Originally published in India Post on March 25, 2021.

CHICAGO: The Illinois Asian American Legislative Caucus is deeply saddened by the recent shooting of eight people, of which were six Asian American women, at a Georgia-based massage parlor. The Caucus released the following statements:

“This tragic incident is a reflection of a steadily growing sentiment against the Asian American community within the last year. My deepest condolences to all the families of the victims, who will now unjustly be reminded of the grave consequences of racism and hate every time they remember their loved ones,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam, Senate co-chair, (D-Chicago).

“The Asian American community is one that includes over 48 countries and all the diverse cultures, languages and traditions within those countries. We stand together in solidarity to keep sharing our story and urge Illinois’ residents to join us in taking an active stance to support their local AAPI community organizations,” said State Representative, Theresa Mah, House co-chair, (D-Chicago).

“Not only are we at a time where our community as a whole is becoming increasingly vulnerable to these violent attacks, but our female and elderly community members are especially being targeted more frequently. As a caucus, we will continue to stand up for all members of our community and speak out against hateful rhetoric that manifests into senseless, tragic incidents. Please visit our Caucus page at asianamericancaucus.org to see our joint statement,” Villivalam said.

Category: In The News

Originally published in Daily Herald on March 22, 2021.


SPRINGFIELD -- Less than a week after a deadly attack on Asian Americans in Atlanta, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and members of the General Assembly's Asian American Caucus spoke out against the murders and against discrimination generally toward the Asian American community.

"I do not pretend to know the pain of this moment, for those who look at the Atlanta victims and see their own mothers, daughters and sisters, or themselves," Pritzker said at a news conference Monday in the Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago. "But I want the (Asian American Pacific Islander) community in Illinois to know that I see you, and I see the fear and anxiety that these events have forced into your lives and the lives of your loved ones, and I want you to know that Illinois is your home. You are our friends and our neighbors and our family members, and I will do everything in my power as governor to protect you and to welcome you."

Pritzker was accompanied by members of the Asian American Caucus, including Democratic Reps. Theresa Mah of Chicago, Janet Yang Rohr of Naperville, Denyse Wang Stoneback of Skokie, and Sen. Ram Villivalam, a Democrat from Chicago. Pritzker was also joined by representatives from Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.

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Category: In The News

Originally published on Herald & Review on March 15, 2021.

SPRINGFIELD — Advocates and lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would end a special gas utility surcharge that allows companies to raise customer bills in order to pay for infrastructure development with limited regulatory oversight.

The gas utility surcharge, known as the Qualified Infrastructure Plant, became law in 2013 after similar formula rate legislation that benefited utility giant Commonwealth Edison was passed.

House Bill 3941, sponsored by Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, and accompanying Senate Bill 570, sponsored by Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, would phase out the surcharge by the end of 2021. It is otherwise not set to expire in 2023.

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Category: In The News

Originally published in ABC News 20 on March 11, 2021.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Legislation was filled in the Illinois General Assembly last month that intends to lower heating bills across the state.

House Bill 3941 — filed by State Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee — and Senate Bill 570 — filed by State Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago —would end a gas utility surcharge that contributes to higher heating bills.

These bills would amend the Public Utilities Act.

Under this law, the "Qualified Infrastructure Plant" (QIP) charge would be phased out at the end of 2021, instead of at the end of 2023, and restore traditional regulatory oversight over gas utility spending.

A coalition supporting the legislation is led by AARP Illinois, COFI - POWER PAC, CUB Illinois, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Illinois PIRG.

According to this coalition, Gov. JB Pritzker, D-Illinois, endorsed this policy in his August energy principles. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago City Council also called for similar action last year.

More than 30 organizations have endorsed the legislation, as well.

Category: In The News

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