Stadelman votes in favor of property tax relief legislation

Published: Saturday, May 23, 2020 05:02 PM

Sen. Steve StadelmanSPRINGFIELD – With Illinois property taxpayers suffering, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) voted for legislation that will defer tax sales and gives counties the ability to extend homestead exemptions and waive late fees.

“Property taxes can be a significant financial burden for residents of communities like Rockford,” Stadelman said. “This legislation will provide much needed relief to ease the financial burden on our communities.”

The relief package gives county assessment officers the ability to approve homestead exemptions without 2020 applications for residents with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens who qualify for assessment freezes.

Steans passes plan for additional funding to hospitals, Medicaid

Published: Saturday, May 23, 2020 04:58 PM

Sen. Heather A. SteansSPRINGFIELD The General Assembly passed a revamped hospital assessment plan Friday that infuses an additional $450 million annually to Illinois hospitals.

“One of the most important things we can do right now is ensure the long term viability of Medicaid and our hospital system,” said State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago). “I’m grateful for the quick work my colleagues did in negotiating and passing this legislation.”

Cunningham cosponsors measure to protect first responders, essential employees during pandemic

Published: Saturday, May 23, 2020 04:53 PM

cunningham floor 052220SPRINGFIELD – A measure cosponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham that would expand protections and eligibility for benefits for first responders and other essential employees during the COVID-19 pandemic passed the Illinois Senate.

“These men and women are putting themselves at great risk to provide us with the critical services we need during this pandemic,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “We need to ensure that they have adequate protections should they get sick as a result of their work.”

Though worker’s compensation does not normally cover illness, these are not normal times. Senate Bill 2455 allows employees to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if the they contract COVID-19. 

However, the legislation also creates a mechanism for employers to rebut their claims.

Employers may rebut this presumption by:

  • Demonstrating that for at least 14 days prior to the date the employee claims injury, the workplace was following up-to-date public health guidelines appropriate to their type of business,
  • Demonstrating that the employee in question was working from home for a period of at least 14 days prior to the injury claim,
  • Or demonstrating that the employee was exposed to the virus by an alternative source outside the workplace.

The legislation also includes a similar rebuttable presumption for benefits provided to the families of Chicago police officers, firefighters and paramedics who die from COVID-19. Under the measure, it is presumed that they contracted the virus in the line of duty, affording their survivors with associated death benefits.

“Due to the nature of their work, our first responders are among those with the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19,” Cunningham said. “In the unfortunate case that a first responder passes from the virus as a result of their work, it’s essential that we make sure their family can access the benefits they are entitled to.”

The measure also makes changes to Illinois’ unemployment insurance system to help maximize the relief Illinois residents can receive from federal relief packages, including:

  • Extending benefits until funding is no longer available from the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act.
  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for claims related to COVID-19 until available funding under the CARES Act expires or the governor’s final disaster proclamation expires, whichever comes last.
  • Not charging employers for unemployment benefits paid to a person whose unemployment is the result of COVID-19.
  • Expanding unemployment insurance eligibility for non-instructional education employees, such as teacher’s aides and cafeteria workers.

“These provisions are critical to our residents’ ability to qualify for much needed funding from relief packages from the federal government,” Cunningham said. “I’m glad that the Senate was able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to get this done for our state.”

House Bill 2455 passed the Senate 50-4. 

Lightford protects workers under new plan headed to the governor

Published: Saturday, May 23, 2020 04:39 PM

lightford floor 052320SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) led a measure through the Senate Saturday to expand disability benefits for some frontline state employees, protect retail workers from assault, and allow horse racetrack casino, or racino, employees to organize.

“The current pandemic has underlined the need for securing basic rights for working class people with disproportionate infection rates among populations with a high number of essential workers,” Lightford said.

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