Coronavirus

  • Bennett delivers PPE to local medical professionals

    Senator BennettDANVILLE – To help address the dire need for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) delivered 200 face shields and 1,400 face masks to Vermilion County medical professionals and nursing homes Thursday.

    “I am more than grateful to be able to provide masks to frontline workers with the help of some tremendous community partners,” Bennett said. “Especially now, it’s important we come together to support those working to keep us safe and healthy during these trying times.”

    Personal protective equipment prices are volatile due to the current shortage, and some providers have struggled to acquire adequate supplies.

    To support front-line health workers leading the fight against COVID-19, Bennett partnered with John Deere and the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) to donate face shields to Aunt Martha’s Health Center in Danville. Bennett was also able to donate face masks to the Vermilion County Health Department, thanks to a generous donation from General Eric Huang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago.

    Huang contacted Bennett earlier this month to offer support to east-central Illinoisans battling the coronavirus pandemic. Bennett established a relationship with Huang and the Taiwanese delegation last fall when he hosted them at his family farm to celebrate their commitment to purchase Illinois crops between 2020 and 2021.

    “This is another great reminder that we are all in this together,” Bennett said. “I want to thank, John Deere, Illinois Manufacturers Association and Director Huang for their generous donations to support healthcare workers in Vermilion County. With their help, we can protect front-line workers and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

  • Harris announces Markham emissions test center has reopened

    Senator HarrisMARKHAM - The Illinois Secretary of State has extended vehicle registration expiration dates by at least 90 days, but to ensure all motorists can renew their vehicle registrations before this deadline, State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) announced the reopening of the vehicle emissions testing center in Markham.

    “With the Illinois Secretary of State resuming services, people have to get emissions tests on their vehicles,” Harris said. “I want the South Suburbs to be able to do their part in protecting the environment, and that will only happen if they can access a testing site near them.”

    The Markham location was previously used as a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site to help expand testing availability across the state.

    The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office has extended vehicle registration expiration dates without penalty by at least 90 days, allowing motorists to wait to have their vehicles tested. Motorists who are not comfortable visiting an emissions testing center may revisit at a later date or have someone else bring in their vehicle for testing.

    Individuals 65 and older, healthcare workers, first responders and those with pre-existing health conditions are encouraged to visit the facility during the first testing hour of each day (8–9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:30–8:30 a.m. Saturday).

    Employees at the emissions testing center will be wearing face masks and practicing safe social distancing, and they ask that motorists take the same precautions.

  • Cullerton urges DuPage County residents to take advantage of COVID testing sites

    Senator CullertonVILLA PARK— State Senator Tom Cullerton is urging residents to take advantage of the two new testing sites located within DuPage County in Wheaton and Willowbrook. The new Wheaton drive-through COVID-19 testing site will open at the DuPage County Complex, 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton, starting on Tuesday, June 16. All residents of DuPage County can be tested, and no appointment, doctor referral, or insurance is needed.

    “Testing is key to combating and ending the spread of COVID-19 throughout our communities,” Cullerton said. “I hope with early detection residents will be able to receive timely health guidance and help reduce the spread of this awful pandemic.”

    The DuPage County COVID-19 testing site, which will be accessible through the County Campus’ main entrance off County Farm Road, will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until 400 tests are completed each day. The COVID-19 test is free. To ensure the safety of workers on site, the test will be done while residents are sitting in their vehicle. Vehicles must have a functioning window. No motorcycles will be allowed to enter the site due to safety concerns.

    In addition, DuPage County is supporting a testing site in Willowbrook, which will double the number of individuals who are able to be tested and receive a physical health check. Beginning this week, and continuing until August, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, testing will be available through Pillars Community Health with drive-up testing at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School, 16W631 91st St, Willowbrook. Residents do not need to be an existing to Pillars Community Health patient or enrolled at Anne Jeans School to be tested.

    Testing is available to anyone with symptoms of COVID-19; anyone with a known exposure to COVID-19 (such as those who have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19); or asymptomatic people who are high-risk patients, first responders, health care workers, or essential workers and wish to be tested.

