Martinez reacts to today’s budget action in the Illinois Senate

martinez-child-placeSPRINGFIELD — Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement regarding budgetary action that the Illinois Senate took today:

In absence of a state budget being approved by the governor, I have taken important steps to ensure that essential services and governmental operations can continue. Today, I supported a one-month budget that will allow seniors to receive care in their homes, make sure individuals with developmental disabilities are cared for and ensure that dedicated state employees get paid for their work.

Additionally, I voted to override some of the governor’s vetoes and attended a press conference to discuss the drastic changes being made by the governor to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). By revising guidelines for CCAP, the governor is making it harder for parents to continue working. These changes are irresponsible and harmful to children, parents and day care providers.

Now it’s the governor’s turn to do his part to get us out of the budget impasse. I call on him to follow the Senate’s lead and make sure that our state has a reasonable budget that helps low-income families and the middle class.

Two Martinez legislative proposals become law

Two Martinez legislative proposals become lawSPRINGFIELD — Last Friday, two legislative proposals that were sponsored in the Illinois Senate by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) were signed into law.

Both initiatives updated language in outdated laws.

Senate Bill 1319 updates the state’s school code.

“I was pleased to work with the Illinois State Board of Education to make sure the school code is appropriately revised,” Martinez said.

Martinez breaks down language barrier in the court room

martinez-courtSPRINGFIELD — Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) secured Senate passage this week of legislation allowing people who are not comfortable speaking or understanding English to be aided by an interpreter in the court room.

“Our state is diverse and language assistance is often necessary to ensure that court proceedings are as fair as possible,” Martinez said. “People who can’t hear or are not fluent in English should be able to know what is going on in the court room. Illinois should be a leader in making its court system accessible to all residents.”

Currently, courts in Illinois must appoint language interpreters in criminal cases but not in civil cases.

Senator Martinez is working to correct this disparity. Under her plan, an interpreter must be appointed in a civil case for any party or witness who is determined unable to understand or express the English language. For instance, someone who is deaf would have a sign language interpreter in the court room.

Civil cases involve conflicts between people or institutions such as businesses. Common civil cases include divorces, contract disputes and personal injury cases.

“Justice is blind. It also needs to be multilingual,” Martinez said.

House Bill 3620 now goes to the governor’s desk for signature.

Martinez fights youth unemployment

martienz-youthemplSPRINGFIELD — Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Senate yesterday that creates a commission to help young people find jobs and lower unemployment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois’ youth unemployment rate was 18.5 percent in 2012.

“Though our economy is improving, there are still young people in our state who struggle to find a job,” Martinez said. “The objective of the commission is to bring together experts to come up with ways to help our youth find and keep employment.”

Under Martinez’s plan, HB 1490, a 17-member commission would be in charge of identifying concerns regarding the readiness and ability of young adults to find employment after their education is completed.

Members of the commission are unpaid. Each legislative leader would be able to appoint four members to the commission.

HB 1490 now goes to the governor’s desk for approval.

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