• Feigenholtz, NCSL commemorate a century of suffrage

    suffragette 081120CHICAGO – August marks 100 years since the 19th Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, granting suffrage to women. State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), who currently serves as President of the Women’s Network of the National Conference of State Legislatures, moderated an NCSL event today celebrating a century of women’s enfranchisement.

    “The recognition of the 19th Amendment is arguably one of the most important events in our country’s history, and the hundredth anniversary marks a landmark moment for women,” Feigenholtz said. “It reflects how far we have come and the work that is still ahead.”

  • Feigenholtz condemns Trump plan to send federal agents to Chicago

    DHS agents 072120CHICAGO – Earlier this week, the Trump administration announced a plan to deploy agents from the Department of Homeland Security to Chicago to respond to local unrest.  State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

    “The president continues to wreak havoc and chaos across our country by determining that Homeland Security agents should be sent to Chicago,” Feigenholtz said. “There is no way to identify them, no specific purpose for their deployment, and they have no business coming to our city. The Trump administration’s actions provide nothing more than an endless list of failures since the day this administration began.”

    The news comes just days after federal agents were deployed to Portland, Oregon. Quickly, footage of these agents using excessive force on protesters surfaced, leading many to fear similar acts of violence may occur in Chicago.

    “If the president is truly concerned about the well-being of Chicago residents, then he should do something to address the public health crisis we’re currently facing instead of risking further serious injuries by sending in federal agents,” Feigenholtz said.

    The Trump administration has not released any information about when the deployment of federal agents is scheduled to occur.

  • Feigenholtz: AJ Freund case a reminder that there is still work to be done

    ajfreund 072020CHICAGO – A judge in McHenry Country sentenced JoAnn Cunningham to 35 years in prison Friday for the murder of AJ Freund, her 5-year-old son. State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), who established a bipartisan, bicameral working group to address shortfalls in the Department of Children and Family Services in the wake of AJ’s death, stressed the importance of addressing and fixing these issues.

    “There is no possible sentence that could provide justice to AJ Freund,” Feigenholtz said. “He was only five years old, and was killed by someone who was supposed to be taking care of him. The unfortunate reality is that until we can address and fix the issues plaguing DCFS, AJ’s story won’t be the last.”

    Cunningham killed Freund in April of 2019 in what Judge Robert Wilbrandt described as “inhumane, repulsive and, frankly, shocking” actions. Freund was beaten to death by Cunningham while in their home on April 19, 2019, and was buried in a shallow, unmarked grave by his father, Drew Freund. He was found six days later.

    The case shined a light onto the deficiencies in the DCFS system, which Freund and Cunningham were a part of, and prompted Feigenholtz to push for the formation of the working group.

    “After I heard the tragic news of AJ’s death, my stance was that we as a legislature need to continue our diligent work so that we can ensure DCFS and its partner agencies have the resources and tools they require to protect all of the children that fall under their care,” Feigenholtz said. “We made some progress, but there is still a long road ahead of us and a lot of work to be done.”

    Cunningham faced up to a maximum of 60 years in prison. Under Friday’s sentencing, she is ineligible for parole. Drew Freund is also charged with first-degree murder but has not yet faced trial.

  • Northside legislators host virtual town hall on clean energy in light of COVID-19

    feigenholtz 021920Over 170 people participated, expressing enthusiasm for the Clean Energy Jobs Act

    CHICAGO – Today, Illinois State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and State Reps. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) and Yoni Pizer (D-Chicago) hosted a virtual town hall about clean energy issues in the time of a pandemic. They were joined by over 170 people and issue experts from partner organizations Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the Illinois Environmental Council.

    Constituents expressed concern over the state’s continued use of fossil fuels, increased air pollution and an exacerbated climate crisis as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in communities across the United States. Participants also expressed overwhelming enthusiasm for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA, House Bill 3624/Senate Bill 2132), the only comprehensive climate initiative focused on equitable job creation before the Illinois General Assembly.

  • Feigenholtz outraged at Trump administration’s decision to force out international students

    online student 070920CHICAGO – State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) railed against the most recent Trump administration decision to identify international students who are attending universities with online-only learning and require them to leave the United States or not allow them to enter the country at all.

    “This is yet another example of the xenophobic policies advanced by Donald Trump’s administration, and this time his targets are colleges, universities and international exchange students.,” said Feigenholtz, whose district includes DePaul University.

    If enacted, this decision could affect more than a million international students who come to the United States to attend universities or participate in other training programs.

    On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that international students pursuing degrees in the United States will be required to leave the country or risk deportation if their schools conduct only online courses in the fall.

    ICE further stated that the U.S. Department of State would not issue visas to students enrolled in fully-online programs for the fall semester.

    "Harvard University and MIT sued the Trump administration Wednesday over the guidance, and I am hoping Illinois colleges and universities will join them. Enough is enough,” Feigenholtz added. “International students are an important part of campus communities, and it’s discriminatory to require them to leave the United States.”

  • Feigenholtz: New grant program available to help small bars, restaurants

    Senator FeigenholtzCHICAGO – State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is highlighting a new grant program to assist small bars and restaurants that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Our local bars and restaurants are among the businesses that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, and if we don’t find ways to support them, many will have to close their doors permanently,” Feigenholtz said. “These grants are another means to help them stay on their feet.”

