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Measure adopts several recommendations of the Whole Child Task Force, passed as part of the Black Caucus’ four-pillar agenda

SPRINGFIELD – Building upon her steadfast leadership to take a more holistic, trauma-informed approach in schools, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford passed a measure to equip schools with the training and resources they need to meet the diverse trauma and mental health needs of students.

“While there are individual schools, centers and programs that do a strong job supporting the well-being of students, these efforts are locally driven. They are not systemic,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “We need a real shift toward a systemic approach to supporting students’ cultural, physical, emotional and mental health needs.”

Schools across the state would be equipped with training and resources to meet the diverse trauma and mental health needs of students, under Lightford’s measure. The Illinois State Board of Education would create a Children’s Adversity Index, which would measure community childhood trauma exposure across the population of children 3-18 years old by May 31, 2025.

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Category: News


Lightford passes measure to develop statewide literacy plan

SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford passed a measure through the Senate to implement an equitable literacy plan in schools to support the best interests of students.

“Low student literacy is an urgent crisis that has a solution,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “Literacy is critical to social, economic, and health justice, which makes improving literacy outcomes a top public policy priority. Every child deserves access to high-quality reading education.”

Lightford’s measure would require the Illinois State Board of Education to create a comprehensive literacy plan. The plan – which would be due Jan. 31, 2024 – would outline ways to increase research-aligned, developmentally appropriate reading instruction in schools.

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Category: News

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Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford joined fellow Senate Democrats in applauding the signing of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act on Monday, making Illinois the third state in the U.S. to guarantee paid leave.

“It’s not uncommon for life to get in the way of work – be it your child unexpectedly gets sick or your car breaks down. You shouldn’t be punished for these everyday obstacles,” said Lightford (D-Maywood), whose decades of work lifting up working families has included championing numerous increases to the state’s minimum wage and expanding worker protections for employees targeted by layoffs. “With the signing of this legislation, we are leading a significant, positive impact on the lives of residents across our state and underscoring our commitment to uplifting working families.”

Under the new law, all employers in Illinois will be required to provide their employees with a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave per year that can be used for any reason. A worker would begin to earn paid leave on their first day of employment at a rate of one hour of leave for every 40 hours worked. Starting on March 31, 2024, or 90 days following commencement of employment, workers can begin using their earned time off for any reason without the requirement of providing documentation to their employer.

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Category: News

Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

MAYWOOD – The Park District of Forest Park and Westchester Park District are set to receive over $1 million for land acquisition and development for parks and outdoor recreation projects, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford announced Friday.

“This funding will have a positive impact on our communities and help ensure they stay vibrant and welcoming,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “Friends walking in the park, families going to the playground or individuals walking their dog will all feel the benefits of this grant program.”

The Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program is a cost-sharing program between state and local governments that has become one of the most popular grant programs in Illinois. The Park District of Forest Park is set to receive $424,200 and Westchester Park District will receive $600,000.

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Category: News

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