EOS Quote VillaSPRINGFIELD – In response to the Senate’s affirmative vote on the state budget, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) issued the following statement:

“Having paid off state debts and met our fiscal obligations, this budget makes a strong effort to care for residents across Illinois in all stages of life.

“As a social worker, my heart is centered around the needs of children, adults, seniors, and our most vulnerable neighbors, which is why I am pleased to see our health care system and mental health services receiving necessary funding, as well as $200 million being allocated to lower our pension debt.

“Our residents are our greatest resource, and in light of the unprecedented challenges our neighbors have faced in the last two years, Illinois families deserve the relief and investment this budget brings to them. I’m proud to support the people of Illinois, and I’m proud to be in support of this budget.”

Category: Press Releases

022522CM1372 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) advanced a measure to expand the availability of interpreters to parents who are deaf or have limited English proficiency.

“Parents have a right to know what kinds of decisions are being made regarding their children’s education, and more importantly, be able to actively engage in these discussions and present any questions or complaints and they should be involved in discussions where these decisions are being made,” Villa said. “It’s an issue of accessibility and equity when parents who face communication barriers are unable to participate.”

Current law states that interpreters must be made available to parents during an Individualized Education Program meeting only. Villa’s measure would provide parents who struggle with a language barrier access to an interpreter for meetings that include multidisciplinary conferences, 504 meetings, a mediation session, or a due process hearing.

This legislation will ensure that non-English speaking parents are not left feeling confused or misguided regarding the important outcome of their child’s education.

“Parents who do not speak English should not be barred from the discussion regarding their child’s education,” Villa said. “With this bill, we will now be able to accommodate non-English speaking families.”

The legislation passed out of the Senate Tuesday and now awaits further action from the governor.

Category: Press Releases

030922CM0864 rSPRINGFIELD – The Senate advanced a measure Wednesday supported by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) to protect students in Illinois from grooming and abuse at the hands of educators.

“Students have a right to feel safe at school and know they can trust the adults who watch over them,” said Villa. “This legislation ensures those who breach that trust are unable to go to another school and do the same thing.”

House Bill 4316 expands on legislation passed in December 2021 known as Faith’s Law. Named after Faith Colson, a woman who experienced sexual abuse as a student nearly 20 years ago, Faith’s Law made it illegal for school employees to groom students into sexual relationships. It created a resource guide for students, parents, teachers on sexual abuse response and prevention and strengthen training for teachers.

The new legislation builds upon current law to prevent teachers who have been found guilty of misconduct from being hired in other districts. It ensures accurate and up–to-date information about the nature of their misconduct at their previous position is provided when they apply for new positions.

“Teachers become some of the most loved and trusted figures in our children’s lives,” Villa said. “When bad actors in these positions of influence abuse their power to coerce or abuse students, it is a disgrace to the profession and deserves significant consequences.”

The legislation now awaits further action by the governor.

Category: Press Releases

033022CM1193 rSPRINGFIELD – Illinois visitors and out-of-state students would be able to continue to receive their established therapeutic services via telehealth from an out-of-state certified social worker under a measure championed by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago).

“I have seen firsthand how essential these services can be to those in need,” Villa said. “As a former school social worker, I know how important it is to nurture and maintain relationships between therapists and those they care for.”

Clinicians are required to be licensed in the state where their client is physically located at the time of care, not the state where they reside under current law. House Bill 4797 would allow non-residents and visitors to Illinois, such as university students, to continue to receive the care they need from their trusted and established therapists.

“I am proud to advance this legislation that will further establish Illinois as a national leader in mental health care access,” Villa said. “These vital resources should be available to everyone in our state, resident or otherwise.”

The legislation passed out of the Senate Wednesday and now awaits further action from the governor.

Category: Press Releases

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