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New Hunter law identifies food deserts

hunter 022817SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to provide information about health issues and access to quality food options, House Bill 3157, backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) has become law.

“This lack of access can usually be found in underprivileged areas,” said Hunter. “Most families in food deserts also live without a car, strictly relying on public transportation to commute. I believe everyone, regardless of location, should have access to quality produce. It’s important to build partnerships among local government and businesses to tackle this growing problem.”

House Bill 3157 will require the Department of Public Health to provide the General Assembly with an annual report that identifies the locations of food deserts, along with analysis on the health impacts in such locations.

A food desert is defined as a location with a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, or healthy food providers, thus leading local residents to rely on unhealthier food options.

The legislation becomes June 1, 2018.

Hunter measure increasing employment for youth becomes law

hunter 050417SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) will aid qualified homeless and court-involved youth in finding potential job openings.

“Cuts made to the budget have decimated critical funding for youth employment programs,” said Hunter. “It seems as though year after year we make more cuts failing our youth and their future opportunities.”

House Bill 2987 requires a state agency to notify the Department of Human Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Family Services of available job openings. Those agencies are then required to notify qualified applicants, and then keep record of the number of job applications they receive.

“This legislation is simply about giving youth a fighting chance to enter the workforce,” Hunter said. “Our youth should not be left homeless and jobless. We all heavily rely on employment and other resources to meet our basic living needs.”

Qualified applicants are to be 21 years of age or younger, and are currently or have been a dependent child in foster care, a homeless youth or a court-involved youth.

The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

New Hunter law streamlines criminal record sealing

hunter 082517SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to streamline the sealing of criminal records, a new law backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) will allow a defendant to immediately petition for the sealing of arrests or charges following an acquittal or dismissal of a case.

“This bill is a step in the right direction toward correcting unfair practices in our criminal justice system,” said Hunter. “Far too many people deal with the consequences of an unfair judicial system after being wrongfully convicted.”

House Bill 514 provides that following acquittal or dismissal, a defendant must be informed by the court of the petition procedure and his or her eligibility for immediate sealing of the records. A petition may then be brought by the defendant's attorney, and decisions concerning the immediate sealing of records may be made at the very same hearing.

In the event that the petition is not granted, the petitioner, State's Attorney or State Police may file a motion to vacate, modify, or reconsider the order of the petition to immediately seal the records within 60 days of service of the order denying the original petition.

House Bill 514, however, will not impede on a person's right to petition for sealing of these charges at a later date.

This legislation becomes effective immediately.

Feminine hygiene products, free and accessible to adolescent students

hunter 052517SPRINGFIELD – Feminine hygiene products will now be free and accessible for students grades 6-12 in public and charter schools thanks to legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

“This is not only about personal hygiene but about dignity as well,” said Hunter. “One of the reasons girls miss many days of school is because they do not have access to these products. We as women know that a menstrual cycle is something we don’t plan, it just happens, so it’s an absolute necessity to supply our younger women with the resources they need.”

House Bill 3215 is an initiative of “Illinois Moving Women Forward,” a group that aims to remove gender inequalities in order to enable women to achieve their full potential. Of their three principles, the group’s main focus is to protect and improve access to affordable healthcare for women.

“Our younger women deserve to be taken care of and we as a state can do so at a small expense,” Hunter said.

The legislation will make the products available, at no cost to students, in the bathroom of school buildings.

The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Sen. Mattie Hunter

Senator Mattie Hunter

3rd District
Majority Caucus Whip


Years served:
2003 - Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Executive; Human Services; Public Health; Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities (Chairperson).

Biography: State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago – 3rd District) has served in the Illinois Senate since 2003. She is Chairperson of the Senate Energy Committee and serves on many other committees like Human Services and Public Health. She is also appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Health Committee and is Co-Chair of the Council of State Government Health Policy Task Force.