032422CM0170ELGIN – State Senator Cristina Castro was recently appointed to serve on the State Procurement Task Force, which will work to explore ways to improve diversity in contracts with Illinois state agencies.

“Minority-owned and women-owned business have long faced barriers to contracts with state agencies,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “I am honored to serve on this task force to help create a more inclusive commerce process that puts equity on the forefront of our state’s work.”

The State Procurement Task Force will review Illinois’ procurement process and make recommendations to improve equity and efficiency, provide departments with more flexibility and increase women-owned and minority-owned business participation.

“By sitting together with bi-partisan members of the General Assembly, entrepreneurs, state agencies and others, I look forward to exploring ways to make our procurement process more equitable for minority-owned and women-owned businesses,” said Castro.

The task force will create a report to present to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2024. 

Category: News

CASTRO HB 4647ELGIN – Care providers for Illinois residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities will see specific funding go to their wages thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

“Ensuring people who care for our state’s most vulnerable residents are properly compensated will help address high turnaround in this workforce,” Castro said. “I am proud to have worked on this legislation to hold employers accountable when it comes to passing along funding increases to their workers.”

Developmental service providers are vital in community residential settings, where they help residents with daily personal care like eating and hygiene as well as teaching life skills and attending to complex medical needs. While funding for these services has increased over recent years, starting wages remain barely above minimum wage, and vacancies remain high. This disparity is because the state does not always require agencies to pass wage increases through to the workers.

The law, formerly known as House Bill 4647, will require developmental services that are licensed through the Illinois Department of Human Services to certify that all legislatively or administratively mandated wage increases are passed on to the employees.

“Care providers are the backbone of our intellectual and developmental disability community. This law will help ensure hard workers are directly receiving funding that is meant for them,” Castro said.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed the law Friday. It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023. 

Category: News

CASTRO HB 4343SPRINGFIELD – Under a new law signed Friday, Medicaid coverage will be available for undocumented individuals age 42 and up as well as to expecting mothers who choose to utilize midwifery services.

“This new law is a win when it comes to increasing equity in our health care system,” Castro said. “These two major changes, as well as increasing rates for behavioral health services, additional funding for medical transportation services and more, will make services more accessible to more vulnerable Illinoisans.”

The new law makes various updates to Medicaid in Illinois, including provisions to allow coverage for midwifery services. Last year, Senator Castro championed the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act. Certified professional midwives play an important role in providing high quality, low-cost maternity care for mothers who seek a home birth experience—a need particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanding Medicaid coverage for these services will allow more mothers, especially Black and low-income individuals, to access midwifery services.

The law also expands Medicaid benefits to undocumented individuals age 42 and over, down from the current coverage of those 55 and over.

“Everyone deserves access to health care, regardless of their citizenship status,” Castro said. “The importance of this law is far-reaching, and I am proud to see Illinois taking these steps to remove barriers to health care for our residents.”

The legislation was recently signed into law.

Category: News

CreditStudentBooksELGIN – Last year, the average cost of college textbooks and supplies for a student was approximately $1,240. To address the expensive cost of course materials, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) co-sponsored a measured to reduce the cost of online course materials for college students.

“In the age of technology, many colleges offer online course materials that require an access code,” Castro said. “This law will make sure students can access these materials without breaking the bank by providing these materials at a significantly reduced cost.”

The new law signed Friday will allow higher education institutions to use an inclusive access process when students register for classes. This process means that when a student registers for a class, a credit is applied to their account to provide them access to online textbooks for a price often more than 60% off the regular textbook price.

According to surveys, nearly 66% of students have avoided buying course materials due to prices, and about 20% of students cited the costs of textbooks as influencing their decision on what classes to take.

“The price of attending college is going up in every area, but none higher than the inflating costs of textbooks,” Castro said. “Removing some of the financial burden is the first step in making higher education more accessible to students.”

The law is now in effect.

Category: News

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Contact Info

District Office:
The Professional Building
164 Division Street, Suite #102
Elgin, IL 60120
847-214-8864 phone
847-214-8867 facsimile

Springfield Office:
121-C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-7746 phone


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