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is providing 1,000 grants for small bars and restaurants worth a total of $20 million as part of the state’s Business Interruption Grants program.

    The funds are intended to help these small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic, help offset the costs they’ve incurred during months of shut down or restricted operations, and ensure they have the resources they need to reopen safely in the coming months.

    To be eligible for a grant, bars and restaurants must have made under $3 million in revenue in 2019, or a pro-rated amount if they have been in business less than a year, and have been operating for at least three months prior to March 2020. Only businesses who have been unable to provide outdoor food and beverage service during Phase 3 will be eligible.

    The amount awarded will be $20,000 for businesses earning $2-3 million in revenue for 2019 and $15,000 for those earning less than $2 million.

    Half of the grants distributed will be for businesses in disproportionately impacted areas, with priority given to areas with recent property damage.

    “This program may not solve all the issues bars and restaurants are facing right now, but it’s another good step we can take to help protect them from the financial challenges posed by the pandemic,” Feigenholtz said. “I encourage all eligible bar and restaurant owners to apply.”

    Similar grant programs are available for barbershops, salons, and fitness centers, as well as for businesses in disproportionately impacted areas with recent significant property damage.

    Grant applications will be made available by DCEO Monday, June 22.

  • Chicago City Council approves measure allowing to-go cocktails

    cocktailstogo 061820CHICAGO – A measure passed by the Chicago City Council Wednesday will allow the city’s bars and restaurants to take advantage of a law sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) permitting the sale of cocktails for delivery and curbside pickup. 

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to independent bars and restaurants,” Feigenholtz said. “Without new means to help them survive this crisis, some may be forced to close their doors permanently. This law will give these businesses a critical new tool to help them stay afloat.”

  • SCOTUS decision is justice for LGBT community

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  • Feigenholtz: Budget provides critical support for social services, preserves school funding

    feigenholtz 021920CHICAGO – The new Fiscal Year 2021 state budget signed into law today provides needed funding for the social services and ensures education remains fully funded in Illinois according to State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago).

    “We have a responsibility to protect Illinoisans during this pandemic, and that means preserving the services on which they rely,” Feigenholtz said. “This budget will help guide our state through these challenging times.”

    The new state budget includes major investments in social services that provide assistance to Illinoisans who need it most. This includes nearly $180 million in additional funding for the Department of Children and Family Services, which is in severe need of more resources to better care for the state’s children. 

    The budget also includes $90 million to provide care for people with developmental disabilities, who have often found themselves isolated from friends and family during the pandemic. Funding was also increased by more than $110 million for the Home Services Program, which helps people with disabilities live independently in their own homes. 

    “Now isn’t the time to be cutting resources that support some of the most vulnerable people in our state,” Feigenholtz said. “I’m proud to have voted for a budget that preserves important care for Illinois residents and ensures no one is left behind during this crisis.”

    The state’s new budget also preserves funding for P-12 education for a total investment of $12.6 billion, including $7.2 billion for Illinois’ evidence-based funding model. This ensures that schools will not be receiving less in state funding than they did last year.

    “Although it’s still unclear what our schools will look like in the fall, it’s critical that we ensure they have the funds they need to help students succeed, whether in the classroom or learning from home,” Feigenholtz said. “This budget keeps our education funding system on track and puts us in a position to continue increasing funding according to the evidence-based formula next year.”

  • Feigenholtz delivers on to-go cocktail sales for Illinois bars and restaurants

    Sen. Sara Feigenholtz

    SPRINGFIELD – A measure that will allow cocktails to go sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) which will bring much needed relief to bars and restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic passed the Illinois Senate Thursday. The legislation would allow the sale of cocktails and mixed drinks for delivery and curbside pickup, giving bars and restaurants one of many permissions they need to survive closures dating back to March.

    “The 6th Senate District is a top destination for known for its vibrant independent restaurants, bars and entertainment,” Feigenholtz said. “The closure of these businesses during the pandemic has been devastating. We are working daily to provide them with relief and develop innovative ways to survive this pandemic.”

  • Feigenholtz to host virtual Drag Up the Census forum to boost census participation

    feigenholtz 021920CHICAGO– State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is joining Alderman James Cappleman and Alderman Michele Smith for a virtual community forum focused on census participation and community building during the pandemic.

    “This event is a great opportunity for us to check in with the community and share tools to help residents get counted in the census,” Feigenholtz said. “COVID-19 has been devastating for our constituents. An undercount in the census can result in losses in critical funding that our communities need. We will not let that happen.”

    Illinois is at risk of losing two congressional seats, depending data obtained through the census. An undercount of just 1% could to lead to a $195,574,350 loss in funding for the state over a 10-year period.

    “We are living in a real-time crisis experience, which is exactly why we need to all be counted in the census.” Cappleman said. “If we are undercounted in Illinois, we will lose precious federal resources that we need to provide services, programs, and resources to our communities.  The Stay at Home Order makes it even more difficult to ensure we get an accurate count.”

