homeless gedA plan from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would eliminate a financial burden placed on homeless young people who wish to take the High School Equivalency Test.
Equivalency exams or GED tests are administered by regional superintendents throughout the state. Right now, the fees to take those exams are $30 per test module, and a total of 4 test modules comprise the GED Test. Regional Offices of Education may charge additional fees for a certificate or transcript. Senate Bill 2840 would allow regional superintendents to waive those fees for homeless young people.
“Homelessness makes it difficult for children to attend school, and if a young homeless person seeks to further their education by getting a GED, we need to help make that goal accessible,” Sen. Silverstein said. “I believe $120 to $130 is too much to ask from a homeless teen or his family to further his education and his future.”
The person seeking the waiver must verify their status as homeless; SB 2840 defines what housing situations are regarded as “homeless” and would limit the age range to 25 or under to qualify.
In 2015, California enacted a similar law prohibiting fees for proficiency and equivalency exams for homeless young people.
“If we help them overcome this obstacle, we put them in a better place to get jobs that pay well enough to afford housing,” Silverstein said. “A bigger pool of qualified job seekers and a smaller population of homeless people can contribute to a better economy and quality of life in Illinois.”
Senate Bill 2840 was approved yesterday by the Senate Education Committee. It will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: News

Silverstein wants Latino Treatment Center to stay openSPRINGFIELD – The next tragedy of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 10-month budget impasse could be the closure of the Latino Treatment Center.

“The governor is completely out-of-touch with the needs of Latinos,” said State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago). “His inability to govern and failure to get a budget done means that a vital organization providing substance abuse treatment services to Latinos is about to go under. It’s too bad the governor doesn’t care that his budget impasse is destroying Illinois’ social service network.”

The Latino Treatment Center has bilingual staff and evaluates and serves those in the Hispanic community by conducting evaluations for alcohol and drugs in either Spanish or English. Its staff specializes in outpatient treatment for substance abuse, treatment for families, individual and group counseling and adolescent treatment.

Read more ...

Category: News

silverstein alcpowder passes SenateSPRINGFIELD – On Jan. 1, Illinois will join two dozen other states that have banned dangerous powdered alcohol and set fines for its sale and purchase. Legislation to ban it is under consideration in another 10-15 states.

State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) sponsored the ban in Illinois, Senate Bill 67 (now Public Act 99-0051), which was signed into law by the governor in July.

Powdered alcohol is a relatively new product already proving to be dangerous. Any crystal substance of powder containing alcohol is considered “powdered alcohol.” The powder may be dissolved in liquid such as mixers or juice or it could be sprinkled on food. It can be eaten or snorted without mixing and could be sold in small packets or capsules.

A violation of this law would be a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense in Illinois and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

“Powdered alcohol is not yet for sale in the U.S. and given its potential dangers, I believe it should never enter the market,” Silverstein said. ““Knowing how accessible traditional alcohol already is to those susceptible to abuse – including minors – the risk of alcohol poisoning and its easily concealable form are just two reasons sales of this type of alcohol must be prevented.”

The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association provides research, analytics and alcohol regulatory information regarding policy. NABCA published a paper in November on powdered alcohol’s history, risks and legal status in the states addressing the product.


Category: News

Silverstein domesticA measure sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) to establish provisions for overtime, wages, days off and other protections for Illinois domestic workers passed in the Senate Executive Committee today.

Dubbed the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, House Bill 1288 defines what constitutes domestic work and expands rights for this class of workers from which they are now exempt. Four state laws would be amended to include domestic workers: The Minimum Wage Law, The Illinois Human Rights Act, The One Day Rest in Seven Act and The Wages of Women and Minors Act.

“Domestic workers are struggling to provide for their families and current law makes their struggle more difficult, and unfair,” said Senator Silverstein. “They play an important role in Illinois’ economy but their value has been overlooked compared to other workers. Domestic workers deserve the same rights and protections as all working people in Illinois.”

Domestic workers are defined in HB 1288 to include workers in homes performing house cleaning, caring for children, ill or older family members, laundry, cooking or other home tasks.

According to proponents who include the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Women Employed, and labor and immigrant rights, 23% of domestic workers are paid below minimum wage and 58% of live-in workers are required to work during their scheduled time off.

“Their work is vital to families' homes, but they are often exploited. They continue to work because they need the money and have no recourse,” said Wendy Pollack, founder and director of the Women's Law and Policy Project at the Shriver Center.

House Bill 1288 was passed by the Illinois House in late May. The Senate Executive Committee approved it this afternoon; it now awaits action by the full Senate.

Category: News


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