    Limited tests are available and appointments are required for this testing site. To schedule the appointment, please call 708-PILLARS (708-745-5277) and follow the prompts. Appointments will be scheduled in the following time slots: Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to noon and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to .1 p.m. Insurance will be billed; if you do not have insurance, please call Pillars Community Health at 708-PILLARS (708-745-5277) to discuss financial options.

    "I encourage anyone experiencing symptoms to please get tested and help save lives,” Cullerton said. “We all must continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19."

    To learn more, Cullerton urges residents to visit the DuPage County COVID-19 Dashboard at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19data.

  • Senator Fine expands treatment options for sexual assault survivors during the pandemic

    Senator FineGLENVIEW – To ensure survivors of sexual assault have access to treatment even during a pandemic, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is drawing attention to a new law that would allow any federally qualified health center to administer medical forensic exams, also known as rape kits, during a public health crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “Hospitals are crowded and risky areas right now, which may deter people from seeking care after they have experienced sexual assault,” Fine said. “This law enables survivors to seek justice quickly and safely, even during a public health crisis.”

    Senate Bill 557 allows approved federally qualified health centers to perform rape kit examinations and collection during public health emergencies like COVID-19.

    “It’s important that we give survivors a safe place to get help,” Fine said. “Expanding treatment options ensures anyone can access the care they need, when they need it.”

    The bill was signed into law Friday and took effect immediately.

  • Bennett announces all state parks reopen to visitors May 29

    Kickapoo State ParkCHAMPAIGN – As the state is on track to move to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan May 29, all state parks will be able to reopen, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Thursday.

    At a May 20 press briefing, the governor reported all state parks that have not already reopened will be allowed to do so when the state moves to the next phase, and all concession stands at those parks will be permitted to reopen, with safety measures in place.

  • Murphy leads local government COVID-19 recovery plan

    Senator MurphySPRINGFIELD – To help guide local governments through the COVID-19 recovery process, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) has sponsored a package of legislation to give municipalities the means to address pandemic-related challenges.

    “Especially now, local governments are keeping our communities afloat by managing our regional health departments and providing financial, housing and meal assistance to struggling Illinoisans,” said Murphy. “I hope this legislation can help them continue to provide much-needed services as we look to recover from this pandemic.”

  • Senator Fine: Using SNAP to shop online means less risk to health

    GroceriesSPRINGFIELD – To help families shop more safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, SNAP recipients in Illinois will be able to use their benefits to purchase groceries online beginning June 2, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) announced Thursday.

    “Being able to order groceries online is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this new function will allow SNAP recipients to shop safely and conveniently for years to come,” said Fine. “I’m glad to see our benefits programs responding not only to current events, but to the changing times.”

  • Bennett: Dental offices begin reopening for routine care

    DentistsCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraged to learn the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has updated its guidance on allowing dental providers to resume routine oral and dental care beginning this week.

    “IDPH’s decision to allow dentists to resume routine oral and dental care gives me great optimism and shows the progress we’ve made,” Bennett said. “Dental offices are good at infection control and always have been. I’m confident they will be able to comply with IDPH’s guidelines to ensure patients and staff are safe.”

  • Crowe supports expansion of reopen plan to include local businesses and recreation activities in next phase

    TennisSPRINGFIELD – Giving more opportunity for business owners to operate safely while also opening places for residents to be active outside, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) is pleased with the expansion of openings under phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan.

    “While I wish the Southern Region of Illinois could’ve moved to phase 3 of the state’s reopen plan sooner, I am happy residents have been granted a few aspects we’ve asked of the governor’s administration,” Crowe said. “Following the advice of health experts is key to reopening safely, and it’s encouraging to know Illinois is on the right track.”

    The governor announced the following updates to phase 3, while retaining the local government’s right to establish other restrictions:

  • Morrison pushes for expansion of vote-by-mail program

    Vote by mailDEERFIELD — As members of the General Assembly have arrived back to Springfield, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is urging her colleagues to take up her bill, a package that would expand the state’s vote-by-mail program for the November election among other changes related to elections.

