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Harmon announces $1.7 million for infrastructure improvements at River Grove college

Published: Monday, August 10, 2020 04:32 PM

triton college 081020SPRINGFIELD – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced $1.7 million for new energy efficient windows at Triton College in River Grove.

This investment is made possible by the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan the Senate passed in 2019.

“Our ability to continue to invest in our communities through the Rebuild Illinois plan is a bright spot in the midst of the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Harmon said. “It is critical that we invest in our educational institutions now so that they are able to serve Illinoisans for years to come as our state recovers.”

The Rebuild Illinois capital plan passed with bipartisan supermajorities and will invest $45 billion in roads, bridges, railways, universities, early childhood centers and state facilities over the next six years, creating and supporting an estimated 540,000 jobs over the life of the plan and revitalizing local economies across the state.

Bertino-Tarrant highlights extended unemployment benefits, rental assistance

Published: Friday, August 07, 2020 04:25 PM

jbt 03032020CM0467rPLAINFIELD — To help families searching for relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is highlighting additional unemployment benefits and rental assistance for families who are still struggling.

“The public health crisis has led to severe financial losses for thousands of Illinois families, at no fault of their own,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “These programs will help Illinoisans begin to bounce back from their hardships by ensuring they don’t have to worry about how they will be able to keep a roof over their heads.” 

The Illinois Housing Development Authority is offering support through the Emergency Rental Assistance program for renters who are at risk of homelessness when the moratorium on evictions expires later this month. 

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have fallen behind on their rent since March 1 and must be able to demonstrate income losses as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Applications open Aug. 10 at 9 a.m. and will be available at ERA.IHDA.org. The application period will close no later than Aug. 21. However, it may close earlier if IHDA receives an overwhelming number of applications, so renters are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Successful applicants will be notified within 2-3 weeks of submitting their forms. 

While applications are only available online, community partners are available to help people who cannot complete an application over the internet. A list of these partners will soon be available in the Resources section of the program’s website and at (888) 252-1119.

An Emergency Mortgage Assistance program will launch later this month to assist homeowners who are struggling financially.

Additionally, the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday that 20 weeks of state extended benefits are available to people who exhaust the allotted 26 weeks of regular state unemployment and the additional 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. 

People with questions or those who need assistance with unemployment benefits should visit IDES.Illinois.gov.

Bennett supports new law protecting front-line workers

Published: Friday, August 07, 2020 04:18 PM

maskedworker1 080720CHAMPAIGN – A measure co-sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) that increases public employee benefits, protects retail workers and expands collective bargaining rights was signed into law Friday.

“Front-line workers have put their own wellbeing on the line to provide essential services during this crisis,” Bennett said. “This new law ensures workers are properly protected as we continue to battle COVID-19.”

Certain state employees, including firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics, would be eligible for an additional 60 days of paid disability leave if their injury recovery has been hindered by difficulties accessing treatment due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

To recognize the essential role retail workers have taken on during this public health emergency, battery of a retail worker would be enhanced to aggravated battery if the worker was performing duties like relaying directions for health care or safety. The enhancement would also set in if the act is committed during a declared disaster or state of emergency due to a public health emergency, and for an additional six months after the declaration. 

“Workers do not deserve harassment for enforcing state-issued safety guidelines,” Bennett said. “Expanding legal protections for workers is the right thing to do.”

 

Senate Bill 471 is effective immediately.

Castro pleased with expansion of worker protections during pandemic

Published: Friday, August 07, 2020 04:09 PM

castro 01292020CM0084ELGIN – A measure supported by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) meant to expand protections for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday.

“Essential workers literally kept our world up and running during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, so the very least we can do is expand their protections to ensure they stay safe for the duration of this crisis and for any similar future crises,” Castro said. “They perform necessary jobs, often with little thanks, so it’s about time we give back to them.”

The package, Senate Bill 471, was passed by the General Assembly in May and contained three provisions:

  • Expanded disability protections for firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers and other public workers who contract COVID-19 during the line of duty;
  • Enhanced criminal penalties to protect retail workers who are performing duties such as relaying information or enforcing safety guidelines during a state of emergency; and
  • Expanded collective bargaining rights for workers at horse racetracks with 10 or more employees.

The law is effective immediately.

 

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