martinez120116CHICAGO — In response to a new study funded by the Department of Justice that found dire conditions among the inmate population at Logan Correctional Center, Majority Caucus Whip and Latino Caucus Co-Chair Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

“I was strongly opposed to the closing of the Dwight correctional facility in 2013 and the transfer of female inmates, many of whom are from the Chicago area, to a state prison in Lincoln. As the new report states, this decision has put inmates and Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) staff in untenable conditions.

While I am not surprised by the report’s findings of overcrowding and dangerous conditions at Logan Correctional Center, the focus should be on improving the conditions at this facility. I will monitor the progress IDOC director, John Baldwin, makes and I offer my support in the Illinois Senate to speed up the improvements.”

The Dwight prison was closed by former Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration in 2013, and its inmates were transferred to Logan Correctional Center. This decision was made without a plan for a smooth transition to make the facility viable in the long term.

IDOC houses 2,000 women at Logan, including hundreds of inmates with mental health problems. The facility had previously held 1,500 men.

The study identified overcrowded conditions, overuse of harsh punishments, absence of training for personnel, constant leadership changes and a lack of “trauma-informed practices” as they related to women as problems at Logan Correctional Center.

A Chicago Tribune article has more information on the report’s findings.

You can watch videos of Martinez talking more about this issue in English and in Spanish.

Category: News Releases

Martinez SB 2196 ReleaseSPRINGFIELD — After the Illinois House adjourned without voting on a plan that would have ensured students in Illinois could be able to compete for state-based financial aid, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) renewed her call for passage of the initiative.

“I am disappointed the Illinois House has yet to take up a plan that will give young, talented students an opportunity to compete for aid that will help them pay for college,” said Martinez, who is sponsoring the measure and secured its passage in the Senate earlier this year. “I look forward to continuing to work with the House sponsor and proponents of this bill so that we can send it to the governor’s desk during the next legislative session.”

Under the “Student Access Bill,” Senate Bill 2196, undocumented students meeting Illinois residency conditions necessary for tuition purposes would be eligible for state-based financial aid at Illinois’ four-year public universities.

The measure does not require the state to increase spending for higher education or create a new scholarship program. It simply gives public universities the authority to offer financial aid to more students. The initiative does not include access to Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.


Category: News Releases

SB 2822 Press ReleaseSPRINGFIELD — After voting to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2822 regarding appropriations for the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

The governor’s veto was a bad decision. Chicago taxpayers are forced to pay for CPS teacher pensions and downstate teachers pensions. However, residents living outside of Chicago don’t have to contribute to Chicago teacher pensions. That’s not fair. The governor had a chance to bring fairness to Chicago taxpayers, but he failed to do so.

The Illinois Senate was able to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2822. The Illinois House must now override the governor’s veto for the measure to become law.


Category: News Releases

Martinez Senate bill 2536 OverrideSPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would have protected health care benefits for child care providers.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the measure to prevent the governor from harming the state’s child care system.

“Our child care workers are some of the most important employees we have in Illinois,” Martinez said. “They care for our children, and it’s important that we invest in their success, treat them fairly and ensure they get the health care they need and deserve.”

The Illinois Department of Human Services already provides health insurance to qualified child care providers. However, Martinez sponsored her legislation because of concern that the Rauner administration wanted to eliminate health insurance for child care employees.

These concerns follow the cuts the governor made last year to the state’s Child Care Assistance Program.

Of the thousands of workers that would be protected under Martinez’s proposal, the majority of them are women.

“Based on how the governor has acted in the past and his anti-labor positions, it’s important to have a law in place that prevents his administration from having an opportunity to take away benefits from workers,” Martinez said.

Martinez’s legislation also updates training requirements for child care providers to ensure Illinois is compliant with new federal guidelines.

Martinez worked on Senate Bill 2536 with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

It will now be up to the Illinois House to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2536.



Category: News Releases

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