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    It’s no longer “business as usual”—the coronavirus has disrupted many of our jobs, social lives and daily routines. For the sake of the health and safety of everyone in our communities, we must continue to follow the advice of our public health experts and do our part to help contain the virus.

    Stay at homeGov. Pritzker issued a ‘stay at home’ order for the State of Illinois beginning, March 21 at 5 p.m. until April 7.

    The executive order requires Illinoisans to practice a more rigorous form of social distancing, staying home as much as possible aside from meeting their basic needs. The order permits a range of essential activities, including but not limited to:

    • For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional

    • For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences

    • For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds

    • Economic AssistanceFor certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations

    • To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another household

    While certainly an inconvenience, and a detriment to our economy, this measure could spare the lives of thousands of Illinoisans and is absolutely critical to the survival and stability of our hospitals.

    More information on Governor Pritzkter’s shelter in place order can be foundhere. For a list of frequently asked questions, click here.

    Please know despite rumors circulating online, Gov. Pritzker has emphasized that essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will never close.

    State agencies and local organizations are working tirelessly to make sure those affected by business and school closures are provided with help, support and relief. For more information on what assistance is offered, keep reading.

    Economic Assistance

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security is allowing workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 to apply for unemployment.

    Sheriffs in Cook, Will and Lake Counties have suspended enforcing evictions for at least 30 days. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a moratorium on evictions of single-family homes with federally insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also offering mortgage assistance.

    The Small Business Administration is providing disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

    Resources for Students

    The Illinois State Board of Education is working to provide meals every day to all students, no questions asked. Grab-and-go meals are available statewide for students who need them, and some schools are even offering delivery. Contact your child’s school district for more information. For more updates and resouces, click here.

    Updates for Restaurants & Businesses

    RoadsDespite school and restaurant closures, Gov. Pritzker assures that essential services—including pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations—will remain open. It’s a good idea to be prepared, but only buy what you really need. Hoarding supplies prevents others from accessing the basics. Experts recommend keeping on hand about what you need for two weeks at a time.

    All bars and restaurants are closed through April 7. Restaurants will have take-out, drive-thru and delivery options still available.

    Many grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors.Residents can contact local stores for their specific hours.

    To provide some relief to local eateries during the coming weeks, Grubhub is suspending commissions and Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees on orders from independent restaurants. Some larger restaurants are offering free delivery. Many delivery services have introduced no- or low-contact delivery options.

    Utilities Support

    Ameren and ComEd are suspending any disconnections and waiving late payment fees. Other major utility companies, like People’s Gas and Nicor, are suspending disconnections as well.

    The Illinois Commerce Commission has banned utility service disconnections during the outbreak and has pledged to assess late fees through at least May 1. AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, Viasat and others are offering accommodations to those in need of telecom services during the crisis.

    State Services

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation hasextended license expiration dates and continuing education deadlines.Licensees may complete continuing education requirements and other coursework online.

    The Office of the Illinois Attorney General encourages residents to file a complaint if they notice price gouging on essential items related to the coronavirus outbreak, including hand sanitizer, cleaning products and protective gear.

    All Illinois Secretary of State offices and Driver Services facilities are closed to the public through March 31. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards, vehicle registration and other transactions will be extended by 30 days. More information and some services are available online.

    All emergency food relief (SNAP), cash assistance (TANF) and medical (Medicaid eligibility) applications will continue to be availableonlineor by phone at 800-843-6154. Home Services & Vocational Rehab resources will remain available through DRS’ statewide network of counselors who will continue working remotely.

    For the most up-to-date information, please continue to check the governor's coronavirus response website found here.

    We will continue to send periodic updates. Rest assured that together, we will get through this trying time.

     


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    Illinois Senate cancels this week's session days to "do its part" to slow speed of coronavirus

    Sen. President Don Harmon

    SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon announced Wednesday the cancellation of this week’s Senate session days as part of a public health initiative to limit exposure and hopefully slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Read President Harmon's statement here.

     

     

     

     

     


    Senators Martwick, Villivalam host Facebook Live with public health experts

    State Senators Robert Martwick and Ram Villivalam SPRINGFIELD — State Senators Robert Martwick and Ram Villivalam held a Facebook Live Thursday night alongside public health experts. Susan Reisberg, a Nursing Supervisor at Skokie Health Department and Evonda Thomas-Smith, Assistant Director at Illinois Department of Public Health, joined the senators to field questions from viewers submitted online. The event reached over 12,000 people.

