State Senator Karina Villa on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Employees who are found to be underpaid by their employers could be entitled to damages worth 5% of the monthly amount they were underpaid in addition to the full underpayment amount owed under an initiative proposed by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Tuesday.

“Illinoisans who go to work day in and day out deserve to be justly compensated,” Villa said. “Wage theft is a crime, and this legislation will help deter the bad actors from taking advantage of those who cannot speak up.”

Currently, employees who do not receive wages in a timely manner are entitled to file a claim to recover their unpaid wages, plus damages totaling 2% of the amount of monthly underpayments. Villa’s legislation would increase the percentage paid in damages from 2% to 5% to more effectively deter wage theft by employers.

The workers typically impacted by this issue are low-wage workers, who often lack bargaining power and are not in a position to object to wage theft.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our society, and most of the owners pay their employees on time,” Villa said. “This 5% number will not even have an effect on the employers who do what’s right and pay their employees the wages they deserve.”

House Bill 118 passed the Senate with a vote of 40-15.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Undocumented college students could find tailored support on campus under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed a Senate committee Wednesday.

“Undocumented students on campus may be under an immense amount of stress regarding their immigration status, in addition to the already stressful higher education experience,” Villa said. “A dedicated liaison will help ensure students have equitable and inclusive access to campus programs.”

The legislation would 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 would help undocumented students and mixed-status students navigate financial aid programs, academic and career counseling, retention and matriculation support services, and mental health counseling offered on campus.

“Every college student should have the tools they need to graduate, and these new programs will give marginalized communities the resources to succeed,” Villa said. “I’m eager to see the positive outcomes that will result from this measure.”

House Bill 3438 passed the Senate Executive Committee and now goes to the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Hospitals across Illinois would be required to participate in the Illinois State Police sexual assault evidence tracking system and explain the tracking process to survivors under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed a Senate committee Wednesday.

“The Illinois State Police sexual assault evidence tracking system can only be used to its full potential if all hospitals participate in the system,” Villa said. “Survivors who are brave enough to submit evidence for a rape kit deserve to have all the information on how to track their evidence through every step of the process.”

In 2020, the Illinois State Police launched an online tracking system for rape kits that allows survivors of sexual assault to track evidence in their cases, but not all hospitals in Illinois opted to participate. Villa’s measure would require hospitals to enter collected sexual assault evidence into the tracking system.

The legislation would also ensure survivors of sexual assault receive information on how to use the tracking system from health care facilities or law enforcement.

“Sexual assault cases can be some of the most personal and emotional cases for survivors, but having ownership of and being able to track their evidence kit can help bring them one step closer to closure,” Villa said. “This legislation will help ensure survivors have the resources they need at their fingertips.”

House Bill 1739 passed the Senate Executive Committee after passing the House unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to reduce drug waste and help families struggling to afford prescription drugs, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) advanced a measure out of committee Tuesday that would create a Prescription Drug Repository Program to redistribute unused prescription drugs to Illinoisans who need them.

“There’s no reason unused prescription drugs should be thrown out or sit on a shelf past their expiration date when many Illinois families are struggling to afford critical prescription medications,” Villa said. “This legislation would help eligible families access redistributed prescriptions at no additional cost.”

Anyone could donate certain prescription drugs or necessary supplies to administer a prescription drug under Villa’s Illinois Prescription Drug Repository Program (I-DROP). These items would be redistributed to eligible individuals who have been prescribed the medication, but who can’t afford it.

“As the cost of prescription drugs continues to skyrocket, it’s important that we protect Illinois families by working to lower the cost of prescription drugs and finding alternatives to purchasing medication at market value,” Villa said. “Illinoisans should not have to choose between putting food on the table and affording their prescriptions.”

There is no one special interest group behind I-DROP; its advocates are individual physicians, pharmacists and patients from every corner of Illinois. State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) sponsored the I-DROP Act in the House, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and across the state have signed on to co-sponsor the measure.

House Bill 119 passed the Senate Health Committee and now goes to the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases


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