Hygiene products

Villa, Belt champion laws to strengthen access to feminine hygiene products

SPRINGFIELD — State Senators Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) and Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) sponsored laws signed last week to ensure no woman has to go without necessary feminine hygiene products

House Bill 641, championed by Villa, requires public colleges and universities to make menstrual hygiene products available to students at no cost in campus bathrooms.

“Every student on campus deserves equal access to a proper education, but that access can be severely limited if a student is stuck at home because they can’t afford menstrual hygiene products,” Villa said. “We need to treat period poverty like the public health crisis it is and fight for change across our state to increase access to necessary menstrual hygiene products.”

House Bill 155 requires the Department of Human Services to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service permitting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children benefit recipients to use their benefits to purchase diapers and menstrual hygiene products.

Belt led House Bill 310 through the Senate, which prioritizes providing feminine hygiene products at no cost at all homeless shelters to people who need them.

“I cannot personally imagine the indignity of having to use some other item as a makeshift sanitary product, but I believe people who have already been deprived of so much should not have to suffer that, too,” Belt said. “These are essential products for health, safety, and cleanliness, and we need to treat them as such when we supply our homeless shelters.”


Sens. Villanueva and Aquino

Aquino, Villanueva laws to help and protect immigrants signed

SPRINGFIELD — State Senators Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) and Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) and sponsored laws signed last week to protect immigrants and refugees.

Senate Bill 667, championed by Aquino, creates the Illinois Way Forward Act, which prohibits law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities.

“We are providing certainty for immigrant communities across Illinois,” Aquino said. “This law ends the practice of hosting immigration centers in our state, because their very existence opposes who we are: one of the most welcoming states for immigrants in the nation. Also, immigrant families will no longer live in fear of being questioned about their immigration status by local law enforcement officers.”

Villanueva sponsored Senate Bill 2665, which reinstates the Immigrant Impact Task Force to protect the well-being of immigrant communities.

“This task force will help determine where improvements can be made in how the state invests in immigrant communities,” Villanueva said. “We must address systemic disinvestment in our communities across the state and continue building a recovery that works for all Illinoisans, regardless of status.”



Call4Calm here to stay

SPRINGFIELD — The state’s Call4Calm text line to support Illinois residents' mental health needs is now permanent thanks to an initiative led by State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago).

“Due to the pandemic, mental health outcomes are more concerning than ever, and this text line is an essential outlet,” Van Pelt said. “Call4Calm can still benefit those who struggle with their mental health even after this pandemic is over, and must remain a mental health resource.”

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