    “People should not have to worry about their health and safety when exercising their right to vote,” Morrison said. “If people don’t feel safe going to restaurants, they won’t feel safe standing in line to cast their vote.”

    Illinoisans would have more options to forego traditional polling places and cast their ballots from the safety of their homes during the November 2020 election under a measure sponsored by Morrison. She would like to see everyone who has voted in the last two years receive a ballot, which would then be returned to the county elections office and counted on Election Day.

  • The Majority Report 05/18/20 - Senate returns for special session next week

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    Harmon calls for cooperation heading into COVID-19 special Senate session

    Sen. President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s return to session later this week.

    “Time and again the Illinois Senate has shown its members can work together to solve problems and produce results for the people of this great state. That cooperative spirit of bipartisan achievement is needed now more than ever. This global pandemic has decimated our state and local economies regardless of political affiliation. From far flung living rooms, kitchen tables and home offices, Senators have been working together while apart to figure out what we can and need to do now."

    Read more.

     


    Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago Tonight

    Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago TonightCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) and Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) appeared via video teleconference on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight for an interview with Carol Marin last week.

    Lightford and Castro answered questions regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to reopen Illinois and the upcoming return to Springfield to hold session on May 20, 21 and 22. They spoke of legislative priorities for the busy yet pandemic-shortened session period, how to balance reopening the economy with public safety, the safety concerns surrounding legislators convening and what needs to be done to address the needs of struggling families in Illinois.

    You can watch the full interview here.

     


    Hastings, Senate Working Group push for additional energy consumer protections during the coronavirus pandemic

    Sen. Michael E. HastingsCHICAGO — As the world adapts to unprecedented change from coronavirus, a bipartisan group of legislators is urging state regulators to strengthen consumer protections to keep the lights on for residents and businesses turning to recovery in Illinois.

    The Illinois Senate Energy Working Group, led by Chairman Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park), last week sent a letter to the Illinois Commerce Commission urging the commission to adopt several reforms that would protect small and large energy consumers once Illinois emerges from the coronavirus shutdown.

    Read more.

     

     


    Bennett encourages self-advocates at virtual Going Home Rally

    Nursing home PPECHAMPAIGN — State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined hundreds of advocates from across Illinois virtually last Thursday to speak on the plight of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This year’s advocacy day looked a little different than in years past, but it’s critical that advocates continue to raise their voices about issues that impact people with disabilities,” said Bennett. “The coronavirus pandemic has been overwhelming for everyone, but especially for individuals with disabilities whose routines have been disrupted abruptly.”

    Read more.

     

     


     

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: Illinois dentists able to resume routine care as of this week | Illinois Business Journal

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Illinois State Senator To Call For Donations For Seniors | CBS 2 Chicago

    Senator Ram Villivalam, Chicago: Chicago Refugee Group Making Masks For Those In Need — Here’s How You Can Help | Block Club Chicago

     


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  • The Majority Report 05/11/20 - New drive thru-testing sites, Senator distributes masks and a call for PPE transparency

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    New drive-thru COVID-19 testing site available in Waukegan

    TestingWAUKEGAN — A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility in Waukegan is now open to area residents, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced.

    “It remains critical that we continue to test as many individuals as possible to help us better understand the presence of this virus in Lake County and help limit its spread,” Link said. “If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, I highly encourage you to stop by this new site and get tested.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Munoz distributes masks to local organizations

    Assistant Majority Leader Tony MunozCHICAGO — To help prepare local residents for the new face covering requirement, Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) partnered with Joann Fabrics in donating 5,000 masks to local businesses and organizations on Friday.

    “My volunteers and I are more than grateful to be able to provide masks to local residents,” Munoz said. “I thank Joann Fabrics for their partnership and work during these trying times.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Several Senate Democrats urge IDPH to release nursing home PPE distribution numbers

    Nursing home PPECHICAGO — Before reaching an agreement with their managers, nearly 70 nursing homes across the state planned to go on strike because of unsafe working conditions. In response to the initial strike proposal, several Illinois Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the Illinois Department of Public Health and many local health departments requesting to know the amount of Personal Protective Equipment that has been distributed to those nursing homes and the process by which it was distributed.

