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Martinez: NEIU, Latino students hurt by Rauner’s inaction

martinez sos 012517CHICAGO — Illinois Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to news that Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) will cancel three days of classes to cut costs as Governor Rauner has failed to produce a state budget that supports higher education.

“As a proud graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, it breaks my heart to see my alma mater facing this hardship because we have a governor whose refusal to negotiate a budget is dismantling higher education in Illinois.

A high percentage of Northeastern Illinois University students are Latinos, making it a critically important institution for advancing academic and career opportunities for many students in my district and in the Latino community. I support Northeastern Illinois University Interim President Richard J. Helldobler’s call for the state to fund higher education. The state needs to support state schools.

Sadly, what’s happening at Northeastern Illinois University is happening to colleges and universities throughout Illinois. Classes being cancelled, furloughs, faculty layoffs and students deciding to go to colleges and universities in other states has become too common. Governor, it’s time to do your job and start supporting higher education.”

NEIU’s El Centro campus, located in Martinez’s district, has been a focal point for access to higher education opportunities in the Latino community.

NEIU, which serves roughly 10,000 students, also recently closed for spring break to implement a weeklong furlough program and has had to let employees go due to the lack of a state budget.

Martinez receives Legacy and Leaders Award from Illinois Women’s Institute of Leadership

Photo Release: Martinez receives Legacy and Leaders Award from Illinois Women’s Institute of LeadershipSPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Women’s Institute of Leadership (IWIL) recently honored Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) with the Legacy and Leaders Award. Martinez was selected for the award because of her support for IWIL and commitment to helping women succeed in the public sector.

“I am humbled and grateful to receive an award from an organization that has provided training, leadership and networking opportunities for women,” said Martinez, who is an IWIL Board member. “If we want to have a direct role in shaping policies that deal with our education, pay, reproductive health and other issues that matter, then it’s important that women get involved in government and public policy.”

Senate passes Martinez plan to improve student trustee residency requirements

martinez 040617SPRINGFIELD — In response to an undocumented University of Illinois student being unable to run for the position of student trustee because he was not registered to vote in Illinois, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate yesterday to change residency requirements to be a University of Illinois student trustee.

“It’s important that students who are accepted and enrolled in the University of Illinois can run for the position of student trustee if they want to,” Martinez said. “Our institutions of higher education should be about promoting leadership opportunities. Being a student trustee is one good way students can serve and enhance their skills.”

Martinez’s proposal was inspired by a student who was unable to run for the student trustee position, 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, Senate Bill 598, to demonstrate Illinois residency and be able to run for student trustee, a student would have to meet two out of the following three factors: proof of residence for the past six months, a voter registration card and a driver’s license/identification.

Martinez passed similar legislation last year, but it was vetoed by the governor.

“I have worked with the governor’s office on this legislation,” Martinez said. “I am hopeful that the Illinois House will pass the measure, and the governor will sign in it into law.”

Senate Bill 598 now moves to the Illinois House for consideration.

Legislation protecting immigrant communities moves forward

martinez 040517SPRINGFIELD — After legislation that would protect immigrants and restore trust between immigrant communities and local police was passed by the Illinois Senate Executive Committee today, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

“Here in Illinois, we need to lead the way in promoting trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement and protecting immigrants from federal overreach. That’s why moving this initiative forward today was positive. I want the immigrant community to know that I have their back and will continue fighting so that no one is deported when seeking medical treatment at the hospital or dropping their kids off at school.”

Martinez is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 31, which would create the Illinois Trust Act. Certain components of the measure are listed below:

  • Clarifies that state and local police are not deputized immigration agents and therefore are not expected to expend resources enforcing or complying with federal civil immigration detainers and administrative warrants.
  • Prohibits law enforcement agencies from using state resources to create discriminatory federal registries based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes.
  • Establishes safe zones at schools, medical facilities, courts and properties operated by the Illinois secretary of state, where federal immigration enforcement would not be admitted without a valid criminal warrant.

The Illinois Trust Act will have to be approved by the Illinois Senate before being considered by the Illinois House.

Senator Iris Y. Martinez

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Assistant Majority Leader
20th District

Years served:
2003 - Present
 
Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Born Feb. 25, 1956, in Chicago; earned her bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from Northeastern Illinois University in 2009; elected president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She is also the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair; has one daughter.

Associated Representatives:
Jaime M. Andrade, Jr.
Will Guzzardi