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

ApprenticeshipPhotoELGIN – A new law will create a program to help ensure people enrolled in apprenticeship or work-based learning programs have the financial resources they need to succeed. The law, signed Friday, was supported by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

“This new pilot program will do wonders for encouraging people to get into the trades and helping those already enrolled in apprenticeship programs,” said Castro, a longtime advocate for career training and apprenticeships. “Reducing financial barriers will get more people into these programs and the workforce.”

The new law, formerly House Bill 5225, creates the Job Training Assistance and Support Services Pilot Program through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The program will award grants to organizations to distribute subsidies to individuals participating in an apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, or work-based learning program.

Subsidies may be used for things like transportation, housing, child care, education and other services.

“With labor shortages in almost every sector of the workforce, it’s time we find creative ways to encourage people to get into apprenticeships to get them into high paying, high demand jobs,” Castro said. “This program will help people afford important things while furthering their career.”

The legislation will also require DCEO to file a report evaluating the program’s effectiveness and whether it should continue.

The law was signed Friday.

Category: News

040122HAO00321ELGIN – A new law signed Friday will help law enforcement fight organized retail theft and keep workers and customers safe. State Senator Cristina Castro co-sponsored the measure and looks forward to the assistance it will bring to police and prosecutors.

“Chicago and the surrounding areas have seen a concerning rise in these ‘smash-and-grab’ organized thefts,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “This new law will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to investigate and reduce these crimes.”

The new law, filed as House Bill 1091, codifies a definition of organized retail crime into statute as the theft of retail merchandise with intent to sell.

Additionally, it gives prosecutors new opportunities to bring charges against ringleaders of these crimes regardless of where these crimes take place. For example, if the conspiracy, theft and selling occurred in different jurisdictions, each jurisdiction now has the ability to prosecute the entire crime. The attorney general can also prosecute via a statewide grand jury.

“Not only will this law help law enforcement fight these crimes, it will hopefully deter groups from taking part in them in the future,” Castro said.

To prevent stolen goods from being sold online, the law also creates the Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act, or the INFORM Act, to require third-party sellers to verify users’ identity with bank account numbers or other personal identifying information. Sellers who do not comply may be suspended.

Most provisions in the new law take effect immediately, but the INFORM Act is effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Category: News

040622CM1129ELGIN - State Senator Cristina Castro supported a new law signed Tuesday that creates the Crime Reduction Task Force to address rising rates of crime throughout the state.

“Many of our neighbors are concerned about violence in our communities,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “That’s why my colleagues in the General Assembly and I prioritized public safety measures this year to keep Illinoisans safe by addressing the root causes of violence.”

The Crime Reduction Task Force will be made up of a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, alongside law enforcement, advocates, legal and criminal justice professionals, and survivors tasked with exploring ways to reduce crime in Illinois and presenting a report to the General Assembly and governor with their findings.

Additionally, the new law signed Tuesday will create a Violent Crime Witness Protection Fund to give greater protections to victims and witnesses of crime. It will also create the Co-Responder Pilot Program in multiple downstate and suburban cities to prioritize crisis intervention, trauma-centered support and case management when it comes to preventing crimes.

The task force’s recommendations will be presented to the General Assembly and the governor by March 2024. The law goes into effect immediately.

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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