    You can watch the full the video by clicking here.

     

     

     


    Turn to the CDC and IDPH for coronavirus updates COVID-19 infographic

    SPRINGFIELD — The coronavirus is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated on the IDPH website found here and and on the CDC website found here.

    For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    Martwick introduces policy to support first responder mental health data

    Sen. Robert Martwick

    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is taking steps to facilitate and assist the mental health needs of emergency first responders under legislation sponsored by State Senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago).

    Martwick introduced Senate Bill 3333, which requires the Department of Human Services to create and maintain an online database and resource page of mental resources geared toward first responders on its website.

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Hastings unveils plan to expand sick leave for airline employees

    Sen. Michael E. HastingsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) partnered with Southwest Airlines employees to hold a press conference advocating for the expansion of sick leave for airline employees Wednesday.

    “The fact that hardworking individuals are unable to use their earned sick time to care for their loved ones is unacceptable,” Hastings said. “Since this is an issue with federal law, we’re doing what we can at the state level to demonstrate that in Illinois, we put workers and their families first.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Hayli's lemonade law passes Public Health Committee Sen. Patrick Joyce and Hayli Martinez

    SPRINGFIELD – As the heat of summer approaches, some kids are working to make a little bit of cash mowing lawns, babysitting or establishing a lemonade stand outside their home.

    Hayli Martinez, an 11-year-old girl from Kankakee, had the perfect idea last summer to sell lemonade with different flavors in order to earn money for her college funds.

    However, after much success, her lemonade stand was flagged by Kankakee Health Department officials and it was shut down soon after.

    To prevent other kids from losing their lemonade stands, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) introduced Hayli’s Law.

    Read more.

     


    Lightford and United Way launch report on Illinois ALICE families Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford and Sen. Celina Villanueva

    SPRINGFIELD – Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) joined the United Way in releasing their report on Illinois ALICE households – asset-limited, income-constrained and employed.

    The report focuses on families living above the federal poverty level, but below the threshold of a basic survival budget of $57,144 for a family of four and $19,212 for a single adult.

    “People all over Illinois are struggling to get ahead. We know this intuitively, and we see it in our communities. I see it every day in my west side and west suburban district,” Lightford said. “ALICE allows us to put some real data behind that intuition.”

    Read more.

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Tom Cullerton, Villa Park: Senate Panel OKs measure to add mental health hotline info to student IDs | Daily Herald

    Senator Sara Feigenholtz, Chicago: Illinois lawmaker proposes bill removing retail wine shipping ban | WREX

    Senator Laura Fine, Glenview: Illinois bill aims to ensure fairness for inmates' families | Daily Herald

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Prescription drug prices to be focus of Decatur town hall | WAND

     


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    Suicide prevention should be as easy as a 911 call

    Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton

    SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a 3-digit suicide hotline for Americans experiencing mental health crises.

    “Mental health crises are becoming more prevalent, specifically in young people, and we need national leadership on this issue,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Creating a dedicated emergency hotline for this will save lives.”

    Read more.

     

     


    Crowe holds opioid committee on ISP, DOI testimonies

    Sen. Rachelle CroweSPRINGFIELD — Hearing reports from agencies to update lawmakers on the implementation of the 2018 State Opioid Action Plan (SOAP), members of the Senate’s Special Committee on Opioid Crisis Abatement met Tuesday under the leadership of State Senator Rachelle Crowe.

    “Exploring opioid-related issues from every angle, from expanding mental health services to reporting and treating overdoses, is the only way we will see effective change in our communities,” Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) said. “By holding these hearings, we’re getting legislators and stakeholders in the same room for the opportunity to create solutions and increase access to opioid prevention, treatment and recovery programs.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Manar announces legislation to create Prescription Drug Affordability Board to set prescription price limits Sen. Andy Manar

    SPRINGFIELD — Over half of Illinois residents are burdened by the high cost of health care and prescription drugs, according to a new Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey (CHESS), commissioned in January 2020 by Protect Our Care Illinois and Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    The survey, announced last week by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) found that 54% of respondents are either “worried” or “very worried” about affording the cost of prescription drugs, and 28% of Illinois adults have rationed or gone without medication due to the skyrocketing cost of prescription medication.

