Martinez HB4330CHICAGO — A new law that will help students meet foreign language requirements when they apply for college becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the initiative in the Illinois Senate.

Under the new law, state universities and community colleges would have to accept the State Seal of Biliteracy as the equivalent of two years of foreign language learning taken during high school.

The State Seal of Biliteracy, which Martinez worked to establish, is awarded to high school students demonstrating proficiency in English and at least one other language.

“This law will help our students,” Martinez said. “We live in a global society, making it critically important for our economy and culture that bilingual education is promoted. Students attaining a State Seal of Biliteracy will now be guaranteed college credit for participating in the program.”

House Bill 4330 provides that the rules the Illinois State Board of Education establishes for the program must ensure that a student meets two years of foreign language requirements for college admissions purposes.

It’s optional for schools to offer a State Seal of Biliteracy to students. For the 2015-16 school year, 54 Illinois school districts were approved to award the State Seal of Biliteracy.

The law also requires state universities and community colleges to establish criteria to translate a State Seal of Biliteracy into course credit.

Category: News Releases

Senate Bill 42 PhotoCHICAGO — A new law that gives ex-offenders a chance to pursue a career in the health care field becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the initiative in the Illinois Senate.

“I’m a believer in second chances, especially when someone has committed a non-violent offense at a young age,” Martinez said. “We’ve taken a needed step forward by giving former offenders an opportunity to prove that they are rehabilitated and be able to petition the state for a health care license.”

Under the new law Martinez championed, health care professionals who have had their licenses revoked or denied due to a past felony conviction could petition the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to restore or issue their license.

When deciding if a person should be granted a license, IDFPR must take into account the seriousness of the crime, prior disciplinary actions by state and federal agencies and the date of the conviction, among other factors. The department may refuse to issue or restore any license that has been revoked.

Additionally, IDFPR would not be able to restore or issue a license to anyone who has committed a sex crime. Such individuals would also be banned for life from receiving a health care license.

“The law has very important safeguards in place that prevent sex offenders from ever becoming licensed,” Martinez said.


Category: News Releases

Martinez ReleaseCHICAGO — In response to the University of Illinois deciding not to become a sanctuary campus for undocumented students, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

“I am outraged and deeply disappointed that the University of Illinois has decided against becoming a sanctuary campus for undocumented students. President-elect Trump’s racially charged rhetoric against immigrants during the campaign and threats of deportation have put many students in fear, leaving them to wonder what’s next for their education and future.

Undocumented students in Illinois should not have to live in fear. These students aren’t able to receive financial aid and many of them work two and three jobs to pay for college. By becoming a sanctuary campus, the University of Illinois could have put students at ease and taken a strong moral stance against President-elect Trump’s targeting of undocumented students.

I will continue monitoring how the University of Illinois and other colleges address the concerns of the immigrant community. We must be stronger than ever for our undocumented students, and I will continue to fight for their rights.”


Category: News Releases

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

Office Information

Springfield Office:
413 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
District Office:
2921 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020