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Lightford law helps abused children report their abusers

lightford 022019SPRINGFIELD – Children taken into protective custody under suspicion of abuse could soon take part in a forensic interview without parental consent as a result of legislation by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).

House Bill 909, signed by the governor today, addresses issues in cases where an abused minor’s parents do not wish for the child to participate in a criminal investigation that may implicate a family member or close friend.

“No one should feel obligated to protect their abuser when participating in a criminal investigation,” Lightford said. “Unfortunately, our children are often put in a position where they do not feel empowered to report their abuser and we’re hoping to bring that to an end.”

A forensic interview is an interview between a trained forensic interviewer and a child in which the interviewer obtains information in an unbiased and fact-finding manner, with the goal of supporting accurate and fair decision-making by caseworkers in the criminal justice and child protection systems.

The measure goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

Lightford applauds disciplined budget, offering fair tax rates

lightford 022019CHICAGO – Gov. JB Pritzker signed the state budget and fair tax legislation on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) reacted with the following:

“After four very long years, it is refreshing to deliver a budget that meets the needs of our state with a disciplined and realistic approach. We prioritized education from early childhood to higher education, and strengthened our safety-net services to provide a hand up to struggling families.

“Also, I am excited to give voters the opportunity to decide whether our state should implement a fair tax, and just as important, provide them a picture of what tax rates would look like if they approve it.”

Lightford protects consumers from misleading utility plans

lightford 060219SPRINGFIELD – To protect consumers from being taken advantage of due to misinformation from alternative retail electric suppliers, Senate Majority Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is leading legislation that now awaits the governor’s signature.

“The data clearly demonstrates that alternative suppliers focus their signup efforts on low-income neighborhoods, those where English is a secondary language and communities of color,” Lightford said. “I am proud to stand with Attorney General Raoul to protect our most vulnerable residents from unknowingly signing contracts that will result in rate hikes they cannot afford.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office, over the last three years consumers enrolled with alternative retail electric suppliers have paid almost $400 million more in electricity costs than consumers who stayed with their default public utility.

“Alternative retail electricity and gas suppliers attract customers with promises of free electricity or lower utility bills, but the truth is that almost no one pays less after signing a contract with one of these suppliers,” Raoul said. “The HEAT Act ensures that suppliers provide consumers with substantive information and price comparisons so that they can make informed decisions before signing contracts that could tie them to higher rates.”

Senate Bill 651 prevents alternative electric and gas suppliers from converting enrolled participants of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Percentage of Income Payment Plan from their current utility provider to an alternative supplier unless certain requirements are met.

The proposal requires all marketing materials and customer bills to contain a price comparison of utility supply rates. Suppliers will also have to notify customers when their rates will increase. Lastly, the legislation prevents automatic contract renewals that amount to a higher monthly rate without the customer’s consent and eliminates renewals from a fixed rate to a variable rate.

Lightford calls for teaching consent in schools

Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordSPRINGFIELD – Students across Illinois could soon have consent taught as a part of their sex education curriculum. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) passed House Bill 3550 through the Senate on Wednesday.

“The stigma of being sexually assaulted has kept so many victims silent for decades,” Lightford said. “Teaching consent helps young people establish boundaries and feel empowered to speak out against an abuser.”

The legislation requires students in grades 6-12 to learn the meaning of consent and how to respect personal boundaries. Under current law, consent is briefly mentioned in the School Code, but no definition or guidance is provided.

Sen. Lightford

Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

Senate Majority Leader
4th District


Years served: 1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments (Chairperson); Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Charter Schools (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: B.A. in Communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in Public Administration, University of Illinois Springfield; former Village of Maywood trustee; former employee at Secretary of State, Department of Corrections and Central Management Services; longtime champion in the Senate for education, working families and women's issues; lives in Maywood with her family.

Associated Representatives:
La Shawn K. Ford
Emanuel Chris Welch