Fine

  • Senator Fine urges residents to take advantage of free antibody testing at upcoming blood drive

    blood donor mask 081220GLENVIEW – To address the widespread shortage of donated blood and potentially help treat patients with severe cases of COVID-19, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is hosting a blood drive Thursday, Aug. 27 from noon to 6 p.m. at Glenview Village Hall, located at 2500 E. Lake Avenue.

    “Since the pandemic began in March, blood donations have been critically low. With more researchers looking into plasma therapy as a potential COVID-19 treatment, we need more donations from people with antibodies,” said Fine. “Donating blood is always important, but right now it could help us fight this virus.”

    All successful blood donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Researchers hope blood containing antibodies—also known as convalescent plasma—may help treat people with severe COVID-19 by boosting their ability to fight the virus.

    The 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.

    Fine has partnered with Vitalant to host the event. To ensure the safety of all staff and donors, masks will be required.

    Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate, call 877-258-4825 or visit www.Vitalant.org and use the group code 857A.

  • Evanston Public Library receives nearly $40K for youth mentorship program

    evanston lib 081120EVANSTON – To help at-risk youth develop important life skills and achieve long-term success, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is proud to announce the Illinois Secretary of State has chosen the Evanston Public Library to administer the Project Next Generation program.

    “This program invests in our youth and provides them with the tools they need to ensure a bright future,” said Fine. “These funds will provide opportunities critical to the success of our children, their families, our community and our state.”

    The $39,899 grant was awarded through the Fiscal Year 2021 Project Next Generation program, which is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Mentors work with middle and high school students to help them develop skills needed to use technology and find success through project-based learning. Mentors also help students develop life skills, such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

    The Evanston Public Library is one of 28 public libraries in the state to receive the grant.

    In all, the secretary of state awarded more than $550,000 in Project Next Generation grants statewide. The money is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries that serve culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.

    “I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” said White. “I established this innovative program when I first became secretary of state to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

  • Senator Fine honors survivors, keeps history alive at reopening of Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie

    fine RBG 071720SKOKIE – To celebrate the reopening of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) paid a visit to the museum alongside a few of her colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly.

    “The values of the Illinois Holocaust Museum—standing against hatred, prejudice and indifference, and moving toward a better future—are especially relevant during this time of unrest,” said Fine. “I was thrilled to be able view the exhibits and share in this experience with my fellow legislators, as well as show off one of the gems of the 9th District.”

  • Senator Fine urges community organizations to apply for grant funding

    Senator FineGLENVIEW – As more Illinoisans lean on community organizations for food, shelter and other support, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) encourages community organizations providing services during the pandemic to contact the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to apply for a portion of $7.1 million in newly approved grants.

    “As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, more families are struggling with food insecurity, homelessness, mental health and more,” said Fine. “This program offers support to the critical community organizations our friends and neighbors are relying on.”

    ICJIA’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program assists groups that provide support and oversight to a network of community-based organizations. The lead entities may distribute funds via sub-grants or propose a competitive sub-grantee selection process. ICJIA is giving priority to organizations that operate in the areas hardest hit by the pandemic. Grants must be used for housing, supportive services, agency support or food security.

    Organizations can find more information and apply for funding here by July 24. ICJIA will notify applicants of their status by Aug. 10.

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  • 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.

  • Senator Fine: New budget acknowledges need for supportive government services during COVID-19 pandemic

    fine floor 052320SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) hopes the state’s most vulnerable populations will see relief under a state budget that increases funding to human services agencies providing food, financial assistance and other aid.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone, but our seniors and people with disabilities have been hit particularly hard,” said Fine. “I’m pleased to see a budget that prioritizes the human services agencies supporting people through these difficult times.”

    The budget includes $86.8 million for the Illinois Department on Aging to provide home-delivered meal services to older adults, who may be unable to access food during the pandemic without significant risk to their health. The budget also increases funding to the Community Care Program by nearly $28 million to help people who might otherwise need to go to an assisted living facility to stay in their homes.

    To provide relief to the many people with disabilities who have found themselves ill or isolated from friends and family during this crisis, the budget increases funding to help care for people with developmental disabilities by approximately $90 million. It also increases funding for the Home Services Program, which helps people with disabilities live independent lives in their own homes, by more than $110 million.

    “As a result of the virus, supportive government services are needed more now than ever before,” said Fine. “I’m glad to see a state budget that acknowledges the need for the government to step up and provide aid to those hurting.”

