Holmes

  • Holmes announces $1.59 million in road and bridge improvements this year for the 42nd District

    road const 080320AURORA – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is pleased to see nearly $1.6 million in Aurora-area road construction projects slated for this year as part of the state’s ongoing multi-year construction plan.

    “This is the right time to see improvements to area infrastructure,” Holmes said. “These Rebuild Illinois projects will create new, well-paying jobs when we need them most; they will also facilitate commerce and transportation, while making needed updates to roads that will improve public safety.”

    The Illinois Department of Transportation’s multi-year plan includes projects to improve the state’s infrastructure over the next six years. These projects were selected based on such criteria as pavement and bridge conditions, traffic volumes and history of accidents. They will create thousands of jobs statewide at a time when many Illinoisans are still struggling with unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Projects slated for Holmes’ district include:

      Description                                                                                                                                                         Year/Investment

    Montgomery Road at Waubonsee Creek: This multi-phase project begins with construction engineering to then replace the bridge; it includes replacing superstructure, widening and resurfacing the road, sidewalks and railings.

    2021: engineering and construction

    $1,125,000

       

    Farnsworth Ave at Indian Creek: This year’s phase is preliminary engineering for major bridge repair to begin next year, which will open up the waterway.

    2021: engineering

    $160,000

    2022-26: construction

    $1,820,000

    US 34 (Ogden Ave. from Rickert to Feldott, Naperville: This year’s phase is land acquisition for another phase beginning next year to relieve a bottleneck and accident-prone area, with added and extended left turn lanes, resurfacing and bicycle and pedestrian traffic accommodation. 

    2021: land acquisition

    $300,000

    2022 – 2026: construction

    $1,500,000

     

    When construction is underway, motorists should anticipate delays and may wish to seek alternate routes. Holmes encourages drivers to obey posted construction zone speed limits and watch out for workers on construction projects.

    IDOT’s complete Multi-Year Plan can be found on its website.

  • Holmes outlines steps for schools to resume in-person learning

    holmes 030420AURORA — As Illinois’ number of COVID-19 cases keeps dropping, health and education officials have given the go-ahead to reopen schools this fall with a thorough set of guidelines, according to Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).

    “We saw so much success by teachers, parents and students adapting to learning at home during a period none of us expected,” Holmes said. “Things will still be different so that learning can be resumed safely, but it will be back to classrooms.”

    The Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health outlined guidelines for K-12 schools and higher education institutions to safely resume in-person learning this fall, while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff is prioritized. The groups worked with educators, superintendents, social workers, nurses and other stakeholders to create the 60-page guidance.

    The guidelines for Phase 4 will, among other things:

    • Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment, including face coverings;
    • Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
    • Require social distancing be observed, as much as possible;
    • Require schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings; and
    • Require an increase in school-wide cleaning and disinfection.

    All public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving K-12 students must follow these guidelines.

    “Students and teachers can maintain health and safety guidelines back in their familiar classrooms and surroundings. It is a great step forward,” Holmes said.

  • Holmes encourages barbershops and salons to apply for BIG grants

    salon 061820AURORA — Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is encouraging salon and barbershop owners who suffered during the COVID-19 Stay at Home Order to apply for Business Interruption Grants through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    “Salons and barbershops were some of the hardest hit businesses during the Stay at Home Order,” Holmes said. “They couldn’t provide their services online or to-go. They simply had to shut down entirely. I encourage all eligible businesses to apply if they had significant losses during this period.”

     

  • Holmes lauds funding for key COVID-19 recovery needs in budget signed into law today

    holmes chair2 022520SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) looks forward to the relief the new budget legislation will bring following its signing by the governor this morning.

    “This was unlike any other budget process given the unprecedented essentials funding required for the many services needed to respond and recover from COVID-19’s after effects,” Holmes said. “Education, human services, job recovery, infrastructure and public safety all needed immediate attention to get our people and institutions back on their feet and the economy back on track, and we pulled this together in a bipartisan manner.”

    Holmes led the Senate Working Group on unemployment, which was a cooperative effort including input from labor and business groups.

