Governor signs automatic voter registrationOn the 54th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the governor signed a new law co-sponsored by State Sen. Jacqueline Collins ensuring Illinoisans who are eligible to vote will be automatically registered when they conduct business at state facilities.

Collins worked with representatives of Common Cause Illinois and numerous other activists, advocates and Springfield lawmakers to craft legislation that creates the optional, opt-out system.

“Let us not forget that today marks the 54th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, when more than 250,000 gathered at the nation's capital to demand civil and voting rights for African Americans,” Collins said Monday. “In light of their struggle and sacrifice, I view this legislation as the harvest from the seeds of hope they planted beneath that hot summer sun on August 28, 1963.”

Collins said removing barriers to voting is the first step in encouraging more people to exercise their power at the ballot box.

“Your vote is your voice, and now more than ever, that voice matters,” Collins said. “This automatic voter registration system will save the state money and save voters time, and it arose from a bipartisan, democratic process. I want to thank all advocates for their tireless work on this issue and the governor for signing this bill. And I call on all of them to start the next conversation: Challenging potential voters to move beyond apathy.”

Photograph courtesy of Common Cause Illinois.

Category: Press Releases

preferred3To better understand the scope and effects of truancy and absences so officials can address them, a new law will require schools to collect and review chronic absence data. Sponsored in the Illinois Senate by State Senator Jacqueline Collins, the measure was signed into law Friday.

“There are many complex causes behind absences or chronic truancy,” Collins said. “We need to identify those factors and how widespread they are so we can work directly with schools and families to address the root causes of why so many of our children are not making it to class. And I want to thank the bill’s House sponsor, Representative Linda Chapa LaVia for sponsoring this legislation.”

The legislation also encourages schools to provide support to students who are chronically absent. The legislation was House Bill 3139, and takes effect in July of 2018.

Category: Press Releases

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Grieving families who might be unaware their departed loved one left them a life insurance policy would be protected by a stronger Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act under new legislation by State Sen. Jacqueline Collins and Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs that passed the Illinois General Assembly today.

“As our technology and our best practices are updated and improved, we need to consider how that can also improve our accountability to the taxpayer and the consumer,” Collins said. “Dementia might rob an elder of the memory of their insurance policy, and not every grieving family has somebody on retainer to keep such affairs in order. In an age when we can computerize and automate these matters, we owe it to them to make the effort.”

Enacted last year after collaboration between Treasurer Frerichs and Senator Collins, the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act requires insurance companies to check their policies against a state database to determine whether a policyholder has died, and then to take reasonable steps to ensure the beneficiaries receive their due payout. The new provisions would require companies to reach back into their records and check any lapsed policies back to 2000 to determine if policies were unpaid.

“In Illinois alone, hundreds of millions of dollars have been directly paid to beneficiaries as a result of insurance companies comparing their policies to the Death Master File,” Collins said. “That should show us that this is more than just a question of advocating for consumers. It’s just one way that state government should be fighting inequality in our society.”

House Bill 302 passed the Illinois Senate 36-19 today. It awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Category: Press Releases

001collinsState Senator Jacqueline Collins made the following statement after voting yesterday for a spending plan designed to break the destructive state budget impasse and fund crucial anti-violence measures such as afterschool and early childhood development programs, Teen REACH, and funding for universities and community colleges that also includes MAP grant funding:

“I acted today to do what my constituents and all Illinoisans have demanded: To bring an end to the disorder and negligence caused by the lack of a state budget. Government’s first duty is to safeguard all of its citizens,” Collins said. “In that duty, we have been irresponsible for more than two years. Now is the time to take responsibility. With each passing day, there are those for whom it will be too late. Now is the time for the House and for Governor Rauner to come together on a budget.”

Category: Press Releases

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