hb2462SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate failed to override a bill co-sponsored by Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) today that would make the Illinois Equal Pay Act stronger.

House Bill 2462 would have strengthened the Illinois Equal Pay Act by prohibiting employers from asking about previous salary histories when interviewing job applicants. The measure would reduce the effects of pay discrimination in past jobs.

“This legislation addresses the wide gap that is still prevalent between men and women, “Castro said. “Men and women of all races should have an equal chance to succeed and that is what I will continue to fight for as a member of this General Assembly.”

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Category: News

864SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) and the Illinois Senate overrode the governor’s veto of House Bill 3649 to make state debt more transparent and to prevent the pile up of bills being backlogged in our state.

House Bill 3649 amends the State Finance Act and requires that state agencies provide a monthly report to the comptroller identifying the current liabilities held by the state agency. This measure will reveal liabilities and potential late interest penalties that may be accumulating. This transparency will help Illinois know what debt is owed by the state.

“The reasoning behind why Governor Rauner vetoed this bill is nonsense,” Castro said. “This measure ensures more accountability and transparency from state agencies when they are reporting back to the state. We have to get our state’s finances in order and this is the first step in doing just that.”

Currently state agencies only have to report once a year, which leads to delayed payments. The consequence of this has led to the backlog of bills our state has and is currently facing.

House Bill 3649 was overridden in the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – In the last two days, the Illinois Senate has passed multiple legislative measures to contest the recent allegation of sexual harassment in our state government.

The four measures passed ensured that sexual harassment prevention training would be required for all state legislators and their staff, extended the statute of limitations for an investigation to occur, improved oversight and established a task force that would provide future legislation to fight this problem.

Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) was recently appointed to the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission and has co-sponsored the measures to address these problems. She became a part of the General Assembly less than a year ago and brings a new and fresh perspective to the commission and intends to be the driving force to get things done.

“As the newest member of the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission, I’m eager to get to work,” said Castro. “This is an important first step, but our work is far from being done. I look forward to continuing this conversation and passing future legislation that will lead to the culture change we need.”

Category: News

Castro2017resizedThe following op-ed by Senator Castro was published in the Daily Herald on Nov. 6. 

As the newest appointed member of the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission -- essentially the internal affairs division of the legislative branch and its employees -- I'm eager to get to work. It's time for us to establish new, modern guidelines for how sexual harassment claims are handled at the Capitol. We've been remiss in this regard, and it's our obligation to do better on behalf of any future accusers and the accused.

Among the improvements for which I will advocate:

• Mandatory, yearly sexual harassment training for elected lawmakers and staff;

• Public posting of instructions for reporting sexual harassment, abuse and assault; and

• Establishing procedures and deadlines for filling future legislative inspector general vacancies and ensuring timely disposition of complaints.

Sexual harassment and gender bias are not new concepts. I would venture to say most women have experienced it at some point during their education or careers. I can recall several conversations in the workplace over the years that became inappropriate or raunchy, but I was comfortable enough to shut them down. Not everyone is able to do that, though. They rely on others to be their voice.

What's stunning about the situation in Springfield is that it apparently has been going on relatively unchecked for years because of the inherent power structure. It has to stop.

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Category: News

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