SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate selected Don Harmon to be its next President Sunday afternoon. State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), who joined her caucus colleagues in electing the new president, expressed optimism of the senate’s future under the new leadership.

“We had a very productive 2019, so I’m excited to see what 2020 has in store under President Harmon,” Castro said. “I’ve known President Harmon for a while, and I know the kind of person he is. I am beyond confident that he’ll fight hard for changes that the people of Illinois need, such as protecting working class families.”

Castro also voiced her gratitude toward former President John J. Cullerton, who resigned from his position Sunday after announcing his intention to do so in November.

“I’m grateful to President Cullerton for leading us through what was the most successful year since I’ve been in the Senate,” Castro said. “I will of course miss his leadership, but I am optimistic about the direction that President Harmon will take our caucus.”

President Harmon became the 39th President in Senate history.

Category: News

CHICAGO – The Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform met to discuss lobbying regulation Wednesday.

“I’m fed up with it, and I know the people of Illinois are fed up with it too,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “It’s time we get to the bottom of the issue, figure out the root cause, and solve it once and for all in a way that prevents us from having to do yet another joint ethics commission a few years down the road.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, the commission focused on lobbying and lobbying reform. Representatives from the city of Chicago, the secretary of state, the Illinois Municipal League, and several other organizations were present to answer questions and provide insight.

“It’s clear that something needs to be done, but it can’t be one sided,” Castro said. “Whatever reforms come out of this commission will affect everyone, so we need to be sure that nobody faces undue burdens as a result.”

Castro sponsored the resolution to form the joint ethics commission last year, and was later appointed to sit on it. The commission has several additional meetings scheduled in the coming months and must file a report of its findings by March 31.

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – A loophole in legislative pay law allowing legislators to receive an entire month’s pay despite not serving the full month would be closed under a proposal by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

“In any other job, a person would not be compensated for an entire month if they only worked one day,” Castro said. “This is a glaring loophole that has been exploited far too many times at the taxpayers’ expense, and I’m sick of it. It needs to be closed.”

Under current law, a retiring legislator can receive pay for an entire month, even if they only serve one day. Castro’s proposal closes the loophole by establishing pay on a prorated basis for legislators who do not complete their team. The law would take effect in January of 2021, at the start of the 102nd General Assembly.

The law is a collaboration between Castro and Illinois Comptroller Susanna Mendoza.

“I look forward to working with Comptroller Mendoza to close this loophole once and for all,” Castro said.

Senate Bill 2456 was filed with the secretary of the Senate last week. It will be read into the record for the first time during a perfunctory session later this month.

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – A ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could result in Illinois residents paying nearly $1 billion more in electricity bills. In a 2-1 vote split along party lines, the Trump-appointed majority imposed new rules that could prevent clean energy sources from competing in the energy market.

Upon hearing about the ruling, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), a sponsor of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, issued the following statement:

“If the Trump administration is going to continue its attack on clean energy, then it is imperative we act with urgency. We must work on the Clean Energy Jobs Act and ensure it passes through the General Assembly during the upcoming session, allowing us to take matters into our own hands and prevent utility bills from skyrocketing.”

Category: News

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