ELGIN – Illinois consumers will receive their rebates in a fair way, thanks to Senator Cristina Castro’s bill that was signed into law Friday.

House Bill 2156 makes it unlawful for retailers to offer consumers a rebate made on a store-value card – where the amount is on the card and not connected to a financial system – that charges inactivity fees or other post-issuance fees.

“If a consumer is owed money from a rebate, they shouldn’t be hindered by dormancy fees,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “It is unlawful and unfair. Consumers shouldn’t be at risk of being charged for getting a rebate. That is their money.”

In the past, companies would issue a rebate in the form of a check to a consumer. Under current law, if the check is not cashed within three years, the company is required to turn the amount of the check over to the Treasurer's Office as unclaimed property.

The State Treasurer and the Attorney General have worked together to protect Illinois consumers who have money owed to them from rebates.  

House Bill 2156 is effective immediately.

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – Drivers will soon be able to choose a gender-neutral option to put on their driver’s license or ID cards under a new law by Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

Castro’s law will allow applications to choose between “male,” “female” or “non-binary” when defining their sex on their driver’s license or ID card.

“It has always been stressed that our driver’s license and state ID cards should be as accurate as possible,” Castro said. “Allowing a gender-neutral option only helps to make it more accurate. It has been long enough, and it’s time for not only the state, but also its agencies to adapt. I am happy to see the governor sign my bill.”

Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia offer a gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses and ID cards. 

House Bill 3534 is effective immediately; however, it won’t take full effect until the current contract with the Secretary of State licensing system vendor expires in Aug. 2021.   

Category: News

ELGIN – A measure to protect undocumented immigrant tenants from landlord harassment was signed into law today, thanks to Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

The new law creates the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, which prohibits landlords from questioning a tenant’s immigration status as a means of harassment or to force an eviction.

“We needed to put a protection in place to ensure that landlords are not holding their tenants’ immigration status over their heads to pressure higher rent or eviction,” said Castro.

Castro’s measure will now allow tenants to report criminal activity or habitability issues without being targeted based on their immigration status.

Castro filed this legislation because the Illinois Human Rights Act did not protect individuals based on immigration status, nor did it place any limitations on when a landlord may request or share that information.

“Tenants should feel free to come forward and report these important habitability issues no matter their status,” said Castro. “This was an important piece of legislation that I worked on tirelessly for over a year now. I am glad that it was signed into law today.”

Senate Bill 1290 goes into effect immediately. 

Category: News

ELGIN – More workers, including those working for small employers, will have protection under a new law sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

“We have to ensure that every employee in the state has the same protections when it comes to discrimination in the work place,” Castro said. “Expanding the Illinois Human Rights Act is the right thing to do,” Castro said.

House Bill 252 expands the Illinois Human Rights Act to include employers with one or more employees. Current law only applied to workplaces with 15 or more employees. This new law will give these employees a remedy for work-related discrimination and retaliation, including claims for discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, military status and sexual orientation.

Castro worked closely with many advocacy groups while carrying the bill through the Senate, including Equality Illinois. Michael Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, pointed out the crucial timing of the bill being signed.

“At the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider in October whether federal civil rights law protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination,” Ziri said. “Just a few days ago, the Trump Administration proposed a broad policy that would allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities, but Illinois is moving forward, and our Human Rights Act is strengthened thanks to the governor’s action today.”

There are currently exceptions to the Act for certain human rights claims, including sexual harassment and discrimination based on pregnancy or disability.

The bill was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Tuesday and takes effect July 1, 2020

Category: News

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