SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Rachel Ventura is spearheading a new measure to expand greater access to broadband at all public schools and libraries in the state.

“The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the crucial need for all Illinoisans to have access to broadband,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “High-speed internet is at the forefront of all parts of life – from work to school, and everything in between.”

Senate Bill 851 would require the Broadband Advisory Council to conduct a feasibility study to determine best practices for expanding connection to all public schools, public libraries and state-owned correctional facilities, as well as how to connect to all remaining anchor institutions to the Illinois Century Network. The study will be due Jan. 1, 2024, with a goal of implementing the findings by 2030 and would increase speeds up to 1 gig.

The Illinois Century Network is a state-owned and operated broadband network that provides Internet connectivity for thousands of sites statewide, ensuring high availability for cloud-based content, disaster recovery services, data, video and audio communications.

“We must mend the digital divide facing far too many communities in Illinois,” said Ventura. “Our goal is to move the state forward toward greater inclusivity and accessibility.”

Senate Bill 851 passed through the Senate on Thursday and moves to House for further consideration.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura advanced a new measure that would create a grant for local governments to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

“We need to encourage local governments to plant native trees and grasses, which are proven to help mitigate climate change through carbon capture,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “With the climate crisis that is happening across the world, it is evident that legislation through every level of government needs to focus on important issues like this to ensure our children have a healthier planet.”

Senate Bill 2357 creates the Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Act which requires the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to establish a grant program for local governments for the purpose of restoring degraded forests and prairies to help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to mitigate the impact of climate change.

By appropriating state funds for this initiative, we are opening up new federal match funding possibilities for local governments to access to achieve this goal. Additionally, it allows grants under this program to be utilized for matching funds by public or private entities.

According to FDCE Conservation and Bioenergy, a Midwest-based conservation and solar energy company, native grasses are the best options for carbon-sequestering as they protect the soil from weather and water-run off. Over time, carbon levels increase and nutrients return to the soil. Since these plants are perennial, carbon stays within the plants and soil and out of the atmosphere.

“About 25% of global carbon emissions are captured by plant-rich landscapes such as forests, grasslands and rangelands,” said Ventura. “Carbon sequestration can be accelerated by planting trees such as oak and other native grasses. Illinois is poised to be a leader in environmentally-conscientious legislation and I’m proud to push this through to continue being a champion for our planet.”

Senate Bill 2357 passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee on Thursday and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura passed a measure through the Senate that would promote standardization on food labels to reduce food waste across the state.

“As we see buying power decrease due to inflation and grocery bills increase, we need to think of alternatives to move away from the sniff and taste test to determine if food is safe to consume,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “By providing more guidance on food labels, we can reduce the amount of food ending up in the garbage and help feed more community members struggling to get by.”

House Bill 3849 would define "quality date," "safety date" and "sell by date" and require the Illinois Departments of Agriculture and Public Health to publish information to encourage food manufacturers, processors and retailers to voluntarily use uniform terms on food product labels to communicate quality and safety dates.

According to ReFED, a national nonprofit working in conjunction with Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic, a national food labeling standard could divert 582,000 tons of food waste per year and provide $2.41 billion in annual economic value. Illinois does not currently have any food labeling laws, however, if labeled, eggs cannot be sold past the label date.

“Not only will this legislation help with food waste, but it will also alleviate food insecurities in some communities,” said Ventura. “This will provide accurate information for consumers about their food and help clear up confusion surrounding expiration dates.”

Illinois would join states like California and Massachusetts in creating food label standardization.

House Bill 3849 passed the Senate on Wednesday.


JOLIET – State Senator Rachel Ventura was pleased to see the Home Repair and Accessibility Program will provide $500,000 to the Will County Habitat for Humanity to help low-income homes with much-needed repairs.

“Having a stable shelter is a basic human right,” said Ventura (D – Joliet). “This funding will provide financial assistance for residents across Will County who need necessary repairs for their home.”

The grant program will help provide low-income homeowners with health, safety, accessibility, and energy efficiency repairs to their homes. The funding is designed to serve underfunded communities and ensure residents are able to stay in their homes.

Will County Habitat for Humanity has been running since 1988. The group has placed over 75 families in homes and built multiple rehab homes in the area, providing life-changing services to those in need.

“I encourage people who can’t afford structural repairs to their home to apply for this grant,” said Ventura. “This grant will provide relief to those who need safer and more secure homes or those who need accessibility improvements.”

More information on eligibility and a list of administering agencies can be found at https://www.ihda.org/my-community/revitalization-programs/

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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