    The event will also highlight ordinary and often overlooked ways to support local communities during this crisis. The agenda will cover a wide range of subjects from community service to mask making.

    “Neighbors are calling our office asking how they can support our community during the pandemic,” Smith said. “COVID-19 has taught us to re-define service and how we can get involved while we stay at home.”  

    The event will take place via Zoom on May 12 at 12:30 p.m. Those interested can RSVP here. Guests can expect a special performance from performance artist and Drag Queen CircuitMOM (aka Matthew Harvat). All three officials have been longtime champions for the needs of LGBTQ+ communities. In the spirit of community engagement, they decided that the event would not be complete without celebrating their districts’ cultural diversity.

  • Feigenholtz: Child abuse prevention remains critical during pandemic

    child abuse prev 042320CHICAGO – April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Illinois, and State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is reminding Illinoisans what they can do they can do to help prevent child abuse and neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Our Stay at Home Order poses unique risks for children who are living in abusive environments,” Feigenholtz said. “It’s critical that friends and neighbors continue to stay alert and report any suspicions they have to DCFS.”

    If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you can call the Department of Children and Family Services’ Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (22873).

    Hotline staff is working at full capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains available to take calls 24 hours a day. Child abuse specialists continue to respond to hotline calls and assess child safety with face-to-face contact within 24 hours.

    “We all have a responsibility to help prevent abuse and neglect,” Feigenholtz said. “If you suspect a child may be being abused, I strongly urge you to call the hotline and notify the authorities.”

    Feigenholtz’s office is closed for the duration of the Stay at Home Order, but can still be reached at 773-296-4141 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Feigenholtz encourages parents to use safe sleeping practices

    infantsleep 042320CHICAGO – During this time of stress and exhaustion, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is joining the Illinois Department of Children and Family services to remind parents of the steps they can take to ensure their children are safe when they sleep.

    “Practicing sleep safety is so important but can be overlooked by busy parents,” Feigenholtz said. “I know everyone has a lot on their minds right now, but it’s critical that parents continue to focus on safe practices when they put their children to bed.”

    DCFS has outline the ABC’s of safe sleeping practices. A child should never be alone and never sleeping with someone else, should be placed on their back and not on their sides or stomach, and should be in a crib rather than on a bed or a couch. 

    Unsafe sleep is one of the leading causes of death for children one year old and younger. Between January 1 and June 30 of 2019, 53 infants died as a result of being put to sleep unsafely. 

    Babies are the safest when they are alone in a crib with a firm mattress and tightly-fitted sheets. The crib should not have any pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. Additionally, a baby should never be put to sleep on an adult bed or couch.

    “It only takes a moment to make sure children are safe when they’re put to bed, but that moment could be the difference between life and death,” Feigenholtz said.

  • Senator Feigenholtz to host virtual mental health forum on Zoom

    feigenholtz 021920CHICAGO – With Illinois’ Stay at Home Order extended through April 30, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz,  along with State Representatives Ann Williams and Yoni Pizer, will host a virtual forum focused on mental health and wellness during the pandemic.

    “The COVID-19 outbreak and Stay at Home Order are particularly difficult for people with mental health challenges,” Feigenholtz said.  “The goal of this forum is to connect constituents with expert panelists who can provide a toolbox of coping mechanisms, tips and mental health resources.”

    The forum will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, April 15 from 10:30-11:45 a.m. with mental health experts, including:

    • ​Alexa James, LCSW – Executive Director,  NAMI Chicago,
    • ​Carri Hill, Ph.D. – Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Jewish Child and Family Services,
    • ​Hossam Mahmoud, M.D. M.P.H. – Medical Director, Insight + Regroup.

    Following presentations from the panelists, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.

    “This is a great opportunity to connect with others and learn more about what you can do to stay well during the Stay at Home Order,” Feigenholtz said. “I encourage everyone to make time and participate.”

    A form to RSVP for the forum and receive a Zoom link to participate is available here.

    Those who are unable to participate in the forum are encouraged to take advantage of available mental health resources. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a help line at 833-626-4244 for individuals facing mental health crises. You can also text NAMI to 741741 for support through text messages.

  • Feigenholtz looks forward to funding increases for DCFS, education

    feigenholtz 021920SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) expressed her support Wednesday for the investments in the Department of Children and Family Services and public education included in Governor JB Pritzker’s proposed budget.

    The proposal included a $147 million funding increase to solve longstanding problems at DCFS, the state’s child welfare agency.

    “For years, we’ve heard horror stories about abuse and neglect of children under DCFS care,” Feigenholtz said. “It’s time to take serious action to ensure Illinois youth receive the best possible care, and this new funding is going to be a major boost as we work to revamp the agency.”

    The governor’s budget also included funding increases for education at all levels throughout the state, including an additional $50 million for the early childhood block grant and another $350 million in evidence based funding for K-12 schools throughout the state.

    “I was also glad to see that the governor is maintaining a focus on providing high quality public education in Illinois,” Feigenholtz said. “Providing the best opportunities possible for Illinois students is one of my top priorities, and these new investments will help us continue to make Illinois schools some of the best in the country.”