99thGALogo webSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) voted today for legislation she co-sponsored to keep essential social services afloat while budget negotiations continue. The measure, which releases $715 million set aside in a number of state funds for human services, passed the House and Senate today with overwhelming bipartisan support and now goes to the governor’s desk.

“While the fight for full funding is not yet over, today’s action is an encouraging sign and a lifeline extended to a wide variety of vital services for our at-risk youth, our food-insecure seniors and other vulnerable residents,” Collins said. “If the governor signs this measure into law, it will finally provide relief to organizations that have been working without pay to serve the ‘least of these,’ even as they themselves have been held hostage.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 2038, funds Youth Build and other youth employment programs, homelessness prevention and affordable housing, Adult Redeploy programs that help ex-offenders take advantage of a second chance, breast and cervical cancer screenings, meals for low-income seniors and much more.

“Especially as Chicago sees alarming levels of violence this year, it is essential that the governor lend his signature to releasing these resources to keep our young people off the streets and show them a different path,” Collins said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to build on the progress we’ve made today and achieve sustainable budgets for this year and the next.”

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Category: Frontpage

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) has introduced legislation to ban auto insurance companies in Illinois from basing their prices on a customer’s credit score. The Senate Insurance Committee heard from advocates yesterday about the role this practice plays in exacerbating existing racial and socioeconomic inequalities and helping fuel the self-perpetuating cycle of poor credit.

“It’s absurd and unacceptable that in Illinois today, a person with poor credit but a perfect driving record pays, on average, substantially more for car insurance than a person with great credit and a drunken driving conviction,” Collins said. “That certainly doesn’t make our roads safer or create incentives for responsible driving, and it makes it even harder for people who are in debt to drive to work so they can get out of debt.”Reverse mortgage 1web

Consumer Reports magazine and the Consumer Federation of America extensively researched the relationship between credit scores and auto insurance rates and found the following:

• Nationally, people with low credit scores are charged car insurance premiums that are substantially higher – in some cases more than twice as expensive – than people with high credit scores, even when other factors such as age, gender, zip code and driving record are identical


• In Illinois, a person with poor credit and no record of traffic violations pays on average 51 percent more per year for car insurance than a person with excellent credit who has been convicted of a DUI


• Twenty percent of Illinois residents have credit scores considered non-prime (less than 620), but in zip codes with predominantly African-American populations, that percentage rises to 54 percent, and in predominantly Latino zip codes, it’s 30 percent; thus, credit-based insurance pricing disproportionately affects drivers in minority communities


• Twenty percent of surveyed credit reports contained errors that negatively affected scores (this result was duplicated in a Federal Trade Commission study)


• More than half of overdue debt on credit reports is medical debt

“For many Illinoisans, auto insurance is not an optional purchase; it is what allows them to get to work so they can earn income and get out of debt,” Collins said. “A credit score is a predictor – and an imperfect one at that – of a person’s ability to repay a debt; it was never designed to predict driving behavior. The same communities of color hit hard by redlining, subprime mortgages, the recession and the housing crisis are still needlessly paying more for a basic product their residents need in order to rebound.”

California, Massachusetts and Hawaii already prohibit credit-based auto insurance pricing.

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Interested in this issue? Read more about Consumer Reports' car insurance survey.

Category: Frontpage

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) secured passage today of legislation allowing foreign-born victims of torture or human-trafficking to become eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and food stamps (SNAP) while waiting on the federal government to process their asylum applications. The process to obtain a visa to remain legally in the U.S. can take months or even years for these individuals, and while they wait, they are not authorized to work or access federal benefits.

“America can take pride in opening her arms to individuals who have been victims of horrific crimes and are seeking a land of safety and opportunity,” said Collins, who has sponsored numerous laws aiding human trafficking victims during her service in the Senate. “We can carry on this welcoming tradition here in Illinois by assisting those affected – many of them women and children – while their cases are being evaluated.”

The average processing time for a T Visa (issued to foreign-born victims of human trafficking) is five months; for a U Visa (issued to those who have been victims of torture or other serious crimes, as well as their immediate family members), the average wait time is 16 months.

Collins worked with the Heartland Alliance, EverThrive Illinois, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan to draft and pass the legislation, which now goes to the House for its members’ consideration.

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Category: Frontpage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2016

Collins, Treasurer Summers aim to protect small businesses

Anti-predatory lending measure approved by Senate committee

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) is working with City of Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers to protect small businesses with legislation recently approved by the Senate Financial Institutions Committee. The measure will apply to the sparsely regulated alternative commercial lending industry the same kinds of transparency standards that currently govern residential mortgage lenders, banks and credit unions.

“Small businesses are the engines of our economy and employ half of Illinois’ private sector workers, but their access to credit through traditional lenders has dwindled since the recession, and alternative lenders – some of which are operating in a misleading or predatory manner – have stepped into the void,” Collins said. “Our goal is to craft a law that maintains access to capital for small business owners who need it, yet protects them from deceptive practices, excessive fees and loans they ultimately cannot repay.”

“Too often we’re seeing instances where hard-working entrepreneurs are being preyed upon by a growing number of unscrupulous lenders,” Summers said.

Senate Bill 2865 requires alternative lenders to disclose their interest rates on commercial loans, limits certain types of fees and creates standards that protect small business owners from economic distress by requiring lenders to assess borrowers’ ability to repay.

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Category: Frontpage

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