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SPRINGFIELD – Senate lawmakers and advocates gathered Thursday to stress the importance of getting a full and accurate count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, who is sponsoring legislation to appropriate funds for grants to ensure an accurate count, spoke about the impact an undercount could have on minority communities.

"We know that minority communities are in jeopardy of losing out on funding for vital services and representation if they are once again undercounted, and there are a number of challenges in ensuring participation,” Lightford (D-Maywood) said. “My colleagues and I recognize that, and we are preparing by setting aside resources for the 2020 census now.”

Lightford’s measure, Senate Bill 2053, would appropriate $25 million to the Illinois secretary of state for grants to community providers and local governments for the purposes of encouraging full participation in the 2020 census, especially those historically under reported.

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Category: News

Lightford032519SPRINGFIELD – Schools with high numbers of student discipline incidents would be required to create a plan that details how the use of suspensions will be reduced under legislation led by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).

“Students need to be in the classroom in order to learn and get the best out of their education,” Lightford said. “We need to find a way to deal with behavioral issues without jeopardizing our students’ education.”

School districts would be ranked according to their number of disciplinary incidents, with those in the top 20 percent for three consecutive years required to submit an annual report to the Illinois State Board of Education beginning in October of this year.

Senate Bill 1941 also creates the Safe Schools and Healthy Learning Environments Grant Program to provide resources to help implement restorative interventions and resolution strategies.

The plan was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, and is scheduled for deliberation before the full Senate.

Category: News

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberley Lightford (D-Maywood) joined Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton on Thursday to recognize the achievements of women in Illinois, as part of the governor’s Women’s History Month Celebration at the Capitol.

“We’re joined by distinguished women who have spent their careers blazing a trail for generations to come,” Lightford told the assembled crowd in the Capitol Rotunda. “Women like you, our three award recipients, and countless women across our state are the reason Illinois continues to advance women’s rights and make progress toward true gender parity.”

Governor Pritzker presented achievement awards to Dr. Alicia Alexander, founder of the Edwardsville chapter of Support the Girls, Kahala Clay, Circuit Clerk of St. Clair County, Wendy Pollack, founder of the Women’s Law and Policy Initiative at Chicago’s Shriver Center, and former State Representative and Democratic Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.

Category: News

Lightford032019SPRINGFIELD – Children could soon be required to start school at age 5 under a proposal spearheaded by Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).

Senate Bill 2075 lowers the compulsory school age from 6 to 5, and was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.

“It is vital for students to be in the classroom, especially at an early age,” Lightford said. “This measure allows us to make a strong impact in the lives of our children and increases opportunities for those who come from underprivileged communities.”

The measure seeks to help address chronic absenteeism across the state by establishing a habit of attendance in kindergarten and first grade. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, at least one in five Chicago Public School students missed at least 17 days of school during the 2017-18 school year. The state’s average is about one in six children.

Chronic absenteeism has a wide range of negative effects for the absent students and for their classmates, as instructors often need to go over materials again, Lightford said.

The legislation now heads to the full Senate for approval.

Category: News

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