    Read more.

     


    Illinois Senate welcomes students from Illinois Math and Science Academy Sens. Elgie R. Sims and Dave Koehler with IMSA Students

    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.

    “This is a remarkable opportunity for these students to see firsthand how their government functions,” State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “It also gives my colleagues and me the chance to connect with some of the best and brightest students our state has to offer. The future is undeniably promising for each and every one of them, and I look forward to following their progress.”

    Read more.

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Bill would let parents exempt kids from school shooter drills | WAND TV

    Senator Laura Fine, Glenview: Bill targets pavement sealant linked to health hazards for public disclosure | The Southern Illinoisan

    Senator Julie Morrison, Lake Forest: State lawmakers introduce bills to reform DCFS | WAND TV

    Senator Celina Villanueva, Chicago: A State Senator Had Thousands of Dollars in Ticket Debt. Now She’s Fighting to Make Sure Others Won’t. | Route Fifty

     


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    Illinois Senate Democrats see hopeful signs in Pritzker's second budget address

    Senate Democrats

    SPRINGFIELD — Democratic members of the Illinois State Senate were encouraged by Governor JB Pritzker’s second budget proposal. His address last week highlighted that they and the governor share many of the same priorities to move Illinois forward and achieve permanent budget stability and government functionality.

    The governor’s budget included large proposed increases to early childhood education funding, need-based financial aid programs for college students, innovative job training programs, and for a number of important social services programs that help grant people with disabilities and seniors lives filled with comfort and dignity. Democratic senators commented on many of the items they felt were most important in the proposal.

    Read more.

     


    Holmes bill to cut pet restrictions in public housing

    Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — Pets are part of two out of three households in America, including 72% of renters. Restrictions in public housing can prevent a family from keeping a pet based on its size, weight or breed. That results in pets being surrendered to already-burdened animal shelters.

    Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes introduced Senate Bill 2973, which would allow any tenant living in housing acquired, constructed or rehabilitated with state funds for low-income housing to keep a pet dog or cat regardless of its size, weight or breed.

    Read more.

     

     


    A February Tradition: Go Red for Women Day Go Red for Women

    SPRINGFIELD — Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association's national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women.

    Every February, the General Assembly holds a Go Red for Women Day at the Capitol to increase awareness of women’s heart health issues and help improve the lives of women throughout Illinois.

    Read more.

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senators Cristina Castro, Elgin and Julie Morrison, Lake Forest: Illinois Democrats, Republicans Blast Trump's Commute of Blagojevich | WBEZ

    Senator Sara Feigenholtz, Chicago: Heated discussion on DCFS mechanical restraints bill during committee hearing | WGEM

    Senator Pat McGuire, Crest Hill: Where the sidewalk ends might be far from your Metra station, study finds | Daily Herald

     


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    Senators call for answers on DCFS insurance switch

    Sen. Julie A. Morrison

    SPRINGFIELD — Following a glitch that left more than 2,500 adopted children and former foster children without insurance for days, State Senators Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and Heather Steans (D-Chicago) led a conversation about the issue and the oversight of Medicaid managed care.

    “The state is responsible for these children and must make sure they have access to health care,” Morrison said. “I wouldn’t want my own child to be enrolled in this poorly managed program.”

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    Senate Dems unveil public safety priorities

    Sen. Robert PetersCHICAGO — In an effort to improve safety in communities and reform the criminal justice system, the Illinois Senate announced the formation of the Special Committee on Public Safety Thursday.

    The committee, chaired by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), will be tasked with hearing a number of measures, including one to put a stop to cash bail.

    “I’ve dedicated my adult life toward the fight to reimagine and to win real safety and justice, and last year I passed several laws with this goal in mind, including one to abolish private detention centers,” Peters said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to personally head up the Special Committee on Public Safety, and I am confident that the committee will lead to a society that is fair, equitable, just and, most importantly, safe.”

    Read more.

     


    Crowe secures override protecting aviation repair jobs Sen. Rachelle Croew

    SPRINGFIELD — Recognizing the necessity of the thousands of highly-skilled, highly-paid jobs jet repair companies provide to people in the state, the Illinois Senate overrode the governor’s veto of House Bill 3902 in a bipartisan manner Wednesday.

