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
July 2, 2015
This week, the Senate took action to shield Illinois' most vulnerable residents from the impact of Gov. Rauner's disastrous decision to veto most of the state budget the General Assembly sent to him last month.
The emergency measure, which I co-sponsored, would prevent interruptions in services to people with developmental disabilities, wards of the state, abused and neglected children, senior citizens who need in-home assistance, veterans, individuals receiving addiction treatment and parents who rely on WIC for help purchasing infant formula and food for their young children. The one-month stopgap budget would also pay prison guards, parole officers who monitor sex offenders, state troopers, disaster preparedness personnel and the National Guard. Finally, it would allow the state to continue reimbursing doctors, hospitals and clinics for providing Medicaid services, including adult dental care, that were covered under last year's budget.
This is not a long-term solution; it is a bare-bones budget intended to head off immediate and disastrous consequences to public safety and human life while the overall negotiations continue. Unless we give agencies the legal authority to spend state resources for essential purposes, the elderly could be left waiting for admission to a nursing facility because they can no longer care for themselves at home, parents of children with developmental disabilities could be forced to miss work to care for them, families who rely on nutritional assistance could go hungry and critical public safety employees could be asked to work without pay.
Yet Republicans in the House and Senate refused to vote even for this basic, stopgap measure, and the governor has said he will not sign it if sent to his desk. While the Senate passed Senate Bill 2040, the House fell short of the votes needed to approve an identical piece of legislation, House Bill 4190. Illinois residents will have to wait until next week for relief from the consequences of a sweeping state government shutdown.
I am optimistic that enough representatives will understand the desperate urgency of the current situation to pass this one-month budget, and I am encouraging my colleagues to finish that task as soon as possible. I am also urging the governor to change course and sign the stopgap budget while negotiations continue. Please call him at (312) 814-2121 or email him here to tell him not to penalize vulnerable people, who did not create the state's fiscal difficulties or contribute to the current standoff.
I continue working for a responsible budget that balances prudent spending with the revenue needed to fund important state functions, from education to health care to public safety. I am not alone, and I believe we will get the job done, especially with your advocacy and support. But as we wait for those efforts to bear fruit, the first principle of medicine applies to government as well: first do no harm. Our first duty is to protect those whom the governor seems determined to hold hostage to his inflexible demands. As always, please feel free to contact my office here or by calling (773) 224-2830 with any questions or concerns you may have or if I can assist you in any way.
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
At the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Roundtable in Washington, D.C., I spoke with U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), whose work on criminal justice reform I applaud. This session, I supported comprehensive policing reform, legislation that keeps more juvenile offenders out of adult lockups and a measure expanding employment opportunities for nonviolent ex-felons. It is important that state governments and Congress work together to modernize old approaches to crime that don't rehabilitate offenders or make us safer but do disproportionately incarcerate and marginalize persons of color.
Some facts Sen. Booker shared with us about crime and punishment in America:
Senator Collins has garnered nationwide attention for her support for a film called "Chiraq" and its production in a community she represents. Currently filming in Englewood, the movie is expected to address the violent crime plaguing many low-income, predominantly minority communities in Chicago (and around the country); it also promises to impact thousands of local residents and businesses through employment and contracting opportunities.
Collins recently introduced a resolution, which the Senate adopted, calling on the state of Illinois to grant "Chiraq" the same tax credit it awards to other productions that meet eligibility criteria by employing Illinois residents and investing in disadvantaged areas. In standing for the economic boon to her community and the artistic and social value of telling the truth about violence, she took on critics who felt the name Chiraq (originally a rap term comparing the murder rate in Chicago to the death toll in the Iraq War) was insulting to Chicagoans.
On June 4, she appeared on CNN to discuss Spike Lee's project and its value to the 16th District. Please click below to learn more about job opportunities on the set and why Collins believes "Chiraq" is good for Chicago and Illinois.
Read more: Collins receives national attention for supporting Spike Lee film produced in 16th District
Yesterday, I voted against budget reductions Governor Rauner proposed - cuts that would decimate core state functions including higher education, Medicaid, child care assistance for low-income working parents, breast and cervical cancer screenings and after-school programs for youth at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence.
Instead, I was proud to support a budget Senate Democrats have introduced to fully fund many essential services and meet the state's obligations to retirees, residents with disabilities, students in need of financial assistance and wards of the state.
As I advocate for you, I view every proposed budget as a moral document that spells out the true priorities of those who support it. Today, I was honored to stand with a majority of the Senate in affirming our priorities: empowering working families, caring for the most vulnerable and breaking the cycle of poverty through education and opportunity.
At the same time, we rejected the governor's priorities: corporate privileges, lower wages and leaving behind the least of these.
In February, the governor introduced a budget that would have
• eliminated anti-violence programs such as CeaseFire and Teen Reach
• slashed funding for colleges and universities by one-third
• limited access to cancer screenings and treatment for low-income women
• terminated dental benefits for adult Medicaid clients
• ended child care subsidies for children as young as six and those cared for by relatives
• left 4,000 children with disabilities without the early intervention services they need to start school prepared
Gov. Rauner asked legislators to approve these catastrophic cuts and many, many more. But without even waiting for the legislature's approval, he suspended grants that had already been awarded to youth employment programs and cut funding from autism services and other programs Illinois residents rely on to live independently.
My colleagues and I took a stand, because these are not mere numbers on a piece of paper; they are human lives. This process is far from over, but I will continue fighting to prioritize people, not profits.
I will continue to update you on this developing situation in Springfield, and I invite you to call or email me with any concerns or ideas you may have.
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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