Martinez HB4330SPRINGFIELD — A proposal that will help students meet foreign language requirements when they apply for college has been signed into law.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) sponsored the initiative in the 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 is another step forward for our students and bilingual education,” Martinez said. “Now students can meet foreign language requirements as a result of their participation in the State Seal of Biliteracy 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 schools were approved for 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.

House Bill 4330 is effective Jan. 1, 2017.


Category: News Releases

Martinez Senate bill 2563SPRINGFIELD — In an effort to ensure Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t further damage the state’s child care system, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation to the governor’s desk that protects health care benefits for home child care providers.

Today, the governor vetoed this measure.

“I am frustrated, but not surprised, that the governor doesn’t want to safeguard benefits of child care workers,” Martinez said. “The employees who serve our children and families deserve to have their health care benefits protected.”

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.

Ninety-nine percent of the 3,500 workers that would be protected under Martinez’s proposal are women.

Martinez’s legislation that was vetoed also would have updated 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.


Category: News Releases

House Bill 5901 SigningCHICAGO — Proposals sponsored by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) that would require public schools to report on assessments and allow teachers to carry over professional development hours were signed into law today.

“These new laws provide transparency with student assessments and help teachers receive credit for professional development hours they’ve completed,” Martinez said.

The governor’s approval of these measures comes a day after it was made public that he wrote an email in which he called Chicago teachers and principals illiterate and incompetent.

“The governor’s approval of today’s measures should not give him a pass for his remarks in his email,” Martinez said. “CPS teachers and principals work under challenging circumstances and are some of the most dedicated and capable public servants we have in Illinois. I encourage the governor to spend time with CPS teachers and principals so he can learn firsthand what their job entails and how committed they are to helping students succeed.”

House Bill 5901, which was signed today, requires public schools to report information to the State Board of Education on all administered assessments. Information on the assessments must be made available to the public.

The second new law, HB 6181, allows teachers to carry over professional development hours that they have earned.


Category: News Releases

HB 5736 ReleaseSPRINGFIELD — Thousands of children are protected from losing their health insurance under legislation signed into law that was sponsored by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

The Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act was set to expire in July of this year, but it is now extended to October 1, 2019. Extending the act prevents more than 40,000 children, regardless of their legal status, from losing their health insurance coverage.

“Improving our children’s health should always be a top priority for our state,” Martinez said. “By extending the Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act, we have ensured that our children can keep their health insurance, which will keep them healthy and save the state money in the long run.”

The Covering All Kids Health Insurance Act covers a subset of children in the Illinois All Kids Health Insurance Program— the state’s health insurance program for children.

Covering All Kids provides health insurance to children who can’t access other health care plans and whose family income is between 209 and 318 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

The program receives an annual $40 million federal match that reduces its already modest cost to the state. All families covered are required to pay a monthly premium of $40 for one child and $80 for two children.

“This law is a victory for all of the proponents of this initiative who were committed to ensuring our children’s health insurance stayed in place,” Martinez said. “I would like to thank everyone who worked with me to make this day possible.”

House Bill 5736 is effective immediately.


Category: News Releases

Office Information

Springfield Office:
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