State Senator Ram VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), the newly appointed chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, sent a letter to his colleagues inviting them to reintroduce any legislation that Villivalam’s predecessor refused to give an open hearing.

“It has been widely reported that the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee from 2009 to October of 2019 conducted meetings and approached policy, as it relates to transportation issues, without making the public good and/or public policy his top priority,” Villivalam said. “As the new chair, I have vowed to create and implement an open, transparent and accountable process for legislation that will maintain and improve our transportation and infrastructure system in a data-driven, equitable way.”

Villivalam pledged to provide an open, fair and transparent process for all legislation assigned to the Transportation Committee this year. He also encouraged his colleagues in the General Assembly to notify him if a bill in the Transportation Committee was assigned to the committee in a previous year but never heard.

“I am committed to holding hearings throughout the state to enable local people to comment on the transportation issues that matter most to them,” Villivalam said. “The government works for the people, so it works best when everyone gets a chance to voice their opinions, and we legislators make the best, most informed decisions when we talk to both experts and the people whose everyday lives are effected by our decisions.”

The Senate Transportation Committee normally meets on Tuesdays at 5 p.m.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Ram VillivalamSPRINGFEILD - State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and advocates introduced the REACH Act at a press conference this morning.

This legislation requires all K-12 public schools to offer a comprehensive and age-appropriate course on personal heath and public safety. The program would be phased in slowly, thus granting schools a smooth orderly transition to the new curriculum.

The Responsible Education for Adolescent and Children’s Health (REACH) Act lays out the following curricular changes:

● In grades K-2, instruction would focus on personal safety, identifying trusted adults who children can rely on for guidance and support, and respecting others.

● In grades 3-5, instruction would expand to discuss bullying, harassment, and abuse and to cover topics such as anatomy, puberty, hygiene, body image, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

● In grades 6-12, instruction would build on prior topics and begin covering issues like consent, sexual harassment, abuse, and inter-personal violence, and cover the benefits of abstinence, behavioral changes, and barrier methods like condoms, medication, contraception, and sexually transmitted infection prevention measures.

“In recent years, the news has been filled with reporting on child sex abuse scandals, sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual assault on college campuses, and bullying of LGBTQ students and people of color,” said Senator Villivalam (D-8). “There is urgency to act now to ensure all students in Illinois receive the age-appropriate education necessary to be safe and healthy. Senate Bill 2762 will do just that.”

If passed, the legislation would make Illinois the 30th state to mandate sex education.

Category: News

Senator Ram VillivalamSPRINGFIELD - Governor Pritzker’s second budget address was today. His proposal highlighted funding increases for education, including an additional $50 million for the childhood block grant, a $100 million increase to Child Care Assistance Program, and a $7 million increase in Early Intervention Funding.

“I’m pleased to see Governor Pritzker propose a budget that will drastically increase funding for early education,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “I represent many young parents who often struggle to balance child care while working a full time job, and I’m heartened to see the governor moving to lighten the burden of working parents.”

The governor’s proposal also includes a $50 million increase for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) financial aid program for university students, $5 million for a new community college apprenticeship grant program, and continued funding for the AIM HIGH program.

“The proposed increases to the state’s need-based financial aid programs for college students, the early childhood block grant, and fully funding our pension system are a good start to righting our fiscal ship and encouraging people to invest in our state. I look forward to working with the governor to bring real progressive change to our state.”

Category: Press Releases

Ram VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Smaller businesses will once again be able to benefit from a tax credit for creating new full-time jobs under a plan announced by Senator Ram Villivalam and Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview). 

“Small businesses make a community vibrant and unique, and this encourages them to seek out more employees,” said Villivalam, a Chicago Democrat. “This tax credit was introduced during the recession, and it should not have been allowed to lapse under the previous governor.”

The proposed legislation would provide small businesses with a tax credit worth $5,000 per new employee making at least $15 an hour and working 35 hours per week. A total of $75 million in tax credits will be awarded, with the credit set to sunset after six years.

“This legislation will spur economic development and help create jobs,” said Elliot Richardson, president of the Small Business Advocacy Council. “Small businesses drive our economy and support local communities. Passing this important bill will send the right message to Illinois entrepreneurs, empower the small business community and foster economic growth.”

The legislation will be Senate Bill 3498. 

Category: Press Releases

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