04292021CM0488CHICAGO – An avid supporter of uplifting the diverse cultures within Illinois, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas was recently appointed to the State-Designated Cultural Districts Advisory Committee.

“Illinois is home to hundreds of different communities with unique, distinct cultures,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am excited to serve on this committee as a voice of the people who will now have an opportunity to receive tangible recognition at the state level through designated cultural districts.”

The committee was created under a law sponsored in the Senate by Senator Pacione-Zayas, which allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish the necessary criteria and guidelines for designating such cultural districts. Five such districts can be designated per year, up to a total of 15.

“These designations are a way for our communities to proudly reflect the identity, contributions and history of the people who have helped shape them,” said Pacione-Zayas on the law that was signed last year. “This law gives Illinois communities the chance to pursue community-driven economic opportunity initiatives that ensure our neighborhoods preserve their unique cultures and continue to build legacies.”

Her appointment to the committee is effective immediately and expires on Jan. 11, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – Following news of a tragic shooting at a Texas elementary school, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

“Words cannot describe the devastation felt across the country right now. As information is released in the coming hours and days, one thing is clear—the lives of nineteen children were taken entirely too soon, along with the life of two teachers, while they were engaged in learning.

“As a mother, I cannot fathom the feeling of sending my child to a place where they are supposed to be safe, gaining knowledge and skills, but having the constant worry if they’ll return home alive and well. In the wake of a mass shooting just 10 days ago motivated by white supremacy in Buffalo, NY, gun violence is too often a common happening in our communities throughout Chicago and across the country.

“Not only am I heartbroken—I am angry. How much longer are we as a country going to allow the proliferation of gun violence? How many more lives will be taken before far-reaching, legitimate change is enacted?

“Right now, as we continue to learn more about the developing situation, I can only offer my deepest condolences. My heart breaks, and I stand in solidarity with all the families affected.”

Category: Press Releases

05312021CM0766CHICAGO – To ensure a fairer justice system,  State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) spearheaded a measure to allow a person in the state justice system and their attorney to efficiently access a comprehensive record of vital information needed for a person's legal defense. The measure was signed into law last week.

“Access to a master file is critical for incarcerated people who are applying for clemency or other legal processes,” Pacione-Zayas said. “From allowing people to check their information for accuracy, to giving them a jumpstart on putting together a resume or legal argument, the master file is an important asset to those involved in our justice system.”

The new law will allow people committed to Illinois Department of Corrections facilities to request one summary of their master record file a year. Additionally, it would allow an incarcerated person’s attorney to request an additional summary of the master file annually.

The summary must be made available within 15 days of the request and must include the person’s name and identifying information, all digitally available information from the committing court, information on the person’s criminal history and more. Additionally, the incarcerated person can request available records on specific disciplinary incidents and grievances filed by them throughout their time committed.

"Incarcerated people deserve basic access to the records of their stay in prison," said State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), House sponsor of the legislation. "This law will help people prepare legal arguments, write resumes, and return home ready to contribute to their communities."

The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

Apprenticeship stockCHICAGO – During the spring legislative session, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas was proud to support and sponsor measures to encourage more people to get into the field of trade work through education and apprenticeship programs.

“Whether it be a young person trying to decide what to do after high school or someone looking for a career change, ensuring Illinoisans have options when entering the workforce is important,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “The trades offer high demand, high pay jobs that can benefit both the individual and the growing workforce.”

Pacione-Zayas sponsored Senate Bill 3990, which requires high school guidance counselors to promote Career and Technical Education to students as they determine plans following high school. CTE includes education in fields like construction, health science, technology, manufacturing and more.

Additionally, Pacione-Zayas supported House Bill 5225, which creates the Job Training and Support Services Pilot Program. This program will be developed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and will offer grants to individuals participating in apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship programs or other work-based learning programs. Grants can be used for transportation, child care, technology needs, income support and other areas.

“Under the Clean and Equitable Jobs Act that was signed into law last year, job training programs to help us get to a renewable future will be stood up across the state,” Pacione-Zayas said. “These measures will give individuals the tools they need to encourage them to pursue this workforce.”

Both measures were recently signed into law. Learn mearn more about opportunities to enter the workforce through Metropolitan Family Services Pre-Construction Training Program for young people here.

Category: Press Releases

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