CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed House Bill 3049, which will strengthen the Illinois Latino Family Commission by increasing the voices of stakeholders. Created in 2007, the panel advises the governor and General Assembly on policies, services and opportunities for Latino families. The law addresses a gap in the commission’s composition by including advocates from agencies that oversee the state’s K-12, community college and university systems. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to make Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation.
The governor signed the bill while addressing more than 1,000 Hispanic-American leaders at the 30th Annual Conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in Chicago.
“I salute NALEO for its 30-year struggle to empower Hispanic Americans, build communities and develop leadership,” Governor Quinn said. “Our motto is ‘everybody in, no one left out.’ This new law will ensure that more students and working people are at the table to help the Illinois Latino Family Commission make a difference.”
The commission currently has 15 members appointed by the governor and four legislative leaders, plus ex-officio representatives from five state agencies (primarily in the human services area). This bill will add representatives from the State Board of Education, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Department of Human Rights, Department of Labor and Capital Development Board.
House Bill 3049 was sponsored by State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) and State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago). It passed the General Assembly unanimously and takes effect Jan. 1.
“Latinos are Illinois’ youngest ethnic population, and – as a mother of four and former school administrator – I know first-hand the unique challenges faced by students, their parents and their schools,” State Rep. Hernandez said. “The re-constituted commission will help craft policies to reflect Illinois’ changing demographics.”
Since taking office, Governor Quinn has been strongly committed to making Illinois a national model for immigration policy. He launched New Americans Welcoming Centers, which offer newcomers one-stop shopping for job training, health screening, legal assistance and help in applying for college, a mortgage or energy assistance. Governor Quinn has also led the way in creating the Illinois Dream Fund Scholarship to enable children of undocumented immigrants to attend college, and by supporting a new law allowing everyone who is eligible to drive to earn a driver’s license, so undocumented immigrants can drive to work or school without fear.