Budget Address SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement after the governor’s Budget Address:

“This governor continues to offer dispassionate cuts to the programs that impact the lives of so many people in this state. I beg the governor to roll up his sleeves and join us at the bargaining table this year.

He and his administration need to take a walk in somebody else’s shoes for once, because these cuts do more harm than good to the people we serve. We in the Senate have reached bipartisan support on a number of budgetary issues, and I suggest he join us. Last year, we passed a plan that provided certainty and stability to violence prevention, health care and addiction treatment services, along with programs like Teen Reach.

This year, he plans to cut funding for those services. We understand we cannot have everything, but we need to, at least, keep the services that help people rebuild productive lives in the communities that need it most.”

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Cybersecurity breachesIn an effort to protect governmental information from phishing schemes and coordinated cyber-attacks legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) was signed into law that will require state employees to take cyber-security training on an annual basis.

“Hacking experts are becoming more creative by identifying new ways to obstruct governmental information systems,” said Hunter. “Training our employees in cybersecurity is critical in reducing the risks of such sophisticated attacks.”

The initiative was modeled after a Florida law which was enacted to ensure that the state’s data and staff resources are maintained reliably and safely and are recoverable in the event of a disaster.

“This legislation will not only improve the accessibility of electronic information and information technology but will increase education, employment and access to governmental information and services,” said Hunter.

The security training attached to House Bill 2371 will include:

  • Detecting phishing scams
  • Preventing spyware infections
  • Preventing identity thefts
  • Preventing and responding to data breaches

The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

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Feminine HygieneIn an effort to protect women’s healthcare, economic security and justice, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) passed legislation that would make all feminine hygiene products free for students grades 6-12.

“One of the reasons girls miss many days of school is because they do not have access to these products,” said Hunter. “Young women do not plan on having a menstrual cycle, it’s something that just happens. It’s an absolute necessity to supply our younger women with the resources they need.”

House Bill 3215 is an initiative of “Illinois Moving Women Forward” a group that aims to remove gender inequalities in order to enable women to achieve their full potential. Of their three principles, the group’s main focus is to protect and improve the access to affordable healthcare for women.

Read more: Hunter: This is about dignity and personal hygiene

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Criminal Jusice ReformIn response to the senseless violence and killing of Xavier Joy and many others, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is calling for greater commitment to violence prevention, community outreach and youth programs.

Xavier Joy, was a former football player at Morehouse College and had worked as a special education classroom assistant in the Chicago Public Schools. Committed to his community, Joy left school and returned to Chicago to work with underprivileged children. His family believes he was gunned down after being robbed for his cellphone.

“Violence has become the language of despair and economic strife,” said Hunter. “We must change that language by creating opportunities for our children. Parents need to be more involved in their children’s lives. We must fight together to stop erratic and violent behaviors in children early on.”

Read more: Hunter: We must have peace in our communities

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BudgetState Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) issued the following statement after today’s budget legislation votes:

We’ve been working to reach a bipartisan budget agreement for months. The plan we passed today is a solution that gives us certainty and stability.

The governor and my colleagues across aisle have given us all false hope. They did not vote for their own ideas in the Grand Bargain, nor did they vote for their proposed budget cuts. It’s May, and time is running out.

The package we passed will fully fund the next fiscal year which includes funds to education, MAP grants, breast and cervical cancer screening, addiction treatment and funding for programs like Teen Reach. All of these programs are essential to the lives of our citizens. They should not be excluded or cut from the budget. The programs are vital and work to restore and improve the quality of life for our constituents.

The people of this state are suffering. How much longer will they have to wait? It’s time we focused on an actual budget that will bring fiscal certainty to our citizens.

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