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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.

Martinez works to expand eligibility for Grow Your Own Teacher initiative

TeacherSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her long-time advocacy for the Grow Your Own Teacher (GYOT) initiative by advancing legislation that expands the ability of schools and future teachers to participate in the program.

“Illinois is dealing with a teacher shortage, so we need to do all that we can to place dedicated teachers in schools,” Martinez said. “We especially must work to ensure students at schools that are traditionally hard to staff – like those in low-incomes areas – have the same access to quality education as anyone else.”

The Grow Your Own Teacher initiative is a program designed to train people to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools.

Martinez’s legislation would expand the definition of "eligible school" and "hard-to-staff" schools for the initiative to include early childhood programs in which no less than 40 percent of the children it serves are receiving subsidized care under the Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program.

It would also extend eligibility for participation in the initiative to high school students enrolled in a dual credit course at a participating institution of higher education.

Senate Bill 244 is similar to legislation Martinez passed last year that then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed. It passed the Senate Higher Education Committee without opposition Tuesday and heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Martinez advances plan to improve student trustee residency requirements

Senator MartinezSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her work to expand opportunities for students at the University of Illinois to run for the position of student trustee by amending the university’s residency status requirements.

“Our institutions of higher education should be about promoting leadership opportunities,” Martinez said. “Being a student trustee is one good way students can serve and enhance their skills. And students who serve in these positions will graduate with an appreciation for the importance of civic engagement.”

Martinez first introduced similar legislation in 2016 after being contacted by an undocumented student who was unable to run for student trustee, despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident. The University of Illinois is a proponent of the initiative.

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, a student would have to live in Illinois for six months and either have a driver’s license or ID card, or register to vote in Illinois.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the plan in 2016, and the House failed to call it for a vote after it was reintroduced and passed the Senate in 2017.

Senate Bill 172 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Senator Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez

Assistant Majority Leader
20th District

Years served:
2003 - Present
 
Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations; Pension Investments Special Com. On (Co-Chairperson); Revenue (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Feb. 25, 1956, in Chicago; earned her bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from Northeastern Illinois University in 2009; elected president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She is also the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair; has one daughter.

Associated Representatives:
Jaime M. Andrade, Jr.
Will Guzzardi