Holmes

  • holmes 031220Aurora, Ill. – Most of us are staying home to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for many survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, home isn't a safe place. 

    Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) supports Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services for expanding services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

    “Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors live in fear,” Holmes said. “Staying at home now means they have nowhere to go and no one to watch out for them. I can’t imagine how scared some of these people are in an already worrisome time.”

    IDHS announced Thursday the launch of a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its current statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

    The plan expands the domestic violence helpline by creating a one-stop access point for all shelter needs. Survivors can call the helpline at 1-877-863-6338 to be connected to a shelter that can provide assistance.

    The agency is also working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with assistance needs related to COVID-19.

    Additionally, domestic violence prevention and intervention providers will receive a three-month advance of their current grant to support continuations of services and respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors.

    IDHS will also provide the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers statewide to aid sexual assault survivors. The agency will similarly advance grant funds to Partner Abuse Intervention Program grantees for programs costs related to COVID-19.​

  • closed signAurora, Ill. – Restaurants, hotels and other small businesses across the state are invited to take advantage of two new emergency assistance programs, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) announced today.

    “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economies, but the COVID-19 outbreak has hit many of them hard and even forced some to close,” Holmes said. “We must invest in stores, restaurants and hotels that make our communities unique.”

    To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of Chicago. (Small businesses in Chicago can apply for a similar loan program here.)

    Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Loan recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

    Pritzker also announced the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

    Grant funds can be used to compensate employees and pay rent, or to support new practices like expanded pick-up, delivery and sanitation.

    “Our beautiful main streets and their shops and restaurants are vital for most of us every day. It’s heartbreaking to see them struggling during this outbreak,” said Holmes. “These programs may offer some help to small business owners and get them through this challenging time.”

    Applications to the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will be available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website by Friday, March 27.

    The application period for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is open now and closes April 1 at 5 p.m. Businesses can find more information on the program here or apply here. A Spanish-language application is available here.

  • holmes 031220Aurora, Ill. – Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared that coronavirus is now a pandemic. With the number of cases rising in Illinois, and now three cases outside of Cook County – including one in Kane County – Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) wants to encourage caution and calm for area residents regarding coronavirus.

    “I am monitoring the situation daily through the governor, the Illinois Department of Public Health and local and county health officials to get updates,” Holmes said. “I urge people in Kane County and across Illinois to stay informed and keep following the steps IDPH says will help us and everyone around us to stay safe and well.”

    “The young and healthy among us may believe they have nothing to worry about, but I urge them to remember that they could unknowingly transmit the virus to an older relative or friend with a compromised immune system,” Holmes said. “This is why it is vital that everyone takes the actions recommended by IDPH every day.”

    “The General Assembly has announced it is canceling legislative session next week, which demonstrates that we are doing our part as a safeguard against more transmission,” Holmes said.

    IDPH recommends everyone:

    • Wash your hands often and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Don’t shake hands, and avoid large gatherings and air travel.
    • Avoid close contact with sick people who have respiratory symptoms.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately throw it away.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    If you have questions or concerns, please contact your local health department or visit http://dph.illinois.gov/.

  • holmes 030520SPRINGFIELD – Limestone quarries provide a number of products encountered every day: on our roads, in our homes and businesses, and in agriculture. One such lime product is used to treat drinking water and remove particulates. Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is the sponsor of legislation to allow the return of the limestone residual back to a limestone mine after that use, projected to save the city an estimated $7 million over 10 years.

    “Aurora’s Water Treatment Plan has used this process since it was built in 1992, but disposing of the residual product was problematic,” Holmes said. “The City of Aurora initiated this legislation, as it cost the city quite a bit of money to dispose of it in landfills or to apply it on farm land. Pumping that material back into an underground mine cavity 250 feet below ground will save significant taxpayer dollars.”

    Senate Bill 3291 would amend the Environmental Protection Act to require the IEPA to grant Aurora a modification to its existing permit to construct and operate a system of disposal of lime residual, and authorize the disposal from the water treatment plant into an existing mine cavity.

