08222018CM0014 rCHICAGO —All qualified applicants are now eligible for professional licenses, regardless of their immigration status, under a new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

A federal law passed in 1996 makes non-citizens ineligible for state-issued professional licenses, but allows individual states to pass legislation granting licenses to non-citizens.

“Immigrants contribute to our state by working hard and paying taxes,” Martinez said. “If someone wants to further their career by becoming a licensed professional, we need to do all we can to support that.”

The new law deletes a provision in the Pharmacy Practice Act that requires an individual to submit evidence that they are a United States citizen or legally admitted immigrant before receiving a license. It also requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to allow an applicant to use a taxpayer identification number as an alternative to a Social Security number.

Senate Bill 3109 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.


Category: News Releases

CHICAGO — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke out strongly today against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto her legislation expanding the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative.

“I truly cannot understand why Gov. Rauner would choose to veto a measure that would help address Illinois’ teacher shortage,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said.

“The Grow Your Own Teacher program is an investment in Illinois’ future. It encourages and provides support for people studying to become teachers. It places teachers in low-income schools that are often difficult to staff. I don’t see a downside.

“The governor may say he cares about improving the education system in our state, but his actions show otherwise.”

The measure would have extended eligibility for the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative to high school students enrolled at dual-credit courses at participating colleges and universities and to all pre-K teachers, not just those teaching at public schools.

The initiative provides financial, academic and emotional support to people studying to become teachers. After graduation, participants commit to teaching at least five years at a high-needs school or in a high-needs teaching position, usually at schools with a high percentage of low-income students.

Category: News Releases

All victims of human trafficking will have additional protection under a new law passed by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

The law amends the Predator Accountability Act by expanding the protections available to sex trafficking victims to victims of involuntary servitude and labor trafficking.

“The sex trafficking trade is horrible, there are other forms of forced labor,” Martinez said. “We must protect anyone who is made to work against their will.”

Previously, people who have been subjected to the sex trade had the ability to seek civil damages and remedies, but that law did not extend to other forms of trafficking.

The International Labor Organization estimates that almost 25 million people are trafficked worldwide annually. Of these, the majority (68 percent) are exploited for labor. Forced labor occurs in many different industries, but large numbers of people were forced into work in construction, manufacturing and agriculture.

Senate Bill 3108 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Category: News

NHCSL Tour Picture rPHOENIX, AZ – Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) joined Congressman Rubén Gallego (AZ-07) and Members of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) who gathered in Phoenix to call attention to the latest facts on the ground related to family separation resulting from the Trump Administration’s so-called “zero tolerance policy” at the southern border. More than 30 Latino state lawmakers from across the country, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico came to Arizona for NHCSL’s bi-annual Executive Committee meeting earlier this month.

“I am proud to join my colleagues from across the nation in renewing our call for immediate family reunification and an end to the senseless ‘zero tolerance’ policy that has separated innocent children from their families. The family separation crisis is not over and after seeing conditions on the ground, I will go back to my state capitol and redouble efforts so that our state government ensures it is doing all it can to guarantee the safety of the children who are being detained in these facilities,” Martinez said.

During their stay in Phoenix, the legislators visited the Southwest Key child detention center and held meetings with local stakeholders working on family reunification efforts. Gallego and NHCSL members also highlighted proposed actions that need to be taken to guarantee family reunification happens in the most expedited and appropriate manner while also securing the safety of the children and families involved.

Martinez added that: “Family separation is not just a federal issue. These children are housed in facilities certified by our states and local governments and we have an oversight duty to perform. There are many actions we can take at the state and local levels to address this situation, including: providing funding so that these children have access to legal services, making sure detention facilities comply with state and local standards, and providing English Language Learners (ELL) educational services.”

Members of NHCSL’s Executive Committee also held a discussion with the Consul General of Gutaemala in Phoenix, Ambassador Oscar Padilla, and the Consul of Mexico in Phoenix, Ambassador Claudia Franco, who are working tirelessly to address the myriad of challenges these separated children face. During the session, consular officials provided key details of their interactions with the children, detention centers, the government and the community at large.

“I will not rest until our state and local governments do all we can to ensure the safety and security of innocent children whose lives have been upended and are in limbo. Some of the facilities apparently are not in bad conditions. However, even if these children were staying at a Five Star hotel, the point is that they should not have ever been separated from their parents and should not be detained as if they were criminals. This country is supposed to stand for liberty, hope and human rights. Together with my NHCSL colleagues from both sides of the aisle, we will continue to speak out and act so that this situation is resolved and never happens again in our nation,” Martinez said.

Legislators also met yesterday with advocates who are providing critical support services to the kids who are held in these detention facilities. Representatives from the ACLU of Arizona, the Florence Project, the Young Center and Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest shared their experiences in attempting to fill the gaps in the chaos that has been wrought by the cruel family separation policy enacted by the Trump Administration.

Category: News Releases

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