On May 8th, 150 mothers, grandmothers (and a few dads!) and children boarded the buses to Springfield for the annual Mamás en una misión lobby day. With the generous backing of many COFI donors, parent leaders were able to make the trip and connect with more than 70 Illinois State Senators and Representatives about issues of economic and social justice for low-income Illinois families.
Parents spent the day sharing grassroots expertise with legislators about the benefits of early childhood intervention, the need for consumer protection against utilities fraud, and their goal of ending the burden of driver’s license suspensions due to fines and fees [Click HERE to view the POWER PAC- IL 2019 Legislative Agenda]. For the veteran advocates, the annual trip is a time to check in on important issues and strengthen the relationships that lead to powerful legislative change. Parents making the trip for the first time reflected on the excitement and pride they felt to be there, and the importance of their children seeing the process firsthand.
The Governor’s budget passed, bringing with it an increase of nearly $100 million to Early Childhood, Childcare and Early Intervention programs, a $100 million investment in Early Childhood Capital Funding, a 5% increase to the Evidence Based Formula for Education funding, and a 12% increase for comprehensive Community Based Youth Services. Eight bills in the POWER-PAC IL Legislative Agenda successfully passed both House and Senate, including: SB1941, a grant program for alternative discipline in schools; HB2152, increasing access to mental health services for college students; SB 651, providing protection for consumers from high-priced alternative utility suppliers; and HB2237, the Children’s Savings Account bill, which is currently on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature.
With the Illinois State Legislative session over for the summer, parent leaders will continue to keep issues of social, racial and economic justice front and center in our local communities across the state.