    The budget is contained in Senate Bill 264. The governor signed it into law Wednesday, and it takes effect July 1.

  • Senator Fine announces initiative to prepare Illinoisans for careers in information technology

    fine 022720GLENVIEW – A free online job training program could help millions of out-of-work Illinoisans prepare for a new career in the information technology industry, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) announced.

    “Information technology is one of the fastest growing industries, and skilled workers are in high demand,” said Fine. “The Workforce Recovery Initiative could give Illinoisans a leg up when starting a career in the field.”

    Partnering with Coursera, an online learning platform, Illinois is one of the first states to make online job training courses free to residents through their Workforce Recovery Initiative. Now through September residents can apply online to enroll in over 3,800 industry-certified courses offered by accredited institutions. To receive credit, all courses must be completed by Dec. 31.

    The state is also partnering with P33 and Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) to launch another training program, TechReady Illinois. This program will provide training for in-demand fields in the information technology industry. Upon completion, enrollees will be certified in data and analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity or software development. Residents can apply online for the TechReady program here. TechReady Illinois is not a free program like Coursera, but DPI is working secure discounts for enrollees.

    If you are interested in career opportunities outside the information technology industry, Get Hired Illinois is an online job portal that has over 60,000 listings available in a variety of industries.

  • Senator Fine announces child care centers will reopen with safety guidelines in place

    childcare mask 2 052920GLENVIEW – As businesses and offices prepare to reopen, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) hopes to put parents at ease by announcing a plan to allow child care centers across Illinois to reopen with guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

    “No one should have to choose between doing their jobs and looking after their children, and parents should be able to rely on their child care centers to keep kids healthy and safe,” said Fine. “I hope this new plan will provide them some peace of mind.”

    All child care facilities will be able to open under Phases 3 and 4 of the governor’s reopening plan, as long as they adhere to the guidelines set by IDPH and create a reopening plan that protects the health of both children and staff.

    That plan must include what to do if a child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, daily symptom checks and a face covering requirement, among other things.

    No more than 10 children will be allowed in a classroom at a time for four weeks. After that, if the center has met proper health, social distancing and sanitation requirements, it will be able to expand to larger group sizes.

    Additionally, child care programs that have been open since the start of the Stay at Home Order will be allowed expand capacity as their region enters Phase 3.

    “During this pandemic, many parents have had to balance full-time work, parenting and homeschooling,” said Fine. “Opening daycares will give moms and dads a break and ensure that kids are getting more of the one-on-one engagement they need throughout the day.”

    All regions of the state have been approved to move to Phase 3 starting today.

  • Secretary of State reopens facilities for new drivers, renewals beginning in June

    fine floor 052320GLENVIEW – As offices and businesses across the state begin to reopen under new health and safety guidelines, the Illinois Secretary of State will reopen driver services facilities to offer limited services starting June 1, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) announced Wednesday.

    “There’s no rush to get to a facility, since expiration dates have been extended and services are still available online,” said Fine. “But it’s good to see the Secretary of State’s office reopening their facilities with employees’ and customers’ safety in mind.”

  • 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.”

  • Senator Fine highlights new health and safety guidelines to help businesses reopen responsibly

    biz reopen 051520GLENVIEW – To protect employees and consumers from the spread of COVID-19 as businesses begin reopening, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is calling attention to new guidelines to help employers ensure their workplaces and businesses are safe.

    “As businesses across the state begin to reopen, it’s important that people are able to work and shop without putting their health and safety at risk,” said Fine. “By following these guidelines, employers can be certain they’re operating responsibly.”

    At the end of April, Gov. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-32 to provide specific regulations for businesses and workplaces. All employers with workers physically reporting to a worksite must post this guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency. 

    As businesses begin to reopen, employers will be required to provide face masks for employees who are unable to adhere to social distancing requirements. Businesses must also observe other measures, like limiting occupancy and staggering shifts to ensure workers can maintain six feet of social distancing.

    Other requirements and guidelines for employers to help limit the spread of COVID-19 can be found in this FAQ, issued by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    If your place of work is not adhering to these new guidelines, please report violations to a certified local health department or IDPH. The Office of the Illinois Attorney General is also accepting complaints through their Workplace Rights Bureau at 844-740-5076 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Up-to-date information and resources related to the status of COVID-19 in Illinois can be found at coronavirus.illinois.gov. Fine’s office is currently closed, but her staff is working remotely and responding to calls and emails. With questions or concerns, call 847-998-1717 or visit senatorfine.com/contact.

