This Mother's Day weekend, on Saturday, May 9th, Senator Lightford will be holding her 4th Annual Mammograms for Mother's Day Awareness Event. The senator will be visiting several beauty salons throughout her district to discuss the importance of mammograms and other health practices in the fight against breast cancer. It is estimated that there were nearly 67 thousand new breast cancer cases in Illinois in 2014.

 

Senators Mothers Day Event 2015 flier

Category: News

lightford presenting 4 15SPRINGFIELD – A 2012 study found that Illinois suspends more African-American students than any other state in the U.S., including a Black-White suspension disparity that is the highest in the country. To address this all-too-apparent disparity and the overall frequency of out-of-school discipline, legislation has passed the Senate that will help to ensure that all students are in school and off the streets as much as possible.


"The students who are being tossed out of the school environment are the very students who should be kept within school boundaries at all costs," said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, sponsor of the legislation. "We need to keep young people in school learning how to succeed and off of the street corner learning how to fail. Expulsions and suspensions should only be a last resort."


The legislation, Senate Bill 100, would address the frequency and racial disparity of suspensions and expulsions in several ways, including the following:


• Disciplinary removals of longer than 3 days must be limited to instances where the student's presence is an on-going threat to the school, and all other options have been exhausted.
• A school board must state how a suspension and expulsion is in the best interest of a school before disciplinary action.
• School districts must establish re-engagement policies for disciplined students.
• Suspended students must be given the opportunity to make up their work.
• School officials must limit suspensions and expulsions to the greatest extent practicable.


Original research into state records has shown that in the 2010-2011 school year, Illinois students lost 1,117,453 instructional days due to disciplinary actions, 95 percent of which were for minor offenses.


"Illinois' highest-need students are dropping out of school or ending up in the criminal justice system - at an enormous cost to Illinois taxpayers - for incidents that could have and should have been addressed within the school environment," said Sen. Lightford. "The confines of the education system are much more advantageous for these students and the future of our state than those of the penal system.

 

Category: News

lightford051713SPRINGFIELD – Families collecting child support may soon be able to rely on more consistent and helpful payments thanks to new legislation passing through the Senate today. The measure would allow families collecting child support with one child to receive the first $100 in a month and families with two children to receive the first $200 in a month without that money determining the amount of a family's assistance grant (or TANF).

“Through raising the amount of money a needy family can receive without affecting their assistance eligibility, we are providing single mothers and fathers in Illinois with greater ability to care for their families,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D – Maywood), sponsor of the legislation.

Right now, there exists an economic disincentive to pay child support. By requiring a non-custodial parent to pay such a large amount of child support, while the receiving family only receives a marginal benefit, the receiving family loses out on other assistance that they desperately need. And a consistent child support payment is among the strongest indicators of families leaving temporary assistance through TANF.

“Receiving child support should not hinder a family’s ability to provide for that child,” said Sen. Lightford. “This is sometimes the case in Illinois right now. Allowing struggling mothers and fathers greater access to temporary assistance and a more reliable level of child support, will undoubtedly improve the likelihood that a family’s need for government-funded assistance is indeed temporary.”  

The measure, Senate Bill 730, now goes to the House of Representatives for further discussion.

Category: News

lighford with panel2 MHTThanks to all who attended this month’s Mental Health Town Hall in Forest Park, making it a great success! The event was an excellent time of discussion and illumination on a subject that needs our whole community’s attention. We had over 110 people in attendance who heard from a host of professionals representing the mental health community.

 

This event was the first series of our initial connection and the evening proved to be engaging and connections were made. We discussed how mental illness is colorblind and that we need to make sure everyone across our communities is educated on how to take care of our physical and mental health.

 

Please support Senate Bill 565, an effort to reduce mental health stigmas and improve the overall health of communities across the state.  I look forward to having your support on this legislation.

Category: News

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