05292019CM2035 rSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) today passed legislation out of the Senate to overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

The measure is a bipartisan effort to address the issue of educator misconduct in classrooms across the state.

“The importance of protecting our children is an issue we can all agree on, no matter our political party,” Martinez said. “The report released last year was shocking, and I am thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to work on a solution. Students should be able to feel safe at school.”

Lawmakers began working on a solution after a Chicago Tribune article published late last year detailed a series of stories regarding children being harassed or abused during their time as students at Chicago Public Schools.

The measure addresses a multitude of issues such as: changing how a student is interviewed after making a complaint, increasing the frequency with which school districts must check statewide databases, lessening the re-traumatization of a student victim and creating a taskforce to continue to review these policy changes.

Among other provisions, the legislation also:

•    Requires school districts to review their existing policies and procedures concerning sexual abuse investigations every two years.
•    Requires the school district as a condition of employment to consider the status of a person who has been issued a finding of child abuse or neglect.
•    Provides for alternative hearing procedures if a student is under the age of 18.

Senate Bill 456 passed both the House and Senate without opposition and will now head to the governor’s desk.

 

Category: News Releases

05212019CW0201 rSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Senate today that would require companies to notify and obtain consent from applicants if artificial intelligence will be used in the interview process.

“Applicants deserve to be as prepared as possible coming into the interview process,” Martinez said. “While artificial intelligence can be a useful tool for companies to screen and hire employees, they should not be able to use it without the applicant agreeing to do so.”

Artificial Intelligence for job hiring has become a recent trend; in a 2017 Deloitte survey, a third of respondents said they already used some form of AI in their hiring process.

Applicants answer a series of questions on video which are then analyzed by advanced machine learning. An algorithm evaluates facial expressions, word choice, body language, vocal tone, and thousands of data points, which are translated into a score. The robot will then decide whether the person is a good fit for the company.

House Bill 2557 passed the Senate without opposition and now heads back to the House for a concurrence vote.

Category: News Releases

05082019CM0766rSpeaking at a Latino Unity Day press conference on Wednesday, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez stressed the importance of a complete count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

“Each person not counted means revenue lost for the State of Illinois from the federal government,” Martinez said. “This means fewer dollars for roads and infrastructure, less money for education, less reimbursement for cities and towns, less money for essential human services and less money for the most vulnerable among us.”

Martinez is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1408, which would appropriate $25 million to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide grants to community providers and local governments to encourage full participation in the upcoming Census.

Martinez cited a recent study by the Chicago Urban League that found that over 40 percent of Illinois’ black residents and 1 in 3 Latino residents lives in a hard-to-count community.

She also said the threat of an incomplete count is heightened by a proposed citizenship question on the census that would make immigrant communities reluctant to participate in the census.

“In today’s world, with the rhetoric coming from the White House, we need to educate people and make sure they are not fearful,” she said.

Martinez said she is working closely with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to ensure that every hard-to-count group is covered.

View Martinez’s full remarks below.

Category: News Releases

05092019CM0021rSPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke Thursday on the need for clarity in state law regarding worker cooperatives, a model in which businesses are owned and controlled cooperatively by workers.

“Worker cooperatives are a proven model that provide living wage jobs, especially for workers in communities of color, who often work in the low-wage economy where wage theft and discrimination are extremely common,” Martinez said.

Martinez is sponsoring House Bill 3663, which would provide clarity of what a worker cooperative is and the benefits and rights of those that operate under its construct. It also sets guidelines for organizing and managing a worker cooperative.

State Senator Robert Peters, a chief co-sponsor of the legislation, said the measure will make it easier for people to come together and create business opportunities in areas that have seen disinvestment, like the south side of Chicago.

“In the state of Illinois, let’s be at the forefront of worker cooperatives,” Peters (D-Chicago) said. “Let’s make it easier for people to do so, and let’s change how we reinvest in our communities.”

State Senator Mattie Hunter, also a co-sponsor of the measure, said that only 18 percent of Chicago businesses are owned by people of color. Of those, 6 percent are Latino business owners, and only 2 percent are African American.

“This is unacceptable to us,” Hunter (D-Chicago) said. “We must support innovative models that are proven to work for communities of color.”

House Bill 3663 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition and awaits action in the Senate.

View video of the senator's remarks below.

Category: News Releases

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