SPRINGFIELD – Drivers will soon be able to choose a gender-neutral option to put on their driver’s license or ID cards under a new law by Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

Castro’s law will allow applications to choose between “male,” “female” or “non-binary” when defining their sex on their driver’s license or ID card.

“It has always been stressed that our driver’s license and state ID cards should be as accurate as possible,” Castro said. “Allowing a gender-neutral option only helps to make it more accurate. It has been long enough, and it’s time for not only the state, but also its agencies to adapt. I am happy to see the governor sign my bill.”

Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia offer a gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses and ID cards. 

House Bill 3534 is effective immediately; however, it won’t take full effect until the current contract with the Secretary of State licensing system vendor expires in Aug. 2021.   

Category: News

ELGIN – A measure to protect undocumented immigrant tenants from landlord harassment was signed into law today, thanks to Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

The new law creates the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, which prohibits landlords from questioning a tenant’s immigration status as a means of harassment or to force an eviction.

“We needed to put a protection in place to ensure that landlords are not holding their tenants’ immigration status over their heads to pressure higher rent or eviction,” said Castro.

Castro’s measure will now allow tenants to report criminal activity or habitability issues without being targeted based on their immigration status.

Castro filed this legislation because the Illinois Human Rights Act did not protect individuals based on immigration status, nor did it place any limitations on when a landlord may request or share that information.

“Tenants should feel free to come forward and report these important habitability issues no matter their status,” said Castro. “This was an important piece of legislation that I worked on tirelessly for over a year now. I am glad that it was signed into law today.”

Senate Bill 1290 goes into effect immediately. 

Category: News

ELGIN – More workers, including those working for small employers, will have protection under a new law sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

“We have to ensure that every employee in the state has the same protections when it comes to discrimination in the work place,” Castro said. “Expanding the Illinois Human Rights Act is the right thing to do,” Castro said.

House Bill 252 expands the Illinois Human Rights Act to include employers with one or more employees. Current law only applied to workplaces with 15 or more employees. This new law will give these employees a remedy for work-related discrimination and retaliation, including claims for discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, military status and sexual orientation.

Castro worked closely with many advocacy groups while carrying the bill through the Senate, including Equality Illinois. Michael Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, pointed out the crucial timing of the bill being signed.

“At the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider in October whether federal civil rights law protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination,” Ziri said. “Just a few days ago, the Trump Administration proposed a broad policy that would allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities, but Illinois is moving forward, and our Human Rights Act is strengthened thanks to the governor’s action today.”

There are currently exceptions to the Act for certain human rights claims, including sexual harassment and discrimination based on pregnancy or disability.

The bill was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Tuesday and takes effect July 1, 2020

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – Continuing her fierce dedication toward those who serve in the military, a new law sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) will provide in-state tuition rates to all active duty military and all individuals receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“One of the fundamental duties of our society is to provide for the people who risked everything to serve and defend it,” Castro said. “I think this bill does just that. By offering in-state tuition rates to current and former members of the military, we’re giving them the ability to receive a quality education at one of Illinois several outstanding public universities at a reduced cost.”

Senate Bill 1907 provides that if an individual is an active duty member of the United States military or is receiving veterans’ education benefits from the VA, they count as a resident of Illinois for the purpose of determining tuition. The bill was an initiative of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

“This is only a small token of our immense gratitude, because we will never be able to give the brave men and women who serve our country the full thanks they deserve,” Castro said.

The bill passed through both chambers of General Assembly with unanimous support. It was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday, and is effective immediately.

Category: News

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 D Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-7746 phone

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