    The bill passed on second reading in the Environment and Conservation Committee, with the expectation of refining it with more input from IEPA before the full Senate will vote on it.

  • holmes 030420SPRINGFIELD – Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation with reforms to clarify a local election process and encourage more candidates to get on the ballot.

    Senate Bill 2779 was brought to Sen. Holmes by Jeff Palmquist of the Fox Valley Park District. The intent is to clarify the number of signatures required for those running for Fox Valley Park District commissioner.

    “There was some confusion as to how many signatures were required for each candidate, and from which area of the district those signatures were required to come from,” Holmes said. “There was no litigation, but the district received numerous calls about the ambiguous requirement. This is now clear and specific, and with fewer signatures required, more candidates may be able to get on the ballot.”

    The Fox Valley Park District consists of seven commissioners, elected to four year terms. Six commissioners make up three two-member sub-districts, and one commissioner is elected at large.

    SB2779 calls for six members to reside within the sub-district in which they were elected, and they are only required to collect two percent of signatures from registered voters in that specific sub-district.

    Having passed the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for their consideration.

  • Sen. Elgie R. Sims and Sen. Dave Koehler with students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy

    SPRINGFIELD – Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “I shared a wonderful day with my constituent Esha Dani who attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The Senate was honored to host such a brilliant group of students and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold,” Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said.

  • holmes priorauth 021820SPRINGFIELD – Delays and denials for health care are a growing concern for patients across the country as insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers add barriers and even longer times to receive care. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is sponsoring legislation with reforms to streamline this process and improve transparency.

    “Extra paperwork and delays for treatment are a hassle and distraction to those of us seeking routine or emergent procedures and treatment, and to our health care providers as well,” Holmes said. “The Prior Authorization Reform Act will take down obstacles, get patients the care they need more quickly and save them money.”

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  • holmes ERA 011520AURORA – Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 2018, and State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is pleased the Virginia legislature ratified the ERA today. This brings the total number of states to ratify to 38 -- the threshold necessary for it to be included in the U.S. Constitution -- and it sets the stage for all 38 states to call for a historic constitutional convention.

    “This is a good day,” Holmes said. “It is frustrating that there are still several hoops to jump through to actually get the ERA over the finish line, but we will keep working to enshrine the simple concept of equality in our nation’s Constitution, as it should have always been.”

    Holmes notes that this year is the 100th anniversary of the amendment’s introduction; she expects the anniversary and ratification benchmark to be observed in Illinois.

    Holmes serves as the co-chair of the Senate Women’s Caucus.

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  • holmes 110419SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has announced that the new Illinois Department of Transportation five-year highway construction program includes major investments in roads in the Aurora area, to the tune of $10.8 million in improvements. 

    In the multi-year plan’s first year, a project on Route 31/Lake Street from Rathbone Avenue in Southwest Aurora to Webster Street/Aucutt Road in Montgomery is already nearing completion. Started in September, the $850,000 project includes 1.22 miles of asphalt resurfacing and ADA compliant crosswalks and ramps. It is scheduled for completion in November.

    “These are long overdue issues for safety and traffic flow on Lake Street,” Holmes said. “I’m pleased to already see positive results this funding is bringing to our community, and I look forward to more projects ahead in this multi-year plan.”

    This is one of five separate projects in Holmes’ district, totaling approximately $10.8 million. The other four jobs to commence within the plan years of 2021 through 2025 include:

    • $1.5 million in intersection improvements at U.S. Route 34/Ogden Avenue and Rickert Drive in Naperville;
    • $1.55 million for 1.7 miles of overlay and milled rumble strips at Route 25/Broadway Street from Hazel Avenue to the Kendall County line in Aurora and Montgomery;
    • $1 million for lane, traffic signal and ADA improvements at Route 31/Lake Street at I-88 ramps in North Aurora;
    • $500,000 for 1.46 miles of pavement rehabilitation and ADA improvements at Routes 56 and 31, I-88 to River Street and East of Downen Drive / Wagner Road to Indian Creek in North Aurora and Aurora.

