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Martinez

  • Sens. Peters, Hunter and MartinezSPRINGFIELD – 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.

  • Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSpeaking 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.

  • Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her work to ensure all qualified applicants are eligible for professional licenses, regardless of their citizenship status.

    “If anyone in our state wants to contribute by working hard and paying taxes, they should not be denied because of where they were born,” Martinez said. “I am glad to continue the work we started last year by expanding the ability for immigrants to apply for professional licenses.”

    Martinez passed a law last year ensuring that citizenship is not required for licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional or State Board of Education. It also requires the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to allow an applicant to use a taxpayer identification number as an alternative to a Social Security number.

  • ducks 040519SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation yesterday that works to move away from the use of lead ammunition for hunting in Illinois.

    The measure mandates that only steel or other non-toxic shotshells can be used to take waterfowl. It also bans the use of any shotgun larger than 10 gauge or smaller than a .410 bore to take wildlife and the use of lead shotshells on Department of Natural Resources properties on or after Jan. 1, 2022.

    “As we become more aware of the dangers of lead exposure, we must work to eliminate it in all forms,” Martinez said. “There is no reason why people should not be able to hunt safely without endangering animals or people with lead ammunition.” 

    The Centers for Disease Control states that there is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead ammunition puts animals at risk, but anyone who eats meat from animals killed with lead-based ammunition is also at risk of exposure.

    Senate Bill 780 passed the Senate without opposition and now heads to the Illinois House for consideration.

  • Sens. Elgie R. Sims Jr., Emil Jones III, Iris Y. Martinez and Kimberly A. Lightford

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate lawmakers and advocates gathered Thursday to stress the importance of getting a full and accurate count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez spoke to the potential consequences of an undercount.

    “The census is used to determine federal funding and representation for our state,” Martinez (D-Chicago) said. “That means, if we are undercounted, we stand to lose billions in federal funding, along with two congressional seats and two Electoral College votes.”

    Martinez is the sponsor of legislation, contained in Senate Bill 1408, that would appropriate $25 million to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide grants to community providers and local governments for the purposes of encouraging full participation in the 2020 federal census.

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  • TeacherSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her long-time advocacy for the Grow Your Own Teacher (GYOT) initiative by advancing legislation that expands the ability of schools and future teachers to participate in the program.

    “Illinois is dealing with a teacher shortage, so we need to do all that we can to place dedicated teachers in schools,” Martinez 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 Grow Your Own Teacher initiative is a program designed to train people to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools.

    Martinez’s legislation would 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 would 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.

    Senate Bill 244 is similar to legislation Martinez passed last year that then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed. It passed the Senate Higher Education Committee without opposition Tuesday and heads to the full Senate for consideration.

  • Senator MartinezSPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her work to expand opportunities for students at the University of Illinois to run for the position of student trustee by amending the university’s residency status requirements.

    “Our institutions of higher education should be about promoting leadership opportunities,” Martinez said. “Being a student trustee is one good way students can serve and enhance their skills. And students who serve in these positions will graduate with an appreciation for the importance of civic engagement.”

    Martinez first introduced similar legislation in 2016 after being contacted by an undocumented student who was unable to run for student trustee, despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident. The University of Illinois is a proponent of the initiative.

    The University of Illinois Trustee Act requires students to be residents of Illinois in order to be selected as a student trustee.

    Residency is currently demonstrated by three factors:

    • Evidence of the student’s residence in Illinois for at least the previous six months
    • A valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card
    • Being registered to vote in Illinois

    But under Martinez’s proposal, a student would have to live in Illinois for six months and either have a driver’s license or ID card, or register to vote in Illinois.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the plan in 2016, and the House failed to call it for a vote after it was reintroduced and passed the Senate in 2017.

    Senate Bill 172 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • martinez 053018SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order strengthening the state’s commitment to welcoming immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers:

    “Our country was founded by immigrants who came here looking to build a better life for themselves and their families. We would not be where we are today if it were not for the contributions they made and continue to make to our society.

    “Welcoming immigrants, particularly those fleeing danger like refugees and asylum seekers, is at the core of our American values. Officials at the federal level, including the president, seem to have forgotten that. I’m glad we in Illinois still remember what our country is about.”

