Villa HB 5193 rSPRINGFIELD – Under a newly-signed law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), school boards across the state will have the option to include safe firearm storage in their safety education curriculum.

“Guns are the leading cause of death of children in Illinois,” Villa said. “By giving students the opportunity to learn about safe, responsible firearm ownership, we are giving them the tools to protect themselves and others.”

Under House Bill 5193, safe gun storage will be added to existing safety education instruction taught in schools in Illinois. Automobile safety, CPR training, safety in the home, and safety while carrying out vocational training or work are all examples of what is already included in statewide safety education curriculum.

Under current law, when not in use, firearm owners in Illinois must keep their guns temporarily inoperable with a designated device or mechanism, kept in a securely locked container, or in a location that a minor under the age of 14 would not reasonably have access to. House Bill 5193 would bring this information to classrooms discussing safety in the home in an effort to raise awareness of firearm safety among young adults and to educate them about responsible firearm ownership.

Schools are not mandated to teach safety education, but if they elect to offer it they are required to teach all existing components.

“When firearms are not stored safely and securely, there is always a chance they may fall into the wrong hands, whether that be the hands of small children who don’t understand, or the hands of those who may be a danger to themselves or others,” Villa said. “Promoting positive messages about proper gun storage has the potential to save lives.”

The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

040622CM1444 rWEST CHICAGO – Thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa, older LGBTQ adults across Illinois will have expanded advocacy at the state level to address disparities in treatment, care and overall well-being.

“No one should experience discrimination when it comes to the care and resources available to them, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “For far too long, though, that hasn’t been the case. This law helps to make right generations of disparity.”

Previously Senate Bill 3490, the new law creates the Commission on LGBTQ Aging, adds LGBTQ representation to the Council on Aging, requires the Department of Aging to designate an LGBTQ Older Adult Advocate, and creates an LGBTQ Older Adult Curriculum & Training Program for Department of Aging.

LGBTQ people of all ages have historically faced unique challenges rooted in discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, including a lack of legal and social recognition and reduced access to inclusive services and affirming care.

This is especially significant for those living with HIV. According to the CDC, nearly half of people in the United States living with diagnosed HIV are 50 and older, meaning that access to specialized care is necessary for many older adults.

“The LGBTQ community has historically overcome incredible adversity, and this law creates equity and prevents discrimination when it comes to necessary care,” Villa said. “They deserve the same access to support and resources everyone else has, and I’m proud to help ensure they do.”

The legislation goes into immediate effect.

Category: Press Releases

040722CM0537 rWEST CHICAGO – Thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Karina Villa, Illinois visitors and out-of-state students will soon be able to continue to receive their established therapeutic services via telehealth from an out-of-state certified social worker.

“We have already taken great strides toward mental health accessibility here in Illinois,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “This is another important step to ensure these vital resources are available to everyone in our state, resident or otherwise.”

House Bill 4797 will allow non-residents and visitors to Illinois, such as university students, to continue to receive the care they need from their trusted and established therapists. Under previous law, clinicians were required to be licensed in the state where their client is physically located at the time of care, not the state where they reside.

“Finding a therapist is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and it’s important that those in need are able to continue their established relationships with trusted mental health professionals,” said Villa.

The legislation was signed on Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

pexels tim mossholder 1706018 rWEST CHICAGO – Eighty-one businesses across the 25th District have received a total of $4,145,000 through the Back to Business program thanks to support from State Senator Karina Villa and the General Assembly.

“Our small businesses fought through the darkest days of the pandemic, and now they’re looking to rebuild and move forward,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “I am pleased to see them receive this well-deserved support as they begin to do so.”

The $4,145,000 was awarded to 81 local businesses. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

DCEO has provided $250 million in B2B grants to small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on hard hit sectors, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, and disproportionately impacted areas.

“So many local businesses have benefited greatly from this investment, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped to make these grants possible,” said Villa.

Thanks to years of fiscally responsible decisions and a surplus in the budget, the state saw an increase in funds available to assist small businesses.

Additional resources can be found on DCEO’ website and through DCEO’s First Stop Business Information Center Services at 800-252-2923 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Category: Press Releases

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