Ortíz Passes Leave Bill for Victims of Violent Crime

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Rep. Aarón Ortíz, D-Chicago, opened up workplace leave eligibility to the families of victims of violent crime, giving them time to coordinate end-of-life services, grieve and be with their loved ones.

“Victims of gender and sexual violence and stalking can take unpaid time off to prepare legal assistance and get medical care, but we don’t do the same for victims of violent crime,” Ortíz said. “Families of fallen loved ones shouldn’t have to decide between preparing their loved ones’ services, grieving and going back to work. This legislation provides that compassionate support that victim advocates have been asking for.”

Ortíz’s House Bill 2493 would expand what employees can take unpaid leave for to include preparing for or participating in arrangements following the loss of a household member due to an act of violence. 10 workdays would be guaranteed, and full benefits will continue to be available. Employers and employees will work together to certify the time off with a notice, a death certificate or another document. House Bill 2493 now moves to the Senate.

Ortíz has a history of supporting comprehensive public safety initiatives, championing Senate Bill 2193 which cracked down on rising freight related burglaries in Illinois. He also helped pass House Bill 2521 to safeguard workers from obstacles to joining labor organizations.

“While we’ve made significant progress in terms of our crime-fighting efforts and stopping violent crime before it happens, this legislation is needed so that families do not need to feel the added burden after losing a loved one,” Ortíz said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to deliver this much needed legislation.”

Ortíz to Serve on Key Committees Tackling Community Challenges

CHICAGO – State Rep. Aarón Ortíz, D-Chicago, will bring Southwest Side voices to major conversations about job creation, education and environmental justice as a member of several key committees in the new legislative session. 

“As state representative, I make hearing my community’s concerns a top priority, and they are calling on me and the House to act on many key issues,” Ortíz said. “As a member of the Public Safety committee, I am ready to bring down rates of carjacking and violent crime. Rising costs are squeezing families, in my own community and all of Illinois, dry. Keeping costs down will be a top priority for me on the Revenue & Finance and Labor & Commerce committees. As members of these committees, I will focus on bringing consensus around effective solutions to public safety, labor and environmental issues.” 

Ortíz will serve as the vice chair of the Elementary & Secondary Education committee, bringing his hands-on experience working for Chicago Public Schools to the challenges facing education. Environmental concerns remain at the forefront of Ortíz’s priorities in the upcoming session, and he will continue fighting for better environmental protections for poor and minority communities on the Energy & Environment Committee. Ortíz will serve as a member of the Executive Committee, working with his colleagues to advance key legislative priorities of the House for the upcoming year. 

Additionally, Ortíz will serve on the House Labor Committee, the Revenue & Finance Committee and budget committees related to public safety and education funding. 

Ortíz has a strong record of supporting low-income and minority communities across Illinois. He passed Senate Bill 265, expanding energy bill assistance programs to more people struggling to make ends meet. He also helped bring menstrual hygiene products to Illinois public bathrooms with House bill 155, ensuring female students have access to the care they need. Public safety and bringing down crime is a top priority. To crack down on catalytic converter theft, Ortíz passed House Bill 106 to document the purchase and sale of these devices in a more consistent manner. 

“This upcoming session is a unique opportunity to create a bold and forward thinking future for Illinois, and I am committed to making that a reality,” Ortíz said. “These committees will be critical in securing environmental protections for the most vulnerable, uplifting low-income families, and creating comprehensive education policy that allows students from every corner of the state to succeed.”

Ortíz to Bring Community Needs to Upcoming Budget Negotiations

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Rep. Aarón Ortíz, D-Chicago, issued the following response to the Governor’s State of the State Address, highlighting the need for fully funded services and strong fiscal decision making. 

“Supporting immigrant families, greater community-based violence prevention program funding, bringing down everyday costs for working families and building affordable housing are all top priorities of mine as we enter budget talks,” Ortíz said. “While we made strong fiscal decisions that allowed us to pay down debts, secure pension payments, upgrade our credit and much more, we have to do more to better ensure working families receive the support they need. 

“Budgets are reflections of what we as a state value most. For too long, these budgets have not reflected the needs of communities of color and the most vulnerable. We have a chance to change that, and I look forward to doing so.” 

Ortíz Sponsors Progressive Immigration Bill, Pandemic Rental Assistance, and School Recess Regulations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Aarón Ortíz, D-Chicago, has worked to pass legislation that will protect immigrants from detainment, issue urgent housing assistance, and provide students K-5 with time dedicated for recreational activities during school. 

“Making sure that immigrants and refugees have the option to come to the United States for a better life without being discriminated against and chastised will always be a priority of mine,” said Ortíz. “Due to the last president’s administration, we have regressed as a country in providing equality to all minorities and have made it nearly impossible to allow immigrants to become legal citizens.”

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ortíz supported House Bill 2877, which will provide $564 million in monetary relief for Illinois citizens. The funds will come from the federal emergency rental assistance program (ERAP) on behalf of Illinois tenants to landlords. Ultimately, this legislation will help individuals and families suffering from COVID-19 financial hardships.

“This pandemic has had a monumental effect around the entire world and has gravely affected the health and livelihood of so many hard-working citizens that are providers for their families,” said Ortíz. “Our citizens need to know that state legislators truly have their best interests at heart and are trying to provide assistance to get them back on their feet. When human beings are struggling to survive in our country, it calls for urgent and immediate action.”

Additionally, Ortíz is sponsoring Senate Bill 654, which introduces new regulations regarding school recess for children grades K-5. This legislation requires a mandatory play time of at least thirty minutes on any school day that is five hours or longer. On school days shorter than five hours, the recess time will be reduced by one tenth of the duration of the respective school day.

“As we slowly return to normalcy again after this historical pandemic, it is important to let children be children and participate in activities,” said Ortíz. “Remote learning undoubtedly has its benefits, but children need interaction amongst their peers for the development of social skills.”