CollinsEOSState Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) continued her push to represent the 16th District during the 2021 spring session, and to ensure that all Illinoisans have a seat at the table, whether in the classroom, at the doctor, in the housing market, or in access to financial institutions.

As part of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ economic pillar, Collins successfully pushed for the inclusion of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act and a new Illinois Community Reinvestment Act within Senate Bill 1792. The PLPA, containing language Collins developed, caps the allowable interest rates on certain types of loans and ensures Illinois joins more than a dozen other states that have more tightly restricted such financial products.

Senator Collins has spearheaded efforts to rein in the excesses of payday loans and has called for the rate cap for years.

“Just as it is with redlining, with bias in insurance rates, and with the ongoing disparity in home lending, this is not just about financial ethics. It’s about racial justice,” Collins said as the governor signed Senate Bill 1792 into law in March. “There is a growing understanding among Illinoisans that these financial systems target people of color and entrench racial poverty. When we have honest, hard conversations, we can topple barriers.”

Senator Collins also stood up on behalf of women and people of color in her push to expunge felony prostitution convictions through Senate Bill 2136. Felony prostitution charges can be a significant barrier to finding housing or gainful employment, which only adds further injury to sex workers. Felony prostitution charges were ended in Illinois in 2013, but
those with such convictions are
still subject to all the penalties that come with a felony record. The legislation will also remove a drug testing requirement for those seeking to seal records of their felony drug convictions.

Collins’ anti-human trafficking legislation – found within Senate Bill 1599 – focused on reinstating the Human Trafficking Task Force to study the means of fighting such crimes in Illinois, and she also advanced Senate Bill 1600 to require more employees in industries adjacent to trafficking be trained in how to spot it. Another measure, House Bill 588, also requires more prominent placement of human trafficking information in establishments where trafficking occurs, such as truck stops and transportation hubs.

Collins also continued her record of fighting for schoolchildren with Senate Bill 605, mandating clear and consistent annual truancy policies, and for the elderly, with Senate Bill 2137, directing nursing homes and long-term care facilities to explore the ways communications technology can potentially fight the social isolation so many seniors struggle with. As the legislative session came to a close, Collins turned her attention to the Metra station in Auburn Gresham, for which she passionately advocated for years, and which will soon begin the bidding process.

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