Senator Hunter holds a piece of paper and stands in front of a microphone on the Senate floor.SPRINGFIELD — Under a new law championed by State Senator Mattie Hunter, the Illinois Department of Human Services will collect data on the frequency of stolen SNAP benefits. This comes in response to widespread reports of identity fraud leaving Illinois residents without needed funds to purchase groceries and other necessities.

"SNAP benefits are a lifeline for many Illinois families, and it's important that we do everything we can to ensure these benefits reach those who need them most," said Hunter (D-Chicago). "This new law will help us do that by shining a light on the scope of the problem and helping us develop more effective solutions."

Under the new law, IDHS will have the authority to track how often benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are stolen from their rightful recipients. SNAP participants receive monthly benefits for groceries deposited onto EBT cards, and in recent months, card skimming has increased significantly in many states. IDHS began collecting data on card skimming and other fraud methods in December 2022, making it unclear how much theft had previously occurred. IDHS will be required to report its findings to the General Assembly annually beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Hunter smiles while holding a piece of paper and standing on the Senate floor.SPRINGFIELD — A new law championed by State Senator Mattie Hunter establishes a Joint Special Instant Scratch-Off Game, which will help equitably distribute proceeds from specialty Illinois lottery scratch-off tickets.

“With a single ticket, we are making it easier for Illinois residents to support causes that make a meaningful impact in our communities,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “This change will help the Illinois Lottery streamline their operations, as well as give each cause an equal portion of the funds.”

The new Joint Special Instant Scratch-Off Game will combine specialty causes into one ticket — limited to 10 causes at any given time — and split the proceeds equally among the causes. Illinois currently has eight separate specialty cause scratch-off games benefiting breast cancer research, veterans assistance, multiple sclerosis research, HIV/AIDS prevention, Special Olympics, police memorials, homelessness prevention programs, and Alzheimer’s care. Under the current structure, the Illinois Lottery faces several challenges, including disproportionate proceeds from various specialty games.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator Hunter smiles while on the Senate floor.SPRINGFIELD — Joining fellow Senate Democrats in celebrating the signing of the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget, State Senator Mattie Hunter highlighted key investments that will uplift underserved communities.

"This budget reflects our unwavering commitment to the people of Illinois,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “Prioritizing investments in education, housing, mental health care and other critical areas will give our communities the tools they need to live successful, meaningful lives.”

Continued funding for housing initiatives includes $350 million to the HOME Illinois program, which will support unhoused populations through additional housing units, rental assistance and workforce development opportunities. Additionally, significant investments in mental health services ensure enhanced access to essential behavioral health support for youth and adults.

“Investments in behavioral health care are investments in our future – our children, families and communities,” Hunter said. “By expanding our financial support of mental health care, housing support and workforce training, we can help individuals get back on their feet and secure an income and an address.”

The FY24 budget was signed Wednesday and will go into effect on July 1.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) released the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget:

"I am pleased to see Illinois continue its commitment to supporting our most vulnerable populations. The historic investments made in this budget will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of those in need.

“An $85 million increase in funding for unhoused populations will provide critical support for homelessness prevention, affordable housing and outreach programs. Additionally, a new Illinois Grocery Initiative will expand food access in underserved areas, promoting healthier communities statewide.

“Recognizing our responsibility to protect youth in state care, a $75 million increase for the Department of Children and Family Services will fund additional staff, enhance training programs, increase opportunities for youth and improve care facilities. Moreover, a new Children's Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative will improve access to essential behavioral health services for our state’s youth.

“This budget also demonstrates our commitment to working families by investing in child care, workforce training and education, ensuring parents no longer have to choose between caring for their family and making a living.”

Category: Press Releases

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