• Bertino-Tarrant, McGuire to lead hearing on Early Childhood Education Funding and Access to Early Literacy

    preschool 091620SPRINGFIELD –State Senators Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) and Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) will host a subject matter hearing on early childhood education funding and access to early literacy Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 12 p.m.

    “Illinois children should be given the opportunity to succeed – from the day they enter preschool,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “That starts with expanding evidence-based funding to early childhood education programs.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant announces $825,000 grant for job creation in Will County

    food workers 091120PLAINFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is encouraging people who lost work during the ongoing public health crisis to take advantage of jobs brought to the 49th District by an $825,000 economic recovery grant.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic put people throughout the state and Will County out of work, and many of those people have been struggling to find new jobs for months,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Dozens of jobs have now opened up in Will County that will benefit not only the people who are hired, but the county as a whole. I encourage anyone who is seeking a steady job to apply immediately.”

    Will County Northeast was awarded $825,000 in economic recovery grants to train and hire workers to fill high-demand positions and assist local disaster relief programs. The money – totaling $16.6 million for the state – comes to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Security (DCEO) from the National Dislocated Worker Program.

    The state distributed the funds to 12 Local Workforce Innovation Areas to expand education and training opportunities throughout Illinois. DCEO will partner with local workforce agency partners to assist with filling high-need, temporary roles to help mitigate COVID-19 in communities, including contact tracers, COVID-19 protocol workers, building sanitization workers, temperature screeners, and food preparation and distribution workers.

    Training and hiring for new workforce programs are expected to begin this fall. Local workforce agencies will prioritize applicants who have been laid off or otherwise lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis at the time of their application. A full list of available training and hiring opportunities is available on Get Hired Illinois.

  • Bertino-Tarrant reminds people of driver’s license extensions

    senior driver 082720PLAINFIELD – To keep people from crowding at local secretary of state’s offices, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is reminding people of the many extensions offered by the office, as well as what services can be completed online.

    “COVID-19 has created greater risks for people to go out in public – especially older adults,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I am pleased to see expiration dates have been extended so people can avoid going out and not have to rush to get them renewed.”

    To ensure elderly drivers stay safe from both COVID-19 and heatstroke, drivers over the age of 75 received an automatic one-year extension on expired or expiring driver’s licenses and state IDs. Eligible drivers should soon receive a letter from the secretary of state as proof that they qualify for the extension.

    Additionally, Bertino-Tarrant would like to remind other drivers that expiration dates for driver’s licenses and license plate stickers have been extended until Nov. 1. Expired documents will remain valid until that day, so customers under the age of 75 also do not need to head to a driver services facility immediately.

    The secretary of state offers a variety of online services, including sticker renewals, to allow Illinoisans to steer clear of crowded facilities and long lines. For transactions that must be made in person, people can pre-register from their computer or smartphone to speed up the process.

    Visit for more information and to explore online service options.

  • Bertino-Tarrant, McGuire, Connor and Manley host blood drive

    blood drive 090420Participants to receive COVID-19 antibody test

    ROMEOVILLE – As the widespread blood shortage continues in a time of abundant need, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Senator Pat McGuire, State Representative John Connor, and State Representative Natalie Manley will host a blood drive Tuesday, Sept. 29.

    “Blood donations have been dangerously low since the start of the pandemic but are more necessary than ever,” Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said. “Donating blood is always crucial. Now, it’s even more important, as it could save a life of someone battling COVID-19.”

    The blood drive, in partnership with Versiti, will be held Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  at Romeoville Village Hall, located at 1150 W. Romeo Road. All successful blood donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Researchers believe blood containing these antibodies can treat people with severe COVID-19 by boosting their ability to fight the virus.

    “During the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities have experienced a severe blood supply shortage,” Manley (D-Joliet) said.  “There is a critical need for blood donations from healthy individuals, and this event will be a safe opportunity to help strengthen our blood supply.”

    Romeoville Blood DriveThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 17.2 million units of blood are used in transfusions every year for accident victims, cancer patients, hemophiliacs, surgery patients and more. In March, the CDC issued a statement encouraging healthy people to donate blood at blood centers that adhere to public health and safety guidelines.