    State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) led the efforts to protect jobs in the Metro East.

    “I refused to sit idly by and allow thousands of people to lose their jobs because of a mistake by a former administration,” Crowe said. “Labor workers in the aviation repair industry contribute vital economic growth in the Metro East region and across the state, and this measure is an affirmation of support to them and their families.”

    Read more.

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Mattie Hunter, Chicago: Will lawmakers finally put the brakes on red-light cameras? | Chicago Sun-Times

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, Maywood: Sen. Lightford honors longtime friend Greg Reives | WGEM NBC

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Lawmaker floats plan to cut prescription drug prices | The State Journal-Register

     


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    Black Caucus: State has made great strides, but there's still work to be done

    Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

    SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s State of the State address on Wednesday.

    Leaders of the Black Caucus discussed key issues brought up by the governor’s address that specifically affect black communities throughout the state, including early childhood education, health care and criminal justice reform.

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    Ethics commission seeks more accountability for legislative wrongdoers Ethics commission

    SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform sought input on what could have been done to prevent recent high-profile conflicts of interest and what more must be done to hold lawmakers accountable at a hearing Thursday.

    The joint commission touched on a number of ethical issues, including disclosures of conflict of interest and transparency of finances for public officials.

    State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago), who serves as co-chair of the group, said it is pertinent lawmakers are voting in the best interest of their communities.

    Read more.

     

     


    Mourning families receive update on DNA evidence backlog Sen. Patricia Van Pelt

    SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) listened as families relived the terrible days their loved ones were murdered during a Senate Public Health Law committee hearing Tuesday afternoon.

    “Our voice is not being heard," said Kristena Hopkins, director of Missing and Murdered Women and Girls, whose cousin, Shantieya Smith, was slain back in 2018. “I feel like they want us to just shake it off and keep moving, but I refuse to because she has a eight-year-old daughter who deserves to know what happened to her mom.”

    Read more.

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Melinda Bush, Grayslake: State law seeks to improve harassment protection in the workplace | The Daily Northwestern

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Illinois adds $4.1M to opioid battle, Crowe says support needs have been ID’d | The Telegraph

    Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton, Western Springs: Senate bill would outlaw using live animals as carnival prizes | Daily Herald

    Senator Ram Villivalam, Chicago: Lawmakers aim to end state-to-state corporate poaching | Daily Herald

     


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    Ethics commission considers full disclosure of lobbying

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims

    CHICAGO — Across Illinois on a daily basis, people are likely being paid to lobby governments without ever having to register as lobbyists or disclose any information.

    It’s a reality that emerged Wednesday from the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform. Illinois state government, the city of Chicago and Cook County are the main entities that require lobbyist registration and disclosure. But there are hundreds of units of local government throughout Illinois. By and large, those entities have no such lobbying requirements.

    “I think it’s naïve for anyone to think those are the only three places where lobbying is going on,” said Senator Elgie R. Sims, a joint commission co-chair. “If the public has the right to know in these jurisdictions, why shouldn’t it know everywhere else? We need a more holistic approach to lobbying throughout Illinois, because it seems to me there’s a lot probably going on in the dark right now.” Read more.

     


    New law allows earlier access to senior tax break Seniors

    SPRINGFIELD — A new measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would accelerate access to a property tax break for seniors was signed into law Tuesday.

    “This bill is an opportunity to test a more efficient process while still providing the same or better level of service,” Ellman said. “This particular example prioritizes the needs of seniors on fixed-incomes and ensures awareness of relief programs available to our older population. I will continue to seek more efficient processes that serve Illinoisans.” Read more.

     

     


    Castro wants to close legislative pay loophole Sen. Cristina Castro

    SPRINGFIELD — A loophole in legislative pay law allowing legislators to receive an entire month’s pay despite not serving the full month would be closed under a proposal by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

    “In any other job, a person would not be compensated for an entire month if they only worked one day,” Castro said. “This is a glaring loophole that has been exploited far too many times at the taxpayers’ expense, and I’m sick of it. It needs to be closed.” Read more.

