Four of the state’s public universities would automatically accept high school students in the top 10 percent of their class under legislation by State Senator Jacqueline Collins, which passed the Senate today.

House Bill 26starts a four-year pilot program in which Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Illinois Universities admit any undergraduate admission application from a first-time freshman who has graduated high school in the top 10 percent of their graduating class. Students would also need to fulfill each university’s standard ACT or SAT requirements in order to qualify.

“More and more, the job market has shifted to a de facto requirement of at least a four-year college degree. For all job applicants who seek gainful employment with stable hours and benefits, it’s no longer about one’s K-12 education, but about one’s K-16 education,” Collins said. “It’s our hope that by extending this guarantee of admission to state universities which offer a variety of strong career-oriented colleges, we’re encouraging high school students to achieve and ensuring our highest-performing students have an inherent assurance of a college education.”

House Bill 26 must be approved by a concurrence vote in the Illinois House to pass the General Assembly.

SPRINGFIELD – All portions of a comprehensive plan to combat rising maternal mortality rates, sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins, have passed the Illinois Senate.

“I’m gratified to see this legislative package pass without opposition in the Senate,” Collins said Friday as the Illinois Senate passed House Bills 3 and 5, two of the legislative package’s bills. “We bring this plan forward to fight against an environment where women’s concerns over their bodies and their children’s well-being are diminished or ignored, often in ways that can be deadly for women of color in particular. This data-driven plan will seek solutions for this widespread public health concern and guide us in how to act.”

The legislative effort comprises House Bills 1, 2, 3 and 5, all of which have passed both chambers of the General Assembly.

Passed by the Senate yesterday, House Bill 3 requires a hospital’s quarterly “report card” to include instances of preterm infants, infant mortality and maternal mortality, while also reporting racial and ethnic information about the infants’ mothers and the disparity of outcomes across different racial and ethnic groups.

“We have seen studies that show a college-educated black woman in a high-paying career is more likely to die as a consequence of childbirth than a white woman without a high school diploma,” Collins said. “This is about accountability for hospitals, but also about giving us accurate data on the true scope of this problem.”

House Bill 5 directs the Department of Human Services to ensure pregnant and postpartum mothers have access to substance use disorder services that are gender-responsive and trauma-informed.
In addition, the Department of Public Health would establish a classification system for four levels of maternal care and would direct higher-level facilities to train lower-level facilities on how to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, as well as ensure they develop a tracking method for related cases.

“There’s a dynamic at play, whether purposeful or inadvertent, that can cause medical professionals to minimize or dismiss a pregnant woman’s concerns, even as research has identified all the ways in which she may need help,” Collins said. “House Bill 5 aims to end that dynamic through clear directives and education for our medical and emergency response personnel, in a way that will save lives.”

In response to an infant mortality rate among women of color that is twice that of white women, House Bill 1 creates a Task Force on Infant and Maternal Mortality Among African Americans. Studies have found that, even accounting for socioeconomic class and level of education, a black woman is more likely to lose her child than a white woman.

House Bill 2 adds a host of maternal rights under the Medical Patients Rights Act, commonly called the Patient’s Bill of Rights. Among them, the legislation calls for the right to care before, during and after childbirth; the right to choose a midwife or physician in a setting of her choosing; the right to full and clear information on the benefits, risks, and costs of treatment and medication; the right to accept or refuse treatment or procedures and to have her wishes honored; the right to hold her child after birth if there is no immediate medical emergency; and the right to respect and sensitivity from her medical professionals, among others.

House Bills 1 and 5 await the governor’s signature to become law, while House Bills 2 and 3 await concurrence votes in the House.

i0000010Following an investigation by Chicago Tribune/Kaiser Health News revealing wide dissatisfaction in nursing home care and illuminating the burden it places on the families of elders, State Senator Jacqueline Collins introduced legislation today designed to enhance nursing home residents’ quality of care.
“It has been both heartbreaking and motivating to me, through my work, to see how devastating it can be for an entire family when a loved one receives inadequate care in a nursing home,” said Collins (D-Chicago) in announcing Senate Bill 1510 at the state capitol to reporters today.
The legislation calls for stricter enforcement of the state’s minimum staffing requirements, heightened public transparency of nursing home violations, and enhanced safeguards regarding a psychotropic medication and a resident’s right to informed consent.
In 2015, 39 percent of nursing homes in Illinois received a low quality rating from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Eighty-four percent of voters in Illinois say that action
should be taken in 2019 to increase the quality of care in Illinois nursing homes, according to an AARP Illinois survey.
Collins was joined by state Rep. Anna Moeller, sponsor of House Bill 2974, which would provide a non-refundable tax credit up to $1,500 for eligible family caregivers who pay for adult day services, transportation, equipment, home modifications and other expenses when caring for family. The survey found that 62 percent of Illinois family caregivers pay expenses out-of-pocket to care for an elder.
To view the AARP survey detailing this and other information surrounding elder care in Illinois visit:

001collinsState Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today after voting for Senate Bill 1, would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

“A working family should not need to be on food stamps in order to survive,” Collins said. “Economists argue that by the measure of Americans' productivity – their output and real accomplishments while at work – the minimum wage should now be more than $19 per hour. To afford the average rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Illinois requires a wage of nearly $21 per hour. This is just a step toward achieving sustainability for Illinois families that doesn’t come at the expense of taxpayers.”

Illinois’ current minimum wage is $8.25 per hour, low enough that a single parent working a full-time minimum-wage job qualifies for food stamps, Medicaid and often housing assistance.

The increase under Senate Bill 1 will mean the minimum wage for workers who receive tips would increase to $9 per hour by 2025.

Senate Bill 1 would increase the minimum wage according to the following incremental schedule:

  • $9.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020
  • $10 per hour on July 1, 2020
  • $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2021
  • $12 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022
  • $13 per hour on Jan. 1, 2023
  • $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2024
  • $15 per hour after Jan. 1, 2025

Having passed the Senate 39-18, the measure now heads to the Illinois House for consideration.

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