    “The crucial need for blood in normal times is multiplied by the pandemic. Please give,” McGuire (D-Crest Hill) said.

    To schedule a blood donation, people can visit, or contact Jody Racey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-782-0052.

    "Help us to help others – the gift of blood keeps on giving. Donate at our drive,” Connor (D-Joliet) said.

    To ensure the safety of all staff and donors, masks will be required. The group also encourages donors to eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of water before donating.

  • Bertino-Tarrant highlights small businesses receiving financial assistance

    jbt 03032020CM0467rPLAINFIELD — To help business owners who have faced financial uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) announced more than 25 local business in Will and Kendall Counties will receive assistance through the Business Interruption Grant Program. 

    “Small businesses owners are dealing with a lot of uncertainties,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Our small businesses play a vital role in our communities, and I am pleased many have been awarded assistance to keep their doors open.”

    A total of 26 business in Will and Kendall Counties received a combined $420,000. Each business received between $10,000 and $20,000 to be used to help with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, training and new technology.

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a total of $46 million to 2,655 small businesses in the first round of BIG funding. The BIG program offers grants to Illinois restaurants and bars, barbershops and salons, and fitness centers that have suffered pandemic-related losses, with a focus on businesses in the hardest-hit areas of the state.

    To ensure ongoing support for Illinois small businesses, the State of Illinois has planned future rounds of funding, including a special program for child care providers. The application deadline for the child care program is Aug. 14.

    The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The full list of grant recipients is available here.

  • Bertino-Tarrant highlights extended unemployment benefits, rental assistance

    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 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

  • Bertino-Tarrant urges people to Engage2Change and end older-adult abuse

    elder abuse 072220PLAINFIELD — As a result of our current situation, some people are forced to stay in dangerous situations because they have nowhere else to go.

    State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is reminding people the importance of reporting suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of all people — but especially those who may not be able to speak up on their own, including older adults and people with disabilities.

    “Victims of abuse can be too afraid to report on their own, or do not have the means to do so,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It’s up to everyone to be aware of the signs of abuse and keep an eye on neighbors, customers, and our loved ones.”

    Alongside the Illinois Department on Aging, Bertino-Tarrant is advocating to protect seniors and adults with disabilities from abuse. The three-year campaign — pegged as Engage2Change — received a $2.1 million grant from the federal Administration for Community Living.

    Through the use of television, email marketing and other digital platforms, the campaign will focus on educating people about the signs of abuse and encouraging them to do their part to prevent future problems.

    “People who suspect abuse should report it immediately,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to ensure those who need help get it as soon as possible.”

    People who are victims of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation — or know someone who is a victim — are encouraged to call the Department on Aging’s 24-hour abuse hotline at 866-800-1409, or visit Trained professionals are available to take reports of suspected abuse and forward them to local adult protective service agencies.

  • Five local legislators call for full-on bargaining by hospital, nurses

    nurses 071720JOLIET – Joliet-area legislators Senators Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Pat McGuire, Assistant Majority Leader Representative Natalie Manley, and Representatives John Connor and Larry Walsh Jr. today sent the following letter to the leaders of AMITA St. Joseph Medical Center Joliet and the St. Joseph Nurses Association:

    Patricia Meade, RN, St. Joseph Nurses Association
    Alice Johnson, Executive Director, Illinois Nurses Association
    Herb Buchanan, President, AMITA St. Joseph Medical Center Joliet
    Keith Parrott, President and CEO, AMITA Health

    Dear Pat, Alice, Herb and Keith:

    The stalemate between AMITA Health and the St. Joseph Nurses Association becomes more damaging every day.

    Sporadic communication between the two parties is not working.

    We call on AMITA and SJNA to bring their full bargaining teams to the table immediately for sustained negotiations in good faith to reach a settlement.

    There is no time to waste. The lives and livelihoods of our constituents are at stake.


