State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Feminine hygiene products could be purchased with federal and state food assistance program benefits under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Thursday.

“Having access to feminine hygiene products should be a right, not a privilege,” Villa said. “Federal and state benefits need to cover these essential health care items for those who can’t afford them.”

Villa’s measure would require the Department of Human Services to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service permitting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefit recipients to use their benefits to purchase diapers and menstrual hygiene products.

“Expanding the use of benefits to cover feminine hygiene products will help combat period poverty across our state,” Villa said. “Women should be able to complete everyday activities without having to worry about not being able to leave home because they can’t afford feminine hygiene products.”

House Bill 155 passed the Senate with a vote of 57-0.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans who are unable to afford their medications would be able to take advantage of the state’s first prescription drug repository program under legislation sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), which passed the Senate Thursday.

“Many Illinois families are forced to make difficult choices due to the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs — choices that often result in skipping much-needed medication,” Villa said. “I-DROP will help families struggling to afford prescription medicine.”

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.

“Prescription drug repository programs have been successful in other states, and I’m excited about the prospect of Illinois implementing this important program,” Villa said. “This legislation is critical to ensure prescription medications can get into the hands of people who need them.”

House Bill 119 passed the Senate with a vote of 57-0.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Karina VillaSPRINGFIELD – College students would have access to menstrual hygiene products at no cost under State Senator Karina Villa’s (D-West Chicago) measure, which passed the Senate Tuesday.

“Students should not be forced to miss class or arrive late due to lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene products,” Villa said. “Every student has access to essentials like hand soap and toilet paper — menstrual products shouldn’t be any different.”

Public universities and community college districts would be required to make menstrual hygiene products available to students at no cost in campus bathrooms under Villa’s legislation.

“Menstrual hygiene products are essential items for a healthy and well student — having access to those products on campus is a necessity, not a privilege,” Villa said. “Period poverty should not curb a woman’s right to a proper education.”

House Bill 641 passed the Senate with a vote of 42-13.

Category: Press Releases

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


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