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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) convened the Senate Transportation Committee today for the first time as chair to consider legislation to study the use of red light cameras in Illinois.

The Senate Transportation Committee approved Senate Bill 1297, which orders the Illinois Department of Transportation to conduct a study to evaluate the use and effectiveness of automated traffic law enforcement systems, or red light cameras.

“I still have a lot of unanswered questions about the effectiveness of red light cameras and whether or not they make our roadways safer,” Hunter said. “This legislation gives us the answers we need to move forward.”

Red light cameras have been a source of frustration, and even anxiety, for Illinois motorists since they were first legalized in 2006.

Studies aimed at measuring the effectiveness of red light cameras in making intersections safer have produced mixed results.

According to reports in the press, red light cameras have generated over $1 billion in revenue for local governments in Illinois over the past decade.

Category: News

 

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) was appointed Chair of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee today.

“I look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and IDOT officials to move forward with our historic Rebuild Illinois plan and other public safety issues to ensure the future of our critical infrastructure across the state,” Hunter said.

Hunter’s leadership will place a renewed focus on improving fairness in the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway’s procurement processes. In 2016, she passed legislation creating the Fair Practices In Contracting Task Force, which is charged with making recommendations for removing barriers to minority-owned business participation in state procurement.

“This issue still lacks the appropriate attention from state leaders. Racial disparities in the awarding of state contracts are widening. When African-American businesses are shut out of opportunities, our communities are shut out of economic development and our families are shut out of jobs,” Hunter said. “It’s time to get serious about eliminating racial bias in the bidding process and systemic barriers to equity in state contracting.”

Hunter’s other immediate priorities as Chair of the Transportation Committee include:

  • Seeking ways to make public transportation more accessible and affordable, particularly in underserved communities.
  • Reviving the Disadvantaged Business Revolving Loan Program to provide capital necessary for properly certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises – small, minority and female-owned businesses - to finance IDOT project-specific work, acquire valuable work experience and establish or rebuild credit lines.
  • Conducting a study to evaluate the usage of controversial red-light cameras throughout the state.
  • Increasing the number of minority-, veteran- and woman-owned businesses engaged in state and local government contracting.
  • Ensuring transparent and efficient implementation of IDOT’s Multi-Year Plan.
Category: News

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CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) announced today that adult literacy programs in her district will receive nearly $400,000 in state grants.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White awarded the grants through the Adult Literacy Grant Program, which helps learners develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and English-language skills.

“I am glad that the secretary of state recognizes the important role in encouraging intellectual growth and economic development,” Hunter said. “Communities rich in educational and creative opportunities can attract a strong workforce and successful businesses, as well as help sustain a positive quality of life. This much needed increase in funding will help us continue to provide literacy training and ESL programs for adult learners and their families.”

The programs receiving funding in Hunter’s district are:

  • Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, Chicago: $47,900
  • Literacy Chicago, Literacy Adult Program, Chicago: $100,000
  • De La Salle Institute, Chicago: $50,000
  • Heartland Human Care Services, Adult Volunteer Literacy Project, Chicago: $70,000
  • Heartland Human Care Services, Immigrant Family Literacy Project, Chicago: $50,000
  • Heartland Human Care Services, Refugee Family Literacy Project, Chicago: $50,000
  • Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition: $15,000
  • Literacy Works, Chicago: $20,000

A total of 14,352 learners will be served by adult literacy programs around the state. A total of 6,086 volunteer tutors will provide training for learners putting them on the path to lifelong learning. Adult literacy projects help adults who read below the ninth-grade level or speak English at a beginning level to improve their reading, writing, math or use of English as a new language.

In total, the secretary of state’s office awarded $5.6 million in grants to adult literacy programs around the state.

To learn more about adult literacy grant programs, visit https://cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/literacy/adultlit-grants-overview.html.

Category: News

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) passed a measure into law last week to help families in extreme poverty meet their basic needs.

House Bill 3129 eliminates the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) full family sanction. The TANF program provides monthly grants to help families meet their basic needs, including rent, utilities, clothing, personal hygiene products, diapers, transportation and more. Eligible families sometimes may receive a sanction, which suspends a TANF grant, when an adult does not meet certain participation requirements.

The measure, sponsored by Hunter and Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), would designate 75 percent of a family’s TANF benefit as the children portion that cannot be cut for any reason. When sanctioning, the remaining 25 percent is considered the parent’s portion and is subject to sanction. 30 percent of the parent’s portion can be reduced if a parent is not complying with TANF participation requirements.

The cash grant is meant to provide families living in extreme poverty assistance in meeting their basic needs, but sanctions can further push families into poverty and lead to children experiencing homelessness, ER visits and food insecurity,” Hunter said. “This new law allows us to avoid unfairly sanctioning families and leaving them at the risk of severe hardship.”

The legislation also creates a Good Cause exemption for families who are experiencing homelessness, eviction or utility disruption which ensures that the TANF grant amount remains at 30 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

“It’s important that we are doing everything possible to ensure that families going through hard times have the assistance and resources necessary to help them get back on their feet,” Hunter said. “By making sanctions for the TANF program rare and fair, we are making sure that no struggling families are being unfairly punished. This new law would also make adjustments to the amount of TANF benefits recipients would receive so that it is consistent with Illinois’s current cost of living.”

HB 3129 takes effect immediately.

Category: News

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