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  • Senate Democrats bring attention to Pay Equity Day (AUDIO)

    Senate Democrats bring attention to Pay Equity DayFor 20 years, Pay Equity Day has highlighted the disparity in workplace earnings between men and women. The day, held in April, represents the extra days a full-time working woman would have to work just to make the same as a man in the previous year.

    State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) passed a resolution in the Senate today highlighting the issue.

    “If women earned the exact same amount as our male counterparts, we would be able to afford seven additional months of mortgage and utility payments or afford nearly two years’ worth of food in one’s lifetime.”

  • Senate votes to override Rauner veto of MAP, college funding (AUDIO)

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  • Lawmakers personally deliver MAP funding bill to governor's office (AUDIO & VIDEO)

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  • McGuire helps pass MAP grant legislation

    012816CM0908CLToday, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 2043, which funds Monetary Award Program grants for the 2015-16 academic year as well provides money for community colleges and vocational and GED training as well. State Senator Pat McGuire rose on the Senate floor in support of the legislation. Below is the audio of his speech.

    UPDATE 2:07 p.m. Jan. 28:

    McGuire helps pass MAP grant legislation

    SPRINGFIELD — Thousands of college students in Illinois who have been without their promised financial aid for months are now a step closer to receiving it.

    State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) voted to pass Senate Bill 2043, which authorizes full funding of Monetary Award Program grants for the 2015-16 academic year.

    “These students have faith that earning a degree will help them and our state flourish,” McGuire said. “They also have faith – which I heard expressed at four hearings across Illinois – that the state of Illinois will fulfill its promise to help them pay for college. The General Assembly voted today to honor that. Now it’s the governor’s turn.”

    Last May, the General Assembly passed MAP grant legislation, which the governor vetoed. And in August, SB 2043 stalled in the House. This version of SB 2043 that passed the House on Thursday not only includes MAP grant funding but money for community colleges and career-technical and adult education as well.

    With the Senate’s final approval Thursday, the measure now goes to the governor.

  • Senate Democrats: Students need to be a priority (AUDIO / VIDEO)

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  • McGuire joins rally to restore MAP grant funding (VIDEO, AUDIO)

    mcguire maprallyAcross the country, tuition costs and students loans are soaring, but in Illinois, the problem has been further compounded by another issue. Students who receive financial aid from the state’s Monetary Award Program remain in limbo because the governor vetoed their funding.

    Public colleges and universities have been fronting the costs to cover the MAP grants through the fall semester, but have indicated that generous gesture simply cannot continue. Last year, MAP grants assisted over 136,000 students in affording college.

    Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) is the chairman of the Higher Education Committee, and has been a vocal advocate for these students.

  • Steans, Mulroe hold Senate hearing on public health dangers of budget impasse (AUDIO)

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  • Students visit Senator Mulroe, make plea for MAP Grant Funding (AUDIO)

    mulroe highed map groupSPRINGFIELD – Students from across the state visited the state capitol building today to encourage legislators to fully fund the higher education and MAP Grant line items for the FY16 budget. Victoria Prince is a University of Illinois student from Chicago. As a MAP Grant recipient, she was one of the students on hand today at the capitol to explain her need for MAP grants.

    “My freshman year I received almost $5,000 from the MAP Grant,” Prince said. “It really helped me afford school and I don’t think I would have selected to stay in state without it. I know a lot of stories about how tuition out of state is better just because they have more financial aid than Illinois is currently providing; so that’s why I think higher education is so important, to keep a lot of students in Illinois and keep up Illinois’ economy.”

    State colleges and universities have been fronting the bill for MAP Grants for the first semester of the school year, but college and university presidents have advised the General Assembly that their facilities can no longer shoulder that burden as they move into the spring semester.

    Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) was an early advocate for higher education funding in the spring.

    “As the son of an immigrant, I understand first-hand how difficult it is to pay for higher education,” Mulroe said. “Unfortunately, times have changed and you simply cannot work and go to college anymore. These kids are working two to three jobs on top of the financial aid they receive. We can’t break our promise to them.”

    The General Assembly passed HB 4146, but the measure was vetoed by the governor. A second funding measure, SB2043 remains in the House.

  • College students descend on Capitol (VIDEO)

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  • Bennett, Frerichs join advocates for awareness of financial independence for people living with disabilities (AUDIO)

    bennett frerichs092815CHAMPAIGN- Illinois families worried about the financial security of loved ones living with disabilities will soon have another resource to promote their independence.  

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and Treasurer Michael Frerichs joined area advocates to raise awareness of a new law that will create a tax-exempt plan to help individuals and families save money to cover expenses for people living with disabilities. Senate Bill 1383 creates the Illinois Achieving a Better Life Expectancy Act (ABLE Act), which creates accounts similar to tax-advantaged college saving plans where income earned in the account is not taxable.

  • Senate passes human services funding (AUDIO)

    biss raoul sb2046Today the Senate passed Senate Bill 2046, which would give the governor authority to make payments to human service providers not already funded pursuant to court orders, distribute motor fuel tax proceeds to local governments and pay lottery winners.

    For the past two days, Senator Daniel Biss (Chicago) led Senate hearings regarding delayed and missing state payments to social service groups who help the disabled and needy in Illinois live with dignity and get back on their feet.

  • Senate votes to override Rauner veto of collective bargaining measure (AUDIO)

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  • Senate Democrats lead in protecting seniors, people with disabilities (AUDIO)

    biss don 81815Seniors struggling to stay in their homes and people with disabilities in need of vital care would still have access to services under a plan passed by the Senate today. Without today’s action, substantial and detrimental changes to state-provided care proposed by the governor would force tens of thousands of older adults and adults with disabilities out of their homes and into costly nursing home facilities.

    “The governor is cutting much more than hypothetical dollars from the budget with his plan,” said State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston). “He is cutting a lifeline for thousands of seniors and disabled Illinoisans who often rely on minimal and inexpensive services to ensure their basic health and safety.”

  • Senate President promotes effort to stabilize Chicago schools (AUDIO)

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  • Senate Democrats urge immediate action to restore child care access (AUDIO)

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  • Cunningham, subcommittee to investigate campus executive compensation (AUDIO)

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