  • Senator Fine: Responding to the census is more important than ever

    census 2020 websiteGLENVIEW – To secure adequate federal funding for local roads, schools, hospitals and more, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) urged North Shore residents to fill out the 2020 Census.

    “Now more than ever, many of us are relying on local resources—from health departments to food banks—to keep us safe, healthy and informed,” said Fine. “Responding to the census is the best way to make sure our community continues to receive the support it needs from the federal government.”

    Response rates for the 2020 Census are below target levels. In 2010, 80.3% of Glenview residents responded to the census, but only 73.6% of residents have responded so far in 2020.

    Fine also pointed out that when more individuals respond to the census on their own, fewer census workers must visit households in-person. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that means less risk to the health of census workers and their families.

    The fastest way to respond to the census is by filling it out online at my2020census.gov. However, individuals can also respond over the phone or by filling out the form they receive in the mail.

    “If you’ve already completed the census, call a family member or neighbor to make sure they’ve been counted, too,” said Fine. “Now is the time to come together to ensure our community is accurately represented.”

    Individuals can find additional information about the census at 2020census.gov. To see local responses rates across Illinois and the entire nation, visit www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us.

  • Senator Fine: Contract and gig economy workers should apply ASAP for new federal unemployment benefits

    fine 022720GLENVIEW – Ahead of the launch of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is encouraging contract and gig economy workers to apply for and be denied regular unemployment benefits as soon as possible to speed up the claims process.

    “The PUA program may be able to provide some relief to Illinoisans who aren’t eligible for regular state unemployment benefits,” said Fine. “If you’re one of these workers, you can get a jump on the claims process by applying and getting denied before the PUA program launches.”

    If claimants apply for unemployment benefits through the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and receive an eligibility determination of $0, they can then submit a claim for PUA benefits. Claimants who have already applied for and been denied regular benefits can submit a claim through the new PUA portal when it opens.

    PUA provides up to 39 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related reasons and are not eligible for the state’s regular unemployment insurance program. Independent contractors and sole proprietors are newly eligible for benefits under this program.

    PUA claims will be backdated to a claimant’s first week of unemployment, but no earlier than Feb. 2, 2020, and will continue for as long as the individual remains unemployed as a result of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending Dec. 26, 2020.

    IDES is contracting with Deloitte to run the online PUA program. The department expects the program to launch Monday, May 11, 2020.

    IDES processed over a million initial unemployment claims between March 1 and May 2, nearly 12 times the number of claims the department processed over the same period last year. The number of initial claims has slightly declined over the last two weeks, but the department expects to experience an increase when the PUA program launches.

    “For many unemployed Illinoisans, these benefits can’t come soon enough,” said Fine. “If you think you may be eligible for benefits under the PUA program, I urge you to apply as soon as possible and get your information in the system to speed up the process.”

    For more information and to apply, visit the IDES website.

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

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  • Senator Fine to host Q&A to help support those struggling with mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

    mentalhealth 042220GLENVIEW – To help Illinoisans cope with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak, State Senator Laura Fine, joined by State Representatives Robyn Gabel and Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, will host a Q&A focused on mental health and wellness during the pandemic.

    The Q&A will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, April 22 at 10 a.m. with mental health experts from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), including Nathaniel Ekman, Executive Director of NAMI Cook County North Suburban, and Josette Day, a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience in the field.

    “I know a lot of people have questions about their mental health during this time. Many people are dealing with feelings of stress and anxiety resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fine. “If you’re wondering how to balance working from home or how to help your kids through this difficult time, I hope this Q&A will provide some answers.”

    Blue Room Stream, a subscription-based video service, will be streaming the video live here.

    Individuals facing mental health crises can speak with a counselor by calling the NAMI help line at 833-626-4244 or texting “NAMI” to 741741 to receive support via text message.

  • Senator Fine urges struggling Illinoisans to reach out to new emotional support text line

    fine 022820GLENVIEW – A new, free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, is now available for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) announced today.

    “The COVID-19 outbreak has been an overwhelming time for many Illinoisans, and some feel like they are struggling alone,” said Fine. “I hope Call4Calm shows these people they are not alone— there is help.”

    Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division launched the hotline, which connects Illinoisans with the mental health services and other support systems they need.

    Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text “TALK” to 552020 to connect with a counselor. The service is also available in Spanish by texting “HABLAR” to the same number.

    Within 24 hours of sending a text to the hotline, residents will receive a call from a counselor at a local community health center. Call4Calm is free to use, and individuals will remain anonymous.