    The request comes from members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus who have at least one nursing home in the district they represent where management received strike notices last week. Employees of 64 nursing homes across the state sent strike notices to management, saying facilities do not have enough PPE, safety protocols, and adequate hazard pay.

    Read more.

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Helping small businesses and their workers during COVID-19 | myRadioLink

    Senator Cristina Castro, Elgin: Latinos represent highest number of COVID-19 confirmed cases | Daily Herald

    Senator Robert Peters, Chicago: Senate Democrat proposes six month rent, mortgage holiday to ease pain of pandemic | WSIL TV

     


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  • Bennett urges Vermilion County residents to complete census from home

    Sen. Scott BennettDANVILLE – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) encouraged Vermilion County residents to fill out the 2020 Census, protecting their representation in government and share of federal funding.

    “The census is currently underway and is easy to complete with the new online questionnaire option. For a family of four, I was able to fill it out in a matter of minutes using a smartphone,” Bennett said. “Responding to the census is critically important because it determines funding for things like roads, hospitals, fire departments, and schools in Vermilion County.”

  • Hunter: Full and accurate census count in Chicago is more important than ever

    Census 2020CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is encouraging Chicago residents, particularly in underserved communities, to help secure their fair share of federal funding and protect their voice in government by completing the 2020 Census.

    “Many of the neighborhoods I represent recorded some of the lowest response rates in Chicago during the 2010 Census. Those same communities continue to face long-standing racial disparities in health-care access and quality and have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19,” Hunter said. “With health-care dollars on the line, a full and accurate census count is more important than ever.”

  • Bennett: Reduce utility bills during Stay at Home Order

    electric meter2CHAMPAIGNState Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging residents to participate in the Citizens Utility Board’s (CUB) ongoing Virtual Utility Bill Clinic to potentially save homeowners money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Home energy bills are on the rise while more people work remotely and children have switched to e-learning during the Stay at Home Order,” Bennett said. “Families and individuals that are facing financial hardship during this crisis should tune into CUB’s virtual clinics to learn how to reduce their utility bills.”

  • Glowiak Hilton shares reopening guidelines with local businesses

    Sen. Suzy Glowiak HiltonWESTERN SPRINGS – State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) is highlighting the new employee safety measures for businesses that will reopen under the modified Stay at Home Order.

    “Protecting the health of employees and customers is paramount as we begin to reopen the economy,” Glowiak Hilton said. “These guidelines clearly lay out what steps employers should take to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

  • The Majority Report 05/04/20 - Thanks to all serving during this difficult time

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    Thanks to all serving during this difficult time

    Thank you

    From Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and members of our Democratic Caucus, this is a thank you to all who are serving our communities through this very difficult time. From hospitals to grocery stores, post offices to nursing homes, and restaurants to truck drivers, we have so much to be grateful for as Illinoisans.

    And to everyone staying at home with families and friends, buying locally and connecting by phone and internet, please accept our humble thanks.

     

     

     


    Downstate Senate Democrats push to double funding for local health departments

    TestingSPRINGFIELD — To help local health departments sustain their COVID-19 response efforts in addition to their basic functions, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and other Downstate Senate Democrats are pushing to double state funding to support local health departments for the coming year.

    Manar’s plan would increase funding for Local Health Protection Grants to $36 million in the state’s next budget, which Manar says is key to opening up the economy.

    Read more.

     

     


    Collins: Gambling has rapidly expanded into poor communities with no study of impact

    Sen. Jacqueline Y. CollinsCHICAGO — State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) spoke to WTTW's Carol Marin this week about the vast and rapid expansion of video gaming in Illinois, even as the state has repeatedly refused to study the effect it's having on poor communities and those who struggle with addiction, even as it is now home to more gambling positions than the state of Nevada.