    Pat McGuire, Senate District 43
    Jennifer L. Bertino-Tarrant, Senate District 49
    John Connor, House District 85
    Natalie A. Manley, Assistant Majority Leader, House District 98
    Lawrence M. Walsh Jr., House District 86

  • Bertino-Tarrant: Every student in the state deserves a quality education

    student tech 071520

  • Bertino-Tarrant: Small businesses should take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program

    jbt 03032020CM0467rPLAINFIELD –The federal government is once again accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program, and State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is encouraging business owners to apply for PPP and other forgivable loans through the Small Business Administration.

    “Many business owners – especially small, local business owners – are facing financial uncertainty they have never experienced before,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Some are understandably worried about not being able to provide for their families or their employees. Forgivable loans, like the Paycheck Protection Program, will allow them to get back on their feet without losing sleep over how they will pay back the borrowed money.”

    To help provide financial support to businesses, the Federal Treasury Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration extended the application period for the Paycheck Protection Program. Businesses can get up to $10 million in relief funding through the first come, first served program. Under the extended deadline, businesses must apply by Aug. 8.

    The financial lifeline helps employers keep people on the payroll and pay overhead expenses. If used as intended, the loans don’t have to be repaid.

    More than 27,000 Illinois businesses have already taken advantage of the loans – saving an estimated 1.36 million jobs – according to the Small Business Administration.

    PPP loans have an interest rate of 1% and can be fully forgiven if they are used for payroll costs, rent, utilities or interest on mortgages.

    To find participating lenders, business owners and managers can visit the Small Business Administration’s website, found here. A new Small Business Development Center recently opened at the Joliet Junior College. Businesses that need help applying for the program should visit the center.

  • Bertino-Tarrant: New Small Business Development Center opens in Joliet

    smallbiz 070220PLAINFIELD —To help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the process of applying for state and federal emergency assistance programs, a new Small Business Development Center opened at the Joliet Junior College, Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) announced Thursday.

    “Businesses across the state have experienced unprecedented financial challenges during the pandemic,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Many hardworking business owners are still learning how to bounce back, and the centers will provide them with the help and support they need.”

    Following months of business losses during the public health crisis, seven new Small Business Development Centers were created across the state to support small businesses during the reopening process.

    The Joliet-based center, along with all new and existing centers across the state, will be available to help support businesses with applications for the newest relief programs introduced by the state — known as the Business Interruption Grants Program and the Rebuild Distressed Communities programs.

    For more information on the Joliet center and others throughout the state, people can clickhere.

  • Bertino-Tarrant shares guidelines for in-person learning to resume

    classroom 062320PLAINFIELD — As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to steadily decrease, schools across the state have the green light to reopen this fall, but not without following a set of guidelines, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) highlighted Tuesday. 

    “Teachers, parents and students have done a great job adjusting to a situation they never expected to find themselves in,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “However, nothing compares to the positive impact of in-person learning.”


  • Bertino-Tarrant’s education package signed into law

    Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

    PLAINFIELD — The state’s education package spearheaded by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), which will provide assistance and relief to teachers and schools that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, became law today.

    “Teachers and students are dealing with a situation they could have never planned for, so it’s our responsibility to ensure they get the support they need,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Our educators must be equipped with the right tools to give students a quality education — even if they do so from a distance.”

    The education package does a number of things to help students and teachers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes extending educator license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. It also allows for mandatory tests to be taken remotely, so students don’t have to risk getting sick in order to take an exam they need to apply for college.

    Additionally, relating to higher education, any grade of “pass,” “credit,” or “satisfactory” during the public health emergency is transferable and will fulfill prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses.

    “Students who worked hard on their classes during unprecedented circumstances should not have to sacrifice that work because they didn’t get a typical letter grade,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Allowing students who have completed the coursework to get the credit is a commonsense practice.”

    It also modifies income requirements for the state's AIM HIGH education grant program, saying a student’s income when they enter the program will remain their income for the duration of their inclusion in the program.

    “Investing in our children is one of the best investments we can make,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I’m proud to have carried this package through the Senate and onto the governor’s office.”

    The education package — found in Senate Bill 1569 — was signed into law June 18 and takes effect immediately.

  • Bertino-Tarrant: Property tax relief on the way

    jbt 03032020CM0467rPLAINFIELD — To provide relief and flexibility to property tax owners, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) supported a new law that will defer tax sales and give counties the ability to extend homestead exemptions and waive late fees.

