02192019CW2123 rSPRINGFIELD — A new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) will overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

Martinez passed the legislation out of the Senate this year as 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 (CPS).

The law 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 law 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 was signed by the governor. It takes effect immediately.

 

Category: News Releases

mental 1831391 960 720 rSPRINGFIELD — Legislation sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) addressing the growing concern of mental illness and suicide on college campuses became law today.

Martinez’s law will require public colleges and universities to make information available to students on all mental health and suicide prevention resources provided by the university.

“We are becoming more aware of the struggles college students are facing,” Martinez said. “They need to be able to readily access help for mental health issues they may be dealing with.”

Diagnoses and treatment of mental health conditions among college students are on the rise, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students.

House Bill 3404 takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Category: News Releases

HB88 rCHICAGO — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) joined Gov. JB Pritzker and advocates today as her legislation providing relief from high interest on consumer debt was signed into law.

The bill, which passed both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support, takes two steps to lower the financial burden on Illinoisans struggling with these debts.

First, it lowers the interest rate on consumer debt under $25,000 from 9% to 5%. It also lowers the timeframe in which debt collectors can collect on a judgment from 26 to 17 years, preventing families from being trapped by decades-old debts.

“Debt can be a real, crushing thing that keeps people trapped in a cycle of poverty,” Martinez said. “By making it easier for people to make payments, we are not only making it more likely for the debt to be paid but also helping people move toward financial independence.”

According to the Heartland Alliance, a nonprofit anti-poverty organization, 1 in 3 Illinois residents is in the debt collection process.

House Bill 88 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Category: News Releases

3225419 ml rSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez’s measure expanding the ability of schools and future teachers to participate in the Grow Your Own Teacher program became law today.

The Grow Your Own Teacher initiative is a program designed to train people to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools.

“Illinois is dealing with a teacher shortage, so we need to do all that we can to place dedicated teachers in schools,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said. “We especially must work to ensure students at schools that are traditionally hard to staff, like those in low-incomes areas, have the same access to quality education as anyone else.”

The new law will expand the definition of "eligible school" and "hard-to-staff" schools for the initiative to include early childhood programs in which no less than 40 percent of the children it serves are receiving subsidized care under the Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program.

It will also extend eligibility for participation in the initiative to high school students enrolled in a dual credit course at a participating institution of higher education.

House Bill 35 is effective immediately.

Category: News Releases

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(217) 782-8191
 
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Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020

 

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