Ramirez' Session Recap: Economic Recovery, Housing Justice, and an Elected School Board
SPRINGFIELD, Ill – State Rep. Delia C. Ramirez, D-Chicago, celebrates the following legislative victories to address our state’s housing crisis, improve our child welfare system, secure an elected school board, and advance a responsible budget that invests the communities most impacted by the pandemic.
Emergency Housing Relief
Ramirez spearheaded legislation that will set a comprehensive agenda for housing recovery. Families and neighborhoods that have endured the worst from the past year will now have a chance to bounce back with House Bill 2877, which ensures that over $1 billion in federal rental assistance will be available for renters and landlords impacted by the pandemic. Ramirez was also a sponsor and champion of HB2621, an Affordable Housing Omnibus bill, which will create a $300 million program to build over 3500 new units of affordable housing over the next three years and create property tax incentives for landlords who preserve and create affordable housing.
“The harm caused by the pandemic has left families with great need and few options. Families across our state are under threat of losing their homes and being forced into a cycle of housing instability that may cause irreparable harm” said Ramirez. “The Emergency Rental Assistance and Affordable Housing Omnibus Bill will allow households to keep their homes and while we invest in building new affordable housing options for low-income communities. These bills together are critical measures to make sure we address people’s immediate housing needs and create long-term solutions for increased affordable housing.”
Budget & Economic Recovery
Ramirez also worked to pass a budget that included increased investments for key community initiatives like the parent mentor program, immigrant services, affordable housing, and violence reduction initiatives. The budget passed by the General Assembly also included a measure championed by Rep. Ramirez to lower the age of last year’s historic expansion of Medicaid to low income undocumented seniors from 65 to 55. Ramirez championed progressive revenue by supporting proposals to close $600 million in corporate tax loopholes, a measure that was included in the final budget legislation.
“Often low income and immigrant communities have been left out of the conversation when it comes time to set our priorities for investment,” said Ramirez. “ I will continue to fight for initiatives that will provide communities that have been historically disinvested in with the resources they need to thrive. Recovery from this pandemic will require targeted investments. The budget we passed this session reflects our commitment to investing in the people of Illinois.”
A plan introduced by Representative Delia Ramirez and Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas to allow for the designation of cultural districts in Illinois cleared its final vote in the Illinois General Assembly, sending the measure to help affirm the identity of communities in Illinois and preserve their distinct legacies to the governor. An initiative of the Puerto Rican Agenda, the legislation would allow the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish the necessary criteria and guidelines for designating such cultural districts.
“As we move into economic recovery from the pandemic, it is imperative that we recognize and invest in the rich cultural heritage of Illinois’ diverse communities,” Ramirez said. “This initiative will allow DCEO to help communities foster and preserve their distinct cultural legacies.”
Ramirez continued her work to improve our child welfare system by championing three bills that have passed through both chambers this spring session. House Bill 3100, requires that mandated reporters, people who are trained and required to report instances of child abuse and neglect, complete implicit bias training. House Bill 3793, requires the state to deliberately act on specific evidence when obtaining a court order to terminate contact between a child and their parent or guardian. SB106 will ensure DCFS produces accurate and timely reports on youth in care so that their needs are adequately considered and addressed by the child welfare system.
“I remain committed to ensuring that our state’s child welfare system is fair and responsive to the needs of Illinois families and that is why I championed measures that address important issues” affirmed Ramirez.
Elected School Board
Additionally, Ramirez led the charge on passing legislation for an elected school board in the City of Chicago. House Bill 2908 SA1 creates an elected and representative school board for Chicago Public Schools. The bill passed the Senate after the House had adjourned but Rep. Ramirez intends to call the bill for a concurrence vote when the House reconvenes in the coming weeks.
“Parents must be given a seat at the table if we are to have a school system that is equitable” said Ramirez. “Chicagoans have demanded an elected and representative school board for years and it is time we give them this right which is afforded to parents in every other school district in our state. I am disappointed that the timeline for implementation is not what the community has demanded. However, this bill still gets us to a fully elected board and I look forward to passing it in the House once we reconvene.”