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

“Food waste is an issue that affects every community,” 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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service product dating is not required by federal regulations except for infant formula. Manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is at its best quality. There are no uniform or universally accepted descriptions used on food labels for open dating in the United States.

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. “It’s beneficial for everyone to have an updated system that gives consumers accurate information about safe food consumption.”

House Bill 3849 passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura passed a measure through the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety on Wednesday that would protect highly vulnerable individuals from deceitful tactics in legal proceedings.

“We need protections in place to protect those who may fall victim to these harmful practices, especially those with intellectual or developmental disabilities,” said Ventura (D-Joliet).

Currently, a confession by a minor that was made as a result of a custodial interrogation conducted at a police station or other place of detention is presumed to be inadmissible in a criminal proceeding or a juvenile court proceeding as evidence against the minor if, during the custodial interrogation, a law enforcement officer or juvenile officer knowingly engages in deception.

With this new measure, the definition of a "protected person" in provisions prohibiting the use of certain deceptive tactics by law enforcement during custodial interrogations would be expanded.

Instead of only covering minors, the revised definition includes both minors and persons with severe or profound intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“We need to protect individuals with disabilities against deceptive police tactics that could ruin their lives,” said Ventura. “By expanding the definition of individuals whose confessions may be presumed inadmissible under certain circumstances, persons with severe or profound intellectual disabilities will be protected from bad actors.”

House Bill 3253 passed the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety Committee and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.


JOLIET – State Senator Rachel Ventura issued a statement of support for the employees of two RISE marijuana stores in Joliet, IL who are currently on strike over unfair labor practices.

“The Cannabis industry is generating record profits in Illinois and workers deserve to share in of the wealth that they create,” said Ventura (D-Joliet), referencing Illinois’ $1.5 Billion in cannabis sales for FY 2022. “Working families are struggling across Illinois while companies like RISE make enormous profits. It doesn’t have to be this way. I hope that both sides are able to negotiate a mutually beneficial contract that enables these workers to better support their families.”

Teamsters Local 777 went on strike Wednesday at two RISE marijuana stores in Joliet after three unsuccessful negotiating meetings. Union leaders are attempting to negotiate wages and retirement benefits and have stated there is no agreement as of yet on either of the issues.

Teamster General President Sean O’Brien relayed the following message to cannabis workers on social media: “We’re fighting to turn this industry into what it needs to be: long term well paid careers. No more low wages, no more high turnover, no more disrespect. Teamsters stand with you.”

Additionally, the union stated that the RISE stores told their employees to remove their Teamsters buttons while negotiating. Workers voted to unionize last year and have been negotiating their first contract.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t the first company we’ve heard that has delayed contract negotiations after a union has been voted on,” said Ventura. “We need to encourage companies to negotiate in good faith in a timely manner.” Ventura is encouraging other community members and elected officials in Will County to support the workers, not cross the picket line, and join them in solidarity.

“I’m on strike because of how cannabis is grown and sold by RISE. We all have our different reasons for being out here,” said Christopher Guardo, a Joliet resident and RISE employee since the company opened their doors. “RISE is not using the safest practices to grow our product. We see excessive mold because the product is not cured properly. Instead of hanging and drying it at the proper humidity levels, they nitrogen freeze the cannabis and it is packaged prematurely, creating moldy products.” Guardo had been promised multiple promotions to shift supervisor and yet three years later he is still earning $17 an hour as a patient care specialist.

In Fiscal Year 2022, Illinois cannabis sales generated $466.8 million in state taxes on $1.5 billion in total sales. Illinois total dispensary sales reached over three billion in total over the last three years. One RISE store in Joliet employs approximately 50 individuals. Several have quit because of working conditions and low pay.

For questions directed to the Teamsters, contact James Glimco at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 630.670.4414


ROMEOVILLE – State Senator Rachel Ventura commended the $358,390 grant awarded to Lewis University to expand the state’s pool of early childhood providers and increase faculty diversity in the field.

“Early childhood education is crucial to preparing kids for a bright future,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Having a more diverse faculty in place ensures that all the children of Illinois can relate and feel comfortable by those looking over and teaching them.”

The Illinois Board of Higher Education awarded $3.37 million in Early Childhood Faculty Preparation grants to four universities — including $358,390 to Lewis University — to implement programs of study for working adults from diverse backgrounds and those who work with diverse populations interested in becoming early childhood faculty.

The grants will fund scholarships and other academic and holistic supports for 78 students to earn master’s degrees.

“This grant expands the state’s goal of having high quality education across the board,” said Ventura. “I congratulate Lewis University on working toward a more well-rounded and diverse group of educators.”

The Early Childhood Faculty Preparation Grants are a part of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity initiative, a key strategy in A Thriving Illinois, the state’s strategic plan for higher education. Those who enroll in the programs are expected to graduate by the summer of 2024.

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Office Info

District Office:
221 Springfield Ave., Unit 3
Joliet, IL 60435
(331) 290-0443
(815) 240-9057 [TEXT]

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