001collinsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins issued the following statement on legislation she co-sponsored to prevent Chicago Public Schools (CPS) from closing any school facilities until the end of the 2014-15 school year:

School closures destabilize children, families and communities. They should not be undertaken lightly. I continue to have deep concerns about closing a large number of schools and uprooting their students - particularly children with special needs, children experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable young people - without adequate time to prepare for safe and supportive transitions.

I am not convinced that schools labeled as “failing” have been offered the resources that could put them back on track or that consistent, well-publicized, district-wide criteria are being used to identify schools for closure. A moratorium on school actions will allow CPS to clarify these criteria and identify needs in each underperforming school. It will also allow CPS leadership to pay down the trust deficit that hinders its ability to focus on what should be its highest priority: educating every child. I look forward to seeing the master facilities plan CPS will present this year, and I urge a renewed commitment to community involvement, school-level improvement and thoughtful, measured action.

The moratorium legislation, Senate Bill 1571, received preliminary approval from the Senate Education Committee yesterday.

CollinsFloorShot230-day grace periods will remain in effect for the next three years

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) secured unanimous Senate passage Wednesday of a measure that postpones the repeal of legal protections for homeowners seeking counseling to avoid foreclosure. The “30-30-30” grace period law was set to expire this year but would remain on the books for another three years if Collins’ legislation is successful.

“Foreclosure prevention counseling has helped thousands of Illinois homeowners stay in their homes,” Collins said. “Because in many parts of our state the housing market is still in crisis, we must continue to give homeowners who have missed payments the breathing room they need to seek professional assistance.”

Since 2009, more than 48,000 homeowners have received free counseling through the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network, and the Illinois Hardest Hit program has helped more than 6,500 people make their mortgage payments.

“Foreclosure counseling is a proven tool in the effort to stabilize neighborhoods and give homeowners a chance to make it through tough times,” Collins said. “Approved counselors can help homeowners evaluate their finances, take control of their spending, negotiate with their lenders and ultimately start making manageable payments and keep their homes.”

The “30-30-30” law requires lenders to wait 30 days after the due date of a missed payment, send a notice to the borrower, give the homeowner 30 more days to seek counseling and then give the homeowner and counselor 30 days to offer the lender a workout plan. The bank may file for foreclosure only if the homeowner does not obtain counseling services within 30 days of the initial notice, if the homeowner and counselor do not present an acceptable plan within 30 days or if the borrower fails to comply with the terms of the workout plan.

001collinsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) issued the following statement on the governor’s budget proposal, which cuts more than $300 million in funding from primary and secondary education.

We must not allow our children to become sacrificial lambs on the altar of pension inaction. As a legislator, I must be their advocate and voice to fight for adequate and equitable school funding.

If Illinois approves these drastic cuts to education in order to pay our ever-increasing pension liability, we will have won a Pyrrhic victory. Without educated citizens and an educated workforce, we cannot move forward as a nation, and our children will not be able to compete in the global economy.

Further cuts to General State Aid – the mechanism the state uses to try to equalize opportunity for children in property-poor districts – will disproportionately punish Illinois’ most vulnerable children, the ones who most desperately need the promise of public education. For these children, education can mean the difference between a life of success and giving back, and a life of poverty and crime. Lives hang in the balance. Our children are waiting for us to act.

CollinsFloorShot1SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage today of legislation she co-sponsored to extend Medicaid benefits to low-income adults not currently eligible for medical assistance:

Last year, low-income seniors and other vulnerable people were asked to bear the brunt of devastating Medicaid cuts. The 2012 Medicaid reform package ended the Illinois Cares Rx program, eliminated all routine adult dental care and undermined previous agreements about nursing home staffing. The law limits the number of prescriptions clients can have filled each month, and the process for obtaining an exemption from the limit is still unclear. Even now, we do not know the full impact the weakening of the health care safety net will have on our state, particularly the very poor and communities of color.

But today I was proud to cast my vote for quality, coordinated medical care with full federal reimbursement for people who previously had no options other than the emergency room. Accepting the federal funds will save the state more than $100 million each year, and we can and should invest the savings back into existing state medical assistance programs. Medicaid expansion will also create much-needed jobs in the health care sector, support hospitals that currently go uncompensated for many of the services they provide and boost the economy. Finally, we’re taking a giant step in the right direction on Medicaid.

Senate Bill 26 passed the Senate by a vote of 40-19 and will next be considered by the House.

Contact Info

Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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