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Bennett, Manar introduce package of Rx legislation at Champaign town hall

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 02:19 PM

bennett manar 031020CHAMPAIGN - High prescription drug prices and accountability of the pharmaceutical industry topped concerns of Champaign residents during a town hall meeting Monday. 

The meeting was hosted by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), and was cohosted by Protect Our Care Illinois, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, NAACP Champaign County, AARP Illinois and AFSCME. 

Following an informational presentation from Protect Our Care representative Dan Rabbitt, Bennett and Manar opened the floor to Champaign County residents to raise their concerns, share their stories and ask questions about pending legislation in Springfield.

Bennett announces open applications for local economic development grants

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 02:09 PM

bennett 031020SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging local governments to apply to receive a portion of $80 million in grants to spur economic development and provide much-needed infrastructure in their communities.

“These grants are a tremendous opportunity to stimulate the economy,” Bennett said. “Not only will they help revitalize distressed communities, they will support local economies and create jobs.”

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments through a competitive selection process to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

Applications open for $80 million in local economic development grants

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 01:59 PM

murphy 021820SPRINGFIELD – Local governments have a shot at $80 million in grants to foster economic development and revitalize infrastructure in their communities, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced Tuesday.

“A healthy economy starts in our neighborhoods,” said Murphy, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government. “These grants will empower local governments to take on projects that will create jobs, lift up communities and make a difference for Illinois families.”

Through a competitive selection process, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction.

Potential projects include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design. DCEO emphasizes the importance of projects with long-term economic benefits for the region.

Altogether, DCEO has made more than $150 million available in Rebuild Illinois funding this year. Other grants offer support for broadband and opportunity zone investments.

“During the last administration, local projects went unsupported for years, and our Main Streets suffered. It’s time for that to change,” said Murphy. “When we invest in our communities, Illinoisans see benefits close to home, but the whole state gets a boost.”

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

Lightford urges Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 12:59 PM

lightford 031020Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) passed a resolution urging the President and Congress of the United States to reauthorize the Older Americans Act and adjust funding levels for inflation.

“The programs funded under the Older Americans Act are vital to the wellbeing of one of our most vulnerable populations,” Lightford said. “Our federal government needs to make sure they can continue to serve all those in need.”

The Older Americans Act provides essential services that help older adults live independently including meal plans, home assistance, support for family caregivers, transportation and protection from abuse.

The Act was reauthorized in 2016 through 2019. However, funding for services has not increased since 2010, leaving many without much-needed services.

According to 2015 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 24% of low-income older adults were food insecure, and of that number 83% of them did not receive home-delivered or congregate meal services.

Senate Resolution 974 was approved by the Illinois Senate last week.

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