• 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

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  • 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.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant wants to see Will County removed from Cook County’s region in reopen plan

    reopen map 051120PLAINFIELD—State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) and her colleagues from Will County have expressed uneasiness their part of the state could have a delayed reopening. Under the governor’s plan, Will County is in the same region as Cook County, which has unique challenges and should be addressed separately.

    “Families and businesses are struggling. Most people I speak with understand the need for caution, but are prepared to work under new safety precautions,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “If my district stayed in the same region as Chicago and Cook County, it would most likely be the last part of the state to open.”

    Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) is among those expressing their concerns.

    "I think there's a way to balance public health and the reopening of many businesses but it will take the cooperation of the community,” Manley said. “The last thing we want is to crush the hospital system and endanger the health and safety of our first responders"   

    As of Thursday, Will County had 4,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 230 deaths. In comparison, Cook County had over 24,000 positive cases and 1,100 deaths. Furthermore, with social distancing at the forefront of keeping the virus asunder, Will County’s population compared to Chicago’s population as well as square miles clearly shows distinct differences between the two areas.

    Bertino-Tarrant is starting a discussion with the Will County Health Department to address the needs of local communities to be prepared if the governor adjusts the reopening plan based on the county’s ability to offer alternatives.

    “Any plan needs to address safety guidelines, hospital and ventilator capacities and PPE availability. Furthermore, it needs to be led by the Will County Health Department, who has the responsibility of monitoring and reporting,” Bertino-Tarrant offered. “The legislators I have spoken to understand the needs to have a reasonable balance, with individual health concerns being the number one priority.”

    Rep. John Connor (D-Lockport) will work with Bertino-Tarrant and the Will County Health Department in hopes of gathering as much information as possible to determine if the area is ready to go to the next phase.

    "I look forward to reviewing the relevant data with the Will County Health Department and other agencies to determine if Will County's current district placement is the best possible fit moving forward in this pandemic,” Connor said.

    Additionally, fewer than 700,000 people make up Will County, compared to the more than 5.15 million people who live in Cook County.

    "Governor Pritzker is right that one must have a life to have a livelihood,” said Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill). “If local health departments have suggestions how residents of COVID-19 low-incidence areas safely can have both, I hope the governor will consider them."

  • Bertino-Tarrant urges small businesses to apply for PPP Loan

    paycheck 042820PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant is encouraging people who are self-employed or small business owners to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. 

    “Small businesses are the backbone of our community and have been impacted immensely by the COVID-19 shutdown,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “There are many options to help keep these businesses afloat. I urge any small business owner that needs help to apply immediately.”

    The Small Business Administration started accepting applications from approved lenders on behalf of eligible businesses Monday. Bertino-Tarrant is urging qualified businesses to apply immediately. 


    Qualified businesses in one or more of these categories include:

    • Self-employed,
    • Less than 500 employees,
    • Sole proprietor,
    • Independent contractor,
    • Private non-profit 501(C)(19), and/or
    • Veterans organization.

    The loan is meant to keep small business workers on the payroll, and it will be forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

    For more information, visit the SBA’s website.

  • Bertino-Tarrant reacts to governor’s closure of schools

    JBT 041720PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Friday she supports Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to close in-person classes for the rest of the school year as a way to keep children and families safe from COVID-19.

    “The decision made by our governor Friday afternoon to close schools for the rest of the academic year is best for the safety and health of our community and all of Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Thanks to the hard work and support from our teachers, students will continue education through e-learning and other at-home programs.”

    Pritzker announced Friday afternoon that schools across Illinois will remain closed for in-person classes for the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • Will County awarded $829,000 to assist with home repairs

    roofrepair 041720PLAINFIELD — The Will County Center of Community Concerns and Community Service Council of Northern Will County were awarded a total of more than $800,000 to help area homeowners with repairs, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant announced Friday.

    “Almost everyone has experienced a sudden need for a home repair, but, especially right now, not everyone has the money they need to cover an emergency,” the Shorewood Democrat said. “People should not have to worry about the living conditions they are raising their families in.”

    The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board of Directors awarded Will County $829,000 to help low- and very low-income homeowners with necessary home repairs. The group awarded $11,000,000 statewide through the state’s Single Family Rehabilitation Program. The lump sum is projected to help at least 326 families.

    The Single Family Rehabilitation Program provides forgivable loans of up to $45,000 per household to assist with necessary repairs to remove documented health and safety hazards. Eligible repairs include roofing, flooring and plumping, among others.

    A roof-only option is also available for people who do not need other repairs. Those recipients are offered up to $16,500 to militate against future roof damage.

    “The money so graciously awarded to Will County will change the lives of some residents who are stressed about paying for repairs — especially at a time where more people are finding themselves on fixed incomes,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I encourage anyone who needs help to apply for funds.”

