031022CM0382SPRINGFIELD – People reentering society after being released from the Illinois Department of Corrections facilities should have access to documents regarding their time committed. State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) championed legislation to allow incarcerated individuals to request a summary of their master record.

“People should have the right to double-check their file for false or misleading information, especially if an individual is applying for clemency or other legal remedies,” said Pacione-Zayas. “As Illinois continues to commit itself to a focus on restorative justice, making sure people have the resources they need to reflect and rehabilitate is vital.”

House Bill 4559 would allow people committed to IDOC facilities to request one summary of their master record file a year. It would also allow a committed person’s attorney an additional request of the summary of the master file annually.

The summary must be made available within 15 days of the request and must include the person’s name and identifying information, all digitally available information from the committing court, information on the person’s criminal history and more. Additionally, the committed person can request available records on specific disciplinary incidents and grievances filed by them throughout their time committed.

"Incarcerated people deserve basic access to the records of their stay in prison," said State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), House sponsor of the legislation. "This bill will help people prepare legal arguments, write resumes, and return home ready to contribute to their communities."

HB 4559 passed the Senate Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk. 

Category: Press Releases

polish2SPRINGFIELD – A measure spearheaded by State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) to designate Milwaukee Avenue from Sangamon Street in Chicago to Greenwood Road in Niles as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor passed the Senate Thursday.

“The impact of Polish culture on Chicago is undeniable, from their influence on the arts and food to the economic strength of neighborhoods throughout the city,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Recognizing and empowering their unique cultural identity through this designation is paramount to strengthening the Polish community connection in Illinois.”

Under House Bill 5581, a section of Milwaukee Avenue will be recognized under the Illinois Department of Transportation as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

Last year, Sen. Pacione-Zayas, along with House Assistant Majority Leader Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) passed a law that allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to designate cultural districts to help affirm the identity of communities in Illinois. HB 5581 provides a stepping stone for this community to be designated in this way.

"We commend Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas and Leader Delia Ramirez for their efforts as sponsors of HB 5581 to designate and establish the Milwaukee Ave Polish Heritage Corridor,” said Bogdan Pukszta, Executive Director of the Polish American Chamber of Commerce, which resides in the district Pacione-Zayas represents. “From our Chamber's perspective the designation will help promote existing businesses along the corridor, attract new businesses to fill empty storefronts, and position Milwaukee Avenue on the map of Chicago's tourist attractions."

HB 5581 passed the Senate Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Following Monday’s vote on Prisoner Review Board nominee Eleanor Wilson, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas released this statement:

“Eleanor Wilson has 40 years of experience and expertise and was thoroughly vetted. I question why this was overlooked in favor of multiple claims taking her record out of context in incendiary fashion. Broad generalizations were made about her record in a job that exists precisely because good public policy in this sphere demands that experts evaluate particular individual circumstances; because we all acknowledge that a broad brush approach leads to injustice. Unfortunately, I fear such an approach was taken with this nominee.

“The Prisoner Review Board is tasked with looking at the full picture of individuals who have been imprisoned for decades for crimes they committed when they were much younger to determine whether a person is prepared for release. Since Illinois does not offer parole to incarcerated individuals, the Board's role is vital to ensuring our justice system focuses on rehabilitation and safe reentry into society. Having acknowledged the abject failure of prior approaches, Illinois has committed itself to a restorative, healing-centered, rehabilitative approach to justice. If we are to truly honor that commitment then we need to honor and value the lived experience and rehabilitative expertise of those nominees who come before us.

“I urge the governor to put forth additional names so we can fill the positions as quickly as possible to ensure the board continues to operate as necessary.”

Category: Press Releases

032922HAO01273SPRINGFIELD – To help students access state, federal and community benefits, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) spearheaded a measure in the Senate to require universities to designate an on-campus benefits navigator.

“The pandemic has put a lot financial strain on students, and they may not always know what assistance is available to them,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Having a point-person on campus for college students to go to will increase access to the resources they need to thrive.”

House Bill 4201 requires the each public university and community college in Illinois to designate a benefits navigator to assist students in identifying and applying for benefit programs and campus-wide and community assistance programs.

Additionally, the benefits navigator will participate in a statewide consortium with navigators from other universities and colleges to develop best practices and coordinate information.

“The benefits navigator will be a go-to person for students needing to traverse campus and community resources and will help to address resource insecurities like food and housing that many college students face,” said State Representative Maurice West, House sponsor of the legislation. “Having benefit navigators in our colleges and universities will ensure many students obtain the tools and resources they need to successfully complete college and make a better life for themselves and their families.”

House Bill 4201 passed the Senate Tuesday and heads to the governor for final action.

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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Chicago, IL 60618
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