State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – During her first legislative session in the Illinois Senate, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) championed landmark legislation to help families in every corner of Illinois.

“One of the greatest joys of my time as a legislator has been meeting with my various advisory committees to listen to community members and gather input to inform meaningful legislation,” Villa said. “From issues affecting students to mental health initiatives, I’m grateful for everyone who helped push for these important laws.”

Villa passed House Bill 155, which will allow Illinoisans receiving aid through federal and state food assistance programs to use their benefits to purchase menstrual hygiene products or diapers. The measure ensures benefits programs cover necessary menstrual hygiene products, which Villa said are as essential to a woman’s well-being as food and water.

Villa went on to continue her fight to end period poverty on Illinois college campuses with the passage of House Bill 641. Public universities and community college districts are now required to make menstrual hygiene products available to students at no cost in campus bathrooms under the legislation.

In an effort to reduce drug waste and help families struggling to afford prescription drugs, Villa championed House Bill 119, which will create the Illinois Prescription Drug Repository Program – or I-DROP – to redistribute unused prescription drugs to Illinoisans who need them. Under Villa’s I-DROP program, unused prescription drugs that may have otherwise been thrown out could be redistributed to families who are struggling to afford critical prescription medications.

Undocumented college students can find tailored support on campus under Villa’s House Bill 3438. The legislation requires public universities and community colleges in Illinois to designate an employee as an Undocumented Student Resource Liaison, as well as encourages schools to establish an Undocumented Student Resource Center on campus to assist undocumented students.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work I accomplished with the General Assembly this spring to pass laws to help students, women and working families across our great state,” Villa said. “As we approach the next legislative session, I look forward to continuing to prioritize health care, education and workplace safety.”

A full list of legislation sponsored by Villa can be found on the Illinois General Assembly’s website.

Category: Press Releases

School suppliesWEST CHICAGO – As children return to school, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) is making sure parents know they may be able to claim their students’ school expenses on their 2021 Illinois individual tax returns.

“Back-to-school expenses can be a burden, but parents now have the opportunity to receive tax benefits if they take the right steps,” Villa said. “Families should remember to claim these expenses on their tax returns to help prepare their children for a bright academic future.”

Qualified educational expenses include tuition and book and lab fees more than $250 paid to the school where the student is enrolled on a full-time basis. For home schooled students — book rental and lab fees greater than $250 are eligible when attending a qualified home school program.

The Illinois Education Expense Credit allows parents or legal guardians of full-time K-12 students younger than 21 to take a 25% tax credit on qualified education expenses over $250. The total credit may not exceed $750, regardless of the number of qualifying students. Parents must attach a receipt they receive from the school and potentially fill out a schedule when they file their taxes.

"Parents invest a great deal in education so I encourage them to take advantage of this valuable savings,” Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris said. “It is just important for them to remember to keep the receipts for any qualifying expenses, so they are accessible when it comes time to file their taxes.”

More information about the Illinois Education Expensive Credit can be found on IDOR’s website.

Category: Press Releases

LibraryWEST CHICAGO – Upgraded services are coming to libraries across the 25th District thanks to more than $231,000 in grants, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) announced Thursday.

“Libraries are incredibly important as our students seek accessible, quiet study spots and families take advantage of remote work and online resources,” Villa said. “This funding is critical to ensuring our local libraries are operating at their highest potential and able to continue providing opportunities to our community.”

The $231,000 received by six local libraries is part of $18.1 million in grants awarded to 638 public libraries across the state. For more than 40 years, the Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants Program has helped public libraries with a low library tax base to ensure a minimum level of funding for library services.

Libraries will use the grants from the secretary of state’s office to help fund new services and products, such as audiobooks, adult programming, dual language materials and more.

“I am extremely proud of the outstanding service Illinois’ public libraries provide to all residents,” Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White said. “I truly believe libraries are cornerstones of our communities, and I am pleased to provide this increased funding to help them serve the public.”

The following libraries in the district Villa represents will receive funds:

o Batavia Public Library District, $39,178
o Town and Country Public Library District, $18,278
o Saint Charles Public Library District, $81,260
o Sugar Grove Public Library District, $23,247
o West Chicago Public Library District, $44,137
o Yorkville Public Library, $24,958

For more information on the grants, people can visit the secretary of state’s website.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Tailored support services and resource centers for undocumented students will be available on college campuses under a new law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago).

“Undocumented college students deserve to have equitable and inclusive access to resources to help them successfully graduate and become contributing members of society,” Villa said. “These liaisons and resource centers will have a profound impact on retention and matriculation rates for marginalized communities on campus.”

The law will require public universities and community colleges in Illinois to designate an employee as an Undocumented Student Resource Liaison, as well as encourage schools to establish an Undocumented Student Resource Center on campus to assist undocumented students.

Liaisons and resource centers will help undocumented and mixed-status students navigate financial aid programs, academic and career counseling, retention and matriculation support services, and mental health counseling offered on campus.

House Bill 3438 was signed into law Friday and takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases


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