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CHICAGO – Five local school districts will receive more than $8,000 combined in grants through the Illinois secretary of state’s School Library Grant program, State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) announced Wednesday.

The grants, which are issued by the Illinois State Library, are meant to help public schools offer more library books and materials to students.

“These grants will provide many additional learning materials to the deserving school districts,” Jones said. “It’s sad to say, but libraries are often overlooked and underfunded so these funds will be beneficial to increasing our students reading skills.”

Schools receiving school library grants include:

  • Atwood Heights School District 125, Alsip — $750
  • Alsip, Hazelgreen & Oak Lawn School District 126 — $1,128.75
  • Cook County School District 130, Blue Island — $2,396.25
  • Forest Ridge School District 142, Oak Forest — $1,189.50
  • Kirby School District 140, Tinley Park — $2,557.50
Category: News Releases

apprenticeship programsSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) that will increase access to apprenticeship programs in the construction industry for African Americans was signed into law.

Jones's legislation creates the Bureau on Apprenticeship Programs within the Illinois Department of Labor and creates an advisory board of 12 legislators (three from each caucus, appointed by the caucus leader). The goal of the commission is to increase minority participation in apprenticeship programs.

Read more: Jones law will improve minority representation in apprenticeship programs

Category: News Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents 21 and older could soon be able to purchase and possess cannabis legally under legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) voted in support of the legislation that creates an automatic expungement process, a Social Equity Program, revenue allocation and a vocational training pilot program.

“This legislation takes the necessary steps to begin undoing years of injustice to the black community,” Jones said. “Minorities who have been disproportionately arrested and convicted for cannabis possession will have the ability to not only seek justice but also enter into the growing industry.”

Minor cannabis offenses under 30 grams would be automatically expunged under the proposal, and a pardoning process would be put in place to address other nonviolent offenses. Those convicted of Class 4 or Class A misdemeanor offenses would be able to petition to expunge their offenses.

The Social Equity Program would help ensure the involvement of minority communities in the industry by providing access to grants and loans that help cover some up-front costs of participating in the cannabis industry.

Tax revenue would be allocated for a variety of programs including public education and safety campaigns, law enforcement funds, substance abuse programs and mental health services.

House Bill 1438 also establishes the Recover, Reinvest and Renew program to provide support for communities disproportionately affected by unfair criminal justice practices.

Community colleges would also play a role by working with the Department of Agriculture to create eight programs across the state that teach students how to grow cannabis.

The legislation will now head to the House on concurrence.

Category: News Releases

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