PACIONE ZAYAS SB 3991CHICAGO – A law to help identify families in need of additional financial assistance for college savings accounts was signed Tuesday, thanks to the hard work of State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas.

“A big part of helping families afford college is making sure they know what financial assistance resources are available,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “This law will not only allow for additional deposits in a Children’s Savings Account for students from financially unstable households, it will also help us understand who is taking advantage of the program and allow us to target outreach to families who might not be aware of it.”

The Illinois Children’s Savings Account program will go into effect in 2023. Under the current program, applicable families will receive a seed deposit of $50. The new law, formerly Senate Bill 3991, allows the state treasurer’s office to supplement CSA’s for financially insecure households with additional funds.

Additionally, the law requires the treasurer’s office to collect more data on program participants to keep track of the social and geographic makeup of those who are utilizing these accounts. This will help further ensure equitable roll out of the program.

“As a parent of three children, I have spent years advocating for a statewide children’s savings account program. I didn’t go to college, but my son was lucky enough to receive a scholarship,” said Liliana Olayo, Co-President POWER-PAC IL and member of the Steering Committee of Financial Inclusion for All Illinois. “With a statewide CSA program that promotes equity, more families like mine will have hope for the future and an investment in their children’s potential early on.”

The law was signed Tuesday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023. 

Category: Press Releases

Bingo1CHICAGO – To get to know older residents in the districts they represent, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) and State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) visited two local residential buildings to enjoy lunch, meet residents and play bingo.

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Category: Press Releases

PACIONE ZAYAS HB 4243 SB 3032CHICAGO – During the spring legislative session, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas was proud to support two pieces of legislation to help high school and college students access their transcripts without having to worry about unpaid debts.

“When a student works hard to make their grades, they deserve access to those records to assist them in applying for further education or jobs,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “High schoolers especially might struggle with paying fees if they come from a financially insecure household, but that shouldn’t prevent them from accessing their transcripts.”

Pacione-Zayas co-sponsored House Bill 4243, which prohibits public high schools from withholding a student’s grades, transcripts or diploma due to unpaid balances on the student’s account. The new law aims to grant students access to these documents and not rely on their or their family’s ability to pay balances.

Additionally, Pacione-Zayas supported Senate Bill 3032, which similarly prohibits universities from withholding students’ transcripts from employers as a means of debt collection. The measure also requires colleges to create a hardship policy to help students that have to withdraw for financial reasons to leave with as little debt as possible and prevents unpaid fees from being sent to a collection agency to be used against a student’s credit score.

“The rising cost of higher education is a barrier to many students,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Withholding transcripts containing a student’s hard-earned grades because of unpaid fees is an issue of equity, and these measures will combat that.”

Both measures have been signed into law. Both laws are now in effect.

Category: Press Releases

04292021CM0488CHICAGO – An avid supporter of uplifting the diverse cultures within Illinois, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas was recently appointed to the State-Designated Cultural Districts Advisory Committee.

“Illinois is home to hundreds of different communities with unique, distinct cultures,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am excited to serve on this committee as a voice of the people who will now have an opportunity to receive tangible recognition at the state level through designated cultural districts.”

The committee was created under a law sponsored in the Senate by Senator Pacione-Zayas, which allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish the necessary criteria and guidelines for designating such cultural districts. Five such districts can be designated per year, up to a total of 15.

“These designations are a way for our communities to proudly reflect the identity, contributions and history of the people who have helped shape them,” said Pacione-Zayas on the law that was signed last year. “This law gives Illinois communities the chance to pursue community-driven economic opportunity initiatives that ensure our neighborhoods preserve their unique cultures and continue to build legacies.”

Her appointment to the committee is effective immediately and expires on Jan. 11, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

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