Ram maySPRINGFIELD – To protect employees exercising their rights, State Senator Ram Villivalam is advancing two pieces of legislation that would protect workers who are involved in labor disputes.

“Employees who understand and exercise their rights can be impeded by abusive employers, and this legislation takes steps to address those core issues,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “Many labor activists have stressed the importance of protecting workers fighting for their rights. This legislation supports that goal.”

To support employees that are protesting, House Bill 3396 makes changes to the Labor Dispute Act so that any person who places any object in the public way with intent to interfere with, obstruct, or impede a picket or other demonstration or protest, would be committing a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $500 and a sentence of imprisonment of less than one year.

House Bill 2907 provides that, in any labor dispute, a court cannot grant an award for monetary damages, except in the case of damage to an employer’s personal property as a result of conduct prohibited by law.

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042623CM0498SPRINGFIELD – To help ensure that saving a life does not come at the cost of employment, State Senator Ram Villivalam is moving legislation to give employees up to ten days of paid leave for serving as an organ donor.

"Our state is made up of amazing people who are incredibly giving and care deeply for their neighbors," said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “When someone donates an organ to help a person in need, it is important they are able to take earned leave time off to recuperate."

House Bill 3516 changes the Employee Blood Donation Leave Act to the Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act to allow employees to take up to ten days of paid leave in any 12-month period to serve as an organ donor. The paid leave would apply to employees of any unit of local government, board of election commissioners, or private employer in Illinois with 51 or more employees.

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033023CM0511 ramCHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam is proud to support the Village of Skokie’s Early Intervention in Hate Crimes program in collaboration with law enforcement, schools, community social services and organizations.

“Skokie is a vastly diverse community and with the growing threat of hate crimes and violence, I am proud to see the Village take steps to foster awareness within community organizations,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “Taking steps to work with different community organizations will help create a unified front against hate crimes in Skokie. It brings me hope to see collaboration like this within my community.”

Over the last 18 months, the Village of Skokie worked with Corporation Counsel Michael M. Lorge and Trustees Khem Khoeun and Kieth Robinson to conduct research with experts throughout the United States.  The Village presented a program that will use local data collected on bias and hate incidents to anticipate and intervene on potential hate crimes.

The Village of Skokie also outlined the steps it will take to enact this program going forward, beginning with the recognition and acknowledgement that hate crimes exist, are underreported, are increasing in frequency and are occurring against every segment of protected groups in Skokie.

With the rising rate of hate crimes around the United States, the Village of Skokie is taking action within the community to address and prevent hate crimes with this program. The Skokie Police Department began tracking all bias- or hate-related incidents on Jan. 1, 2022, in anticipation of this program.

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SPRINGFIELD –  To give those who have been exonerated and are eligible for the Grant Program for Exonerated Persons more flexibility with their benefits, State Senator Ram Villivalam advanced legislation to allow those covered by the program to pass on unused benefits to dependent spouses or children.

“This gives people who have been wronged by the legal system and may not want to use all of their grant benefits the ability to pass them on to someone in their family who may benefit more,” Villivalam said. “Wrongful convictions are devastating for families, and this legislation gives more agency to how exonerated persons can use their benefits and ensures that their benefits are not going wasted.”

Under the current law, individuals who receive a gubernatorial pardon on the grounds of innocence of the crime for which they were imprisoned, or have received a certificate of innocence from a court, are eligible for the Grant Program for Exonerees. The grant can cover the cost of obtaining a high school equivalency certificate, pay tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate or graduate study at Illinois public universities, and can be used for four regular school years of full time enrollment.

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