Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th) and Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-7th) will focus on National African American HIV Awareness Day at a press conference in an effort to pass Senate Bill 2971, which extends the sunset date for the Quality of Life Fund’s “Red Ribbon Cash” lottery ticket expiring December 31, 2012.  This new legislation extends the ticket sunset date to December 31, 2017. 

Enacted in 2007, the Quality of Life Fund’s Red Ribbon Cash lottery ticket funds HIV/AIDS prevention and care services for populations disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.  One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to organizations across the state of Illinois that provide services to those impacted. “Funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs is vitally important given the increasing prevalence and devastating nature of this disease in our communities,” said Collins, who sponsored the original legislation creating the ticket and is also sponsoring the extension.

The Quality of Life Fund is a self-generating revenue fund based on sales.  Last year the Red Ribbon Cash scratch-off game generated $1.4 million for HIV/AIDS prevention and care.  This year the lottery ticket will fund 14 community based organizations across the state.

“It is estimated that 46,000 Illinoisans are living with HIV/AIDS in the State of Illinois, and that every 9 and a half minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV,” said Representative Yarbrough, who is sponsoring the bill in the House.

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State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) was pleased to hear Governor Quinn, in his State of the State Address, express his commitment to two priorities she shares: helping people stay in their homes, and protecting neighborhoods from falling home values caused by poorly-maintained vacant properties. Sen. Collins is the chief sponsor of legislation that would enable municipalities to hold lenders responsible for the upkeep of properties in foreclosure once the occupants have relocated.

“Despite some recovery in the housing market, property values remain low in many neighborhoods because of the prevalence of abandoned, unsafe, and poorly-maintained buildings,” Sen. Collins said. “I look forward to working with the governor, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and other state and community leaders to stop the cycle of home loss and falling home values.”

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State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) participated earlier today in a hearing on the crisis of youth joblessness in Illinois. The Chicago Urban League sponsored the event, which featured the presentation of several new studies of regional and state unemployment, as well as a group of teenagers and young adults who shared their experiences with joblessness. Elected officials, including three other state senators and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, were invited to listen as the speakers testified to the challenges of starting out in the workforce.

“I was very impressed with the young people who spoke today, conveying courage and honesty as they recounted the issues they’ve faced while trying to secure jobs,” Sen. Collins said after the event. “There were single teen moms there; there were teens living in homes where their parents were also struggling to find productive employment. I was especially moved by the hopelessness Elizabeth Davis expressed; she feels her generation is ‘chasing a dream that is not really for us.’”    

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