    “If the COVID-19 outbreak has you feeling anxious or depressed, Call4Calm can connect you with local support,” said Fine. “A caring voice or a listening ear can make all the difference during times of stress.”

    Individuals can also text 552020 with key words such as “unemployment,” “food” or “shelter” for help navigating state assistance services.

    Fine’s office is closed during the Stay at Home Order, but her staff is continuing to work remotely to respond to calls and emails. She encourages those with questions and concerns to reach out by calling 847-998-1717 or visiting senatorfine.com/contact.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing an urgent mental health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor. Both resources are available 24/7.

    More information about COVID-19 can be found at coronavirus.illinois.gov.

  • Sen. Fine moves to protect assets of families of individuals with disabilities

    fine 022720SPRINGFIELD – To make it easier for families of individuals with disabilities to provide for their children’s futures, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) has sponsored legislation that would empower ABLE account holders to protect their assets and designate a beneficiary.

    The ABLE Program allows people with disabilities to save for certain expenses without losing their eligibility for programs like SSI and Medicaid. Assets from the account can be used for expenses like education, housing, transportation and health care. Fine wants to make it easier for account holders to name an account beneficiary without legal aid.

    “Families who are caring for someone with a disability shouldn’t have to pay a private attorney to protect their hard-earned savings,” said Fine. “We need to make sure that protections are in place for individuals with disabilities who come from low- or middle-income backgrounds.”

    Upon the death of the primary beneficiary of an ABLE account, Medicaid can file a recovery claim and any premiums paid as part of the Medicaid Buy-In Program can be deducted from unprotected assets. Fine’s plan would enable ABLE account holders to make the remaining assets payable on death, thereby protecting them from Medicaid asset recovery.

    Since the creation of the Illinois ABLE Program three years ago, nearly 1,300 Illinoisans have opened ABLE accounts, with combined assets of more than $8.5 million.

    “This legislation would make much-needed improvements to the Illinois ABLE Program,” said Fine. “It would give all individuals with disabilities and their families the support and protection they need to save for expenses and secure their futures.”

    Senate Bill 3071 passed the Senate Wednesday and now heads to the House.

  • Senator Fine pushes for more immediate access to mental health treatment

    fine 022820SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans would have faster and easier access to mental health services under a bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

    The measure requires that insurers provide timely access to mental health treatment at a facility within a reasonable distance from the patient. The requirements would apply to services for mental, emotional, nervous and substance use disorders and conditions.

    “If you had a broken arm, your insurer wouldn’t make you wait weeks or drive for hours to see a doctor,” said Fine. “Why should mental health be treated any differently?”

    The bill would place limits on how long a person must wait to see a mental health provider, as well as the distance a person must travel for treatment.

    In Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties, those seeking outpatient mental health treatment would not have to travel longer than 30 minutes or 30 miles to their provider. In other counties, the limit increases to 60 minutes or 60 miles.

    In all parts of the state, no one would have to wait more than 10 business days between requesting an appointment and being seen.

    “I introduced this legislation to improve access to treatment for mental health,” said Fine. “The exact time and distance limits in the bill are still under negotiation, but I’m excited to work with my fellow lawmakers to make services more easily available.”

    Senate Bill 2740 passed the Senate Insurance Committee and now heads to the full Senate.

  • Senate approves Fine’s plan to protect the rights of families visiting jailed loved ones

    fine 022720SPRINGFIELD – Family members of people serving time would be ensured fair treatment by the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) under legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

    “I’ve had the opportunity to hear from so many parents, siblings, children and friends of incarcerated individuals on this issue. When they expect a visit and get turned away, it can be heartbreaking,” said Fine. “We should be encouraging people to maintain connections with family and friends, which will improve their lives during and after incarceration.”

    The measure requires IDOC to appoint a point-of-contact person to receive suggestions, complaints and other comments from visitors to prison facilities, and from other members of the public.

  • Senate Dems unveil public safety priorities

    pub safety 020620CHICAGO – Several Democratic members of the newly formed Senate Special Committee on Public Safety met in Chicago today to unveil their public safety priorities for this year’s legislative session.

    State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who will chair the committee, spoke of his past legislative accomplishments and how they motivate him to continue that fight.

    “I’ve dedicated my adult life toward the fight to reimagine and to win real safety and justice, and last year I passed several laws with this goal in mind, including one to abolish private detention centers,” Peters said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to personally head up the Special Committee on Public Safety, and I am confident that the committee will lead to a society that is fair, equitable, just and, most importantly, safe.”