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  • Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez and Sen. Omar Aquino

    More than two dozen community agency leaders turned out at a recent forum to tell local senators that the state is overdue on a new program that puts people to work building up our communities.

    It’s been nearly a decade since the state last invested in roads, bridges and school construction.

    Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez and Senator Omar Aquino hosted the town hall and workshop to make sure local agencies know how to apply for state funding and assess the local needs as support grows across the state for a new, state-sponsored construction program.

    “We wanted to make sure we expanded what people knew about the capital bill, that it goes into infrastructure, it goes into brick and mortar stuff, and how we’re going to be creative in making sure that we’re getting equitable dollars in our districts,” Aquino said.

    Over 30 local community agencies ranging from health, social service, the arts and afterschool programs gathered at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture for the Oct. 24 event.

    “The two-year budget impasse hurt many organizations out there, so now we want to make sure we engage them so that we will be able to start doing some new things,” Martinez said. “I think the most important thing is our civic engagement, so our constituents can see that we’re working for them and we’re ready to respond to their concerns.”

    Speakers included Becky Locker, Director of Policy and Budget for the Illinois Senate Democrats; Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council; Colleen Smith, Legislative Director for Illinois Environmental Council and Representative Luis Arroyo.

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  • latinocaucusCHICAGO – On World Refugee Day, the Illinois Senate Latino Caucus demands an end to the Trump administration’s inhumane practices of ripping apart families at the border.

    As a result of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ orders in April to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossings, including people requesting asylum, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their families and held in inhumane conditions.

  • martinez 053018SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Senate yesterday expanding the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative, a program designed to train people to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools.

    The measure extends eligibility for the program to high school students enrolled at dual-credit courses at participating colleges and universities and to all pre-K teachers, not just those teaching at public schools.

    “We have a great need for teachers in our state, especially in early childhood education,” Martinez said. “If we have people willing to teach, especially in low-income areas, we should help them.”

    The Grow Your Own Teacher initiative provides financial, academic and emotional support to people studying to become teachers. After graduation, participants commit to teaching at least five years at a high-needs school or in a high-needs teaching position, usually at schools with a high percentage of low-income students.

    House Bill 4882 passed both the House and the Senate and now heads to the governor’s desk. 

  • Senate Latino Caucus meets with immigration advocates

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate Latino Caucus members joined Senate President John Cullerton, President Pro Tempore Don Harmon and immigrant and refugee rights advocates this week to discuss the Senate’s recent actions taken to protect immigrant communities.

    “I’m the son of hard-working immigrants, and as an elected official it is my honor and duty to support policies that continue to give the immigrant community the opportunities my family has had in the United States of America,” Latino Caucus Co-Chair Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) said. “Donald Trump is trying to take away these opportunities in the land that I love, but policies like these give hope to our people and show we are a force that can use our sacred legislative process to fight back against bigotry.”

  • sneakers 050918Senators swapped their wingtips and pumps for sneakers on Thursday during Suits and Sneakers Day at the Capitol.

    Each January, the American Cancer Society teams up with the National Association of Basketball Coaches for Suits and Sneakers Awareness Week, during which the coaches wear sneakers instead of dress shoes on the court. The week’s mission is to increase awareness of the pervasiveness of cancer and promote fundraising and healthy living initiatives.

  • martinez 042618CHICAGO — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed a measure yesterday that makes all qualified applicants eligible for professional licenses, regardless of their immigration status.

    A federal law passed in 1996 makes non-citizens ineligible for state-issued professional licenses, but allows individual states to pass legislation granting licenses to non-citizens.

    “Immigrants contribute to our state by working hard and paying taxes,” Martinez said. “If someone wants to further their career by becoming a licensed professional, we need to do all we can to support that.”

    The legislation deletes a provision in the Pharmacy Practice Act that requires an individual to submit evidence that they are a United States citizen or legally admitted immigrant before receiving a license. It also requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to allow an applicant to use a taxpayer identification number as an alternative to a Social Security number.

    Senate Bill 3109 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now heads to the House for consideration.