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Category: Press Releases

030414 js 0519LSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Kanerva v. Weems that a 2012 law altering state retirees’ health insurance benefits violated the Pensions Clause of the Illinois Constitution:

The Illinois Supreme Court has resoundingly affirmed what I have always known to be true: that our state constitution protects public employees and does not allow state government to break its promises.

In 2012, I voted against the law the high court has now declared unconstitutional, because changing the rules on individuals who have based financial decisions on their constitutionally guaranteed benefits is no way to treat those who have dedicated their lives to serving the people of this state.

I have also refused to support the General Assembly’s attempts to unilaterally diminish the pension benefits due to our teachers, university employees and state employees, placing the burden of Illinois’ financial woes on the backs of faithful public servants.

I am grateful that our judicial system stands firm for the constitution and against abandoning promises when the obligations of our laws become burdensome. I urge my colleagues to broaden the scope of options on the table, honestly examining our corporate tax structure as we revisit the question of public employee benefits and their impact on the budget.

Category: Press Releases

“Step Up, Get Tested” event also unveils new Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off ticket

Red Ribbon Cash and testing dayCHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th), was present at last week’s unveiling of the new Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off lottery ticket, which supports HIV/AIDS services, and observed National HIV Testing Day by reminding Illinoisans that while new diagnoses have increased among at-risk, predominantly minority populations, there is hope for those who know their status and take control of their health.

“While our efforts to prevent the spread of HIV have resulted in dramatic declines in new infections since the epidemic’s peak, rates remain unacceptably high among young, Black, gay and bisexual men,” Collins said. “On National HIV Testing Day and throughout the summer, we are working with our valued community partners to make sure all Chicagoans — especially members of at-risk populations — have access to testing, services and hope.”

Nationally, newly diagnosed cases of HIV among men with male sex partners dropped from 75,000 per year in the mid-1980s to only 18,000 in the early 1990s but have now risen to 30,000 annually. Chicago saw a 76 percent increase in new infections among gay men younger than 30 between 2000 and 2011, and African American men accounted for most of the jump. Chicago will be the site of a new five-year study, conducted by Northwestern University and funded through a National Institutes of Health grant, of the reasons behind this disturbing trend.

“The Quality of Life program and the Red Ribbon Cash ticket have generated a vital stream of revenue for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and services during a time when state public health funding has been scarce and the struggle against HIV, particularly in communities of color, is often ignored,” Collins said. “I want to personally urge anyone who may be at risk to step up and get tested, and I also urge all our city and state leaders to step up, spread the word and fund the fight.”

Category: Press Releases

Juvenile expungement signingCHICAGO - Sen. Collins attends a bill signing with her mentee, Avery Bolden. On Saturday, Gov. Quinn signed a new law that will automatically expunge most juvenile arrest records (when the arrest did not lead to charges) for youth who have turned 18 and have not been arrested during the past six months. Until now, the procedure for asking a court to order these records expunged was so complicated that of 21,000 minors arrested in Cook County in 2013, only 400 successfully petitioned for expungement. When young people have a second chance to find employment or continue their education, communities thrive and our future looks brighter.

Category: Press Releases

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