    “Property taxes can often be a financial burden, but that burden has risen for many because of the public health crisis,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new law will provide some relief to our residents.” 

    Under this legislation, local businesses and residents would see property tax relief in the form of:

    • Empowering county governments to approve 2020 homestead exemptions for those with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens, as long as the property had been granted this exemption for 2019;
    • Allowing counties with less than 3 million residents to waive interest penalties and fees for late property tax payments due in 2020;
    • Deferring property tax sales.

    County assessment officers can still conduct audits of taxpayers claiming an exemption in order to verify the applicant is eligible to receive the senior citizen’s assessment freeze through the homestead exemption.

    The measure — found in Senate Bill 685 — also defers tax sales and gives the county the authority to waive property tax interest penalties.

    The measure was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday and took immediate effect. 

  • Former Senate colleague Larry Walsh passes away

    holmes walsh 060420

    Members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus were saddened to learn of the passing of former colleague Larry Walsh, who died after several years with prostate cancer. He passed away Wednesday night at age 72.

    Walsh served as an Illinois state senator representing the 43rd District from April 1997 until January 2005, when he then became Will County executive. He spent nearly 50 years in public service at the local, county and state levels.


  • Bertino-Tarrant: We must change. We must do better. Together.

    jbt 03032020CM0467rPLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) released the following statement Wednesday:

    “As we collectively experience pain, anguish and grief at the senseless loss of life, it’s another reminder that racism, injustice and bias continue to plague our communities and our institutions. In many ways, our country is more united and more inclusive than ever before. But events like what we witnessed in Minneapolis and the countless other acts of violence aimed at African Americans remind us that there is still much hate, intolerance, bigotry and misunderstanding in our society.

    “We must change. We must do better. Together.

    “Please do not let violence lead to more violence. Destroying our communities and our homes will not lead to the change we want and deserve. Have compassion and understanding toward one another.

    “To those peacefully demonstrating, thank your for standing up and lending your voice to action. To the first responders and men and women in law enforcement, the anger pointed at you is not your burden to carry alone.

    “I, alone, don’t have the answers. But I am committed to collectively working toward them.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant is pleased with new investment to help small businesses

    smallbizopen 052820PLAINFIELD — As many small businesses across the state worry about the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced new funding for small business development centers to help businesses get through this difficult time.

     “Small businesses make up a majority of our state’s private workforce, so investing in these companies is an investment in Illinoisans,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Additional funds for small business development centers will help guide these important parts of our community through this difficult time.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant announces child care facilities will soon reopen

    Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantPLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) announced a plan for a gradual reopening of child care centers has been put in place, as parents prepare to return to work.

    “I know there are concerns from parents who are worried they will not be able to return to work because they do not have reliable child care,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I’m pleased childcare facilities will safely reopen soon, so families can start to get back to some normalcy.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s education package passes Senate

    education 052020

  • Bertino-Tarrant: Will County Board must act now to support struggling residents

    jbt 03032020CM0467rPLAINFIELD— As people struggle to make rent and mortgage payments, keep their small businesses afloat, and deal with the other hardships created by the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is urging the Will County Board to immediately establish a panel to distribute federal CARES Act funding to residents in need.

    “Will County was awarded money to help the residents of our area combat the financial hardships they are facing due to COVID-19,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We must work quickly and diligently to make sure the needs of all Will County residents are met in a timely manner.”

    The federal government passed the CARES Act in March to provide financial relief for workers, families, small businesses and local governments that have been impacted fiscally by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is up to county officials to decide where Will County’s share of the money goes.

    In addition to supporting local health operations, Bertino-Tarrant is asking the county to consider establishing grants to prevent evictions, creating a program to provide forgivable loans to small businesses that have experienced interruptions due to COVID-19 and providing direct financial assistance to families or individuals.

    “It is imperative to establish a process for reviewing and distributing dollars to address the needs of our residents,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “People throughout the community are struggling, and it’s up to us, the area’s public officials, to prioritize those we serve.”