     

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Michael Hastings, Tinley Park: ISVMA gives Senator Hastings its president’s award as leader | Patch

    Senator Linda Holmes, Aurora: Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton visits Kane County jail to discuss criminal justice reform | Kane County Chronicle

    Senator Laura Murphy, Des Plaines: After another pedestrian is hurt, lawmakers want safety improvements along Touhy Avenue | Daily Herald

     


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    Women's caucus reacts to possible rape cover-up

    Illinois State Senate Women's Caucus

    SPRINGFIELD – Outraged by a possible sexual assault cover-up, the Illinois Senate Women’s Caucus is asking anyone with information to come forward.

    The request comes in response to a WBEZ article regarding a 2012 email to officials within then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration that references someone keeping quiet about “the rape in Champaign.”

    “That email is horrifying. If anyone has any information about this crime, please contact authorities. Sexual assault will not be tolerated. We need to get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable,” said Senator Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat and co-chair of the Senate Women’s Caucus. Read more.

     

      


    Lawmakers seek answers to abuse of seclusion rooms Joint Education Committee

    CHICAGO – Members of the joint bipartisan Illinois Senate and House Education Committees met Tuesday to examine the abuse of seclusion rooms in public schools.

    State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) introduced Senate Bill 2315 to ban the use of these rooms as a punitive measure.

    “We must end the abusive practice of de facto solitary confinement and improper use of restraints,” Gillespie said. “At the same time we must meet the unique needs of students, honor their dignity and ensure a safe environment for all. This is the needle we must thread with our legislation, and I look forward to working closely with all the stakeholders to achieve immediate and sustainable changes to the culture and practices in our schools.” Read more.

     


    Belt helps create military liason for IDFPR Sen. Christopher Belt

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) sponsored an initiative that lead to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation hiring its first military liaison to help military families through the licensure process.

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation created a military liaison position to help service members and their spouses navigate the licensure process. Read more.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Patrick Joyce, Essex: Talks continue in bringing natural gas to Pembroke Township | Daily Journal

    Senators Kimberly Lightford and Heather Steans, Chicago: Transgender daughters are a bond between Kim Lightford, Heather Steans | Chicago Sun-Times

    Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: State lawmakers say new FDA policy on vaping doesn’t go far enough | The Daily Herald

    Senator Celina Villanueva, Chicago: Representative Villanueva occupies vacated seat once held by Senator Sandoval | Lawndale News

     


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    More than 250 new laws take effect Jan. 1

    New Laws 2020

    On behalf of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus, we want to wish you a happy holiday season and a new year filled with health, happiness and prosperity.

    With the start of the new year comes more than 250 new laws. Legalization of adult-use cannabis, an increased minimum wage and new regulations on kennels are just a few recently passed measures that take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

    Read the full list of new laws here.

    Watch our slideshow about the new initiatives here.

     

      


    Lightford minimum wage increase now under effect Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

    SPRINGFIELD — Minimum wage earners statewide will see a $1 per hour increase their next paycheck under a law spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) that was signed in February to gradually increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 by January 2025.

    “Many working families have waited for this increase for almost a decade,” Lightford said. “I stand firmly on the belief that workers deserve a decent wage and I am committed to standing with them as we continue the fight for a living wage.” Read more.

     

     


    Murphy law gives students ability to self-administer medication Sen. Laura Murphy

    SPRINGFIELD — Students are now allowed to self-administer prescribed medication while at school under a law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).
    Murphy’s measure requires schools to allow students with an action plan to self-administer prescribed medication with permission from their parent or guardian. Read more.

     

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senate President John J. Cullerton, Chicago: Illinois Senate President John Cullerton talks about Blagojevich, bipartisanship and changes brought by social media as his time in Springfield comes to an end | Chicago Tribune

    Sen. Linda Holmes, Aurora: No one wants the dreaded callback after a mammogram. Under a new Illinois law, at least there's a good chance you won't have to pay | Tucson.com

    Sen. Heather Steans, Chicago: Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois | CBS Chicago

     


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    More than 250 new laws take effect Jan. 1

    New Laws 2020

    On behalf of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus, we want to wish you a happy holiday season and a new year filled with health, happiness and prosperity.

    With the start of the new year comes more than 250 new laws. Legalization of adult-use cannabis, an increased minimum wage and new regulations on kennels are just a few recently passed measures that take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

    Read the full list of new laws here.

    Watch our slideshow about the new initiatives here.

