04272017CM0704 rMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) released the following statement on the Senate passing a balanced budget for FY 2018:

“Today, after months of failed negotiations with Republicans, Senate Democrats made the responsible choice and passed a budget that will restore stability to the communities that need it the most.

For almost two years, immigrants, women, children, people with disabilities and senior citizens have suffered without a budget. Over and over again they have voiced their fears about losing the services they need. And over and over again Governor Rauner’s administration hasn’t listened. Today, the Senate Democrats took action to fix what the governor has broken.

The budget we passed today includes $6 million for immigrant services. It fully funds domestic violence shelters, child care services, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. It provides opportunities for youth through millions of dollars for youth employment and community youth services. It cares for our most vulnerable citizens through funding for mental health programs, addiction treatment and prevention, and autism support. And it ensures that our students can start school on time by including additional funding for public schools.

Illinoisans have been suffering for years because of a crisis that they did not create. We were elected to do a job, and today we fulfilled our responsibility to our constituents and our communities.”

Category: News Releases

05192017CM0213 rMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) criticized Secretary of Education Beth Purvis for pitting the students in Chicago Public Schools against students in the rest of the state in her opposition to the Senate’s recently passed school funding reform bill.

“Governor Rauner and his administration think that some children don’t deserve the same chance. Apparently the children in Chicago Public Schools did something wrong, by being lower-income, by being black or brown, and don’t deserve equal opportunity,” Martinez said at a press conference this morning. “It is our responsibility as legislators to make sure that the circumstances children are born into do not dictate the education they receive. It is our job to stand up for every child in our state.”

Martinez joined several other Democratic senators in calling for the Executive Inspector General of Illinois to investigate the distribution of state materials from Rauner’s administration to a political group funded by the governor’s campaign.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the bill’s sponsor, said at the press conference that documents incorrectly portraying the funding schools in Kankakee County would receive were sent to a politically-motivated publication. Manar had seen the documents on Thursday in a meeting with Governor Rauner and had pointed out their errors.

The Rauner administration has been vocal in its opposition to Manar’s legislation, claiming it “bails out” Chicago Public Schools.

“I’m tired of hearing the term ‘bailing out CPS,’” Martinez said. “Let me remind Governor Rauner and Beth Purvis that the Chicago Public School District is the third-largest school district in the nation. Shame on the administration that cannot look at this picture for all children across the state and see that every child deserves the same education.”

SB 1 replaces the state’s current school funding formula with an evidence-based model. It  passed the Senate 35-18 on Wednesday with no Republican support.

Martinez's full remarks can be viewed here.

Category: News Releases

05092017CM0785 rMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) voted today for a measure that would protect legal abortion in Illinois, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

HB 40, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), removes the trigger language from a previous Illinois law that would outlaw abortion in the state if the landmark case were overturned. It also allows Medicaid and state employee health plans to cover legal abortions.

“A woman’s right to choose is under attack at a federal level and in many states,” Martinez said. “I am proud that we in Illinois are committed to keeping the government out of a decision that should be solely up to the woman. I hope Governor Rauner lives up to his promise and signs this legislation.”

HB 40 passed the House 62-55 in last month. It passed the Senate 33-22 today and will move to the governor’s desk. Governor Rauner said in 2014 that he would sign the bill if it passed, then went back on that statement earlier this year, saying he would veto it.

Category: News Releases

martinez2014Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the Senate Licensed Activity and Pension Committee’s “no” vote on the Home Birth Safety Act:

This week has been a disaster for women’s health. In Washington D.C. and in Springfield, groups of men got together and dictated the choices women can make about their health, pregnancy and childbirth.

I am ashamed to say that special interests won out over women’s interests when the Senate Licensed Activity and Pension Committee voted on the Home Birth Safety Act on Wednesday.

With yesterday’s horrifying vote on the American Healthcare Act, women have fewer choices than ever with regards to their healthcare. And, sadly, this vote seeks to take away one more - a woman’s choice to have her baby at home. Additionally, it takes away an employment opportunity for women, as the majority of midwives are female.

Sarah Moore, from the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives association, had this to say:
“As midwives, we have been fighting for 30 years to let families choose the way they bring babies into the world. We’ve been willing to compromise, but we’ve been met with opposition at every turn. I am disappointed that even with someone like Senator Martinez bringing this to the table, special interest groups found a reason to deny families this choice.”

The Home Birth Safety Act is not just about choice, however – it’s about responsibility. As the chair of the Licensed Activity and Pension Committee, it is my responsibility to make sure that the state is implementing safe and fair licensing standards for people to practice their chosen profession.

Home births are becoming increasingly common in Illinois and around the country – the rate has increased 77 percent between 2009-2014. In 32 states, women can have their home birth attended to by a licensed midwife. In Illinois, they have to use a midwife operating outside the system.

Let me be clear – home births will continue in Illinois. But because we allowed special interest groups to dictate our decision in committee this week, the women who choose this method to deliver their children will be less safe doing so.

I introduced this bill because I heard from women in my communities that there is a passionate desire for it. Now these women won’t even get the chance to hear an open debate on the issue on the Senate floor.

These shameful actions, silencing women and dictating their health care choices, have no place in Illinois.

Category: News Releases

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