    The Highway Improvement Program released by Gov. JB Pritzker and a bipartisan group of lawmakers includes $23.5 billion for improving and expanding roads and bridges throughout Illinois, more than doubling funding over the previous Multi-Year Plan. Projects outlined in the plan will cover 4,212 miles of roadway and 9.2 million square feet of bridge deck statewide between 2020 and 2025.

    “Along with finally repairing roads and bridges, the Rebuild Illinois program and this Multi-Year Plan will put thousands of people to work in Illinois. This will boost our economy for years to come,” Holmes said.

    Holmes supported legislation for the statewide construction plan during the spring legislative session of the General Assembly.

  • Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) expanding insurance coverage for diagnostic mammograms has been signed into law by the governor.

    Currently, insurance covers an initial screening mammogram without any co-pay or cost sharing. If dense breast tissue or an abnormality is detected, a doctor will want a second look with a more comprehensive ultrasound (diagnostic) mammogram, and a co-pay is applied. In Illinois, those co-pays can run from $600 to $700, which could discourage women from getting that screening.

    “A diagnostic mammogram should be covered in the same manner as a routine screening mammogram,” Holmes said. “About 10 percent of initial mammogram results require a subsequent diagnostic mammogram, which can arguably be the most important test in the screening process. This new law can save lives.”

  • holmes 053119SPRINGFIELD –After an October report from ProPublica revealed allegations of abuse and neglect of children at the Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, concerns were heightened about coordination between the Department of Children and Family Services and other state agencies.

    State Senator Linda Holmes’ (D-Aurora) House Bill 831 requires better reporting to rectify those cases by requiring DCFS to notify the Director of Public Health and the Director of Healthcare and Family Services when they occur. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law today.

    “After DCFS found neglect and sexual abuse by staff, as well as failure to provide a safe environment and monitor these children’s care and medication at this psychiatric hospital, it became obvious more oversight is needed to prevent this from happening,” Holmes said. “Federal and state investigations have revealed these tragedies and we must do everything we can to stop it.”

    The Department of Public Health inspects and licenses hospitals, including psychiatric hospitals where children in need of that care reside. DPH has the authority to revoke, deny or suspend a hospital’s license. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for providing healthcare coverage for adults and children who qualify for Medicaid, which covers many children in these hospitals’ care.

    “These agencies must be engaged to help investigate and correct the conditions that lead to cases of abuse and neglect,” Holmes said. “Whenever DCFS receive a report by any means, at any facility, they should notify the directors of DPH and HFS so they can take action. The numerous charges against DCFS in safely caring for children under their supervision are disturbing and this is just one of many legislative actions underway to reform child welfare.”

    Among the cases investigated were children who had been cleared for discharge weeks or months before, but they were languishing in the hospitals because DCFS had failed to find other places for them.

    The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

  • State Senator Linda Holmes joined Gov. JB Pritzker and local officials in Aurora Thursday to launch the 605 Innovation District

    Aurora, Ill. – State Senator Linda Holmes joined Gov. JB Pritzker and local officials in Aurora Thursday to launch the 605 Innovation District and bring greater business and technology development to the city. Holmes released the following statement to recognize the investment in technology and jobs for Aurora:

    “Gov. Pritzker is such a champion of innovation and I welcome him to Aurora to recognize the great opportunity that Bureau Gravity is bringing here. This has been Jimi Allen’s dream for years, we spoke of it often when we were office neighbors. I’m honored to be here to celebrate his awesome achievement.

  • holmes 051619SPRINGFIELD –After an October report from ProPublica revealed allegations of abuse and neglect of children at the Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, concerns were heightened about coordination between the Department of Children and Family Services and other state agencies.

    State Senator Linda Holmes’ (D-Aurora) House Bill 831 requires better reporting to rectify those cases by require DCFS to notify the Director of Public Health and the Director of Healthcare and Family Services when they occur.

    “After DCFS found neglect and sexual abuse by staff, as well as failure to provide a safe environment and to monitor these children’s care and medication at this psychiatric hospital, it became obvious more oversight is needed to prevent this from happening,” Holmes said. “Federal and state investigations have revealed these tragedies and we must do everything we can to stop it.”