     

      


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    Bertino-Tarrant protects consumers across Will County

    Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

    SPRINGFIELD — Starting Jan. 1, 2020, Illinois residents’ genetic testing results will be protected, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

    Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) championed House Bill 2189, which prohibits companies that provide direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing such as ancestry.com and 23andMe, from sharing any test results with health or life insurance companies without the consumer’s consent. Read more.

     

     

     


    State keeps promise to Machesney Park

    Rock River

    ROCKFORD — On Tuesday, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) announced that the state is finally reimbursing the Village of Machesney Park for the boat ramp built on the Rock River back in 2015.

    “Frankly, this should have happened earlier,” Stadelman said. “This is proof that Illinois is turning a fiscal corner and is finally keeping its promises to communities like Machesney Park.” Read more.

     

     

     


    Harris creates access to statewide projects for minorities Sen. Napoleon Harris III

    SPRINGFIELD — More minority owned business will be included in statewide construction projects under a proposal sponsored by Senator Napoleon Harris, III (D-Harvey) which was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker Tuesday.

    “In order to build a healthy and comprehensive economy, we must supply minority businesses with full and fair access to local and state contraction opportunities.” Harris said. “I applaud Governor Pritzker for seeing the significance of this measure, and hope to see local governments taking advantage of the state’s model business enterprise program to decrease the inequality gap for minority, veterans and female-owned businesses.” Read more.

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant urges residents to buy safe toys | Patch

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Sen. Manar to kick off golden apple program to tackle state's teacher shortage crisis | RiverBender

    Senator Ram Villivalam, Chicago: Menorah added to holiday display in Capitol | The Daily Herald

     


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    Harris donates $2,500 to Rocky Clark Scholarship Fund

    Rocky Clark Memorial Scholarship

    SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Chicago) donated $2,500 to the Rocky Clark Memorial Scholarship Tuesday as part of the National Day of Giving.

    "Schools across the state must continue to prioritize the education and well-being of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Harris said. “South Suburban College is doing an amazing job to provide resources to promote equity for students with disabilities, and I am pleased to support this cause.”

    Continue reading.

     

     


    Pritzker signs Steans' tweaks to new cannabis law

    Gov. Pritzker

    CHICAGO — State Senator Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago) stood alongside Gov. JB Pritzer as he signed her bill that finalizes and clarifies certain parts of the new cannabis bill, just a month before cannabis cultivation and sale becomes legal.

    “When we embarked on the long road to legalization of adult-use cannabis, we set out not just to end bad drug policy and lay the groundwork for opportunity in a new industry,” Steans said. “We also sought ways to make amends for how drug enforcement has ravaged communities. As we stand poised for legalization on Jan. 1, I want to thank everyone who worked tirelessly to make this legislation a reality, and I want to remind all of us that to ensure we see justice, we must listen to the community and respond to their concerns swiftly.”

    Continue reading.

     

     


    Murphy pushes to increase lobbying transparency Sen. Laura Murphy

    SPRINGFIELD — Lobbyists are now required to disclose more information regarding their clients and relationships to local government units under new legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

    “It’s clear that we need to introduce larger reforms to change the way elected officials do business,” said Murphy, who served as chief co-sponsor of the legislation in the Senate. “Increasing lobbying transparency is just a start—there’s much more still to do.”

    Continue reading.

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign and Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: IDOA accepting applications for Cover Crop Premium Discount Program | Lincoln Daily News

    Senator Patrick Joyce, Essex: State Senator Joyce to Host Winter Clothing Drive | WCSJ News

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Pritzker signs Manar’s paraprofessional bill | The Telegraph

    Senator Heather A. Steans, Chicago: Pritzker, stakeholders talk next phases of legalized marijuana rollout | mySuburbanLife

     


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    Patrick Joyce joins the Illinois Senate for the 40th District

    Sen. Patrick Joyce

    SPRINGFIELD-- The Senate welcomed its newest member last week: Patrick Joyce from Essex. Joyce was sworn into office at Kankakee Community College.

    Joyce replaces Toi Hutchinson as state senator for the 40th Legislative District. Hutchinson left to lead the Pritzker administration's recreational cannabis rollout as it becomes legal on January 1.

    “It is an honor to follow the outstanding Senator Hutchinson. I would like to thank her for the excellent job she has done for Kankakee and the South Suburbs,” Joyce said. Continue reading.

