SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura was encouraged by the funding for education and local initiatives in the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget.

“It’s critical to have a good education at an early age,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Not only are there major investments for early education, but also higher education. Investing in resources that afford everyone with the opportunity to receive a quality education, regardless of their ZIP Code, is vital to ensure our youth is prepared for what comes after school.”

The budget includes investments for Smart Start IL, a $250 million investment to fund the childcare workforce, expand the Early Intervention Program and Home Visiting Programs, plus funding to begin the overhaul of the childcare payment management system.

Additionally, the budget includes $100 million in additional MAP grant funding, which ensures everyone at or below the median income can go to community college for free and an increase for public universities and community colleges – the highest increases in more than two decades.

Ventura, however, expressed concerns over the lack of new revenue streams that would relieve the tax burden for working families, and ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. Ventura sponsored SB 2351, a proposal that would generate additional revenue on financial transactions typically only available to the wealthy.

“While the budget is a positive step forward for many working class families, we also need to take a serious look at how we prioritize what we allocate and how we allocate it,” said Ventura. “We can’t tout smart spending decisions when we are failing to fully fund our schools, we don’t meet the actuarial calculations on pensions, and we aren’t properly funding our local governments. I have been steadfast in my leadership to find new revenue streams to fund the child tax credit and will continue to fight for those in my district.”

“The budget passed today takes positive steps toward increasing workforce development, job creation and accessibility to higher education,” said Ventura. “I remain committed to making Illinois the most inclusive and prosperous state in the nation.”

Ventura stands firm in her belief that the state must add additional ways to increase revenue, which would in turn provide financial assistance to all sectors – from increasing pay for direct support professionals and in-home providers to expanding funds for planting trees.

While Ventura was discouraged that a number of her legislative priorities did not make it into the final budget – despite her tireless efforts and willingness to fight for a seat at the table – a number of local projects she led efforts to fund received a total of $250,000 respectfully:

  • Stepping Stones (Substance Abuse Treatment)
  • Will County Habitat for Humanities (Housing)
  • Will Grundy Medical Clinic (Medical services, and housing for homeless)
  • Holsten Human Capital Development (Food Pantry and Housing)
  • Spanish Community Center (Food pantry and immigrant services)

The budget passed the Senate Thursday.



SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura passed a new measure that would expedite the process from 15 days to three days for nonviolent offenders entering a work release facility.

“We have had great conversations with the Department of Corrections and the Association of Sheriffs on this measure to ensure that these nonviolent incarcerated individuals will not be penalized by waiting behind bars for an unnecessarily long time period,” said Ventura (D-Joliet).

Within House Bill 3779, DOC must provide notice "as soon as reasonably practicable" to incarcerated individuals near the end of their sentence who are eligible for home confinement or other confinement outside a DOC facility.

Under this measure, the Department needs to provide electronic notification concerning the committed person to the state's attorney and sheriff of the county in which the work release facility is located within three days of a committed person being placed in the facility. This information includes, but isn't limited to: the offender's name, age, physical description, photograph, offense, and sentence for which they are serving time in the Department of Corrections.

“About 95% of incarcerated individuals are eventually released to Illinois communities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make their transition successful. Work release programs like those promoted by Sen. Ventura and Rep. Ammons’ HB3779 have a proven track record of making those transitions successful. Participants in those programs are 50% less likely to recidivate than those who do not. HB3779 is an important step toward making Illinois the Second Chance State,” said Marc McCombs, the Public Analyst for Safer Foundation.

House Bill 3779 passed through the Senate on Wednesday and now heads to Governor.


Joliet Library

JOLIET– Children and families will soon be able to take advantage of more books and other materials at the Joliet Public Library following a grant of $221,784 to expand their collection, State Senator Rachel Ventura announced Tuesday.

"Libraries offer communities a multitude of opportunities – from leisurely reading materials to resources to learn and grow," said Ventura (D-Joliet). "I myself enjoy frequenting the library with my daughters and enjoy taking the classes they offer. This grant continues to make the library a safe, well-equipped place for everyone."

These grants, awarded once every fiscal year, will help provide library services to nearly 12 million patrons statewide and approximately 150,000 Joliet residents. The Joliet Public library intends to use this funding to increase their collection of local-history and Spanish-language materials and for the purchase of e-books.

The Public Library Per Capita Grants are authorized under Illinois library law for public libraries. Each year it allocates money for books and learning materials, staff, equipment, digital access and new technology.

"We are so thankful to the Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois Secretary of State for this supplement to our budget," said Executive Director of the Joliet Public Library Megan Millen. "This annual grant helps the Joliet Public Library continue to provide materials and fantastic customer service to our community."

“Our public libraries play a vital role and serve as the cornerstones of Illinois communities,” Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said. “I’m thrilled to be able to support libraries statewide, including the Joliet Public Library in their ongoing efforts to best serve the community.”

More information about the Public Library Per Capita grant program can be found here.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura passed a measure through the Senate that mandates all vehicles owned by the state, a state agency, a unit of local government or any other political subdivision either be a manufactured zero-emission vehicle or converted into a zero-emission vehicle.

“By complying with The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) to have one million electric cars by 2030, we can begin to position Illinois to save money in the long run and protect the environment,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Our state set forth bold carbon-reduction goals in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, and by passing this measure we can work towards achieving those goals.”

Ventura’s measure aims to lower the state’s overall emissions by addressing the pollutants released into the air by vehicle emissions, which have a direct impact on the environment. Illinois is poised to become a national hub for electric vehicle and battery production. Electric school buses have already started rolling off the line at Lion Electric's Joliet factory. State and local governments would be supporting this emerging industry by transitioning vehicles to electric or zero-emissions under Senate Bill 1769.

Highway vehicles release about 1.4 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year — mostly in the form of carbon dioxide — which contribute to the global climate crisis. Roughly five to nine tons of greenhouse gases are burned each year for a typical vehicle according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“We cannot afford to waste time on pressing issues like emissions,” said Ventura. “We want government to do their part and meet these goals, and this would begin to fulfill them.”

Senate Bill 1769 passed through the Senate on Thursday and heads to the House for consideration.

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Office Info

District Office:
221 Springfield Ave., Unit 3
Joliet, IL 60435
(331) 290-0443

Springfield Office:
119B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8800