05022017CM0353Senate Democrats passed legislation Tuesday that would balance the state budget and fully fund P-12 education, higher education and human services.

State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement:

“Today, the Senate Democrats passed a plan with responsible repairs to a state budget that has been horribly neglected under Gov. Rauner. After six months of negotiation, and his inability to do the job, we took the responsibility of putting together a plan that includes cuts, reforms and revenue to bring stability and certainty to the state.

“We do not have time to wait any longer. Every day we go without a budget is another day of uncertainty for Elgin and Harper Community Colleges and the Hanover Park Education and Work Center. It is another day where students will not receive needed MAP grant funding to attend our state universities and community colleges. It means places like Ecker Center for Mental Health are suffering and being forced to discontinue vital programs.

“Lawmakers have a responsibility to the people back home and to fix this mess. Today we took the needed steps to get this done.”

Category: News

05192017CM0079Parents throughout Illinois may soon have greater resources available to them to ensure their children are in safe hands.

State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) passed a measure through the Illinois Senate on Tuesday that would require the Department of Children and Family Services to establish and maintain an online searchable database with information on reports of child abuse or neglect in day care facilities.

“Parents have the right to know their children are in safe hands,” said Castro. “We need to make sure day care facilities are providing a safe environment. If a facility has been cited for neglect or has had its license revoked, that information should be made public so parents are able to make sure their children aren’t being put in a potential harmful situation.”

The measure would require the DCFS database to go back five years and show if a day care entity has had its license revoked or surrendered by the department during a child abuse neglect investigation, or if its license renewal was denied.

The measure, House Bill 2388, passed the Senate on Tuesday and now goes to the governor’s desk for approval.

Category: News

Budget The Illinois Senate voted on pieces of the bipartisan grand bargain today in another attempt to keep discussions going and solve the state’s budgetary issues. State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement:

“Yesterday, we worked to pass components of the grand bargain that would help get the state back on track. While we were able to have some success with passing a budget bill, there are still significant negotiations that need to occur to get the state heading in the right direction and to see a full budget plan materialize. There is no easy solution, but I stand committed to working with my colleagues to see this through.”

Category: News

04272017CM0374A measure that would protect college students from mounting student loan debt passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.  

Senate Bill 1351 establishes the Student Loan Bill of Rights in Illinois to provide as much protection as possible for student borrowers, a population that frequently is targeted by bad actors in the student loan industry.

State Senator Cristina Castro (D- Elgin), who is a co-sponsor of the legislation, noted how important it is to make sure both transparency and fairness is brought to the student loan lending system.

“Going to college shouldn’t be the financial burden it has become,” said Castro. “Too often, young people are graduating from universities with crippling debt and have no idea what resources are available to them, or understand their rights as a borrower. This legislation would bring clarity to the process and prevent more young people from defaulting on their loans.”

The Student Loan Bill of Rights would help to ensure students and their families receive clear information about the money they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced.

The legislation received significant bipartisan support and now goes to the House for consideration.

Category: News

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