     

     

     

     


    Sims, Castro join ethics commission

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr.

    CHICAGO—To respond to recent allegations involving Springfield lawmakers and prevent future wrongdoing, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) has been named as the co-chair of a new joint legislative commission that will recommend changes to state ethics laws. Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) has also been appointed to the commission.

    “The last several months have seen very troubling developments and the people of Illinois expect us to be and do better,” Sims said. “For the people to have faith in their government we must hold ourselves to the highest of standards, and when public officials do wrong, they should face the consequences. Those are the beliefs that will guide me as I serve on this commission.” Continue reading.

     

     


    Lightford leads discussion on new cannabis law Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

    BROADVIEW – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) led a discussion at a town hall hosted by Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson on the implementation of the new Illinois cannabis law that goes into effect on Jan. 1.

    The town hall covered the legislative, business and law enforcement perspectives of legalizing cannabis and gave residents a chance to have their questions answered.

    “Mayor Thompson and I wanted to bring information on the new cannabis law to make sure our local communities understand how they can get involved in the new industry, and if they choose to, how to use cannabis within the restrictions in the law,” Lightford said. Continue reading.

     


    Ellman pursues property tax breaks for seniors Sen. Laura Ellman

    SPRINGFIELD – Cook County seniors would see access to property tax break sooner under legislation by State Senator Laura Ellman that has passed the Senate unopposed.

    “My goal was always to simplify this application process as much as possible,” said Ellman, (D-Naperville), the measure’s chief sponsor. “Rather than subjecting our seniors to an unnecessary reapplication process, we’re making things easier on them while also giving more people the chance to benefit from property tax breaks.” Continue reading.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Laura Fine, Glenview: Niles West students organize forum on immigration issues | Chicago Tribune

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Manar honored for ag education work | The Telegraph

    Senator Heather Steans, Chicago: 'No bars, no restaurants:' Marijuana trailer bill clarifies allowable public use | JournalStar

     


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    Senate President John J. Cullerton announces his retirement

    Sen. President John J. Cullerton

    SPRINGFIELD - At the end of the last day of this year’s veto session, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) gathered his caucus to announce that he would retire from the Senate in January after 40 years in the legislature and 10 years as president.

    Here is the statement President Cullerton released upon his announcement.

     

     

     

     


    In ethics reform bill, Steans increases lobbying transparency

    Sen. Heather A. Steans

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans is pushing for new ethics reforms in the wake of scandals surrounding numerous Springfield lawmakers in recent months, passing legislation out of the Senate this week.

    “Today we took the first steps to reform the disturbing, unacceptable behavior that has rocked state government in recent months,” said Steans (D-Chicago). “Raids, arrests and indictments are not what people expect of their elected officials. While they mean that the ethics laws we already passed are working, and law enforcement is doing its job, it also means we need to change the culture in Springfield, close loopholes, and eliminate grey areas. We need to earn back your trust.”

    Steans’ legislation takes aim at the practice of state lawmakers lobbying local units of government. Continue reading.

     


    Castro passes pension consolidation program

    Sen. Cristina Castro

    SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to lessen the threat of the ongoing pension crisis, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) and the Senate passed a measure that will consolidate certain local pensions.

    “The number one budget issue legislators have been dealing with for decades is the pension crisis,” Castro said. “We got a small victory today. Consolidating local pension funds eases some of the burden of the looming crisis while still allowing our state’s brave first responders to receive the pensions they’ve earned.”

    The bill is an omnibus package for Fiscal Year 2020 that will enact many changes to pension statute, chief among them the ability to consolidate. Under the bill, the roughly 650 separate pension funds for downstate police officers and firefighters will be consolidated into two individual and separate funds. The consolidation will happen over a 30-month transition period beginning upon the legislation becoming law and is estimated to save $160 million annually while not affecting individual pension amounts. Continue reading.

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: Simon Leadership Program helps prepare students for college | WSIL 3 ABC

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe Champions Initiative Keeping Aviation Repair Industry in Illinois | Riverbender

    Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton, Western Springs: Glowiak Hilton seeks task force to study impacts of 5G networks | Chicago Tribune

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Illinois Senate gives final approval to insulin price bill | The State Journal-Register

    Senator Laura Murphy, Des Plaines: Are Illinois tollway payment machines shortchanging cash-paying drivers? | Daily Herald

     


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