05292021CM0361SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas is proud to highlight investments to many programs for the community of the 20th District from the supplemental budget recently passed by the Illinois State Senate—including a mutli-million dollar investment to a local organization fighting gentrification in Chicago neighborhoods.

“Housing insecurity is a major issue impacting folks in my community and across the state,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am thrilled that we are not only making investments to address housing insecurity, but that funding is going directly to community-led organizations who witness these issues firsthand and are best equipped to support people experiencing this.”

The supplemental budget provides $75 million for housing programs at the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). $5 million of this funding will go to the Here to Stay Community Land Trust—an anti-displacement effort created by neighbors in Logan Square, Avondale and Hermosa to fight gentrification and keep housing affordable.

Additionally, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will receive $162 million to help support people seeking asylum in Illinois, with an additional $20 million for the City of Chicago’s initiatives to support people seeking asylum.

“Our neighbors and local organizations showed up to welcome people seeking asylum over the summer, but there is always more we can do to help people find permanent housing, jobs, health care and schools,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This budget allocation will help folks get connected to these essential resources, and support the hardworking people who are supporting asylum seekers get settled in our community.”

$3 million will also be allocated to state designated cultural districts—which Pacione-Zayas helped to establish a designation process in the past General Assembly.

“The purpose of state designated cultural districts is to spur economic development through cultural institutions and innovative strategies to stabilize communities experiencing displacement and gentrification,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Their legacy needs to be preserved, and investing in these communities will help provide support so that they can continue to flourish.”

The supplemental budget, filed under House Bill 969, passed the Senate on Jan. 10, 2023. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

cpz choiceSPRINGFIELD – Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent revocation of basic human rights across many states, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas is proud to champion new legislation protecting people who seek reproductive health care in Illinois, supporting reproductive health care providers, and making procedures and medicine more accessible.

“Nobody should have to make decisions impacting their health out of fear—especially when access to health care, including reproductive health care, is a fundamental right,” Senator Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) said. “With this law, people will be able to make decisions on how to take care of their bodies based on what is best for them – not out of fear of being criminalized.”  

House Bill 4664 would protect legal and practical access to abortion care in Illinois following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. With this legislation, people who use reproductive health care in Illinois would be protected from out-of-state subpoenas related to reproductive health care, and would be eligible to file a counterclaim if a judgment is made against them in another state for reproductive health care that is legal in Illinois. These protections shield people who utilize reproductive health care in Illinois, where access to reproductive health care is a fundamental right.

Similarly, this bill would protect the licenses of health care professionals who are penalized for providing care that is illegal in another state but legal in Illinois. It would also expedite the process to receive temporary licenses for out-of-state health care professionals who wish to provide reproductive health care in Illinois, and would permit these licensees to offer telehealth care. These statues would support reproductive health care providers who face similar judgment from other states that do not recognize this health care in the same way.

This bill also makes reproductive health care more accessible to Illinoisians. It would expand access to long-acting reversible contraceptives to Medicaid patients. The legislation would require limited health service organizations, schools, municipalities and counties that offer health insurance plans to provide coverage for contraceptives and, if they offer pregnancy-related benefits, coverage for abortion. House Bill 4664 would also amend the definition of reproductive health care established in the Reproductive Health Act to include assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization, to ensure this procedure is protected and seen as a fundamental right.

This legislation would also require health insurance plans to cover abortifacients, hormone therapy, and PEP/PrEP at no additional cost for patients. Many of these forms of health care are essential needs for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially people who are transgender, nonbinary, or seeking gender affirming health care. This statute will make this care much more accessible, improving the quality of life for members of this community.  

Additionally, the Illinois Department of Health would provide grants to underserved areas and transportation hubs for abortion training, ensuring these communities have access to safe and accessible reproductive health care. The Department would also establish a website to outline reproductive health resources so that residents can more easily understand the options available to them and make the most informed decision for their health. 

