Lightford082218SPRINGFIELD – A plan led by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) would reduce penalties from a Class A misdemeanor to a traffic citation for individuals driving with a suspended license due to unpaid parking fines, automated camera enforcement or unpaid child support.

“Putting people in jail for being too poor to pay parking fines or child support is counterproductive,” Lightford said. “We should be focused on helping people get on their feet instead of making life even harder for them.”

Currently, a person who drives a motor vehicle while their license or permit is suspended or revoked for such offenses may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a sentence of up to one year in jail. This penalty is the same for those whose license was suspended for a DUI.

“There is a big difference between not having enough money to pay bills and irresponsibly putting lives in danger. They should be penalized accordingly,” Lightford said.

House Bill 3920 allows an individual to receive three citations for driving with a suspended license for parking fines, automated camera enforcement or unpaid child support before it becomes a Class A misdemeanor.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Category: News

Lightford 082118SPRINGFIELD – As the national call for more school resource officers grows, Illinois Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) has passed a new law to ensure Illinois provides proper training for the all-in-one law enforcement, counselor and community liaison position.

Senate Bill 2925, which was signed into law this week, requires the Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to develop or approve a certified training program for school resource officers by Jan. 1, 2020.

“We are taking into account how difficult the resource officer profession can be, and focusing on the potential it has for being a strong asset in our children’s education,” Lightford said. “This training requirement ensures that resource officers are prepared to take on the unique challenges of working in a school environment.”

The training will be developed with consultation from organizations with expertise in the areas of youth and adolescent development, educational administration, child abuse and exploitation prevention, youth mental health treatment, and juvenile advocacy.

The legislation also allows law enforcement agencies to request a waiver of the training for any officers who may already be qualified as an SRO.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Category: News

Lightford082018SPRINGFIELD – A proposal sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) that aims to protect access to child care for working families under the Child Care Assistance Program is now law.

Lightford’s House Bill 5599 sets the eligibility threshold for childcare assistance at no less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

In July 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner made cuts to Childcare Assistance Program through administrative rule, lowering the income threshold to 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The cuts left 90 percent of applicants throughout the state ineligible for childcare, decimated the program and caused massive layoffs in the childcare industry.

“Childcare is an essential part of a family’s ability to sustain,” Lightford said. “We have to ensure that no governor can ever harm our families by making arbitrary cuts to this program again, and that is why it is so important that we set the eligibility threshold for CCAP in state law.”

CCAP provides low-income, working families with access to affordable, quality care that allows them to continue working. In order to qualify, applicants must be recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a family with a special needs child, a parent furthering their education or a working family whose monthly income does not exceed the income guideline for their family size.

The law is now in effect.

Category: News

UNI BEP FY17CHICAGO – Members of the Illinois Senate Special Committee on Supplier Diversity began the process of figuring out why the state does a poor job of including women and minorities in state contracts and looking for ways to reform the Business Enterprise Program Tuesday.

Many public universities, including the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University, did not come close to meeting the goal to spend 20 percent of their contract dollars with businesses owned by minorities and females last fiscal year.

State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), the committee’s chairman, called the meeting to find out why universities failed to meet the requirements of the Business Enterprise Program, what is being done to make up ground and how the state could better force compliance.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Sandoval said. “We have to be accountable to the people we serve and we have to more power as a legislature to determine these goals and to look at whether state agencies are meeting their goals.”

Sandoval said Central Management Services did a poor job of explaining the Business Enterprise Program to the committee, which came to the conclusion that reform is needed.

State Senator James Clayborne Jr. (D-Belleville), a long-time advocate for supplier diversity along with Sandoval, forcefully questioned the CMS and university leaders and demanded better as well.

“For years I’ve been asking why the state can’t include minorities and women and I always get the same excuses: ‘We’re working on it, it’s difficult to do, we already have established relationships with most of our vendors,” Clayborne said. “We need solutions – not excuses – for these failures. We need accountability and creativity to include minorities in state contracts.”

“CMS had an hour and a half to explain this program to us and they said nothing,” Sandoval said. “CMS is in charge of this program and it’s kind of like the wolf guarding the henhouse. There is no oversight except from a volunteer council.”

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Chicago), a former CMS employee that worked with the BEP, had strong sentiments for CMS and the universities as well.

“You’re not doing a good job in identifying African American and Latino business owners, period,” Lightford said. “There are no deadlines, there’s no accountability. It’s a vicious cycle and it is continually happening throughout the state of Illinois. There are always excuses when it comes to minority vendors. If there is something we could do on the legislative end, please let us know. We will work on it.”

Sandoval ended the four-hour meeting by informing the universities that he would be visiting their campuses to examine practices and help them find ways to improve on their BEP numbers.

Category: News

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