    Households can apply for grants by contacting the Will County Center of Community Concerns at 815-722-0722 or Community Service Council of Northern Will County at 815-886-5000. The group will walk you through the application process and explain eligibility. ​

  • Bertino-Tarrant brings awareness to extended professional license renewal

    Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD - Due to limitations on current in-person coursework, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is spreading awareness of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations' deadline extension.

    "During this trying time, people should not be forced to worry about whether they will be able to renew their professional licenses on time," Bertino-Tarrant said. "I applaud the department for recognizing the struggles many Illinoisans will face due to the restrictions on in-person classes."

  • Bertino-Tarrant: Call your health care provider if you feel ill

    Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD — If you begin to feel ill with symptoms that could be COVID-19, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is urging you to call your doctor’s office before going in.

    “If you go into the office without notice, you aren’t just potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19, you could be exposing others,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “In order to not spread the virus further, please call, so they can provide you with directions.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant announces Rebuild Illinois grants for local government projects

    jbt 041118 2SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to modernize infrastructure and boost economic development, economic development groups, not-for-profits and others in Will County and surrounding areas will be able to apply to receive a portion of nearly $80 million in state grants through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    “These grants offer communities the opportunity to repair infrastructure while creating jobs,” Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said. “This support allows local governments and organizations to invest in themselves and their residents.”

    Bertino-Tarrant announced Thursday $50 million was allocated by DCEO for public infrastructure investments – which includes repairing roads and bridges. These grants are available to local governments. An additional $16.5 million will go toward regional economic development projects and $13 million to shovel-ready construction projects.

    Funding for the grants is part of the Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan approved by the General Assembly last year.

    Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30. However, the other grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Prospective applicants must submit a grant proposal explaining the projects positive affect on the community. 

    Additional information about how to apply can be found on DCEO’s website. Additional questions can be sent to the agency at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or answered by calling 217-785-6174.

  • Bertino-Tarrant works to expand tax credits for college contributions

    jbt 041118 2SPRINGFIELD –Employers that offer payroll deductions to help save for children’s college education could receive double the current annual tax credit under a measure sponsored by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    “One of the greatest investments we can make is in higher education for our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Companies that match employee contributions to qualified college savings programs deserve to receive a tax credit to offset the cost.”

    Senate Bill 2800 increases the maximum annual tax credit provided to employers that match an employee's contributions to qualified college savings and prepaid tuition accounts from $500 to $1,000 per employee. 

    Additionally, it would extend the availability of tax credits to employers that match an employee's contributions to a Bright Start/Bright Directions or College Illinois savings plan. Tax credits for student-assistance contributions would end Dec. 31, 2030 under the legislation.

    “The expansion will allow more employees to contribute to the program, and allow those who have already maxed out their annual tax credit to save even more for their children’s education,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Every dollar saved early on in a child’s life will give them the opportunity to receive a quality education.”

    The measure passed the Senate Revenue Committee Wednesday. It heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

  • Murphy, Bertino-Tarrant propose grant programs to offset tuition

    jbt murphy 030320SPRINGFIELD – Rising tuition costs have made higher education inaccessible to many Illinois students, but State Senators Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) hope to put college back within their reach by expanding grant programs for students in need.

    “As high school students begin to explore options for higher education, many are turned off by the rising cost and lack of need-based assistance,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is imperative students who want to get an associate’s degree or certificate have the opportunity to do so without going into debt.” 

    Murphy and Bertino-Tarrant are sponsoring separate measures that would expand grant programs to students entering college.

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s measure helps teach students to balance checkbooks

    CheckbookSPRINGFIELD – Illinois students may soon be equipped with the skills to tackle real-life financial issues, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

    Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) introduced Senate Bill 2474, which will allow students to take a financial literacy class as a math requirement for high school graduation.

    “Our schools need to ensure students are not only able to excel academically, but also have the life skills to be successful as adults, “Bertino-Tarrant said. “Balancing checkbooks, calculating income taxes and understanding bank statements are vital life skills that we should want our young people to have. Our students need to be equipped with the knowledge to manage their money effectively.”

    Senate Bill 2474 allows that one year, or a semester, of a financial literacy course may count toward the math requirement to graduate high school.

    A report released by AIG Retirement Services found that students’ low financial literacy levels result from little to no fiscal education within the K-12 school system.

    They also found 36% of participants already have more than $1,000 in credit card debt. And many students do not have enough money to pay off their debts or are not fully aware of the consequences of leaving bills unpaid.

    “As we tackle rising tuition costs and fees, we must ensure our students have the financial sense to understand how money works,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Mathematics is not just about formulas and right angles, we have an opportunity to show students how math applies to their lives as adults.”

    Bertino-Tarrant is looking forward to discussions on Senate Bill 2474 this upcoming legislative session