“I am encouraged that, when faced with these threats against human rights, Illinois is standing up as a bulwark of our basic liberties and needs. Reproductive health care is essential, life-saving care that impacts each and every one of us,” Pacione-Zayas said.  “I am proud that we are able to protect folks who are making the best decisions for their bodies, and the hardworking health care workers who are serving their community with their care.”

House Bill 4664 passed the Senate on January 10, 2023. It now goes to the House for further consideration.


Pictured: Senator Pacione-Zayas speaking at a rally following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Category: Press Releases

maria pike and cpzSPRINGFIELD – A longtime advocate for safer communities and more transparent gun laws, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas is proud to vote in favor of a ban on assault weapons in the State of Illinois.

“We have seen time and time again people using military-grade weapons not for sport or leisure, but to intentionally cause mass violence and take human lives,” Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) said. “We say it every year, but how are we among the most affluent countries and yet always dramatically outpacing other countries in mass gun violence? Enough is enough. Banning assault weapons is a long time coming.”

If signed by the governor, House Bill 5471 would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines from being manufactured or sold in Illinois.

Studies show that approximately one-third of public mass shooting events include the use of an assault weapon, and nearly 40% involve a high-capacity magazine. Between 2009 and 2020, the five deadliest mass shootings in the US involved the use of assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines: Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs, and El Paso. When an assault weapon and/or a high-capacity magazine is used in a public mass shooting, nearly 14 times as many people are injured, and twice as many people are killed. Not only are there far more injuries when assault weapons are used, but the types of injuries are far worse.

The 4th of July shooting punctuated a six-week period in which mass shooters using semi-automatic weapons killed more than 40 people in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Highland Park combined. 

“The political discussions are fraught, but the data is clear. This legislation presents concrete steps forward in a continuing fight. This legislation is not radical. The status quo is unacceptable. Our laissez-faire approach to weapons of war in our streets is unconscionable.

“Gun violence is an epidemic in our country—but we have the power to fight it through this legislation combined with addressing root causes,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I am grateful to my colleagues for collective work on this vital legislation, which will contribute to fight for no more lives to be lost in mass shootings.”

House Bill 5471 passed the Senate on January 9, 2023. It now goes to the House for further consideration. 

 Image: Sen. Pacione-Zayas with Maria Pike, who she has worked with on violence prevention in Latine communities in Chicago.

Category: Press Releases

cpz purpleshirtSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas is proud to support a new law making it easier for people to change their gender on their birth certificate, as well as waiving fees for people in certain groups to order a new birth certificate.

“This law will be life-saving for many transgender and nonbinary people in our state, who will now be able to live more fully as themselves,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am so proud to be a part of this fight for equality, and that our transgender siblings will be able to change their documentation more quickly and without risking their safety.”

Before this law, people seeking to change their gender faced systemic barriers. To change the gender on a birth certificate, people needed a declaration from a health care provider stating that they had undergone some form of gender transition treatment according to medical standards, or have an intersex condition—as well as proof from the licensed health care professional completing the form. This process excluded people who were unable to afford gender-affirming health care or begin undergoing a medical transition, people who were unable to find a health care provider supporting them through their transition, and people who identify as transgender or nonbinary who have no desire to undergo medical procedures.

To address these exclusions, House Bill 9 removes the language requiring a supervising licensed health care professional to affirm someone’s gender identity. Instead, all that is required to change the gender on a birth certificate will be a signed statement by the individual affirming their gender identity or intersex condition and requesting the birth certificate to be changed. The gender designation may be changed to “a male, female, or X designation.”

“Transgender and nonbinary folks cannot all afford transition-related health care, have access to gender-affirming health care providers, nor do all transgender people want to undergo transition-related surgeries or feel safe enough to pursue these processes,” Pacione-Zayas said. “At the end of the day, the only requirement that should be necessary for someone to change their gender designation on a birth certificate should be the desire from the individual for their legal gender be changed, and this law will do just that.”

House Bill 9 passed the Senate on January 5, 2023. It now goes to the governor’s desk.


Category: Press Releases

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