hb2462SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) commended Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision today to make a commitment to addressing a lingering health care crisis at the state’s veterans’ homes.

“The Legionnaires’ outbreak was a public health crisis, but the previous administration’s behind the scenes scheming, secrecy and lack of communication with the very families affected made it even worse,” Castro said. “This executive order gives us a fresh start and an opportunity to renew our commitment to providing quality care for veterans. We owe it to them and their families to ensure type of health crisis never occurs again.”

Pritzker issued an executive order today instructing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide a report in the next 120 days examining the strengths and weaknesses of Illinois’ veterans’ homes and determine what efforts can be made to ensure that the brave men and women who served our country receive proper care.

The order further directs veterans’ homes to develop procedures for communicating with families to ensure that they are no longer left in the dark about the care their loved ones are receiving.

Senator Castro was named chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee this week and plans to continue working with the new administration to protect veterans.

“I look forward to collaborating with Gov. Pritzker on this issue and others facing Illinois veterans,” she said. “We need to work together to provide our country’s heroes with the treatment they deserve when their service has concluded.”

Category: Information

Castro2017resizedELGIN – Millions of American workers will now be vulnerable to decreases in their wages and benefits due to the Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court ruling today that dealt a massive blow to unions across the country, garnering disapproval from State Senator Cristina Castro.

“Today’s ruling is an attack on organized labor, the same organized labor that marched the streets, boycotted and fought to ensure equality, fair wages and safety in the workplace,” said Castro, an Elgin Democrat.

SCOTUS’s decision will drastically harm the right for teachers, firefighters, police officers, child welfare workers and millions of other hard-working Americans to bargain for a dignified middle-class living.

“This is a step back for our country,” said Castro. “Illinois rejected Rauner’s scheme to remove organized labor, but thanks to his buddy Trump’s Supreme Court, he got what he wanted. I hope he is happy with this blow to working and middle-class families. I stand with organized labor today, and I will continue to fight for laws that will protect voices in the workplace.”

Category: Information

ECC1SPRINGFIELD – Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced yesterday that the Illinois State Library is awarding 15 libraries an Illinois History-Digital Imaging grant.

In Senator Cristina Castro’s (D-Elgin) district, Elgin Community College’s Renner Academic Library will receive $10,356 for the “The Gil Renner Collection: Insight into the Genesis of the Illinois Community College System,” project.

“Protecting our state’s historical and cultural collections is essential for Illinois’ future,” Castro said. “History is such a vital part of our state and making it more accessible is important, especially for younger generations trying to connect with the past.”

Libraries were awarded the grant to carry out projects involving the selection, digital capture and storage of significant historical and cultural collections. The collections will also be available through the Illinois Digital Archives database preserved by the State Library.

The award gives the library grantees up to two years to complete the project with the grant funds. More information regarding the Illinois History-Digital Imaging Grant Program can be found here: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/grants/il-history-digital-imaging.html.

Category: Information

Castro2017resizedSPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement on the passage of a balanced, bipartisan budget tonight:

“This budget represents hope for our state. Members from all four caucuses came together to make difficult choices and find a compromise that would bring certainty and stability back to Illinois.

“My measure, Senate Bill 2577, or the Marketplace Fairness Act, is also included in the budget. This will bring revenue to our state because it ensures out-of-state online companies pay their fair share of taxes, just like local brick-and-mortar business owners do.

“I voted for this budget, not only because it was truly balanced, but because it funds the services many people in my district rely on. Under this budget, services such as domestic violence shelters, mental health programs and childcare and immigration services are able to get the funding they need to keep their doors opened.

“Our budget restores certainty for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade with the new evidence-based school funding model which guarantees no school district will get less funding than the year before. We can let out a sigh of relief knowing that our schools will open on time.

“After holding higher education hostage for over two years, this budget provides our colleges and universities with a 2 percent increase while also funding MAP Grants and a new Military Veteran Scholarship that will be distributed to public institutions based on their level of veteran enrollment. That will give Elgin Community College over $50,000.

“The budget also gives middle class students a chance to pursue a higher education in our state through the new pilot grant program, AIM HIGH. Illinois will match the funding to public universities that award scholarships to students based off of not only their financial need, but their merit. This will help keep students in our state.

 “We began to rebuild our state when we passed a budget last year for the first time in two years. Now, it is time to continue working to ensure that Illinois is a place for people to live, work and prosper.”

The budget package will move to the House for consideration before heading to the governor’s desk.

Category: Information

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