CPZ SB 1833CHICAGO – A plan introduced by State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) to allow for the designation of cultural districts in Illinois was signed into law today in an effort to help affirm the identity of communities in Illinois and preserve their distinct legacies.

“These designations are a way for our communities to proudly reflect the identity, contributions and history of the people who have helped build them,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I thank the governor for signing this into law and giving Illinois communities the chance to pursue community-driven economic opportunity initiatives that ensure our neighborhoods preserve their unique cultures and continue to build legacies.”

An initiative of the Puerto Rican Agenda, the new law 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. The process will be overseen by an advisory board, which the legislation specifies must be made up of a diverse group of board members along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines.

“As we move into economic recovery from the pandemic, it is imperative that we recognize and invest in the rich cultural heritage of Illinois’ diverse communities,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Delia Ramirez, who sponsored the measure in the House. “This initiative will allow DCEO to help communities foster and preserve their distinct cultural legacies.”

Senate Bill 1833 was signed on Friday. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

CPZ 3620CHICAGO – An expansion of child care benefits will be made permanent under a measure sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago).

“Living has become more expensive for families while wages and the federal poverty level have stubbornly remained at the same inadequate levels, and today we have acknowledged that reality,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I applaud everyone who stepped up to demand this permanent adjustment, and I want to thank Governor Pritzker for being on the right side of this issue.”

Earlier this summer, Pritzker announced an expansion of the Child Care Assistance Program that would allow the Illinois Department of Human Services to facilitate improvements including reducing family payments, preserving co-pay percentage limits, updating income thresholds for eligibility for assistance and more.

In 2015, cuts to child care funding prevented many families from accessing assistance, with about 90%of parents losing eligibility after the budget cuts were implemented. House Bill 3620 and the new improvements at DHS clarify and expand the existing Child Care Assistance Program to ensure that families are able to access the support they need to pay for child care so the budget cuts that hurt so many families cannot happen again. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has showed us that child care is essential both to working families and to the growth of our state,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Children will one day grow into the future leaders of our society, and they deserve quality child care to help them reach their potential, regardless of how much money their parents make.”

HB 3620 is in effect now.

Category: Press Releases

CPZ HB 3595CHICAGO – To help clarify the Department of Children and Family Services’ role in assessing the living situations of children placed with parents out of state, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) spearheaded a law signed Friday that lays out clear guidelines for when DCFS can assess these living arrangements.  

“We have a clear duty to children who are or have been in state care, and it can’t be hindered by confusion over geographical lines,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This legislation will fill help fill in the gaps in current policy and make it easier for DCFS to do its job and protect our state’s children.”

Currently, the Interstate Compact of Placement, which is a statutory agreement between every state that governs the placement of children from one state into another state, is unclear regarding two specific situations in which a child is placed in care in a different state: situations where a child is being placed back with parents living outside Illinois, and situations where the department must assess a child’s well-being with a guardian who lives out of state when another party (usually the child’s parent) seeks to vacate the guardianship order.

In the event that the Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children declines to assess a child's living arrangement for either of these matters, the law allows Illinois courts to order DCFS to assess a child's living arrangement.

House Bill 3595 was signed Friday and is effective immediately.

Category: Press Releases

Dear Friend,

It’s been an eventful few weeks in the 20th District, and I wanted to provide you with an update on what’s been happening as well as some resources available to you.

Below you can find resources on housing and business assistance and educational programs as well as a recap of recent events, upcoming events, and an introduction to the newest member of our team!

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have about issues facing our community. I encourage you to reach out to us at (773) 278-2020 or on my website.


State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas | 20th District


Back to Business grant

As part of Governor JB Pritzker’s overall economic recovery strategy, the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program aims to deploy small businesses recovery grants for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Application opens Aug. 18. Visit the DCEO website for more information.

ICIRR cash assistance

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee, along with the Department of Human Services, has extended the Immigrant Family Support Project offering cash assistance to immigrants through Dec. 2022. Get more information here.          

Welcoming Centers and Rental Assistance

The Latino Policy Forum and partner organizations are distributing rental and utility assistance for immigrant families. Assistance is available for the past 12 months of rental and/or utility bills. More information can be found here

Project Rainbow

This new Cook County initiative seeks to address learning loss magnified by COVID-19 by curating and creating free early childhood and family oriented educational programming and through the development of Cook County’s first-ever mobile app. More on Project Rainbow here.

Raise Your Hand survey on CPS

Let your voice be heard on Chicago Public School’s return to in-person learning plan. Get the survey here

In the District

Back-to-School Fair

This past Saturday, I hosted a Back-to-School Fair along with Rep. Will Guzzardi and other community partners. This event offered free school supplies, COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, and dental exams along with food, vendors and fun activities for the whole family. Check out the details of the event here.


SEIU Walk a Day event

I recently participated in a “walk a day” event to highlight the child care crisis affecting the workforce, parents and children, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the event on my website.


Upcoming Events

Join me, Rep. Guzzardi, and Rep. Andrade for an Environmental Town Hall hosted by the Illinois Environmental Council. We and other stakeholders will be providing the latest legislative updates regarding energy, lead in water and urban agriculture. Details below!

Other Updates

Masks in Chicago

Following updated guidance from the CDC and based on Chicago’s current local COVID-19 data, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends that everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in public indoor settings. Masking remains optional in outdoor settings, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower.

Vaccines in Chicago

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 12 receive a COVID-19 vaccine. You can sign up to receive the vaccine at home and receive a $25 Visa gift card here. You can also use the City of Chicago’s Vaccine Finder here or call their COVID-19 hotline for assistance at 312-746-4835.

Meet the newest addition to our district team!

Edoardo Oritz is originally from Puerto Rico but currently resides in the Logan Square neighborhood. He's a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, and the University of Chicago where he studied Public Policy and Economics. He has previously worked as a policy analyst/researcher at the city level and in the non-profit and private sectors. He's just joining after a year working for a policy research and technical assistance firm that focuses on federal social and economic policy.

Edoardo is focused on helping us research legislation that will make a positive impact and center the lived experiences of individuals and communities that have been historically marginalized, especially those who live and work in the 20th district. He will also aid in researching and communicating the important policy work that happens at the Senate level. He's also looking forward to meeting with district constituents and stakeholders to help turn ideas into bills into laws.

When not at work, Edoardo likes to play basketball and go bike riding. His mom's desire for a "parranda" partners led him to learn guitar at the age of 10 - a hobby he keeps today.

Welcome, Edoardo!

Category: Newsletters

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020