Senator Collins at a press conference CHICAGO– State Senator Jacqueline Collins was joined by advocates to highlight Collins’ new law –the Funeral and Burial Assistance Act –that was signed into law Tuesday.

“Every child deserves to grow up free from gun violence,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “What happened to Mychal Moultry Jr. should not have happened, but the death of children from gun violence is something that families are becoming increasingly accustomed to. We have to put a stop to it.”

The new law, previously House Bill 2985, is meant to reduce the emotional and financial burden on low-income families by paying up to $10,000 in direct payments for respectable funeral and burial services for families of children killed by gun violence. Senator Collins set out during the spring session to partner with the Strength to Love Foundation to make this assistance a reality for qualifying families. With this law, eligible families will be able to receive this aid beginning July 1, 2023.

The law helps grieving families stay afloat after fatal gun incidents by creating the Murdered Children Funeral and Burial Assistance Program, which will fund the services of funeral establishments after a family’s application for assistance is approved. This program offers an easier, more financially-effective way of receiving assistance than Illinois’ existing funeral service reimbursement process, which often leads families into overwhelming debt and extended grief. The law also includes language that ensures all families of child victims get fair consideration for funding by not automatically preventing them from being awarded because of a child’s criminal background.

“Losing a young child to gun violence is among the most horrific tragedy a family could experience,” said President and Founder of the Strength to Love Foundation Dr. Dave Nayak. “This law provides a light for those families during the darkest times in their lives.”

Collins’ law will help address the public health crisis of gun violence and support the growing number of families devastated by its negative impacts.

State Senator CollinsSPRINGFIELD– State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after the measure she supported banning public high schools from withholding transcripts and diplomas due to unpaid balances on a student’s account became law Wednesday:

“The value of our students should not be determined by the money they owe to their institutions, which is exactly what the practice of withholding students’ records due to an unpaid balance would suggest. Students are deserving of the documentation that shows they have completed their established requisites, and not having access to these records can interrupt a student’s learning path by blocking opportunities to higher education and job entry.”

“These kinds of insidious practices often occur without any state or federal mandate and primarily affect low-income and underserved students who struggle to pay these debts because of financial instability, making this an issue of equity. Continuing to allow a person’s pursuit of a stable future to be derailed by these expenses, which can be as low as $25, would be a great disservice to students, institutions and local economies alike.”

With this new law that took effect immediately, Illinois joins the ranks of few states, including California, Washington and Louisiana, taking a firm stance against barriers inhibiting students’ journeys toward success and personal security.

Senator Collins at a Press ConferenceSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) issued the following statement Tuesday in response to the leaked draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade (1973) decision:

“I want to make this very clear: this proclamation is a vicious, deliberate attack on women –on poor women, on women of color, and on young women. The future we feared is here, and now is the time for clarity, intention and action. The highest court in the land is saying to women, ’You have no power.’ The highest court in the land is saying to women, ’You have no value.’ The highest court in the land is wrong, and we here in Illinois will stand for equity. We here in Illinois will always protect the reproductive freedoms of Illinoisans.”

“Today, that is not enough. In 2019, more than 7,000 non-residents came to our state to obtain legal, safe abortions –more than two times the number of women who sought refuge in 2014. We need more than just in-state protections. We must speak to the women of our nation sitting at home right now, paralyzed by pure terror. Here and now, let us reassure them that the state of Illinois will remain a beacon of hope. Illinois will not fail them.”

“When a woman comes to us, she will be safe. She will be welcomed, and she will have the freedom to make decisions about her own body without a court that has no compassion, no vision, no sense of true justice, smashing her right to choose. The nation –the world –is watching us. What we do next will have ripple effects on the rights of women, people of color, and queer people. History is depending on us to balance the scale of justice for our fellow Americans. May we live up to Illinois’ legacy of morality, freedom and liberty.”

Senator Collins on the floorSPRINGFIELD – In response to the confirmation of the state’s budget for fiscal year 2023, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

“This year’s budget effectively demonstrates a commitment to reducing the violence in our neighborhoods and making meaningful reform to our systems for the purpose of correcting general disparities and discrimination. With significant allocations to the Reimagine Public Safety Act and funding for law enforcement training, license plate readers and body cameras, we will grow closer to a more equitable and stability-inducing state.”

“Though I am pleased with these investments, I would like to see greater commitments to promoting housing stability in the Black community. This should take the shape of stronger funding initiatives that address incarceration rates, underrepresentation and the lack of economic mobility. We must now take a more active stance against inequity wherever it persists.”

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