On Friday, state Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, had numerous bills signed into
law by Gov. Pritzker, including measures to crack down on lead poisoning, cut red tape surrounding property taxes for property held by the Cook County Land Bank Authority and secure workers’ rights to time off and meal breaks.
“Today, I am proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish for my community and for the people of Illinois,” Collins said. “These new laws are going to do substantial good in several different areas. To begin, the toxic effects of led contamination are clear and we must ensure that all mitigation
needs are met. IDPH and local health authorities have a duty to Illinoisans to clear out harmful
lead contamination, and we now have a law that guarantees those steps are taken.”
House Bill 4369 ramps up efforts to prevent future lead poisoning by creating requirements for the Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments to ensure necessary work has been done and safety precautions followed after lead mitigation notices. The bill received robust bipartisan support in the House and Senate before being signed into law by Gov. Pritzker.
“We are also taking steps forward on property tax reform by streamlining the process for exempting properties health by Cook County for future development from property taxes,” Collins said. “Cutting red tape in our tax processes will save taxpayers money, increase government transparency and create more efficient governance. We have seen delays as high as a year before exemptions for these properties are approved, and it’s avoidable.”
House Bill 5532 exempts property held by the Cook County Land Bank Authority from property
taxes and provides that local governments are not required to pay fees when mailing tax sale
notices. This is designed to get rid of unnecessary wait times in the property tax exemption process
in Cook County, as well as lower operating costs for local governments. HB 5532 was backed by
News, the Cook County Land Bank Authority, and the Office of the Cook County President. It received strong
bipartisan support in the House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Pritzker.
“Finally, I am taking steps to ensure that Illinois workers get the rest and time off they deserve,”
Collins said. “It’s time to get rid of outdated and inconsistent enforcement practices and set firm
guidelines to prevent people from being overworked. People—often low-income workers—are
being forced to work more than seven days straight, or go long hours without sufficient meal
breaks. This law will set that straight.”
Senate Bill 3146 creates a penalty structure for employers who violate the ‘One Day Rest in Seven
Act’, as well as changes the definition of a calendar week to any consecutive seven days. It further requires meal breaks for any employees who work in excess of 7.5 hours. The penalty structure is two-tiered, with more limited financial penalties for small businesses. This measure was backed by the Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Nurses Association, the Illinois Department of Labor, and others.
To further support foster care youth across Illinois, state Rep. Lakesia Collins introduced a measure to provide exit interviews to foster care youth when they leave a foster home. The bill was also signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker Friday.
“Foster care youth are some of our most vulnerable young people, and their voices too often go unheard,” Collins said. “When a young person leaves a foster home, it is critical that the
Department of Children and Family Services understands their experience and perspective so that
they can adequately address the young person’s needs going forward.”
House Bill 4304 requires DCFS to give exit interviews to youth over age 5 who leave a foster home. Within five days of the child’s removal, a caseworker, mental health provider of a clinician from DCFS’s Division of Clinical Practice will conduct an exit interview with the child.
The purpose of the interview is to address how the child’s basic needs were met and their safety, comfort, and treatment in the home. The interviews will be documented in the foster parent’s licensing file, and the child’s case file and provided to the children’s guardian ad litem — an attorney.
“As a former youth in care, I know how important it is to listen to and validate the perspectives of youth in foster care,” said Collins. “This legislation is an important step in making sure youth in foster care get a chance to live the happy, healthy, and safe lives they deserve. I am proud to have put forward this meaningful legislation and I am grateful to Gov. Pritzker for his signature. Together, we can build a better future for foster care youth in Illinois.”
For more information on this bill, please visit www.ilga.gov.
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Inset Image Courtesy of artistmac’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License