    "I see a lot of red," Collins said, looking at a map of the 16th Illinois Senate District with dozens of markers indicating gambling sites. "I see a lot of poor people losing their livelihoods on false promises."

    Read more.

     


    Glowiak-Hilton: Alzheimer's Association is here to help

    Alzheimer'sWESTERN SPRINGS — To support residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) highlighted resources available from the Alzheimer’s Association.

    “No one should face Alzheimer’s alone,” Glowiak Hilton said. “The Alzheimer’s Association is here to help families and caregivers during these unprecedented times.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Murphy hosts virtual meeting to help small businesses navigate assistance

    Sen. Laura MurphySCHAUMBURG — To help local business owners navigate state and federal financial assistance programs during the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8th) co-hosted a virtual meeting with the Schaumburg Business Association on Monday, April 27.

    The conversation focused on economic issues facing the small business community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and featured presentations from financial experts, followed by a Q&A.

    Read more.

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: Here's how to file for unemployment if you're self-employed | Illinois Business Journal

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe notes virus help for small businesses | The Telegraph

    Senator Celina Villanueva, Chicago: New Aurora COVID-19 testing site expects to see hundreds on 2nd day | ABC7

     


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  • Koehler provides local entities with disinfectant supplies

    east peoria fire2PEORIA – To further assist in local sanitation efforts to protect against the coronavirus, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has facilitated the distribution of surface disinfectant supplies to numerous businesses and organizations throughout the Peoria area.

    “As we begin to implement the next phase of the Stay at Home order, it’s essential that we equip local businesses, governments, and organizations with the tools necessary to protect against infection,” Koehler said. “Our priority is for our businesses to reopen in a safe environment, and this is a crucial step in that direction. I’d like to thank the East Peoria Fire Department for expanding on their already invaluable service by picking up and distributing these supplies.”

  • The Majority Report 04/27/20 - Parks, some businesses reopen in May

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    Unemployment and the CARES Act: What you need to know

    Umemployment

    SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Dept. of Employment Security has released updates on unemployment insurance programs that have been put in place in response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinoisans’ jobs.

    Employees who have become unemployed through no fault of their own are eligible for unemployment insurance. A new program covers those workers who are considered part of the “gig economy” or other independent contractors who were not eligible before.

    There are three new federal programs under the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus package recently passed by Congress: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    Read more.

     


    Lightford announces expansion of COVID-19 testing in black communities

    Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader and Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is backing Gov. JB Pritzker’s efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in African-American and other minority communities across Illinois.

    “Governor Pritzker’s leadership has been incredible throughout this devastating crisis,” Lightford said. “His announcement today shows his commitment to people from every part of our state, and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will continue to work alongside him to support his efforts.”

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    Bertino-Tarrant reacts to governor's school closure Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

    PLAINFIELD — 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.”

    Read more.

     

     


    McGuire urges people to donate blood, register as organ donor Donate Life

    JOLIET — To help the many people who will need it during the pandemic, State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) urged residents to donate blood, bone marrow and organs during April, which is National Donate Life Month.

    “The pandemic is a cruel double whammy,” McGuire said. “Patients need blood now, and those who survive might need organs later in life due to the virus' damage to the body. People need donated blood and organs for lots of other medical conditions, too.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: New coronavirus testing site to open in East St. Louis | Belleville News-Democrat

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe asks residents to be aware of signs of abuse during Child Abuse Prevention Month | Advantage News

    Senator Patrick Joyce, Essex: Only trust information on COVID-19 from reliable sources | Daily Journal

     


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  • Holmes welcomes new coronavirus testing site in Aurora

    aurora drivethrough 042220Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) reports that a new community-based testing site will open in Aurora this week to help test Illinoisans for COVID-19. The sites are open seven days a week to test individuals with COVID-19 symptoms.

    “Right now it seems the greatest hurdle to making progress with the coronavirus is the need for much more testing,” Holmes said. “If the health department doesn’t know who is infected, those who are will continue to unknowingly spread it to others, and this will be an even longer ordeal. More testing will help us end this pandemic sooner.”