Simmons Alt School Floor rSPRINGFIELD – To allow students in custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections the opportunity to continue to earn an education while serving their time, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to allow students to attend classes remotely.

“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Senate for supporting this legislation today. This removes a systemic barrier for youth in custody who ought to be able to continue their education. We are giving them a better chance of finding employment and thriving when re-entering their communities”

Simmons’ measure would create a pilot program to allow remote learning for students of Consuella B. York Alternative High School that are in the custody of the IDOC. If successful, the program could roll out in other alternative schools across Illinois. California currently has programs that allow inmates to work towards their Bachelor’s Degree. Research from the Cal Matters Organization show such programs have contributed to improving opportunities and lowered recidivism rates.

“This is a great step toward shoring up the gaps that exist in serving the needs of those who are incarcerated. Doing so will help buttress our overall efforts to lower recidivism rates and increase public safety.”

House Bill 5016 passed the Senate and awaits further consideration.

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Category: Press Releases

Simmons and Caucus rSPRINGFIELD – To support Illinois homecare workers who endured a great burden during the pandemic, Senate Democrats are proposing a measure to deliver a $1 per hour raise to bolster the homecare workforce.

“It is our duty as lawmakers to ensure that our seniors are taken care of and our responsibility to provide for the workers who care for them,” Simmons said. “A stable, consistent homecare workforce is vital for this entire state.”

As of 2022, Illinois currently has approximately 100,000 seniors that require homecare assistance from a professional. According to SEIU, the state’s leading service employee labor group, the population of people over the age of 65 will grow by one third by 2025.

Simmons is spearheading the measure in the senate to provide an increase in wages to homecare workers to help build a durable and robust homecare workforce.

“When you look at the turnover rates of this industry, we cannot not do this,” Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) said in Thursday’s press conference. “If we do not have a robust workforce, seniors will be forced to go into a nursing home which is four times more expensive on average compared to at-home care.”

“We are here to ensure a robust an equitable economy for us all,” said SEIU-HCII President Greg Kelley at Thursday’s press conference. “I am optimistic that we have taken the first steps toward recognizing the contributions of our health care workers, who we have all called essential workers.”

Senate Bill 4030 awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons Remote LearningSPRINGFIELD – To provide students in custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections a chance to continue to earn an education while serving their time, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to allow students to attend classes remotely.

“I want the youth of our state, regardless of their situation, to be able to access a quality education,” Simmons said. “Allowing students in custody to continue their education will give them a better chance at having a positive outcome when re-entering society.”

Simmons’ measure would create a pilot program to allow remote learning for students of Consuella B. York Alternative High School that are in the custody of the IDOC. If successful, the program could roll out in other alternative schools across Illinois. California currently has programs that allow inmates to work towards their Bachelor’s Degree. Research from the Cal Matters Organization shown such programs have contributed to improving opportunities and lowered recidivism rates.

“The goal of any incarceration program is to reform people of past actions and provide opportunities for education and career placement,” Simmons said. “This program will provide such opportunities and will provide youth a second chance.”

House Bill 5016 passed the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons KidsSPRINGFIELD – To better protect the interests of children with incarcerated parents in Illinois, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to create the Commission on Children of Incarcerated Parents.

“The youth that fall into this tragic category are in some of the greatest need of help,” Simmons said. “They experience untreated trauma that hinder their unrealized potential in life.”

The Commission, housed within the Department of Human Services, shall be responsible for implementing and coordinating the recommendations of the Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents with state agencies. The task force, created in 2020 will propose the changes, and the Commission will work with agencies on how to properly implement said changes.

Children with incarcerated parents are more likely than other children to experience poor health and unmet health care needs, as well as poor eating and sleep behaviors. Children with incarcerated parents are also associated with greater mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, lower educational attainment, and higher rates of aggressive behavior.

“I hope this work will bring forth the necessary change at the agency level for the youth affected,” Simmons said. “We focus a great deal of the person who commits the crime and not enough at the collateral effect of people connected to the situation.”

House Bill 5525 passed the Senate State Government Committee and awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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