Thank you for visiting my legislative website. It is always an honor to serve the people of the 16th Senate District in the Illinois General Assembly. On my website, you can learn more about me and the issues I work hard to address for our community and our state. Your opinions are important to me, and I urge you to contact my Springfield or Chicago office if you have any questions or concerns.
Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins
State Senator, 16th District
August 4, 2015
At a time when hope is wearing thin for many of our most vulnerable residents, I have some good news to share with you. Today, the Senate passed legislation to allow $4.8 billion in federal funding to be used for purposes such as energy bill assistance, infant nutrition, cancer screenings, substance abuse treatment, developmental disabilities services and job training. Legislators on both sides of the aisle agreed to release these dollars while continuing to negotiate on the contested $7 billion remaining in the state's budget.
As a public servant, I uphold and fight for the democratic values that define this state and nation. Justice and equality demand that the people and their representatives not ignore the needs of those who cannot care for themselves or advocate for themselves.
Yet in the ongoing state budget impasse, their needs have been ignored in shocking ways - frail senior citizens denied home care services, at-risk youth with nowhere to go after school but the streets, a day care center for children with HIV/AIDS threatened with closure and families whose medically fragile infants must have expensive, specialty formulas told that at the end of this week, they will be on their own. In one of the most frustrating developments of the past few months, inflexibility on the part of Governor Rauner and his allies kept federal resources already being sent to Illinois from being used for essential services, such as the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, simply because there was no legal authorization to spend them.
I was proud to vote my values today. I urge my colleagues to continue to push for a budget resolution that recognizes our shared moral responsibility to assist and uplift those in need.
Sincerely,Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins16th District – Illinois
1155 West 79th Street • Chicago, IL 60620
773-224-2830 (Phone) • 773-224-2855 (Fax)
M114 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
Earlier this week, a committee of the Chicago City Council declined to take a stand against a tax credit to which Spike Lee's film "Chiraq" is entitled under state law. Alderman Will Burns has complained that the name of the movie, which was filmed in Englewood this summer and employed thousands of local residents, could hurt Chicago's image and discourage tourists and businesses from coming to the city.
Residents of the neighborhoods depicted in "Chiraq" know Chicago's crime problem runs far deeper than semantics and public relations. Fr. Michael Pfleger of the Faith Community of St. Sabina and many community activists came to the committee meeting to demand that policymakers focus on addressing the violence that has claimed so many lives, rather than arguing over the title of a film that seeks to expose and help stop the senseless killing.
After speaking with many of my constituents who support Spike Lee's project and want the focus to stay on preventing bloodshed and healing our community, I introduced a resolution in the Illinois Senate calling on the state to approve "Chiraq"'s application for a film tax credit, just as it would for any other eligible production. I secured bipartisan support for this resolution, and I am pleased that the City Council has refused to become distracted from its true responsibilities to the people of the South Side.
If you live in the 16th District, please click here to take my brief survey. I am best able to represent you when I receive input about what's most important to you and how you envision the future of Illinois and our community.
The governor has made his priorities clear: profits before people, corporate tax breaks before compassion and an anti-worker agenda before revenue reform.
This week, a majority of my Senate colleagues responded by reaffirming our priorities. We voted to override Gov. Rauner's irresponsible vetoes of budget measures needed to fund juvenile justice services, assistance for those with developmental disabilities, the state's ethics commission, care for wards of the state, public health initiatives, in-home aides for senior citizens and much more.
I was also honored to co-sponsor legislation to fund the state's most vital services and pay state employees during the stalemate. This emergency, one-month budget is now on its way to the governor's desk. It is the bare minimum needed to liberate those held hostages to the Rauner administration's refusal to compromise on his extreme agenda.
Unfortunately, the governor has already said he will veto even this stop-gap measure. Please continue calling (312-814-2121) and writing to Gov. Rauner, and I will continue working to keep services operational, make sure state employees are paid for their work on behalf of the people and negotiate a responsible and moral state budget.
In this edition of my newsletter, you will find more information about a very important program Gov. Rauner has already slashed: child care assistance for low-income working parents. I've also included resources and events that may be of interest to you - including a workshop I will co-host this Monday for anyone seeking to know more about securing an apprenticeship in a trade.
As always, please contact me at (773) 224-2830 or through my website with any questions, concerns, ideas or requests for assistance. It is an honor to represent you and work alongside you to improve our community, especially in these challenging times.
Pathway to Apprenticeship
Are you in need of a job? Better yet, a career? I am pleased to co-host this free informational fair designed to help you on the pathway to an apprenticeship and a solid career practicing a trade.
Child care in crisis
Although he vetoed the budget the General Assembly sent him in May and continues to force a stalemate in an attempt to push through his anti-worker agenda, Gov. Rauner wasted no time in almost completely freezing new applications for the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps low-income parents afford child care so they can work and/or attend school.
More than 80 percent of new applicants who would otherwise have been eligible for the program are now excluded because they earn too much to qualify under new income standards.
Families with household incomes amounting to half of the federal poverty level or greater can no longer receive help paying for child care unless they are headed by a teen parent or receive TANF, or unless the child in need of care has a qualifying disability. That means that a family of two (one parent, one child) must earn $664 or less per month to qualify for assistance, while the average cost of infant child care in Illinois is $1047 per month. The math is simple; without a friend or relative willing to provide child care at no cost or at a discount, many low-wage workers raising children will be forced out of the labor market. Meanwhile, families who were enrolled in Child Care Assistance prior to July 1, 2015, may stay in the program, but most will face higher co-payments.
Here, I discuss the governor's responsibility for the current child care crisis and my deep concerns about his plans for Illinois:
Kidney Action Day
Most people don't spend much time thinking about their kidneys. On August 26, pay attention to your kidneys for a change and have some family fun by coming to Daley Plaza for free screenings, food samples and entertainment.
Free parenting classes
Summer is the perfect time to meet other parents and learn skills that will help you become a better and more confident parent. These free classes are a good place to start.
Geek is chic in Chicago this summer
Help the youth in your life become interested in science, technology, engineering, math and the arts (and get in touch with the geek inside you, too) at the Geek Street festival on Wednesday, July 22. Enjoy gadgets, gizmos and games from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Daley Plaza.
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Chicago Office:1155 W. 79th St.Chicago, IL 60620(773) 224-2830
Springfield Office:M114 CapitolSpringfield, IL 62706(217) 782-1607