correccionales se coordine con ICE, como se describe en el TRUST Act, es un paso en la dirección correcta y ayudará a nuestras comunidades inmigrantes a mejorar su relación con las autoridades de la ley."

    “Quiero agradecerle al Gobernador Pritzker por cumplir con la ley y por apoyar a nuestras comunidades. Espero continuar trabajando con su oficina para hacer Illinois un estado que le da la bienvenida a los inmigrantes”.

  • Senate Dems unveil public safety priorities

    pub safety 020620CHICAGO – Several Democratic members of the newly formed Senate Special Committee on Public Safety met in Chicago today to unveil their public safety priorities for this year’s legislative session.

    State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who will chair the committee, spoke of his past legislative accomplishments and how they motivate him to continue that fight.

    “I’ve dedicated my adult life toward the fight to reimagine and to win real safety and justice, and last year I passed several laws with this goal in mind, including one to abolish private detention centers,” Peters said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to personally head up the Special Committee on Public Safety, and I am confident that the committee will lead to a society that is fair, equitable, just and, most importantly, safe.”

  • Villanueva votes to make 2020 election safe and accessible

    Sen. Celina VillanuevaSPRINGFIELD – With public health concerns surrounding the 2020 General Election, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) voted to pass a historic election package out of the Illinois Senate.

    “Participating in our democracy is a right, not a privilege,” Villanueva said. “Voters need to be able to cast their ballot without putting themselves or others at risk.”