  • sneakers 050119Wednesday, May 1 was Suits and Sneakers Day at the Capitol. We wear sneakers to help raise awareness and encourage people to educate themselves about cancer prevention, screening and early detection.

    Suits and Sneakers Day originated as a campaign of Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society, when basketball coaches nationwide wear sneakers with their suits to raise funds, awareness, and help save lives from cancer.

    Learn more about this effort here.

  • holmes 041719SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation in the Senate to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs.

    Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees and fines under the Department of Agriculture for the first time since 1971. It also changes rules regarding adopted dogs and cats and the facilities that provide foster homes and transport pets for adoption.

    “This group of animal welfare measures brings several rescue and shelter issues up to date for Illinois,” Holmes said. “So many pets find their forever homes through these facilities and fostering arrangements. This legislation can serve to increase the potential for that to happen while providing the Department of Agriculture with more resources to oversee these programs and facilities.”

    In addition to increasing license fees and administrative fines, Senate Bill 61 as amended does the following:

    • Changes definitions of terms related to animal shelters, rescue and transport groups and their functions;
    • Addresses licensed animal groups’ Trap, Neuter, Release/Return (TNR) programs for sterilized and microchipped feral cats;
    • Clarifies the limits of two litters of animals under eight weeks old in foster homes;
    • Removes a permit fee of $25 for foster homes.

    Senate Bill 61 includes input from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Best Friends Animal Society, Illinois Humane Society and the Illinois Animal Control Association.

    With bipartisan approval in the Senate, Senate Bill 61 now moves to the House for consideration.

  • holmes 041119 3SPRINGFIELD – Right now, a state agency can overturn a local school board’s decision to deny a charter school application in their school district. Under a proposal from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), that decision would remain in local hands.

    Senate Bill 1226 would change the charter school application process to abolish the State Charter School Commission and ensure locally elected school boards and parents would decide if a charter school is good for their community. The plan puts all existing charter schools authorized by the commission under the authority of the Illinois State Board of Education beginning June of 2020.

    “This proposal is about local control and accountability for charter schools as they exist for public schools,” Holmes said. “The existing commission has overturned local school boards and I believe those decisions belong in the community, not at the state level.”

    A local appeal process for charter schools already exists, eliminating the need for a state commission. Local voters also have the option of considering a charter school on the ballot of an upcoming election.

    With bipartisan approval in the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for consideration.

  • holmes 032519SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation in the Senate Agriculture Committee to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs.

    Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees under the Department of Agriculture for the first time since 1971. It also changes rules regarding adopted dogs and cats and the facilities that provide foster homes and transport pets for adoption.

    “This group of animal welfare measures brings several rescue and shelter issues up to date for Illinois,” Holmes said. “So many pets find their forever homes through these facilities and fostering arrangements. This legislation can serve to increase the potential for that to happen while providing the Department of Agriculture with more resources to oversee these programs and facilities.”

    In addition to increasing license fees and administrative fines, Senate Bill 61 does the following:

    • Changes definitions of terms related to animal shelters, rescue and transport groups and their functions;
    • Changes sterilization and microchip exemptions for adopted pets based on their age;
    • Addresses programs for sterilized, vaccinated feral cats in barn cat and college campus settings, often used for pest control;
    • Clarifies the limits of four foster pets or two litters in foster homes.

    Senate Bill 61 includes input from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Best Friends Animal Society, Illinois Humane Society and the Illinois Animal Control Association.

    With a unanimous vote in the Agriculture Committee, Senate Bill 61 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • beagle 032119SPRINGFIELD –A measure regarding animal welfare sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed the Illinois Senate.

    Senate Bill 241 amends the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to prohibit importation or sale of cosmetic products or ingredients that use animal testing after January 1, 2020. Modern testing alternatives are less expensive, faster and more predictive of human reactions than past practices of painful tests on animals to assess the safety of chemicals used in cosmetics.