SPRINGFIELD, Ill.– During her first session in the Illinois General Assembly, state Rep. Delia C. Ramirez, D-Chicago, supported numerous progressive reforms aimed at eliminating homelessness, strengthening women’s rights, raising the minimum wage, promoting equality and inclusion for all parents, expanding healthcare, leading in criminal reform with a focus on children whose parents are incarcerated and housing for people with records, and supported the Fair Tax proposals with an emphasis on Property tax relief.
“As the first Guatemalan American serving in the House of Representatives, I fight every day to ensure that my district’s voice is heard and listened to,” said Ramirez. “My background addressing issues of racism and poverty cultivated my desire to ensure Illinois became a leader in reducing homelessness, supporting housing equity and speaking for those who have for too long been ignored.”
Ramirez spearheaded the Homeless Prevention Act, House Bill 3331, which expands the types of assistance offered to families and help them secure an affordable and permanent home, shorten their time in emergency shelters and ultimately preventing homelessness.
Fighting to provide tax fairness for the middle class, Ramirez supported various efforts to ensure that Illinois develops a robust middle class. Ramirez supported the Fair Tax proposals to provide tax relief for 97% of taxpayers, and property tax credits, and also demand the ultra-rich to pay their fair share. Also, Ramirez chief cosponsored Senate Bill 1 to increase the state’s minimum wage over the next five years to $15 per hour. In her plan, the wage increase law includes tax credits for small and medium-sized businesses, including non-profits, to help offset the cost of additional wages. The overall impact of the wage increase is expected to generate more than $19 billion annually in new economic growth.
“The Fair Tax Amendment is a step toward our goal for fairer taxes for middle-class families that are being squeezed out of existence in Illinois,” said Ramirez. “My plan will also generate billions in new revenue that will help fund education, job training and critical life-saving services. Alongside tax relief, the minimum wage increase will ensure that working families obtain fair compensation, and help stimulate the state’s economy by generating billions in annual economic activity.”
While Donald Trump and his extreme allies work to strip away peoples’ health care across the country, Ramirez advocated for women’s rights by supporting Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and those who suffer from pre-existing conditions. Senate Bill 25, establishes that women will always have the right to make their own medical decisions regardless of the extremist efforts by right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade. Ramirez also supported bills that would rein in the high cost of prescription drugs and empower the Department of Insurance to review massive rate increases on health care costs. Those measures, House Bills 156 and 471, will keep health care more accessible and more affordable.
“While women’s rights continue to be under attack by Trump and right-wing extremists, Illinois chose to protect people with pre-existing conditions and trust women to make their own health care decisions,” said Ramirez. “Although these are victories in women’s rights movement, I am clear that we have yet a long way to go in equity and I will never give up my fight for quality health care for everyone.”
A measure led by Ramirez, House Bill 3711 modernizes our state’s policies and make public restrooms friendlier to families. HB 3711 requires that all restrooms that are open to the public in a public building shall be equipped with baby changing facilities that are safe, sanitary, and usable for all mothers and fathers.
“Reserving baby changing stations to only the women’s restrooms excludes the different types of families and restricts them from a basic service,” said Ramirez. “Social norms are constantly changing, and we must ensure that our public facilities accommodate the needs of all families.”
Ramirez, the vice-chair of adoption and children welfare committee, championed the efforts to create the Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents, HB 2649, to create a roadmap to reform policies and safeguard children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system by making sure children’s rights and best interests are always considered. The task force will review available research, best practices, and effective interventions to develop and propose policy recommendations that reduce trauma and impact on children whose parents are involved with the criminal legal system. Also, Ramirez passed the Child Welfare WorkForce, House Bill 2723, to analyze the pay and workload of child welfare workers to help improve future recruitment and retention in Department of Children and Family Services.
“After much work and collaboration with state agencies, and community advocates, I was honored to lead the charge in the creation of two decisive taskforces that will help shape policies that address existing obstacles faced by children of incarcerated parents and foster children,” said Ramirez. “Illinois’ future is the children of this state, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that we provide them with the necessary resources for them to succeed because when they succeed, we all succeed.”