    “We’ve provided the Department of Employment Security with nearly $60 million in additional funding to help address the challenges with the unemployment system,” Holmes said. “I’ve heard from dozens of constituents who’ve had problems registering and receiving their benefits; this will help the agency increase the number of workers to help aid residents in navigating the unemployment system and process claims faster.”

    Holmes also lauded the budget for ensuring the state will make its full pension payment commitment as planned. It is a cornerstone of ongoing efforts to address our underfunded pension systems, without taking away from COVID-19 recovery needs.

    “People in the 42nd District need consistency and peace of mind right now, and the COVID-19 recovery budget items will provide help for those needing it.”

  • Women’s Caucus calls for justice and peace as protests continue across Illinois

    collins 013120CHICAGO—The women of the Illinois Senate came together to issue a united call for justice and peace. Lawmakers from both parties called on the state to address the issues that have led to the protests and to join together in healing.

    “We cannot condone violence in any form,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Deputy Majority Caucus Chair (D-Chicago). “That means that we must have justice for Americans who have been brutalized by the violence of law enforcement. Voices across Illinois join those across the nation in loudly proclaiming that Black lives matter, and that peace cannot come about without justice.”

  • Governor signs Holmes’ major labor and unemployment reforms into law

    holmes 031220SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is encouraged that Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 2455 this afternoon, allowing important changes to labor and unemployment laws to take immediate effect as workers continue to be shaken by COVID-19’s  toll on jobs and the economy.

    Holmes sponsored the measure passed by the General Assembly during the shortened Special Session at the Capitol in May. It will ensure first responders and essential workers have recourse if they contract COVID-19 at work and their employers failed to implement proper health and safety guidelines and requires employers to take this seriously.

    “This is for our essential workers who may not have sick time benefits but have had COVID-19 related to their jobs, in some cases due to lack of care taken by employers,” Holmes said. “We’ve moved quickly to address this problem and I’m pleased we did it cooperatively with business and labor involved in the solutions.”

    HB2455 also extends unemployment benefits and waives the waiting times associated with receiving benefits.

    “Millions are now unemployed through no fault of their own, and we must provide economic relief,” Holmes said. “I know the unemployment process has been frustrating for many -- including those who have unresolved issues with penalty weeks. Yet we’ve seen greater and greater capacity for filing for unemployment and significant state investment in improving these services.”

    This legislation also provides workers’ compensation benefits for Chicago first responders’ families in the event their loved one dies from COVID-19 in the line of duty, a benefit others in the state already have.

  • 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.

     

  • Holmes’ labor agreement on workplace safety and workers’ compensation passes Senate

    holmescunningham2 052120

  • Holmes pleased Illinois dentists will be able to practice again

    dentist C19 051320Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is pleased to learn the Illinois Department of Public Health has updated its guidance on allowing dental providers to resume routine oral and dental care beginning this week.

    “IDPH’s decision lifts the limit to emergency and urgent needs to now let dentists resume routine oral and dental care, with the specific procedures to be taken to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in this setting,” Holmes said. “Area dentists contacted me about this issue and I’m glad we made this progress.”

  • 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.”

  • Senate Leader Holmes supports scholarships for women returning to education

    holmes 030420Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is encouraging women who want to restart their education to apply for the annual Conference of Women Legislators’ Scholarship Awards Program.

    COWL is a bipartisan, bicameral, nonprofit organization of women legislators in the Illinois General Assembly and has announced the 2020-2021 Annual Scholarship Awards Program. COWL created the scholarship program as part of its mission to promote economic independence, community service and leadership development. 

    Leader Holmes says that up to 10 scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded. These college scholarships are aimed at helping women who are earning their college degrees, in some cases, later in life. The scholarship program endeavors to assist Illinois women, 25 years or older, who are seeking to earn undergraduate college degrees.

    “This current pause in our normal routines may have some women thinking about goals for the future,” Holmes said. “Life will return to normal and it will be the perfect time for women looking for an opportunity to pursue an education to further their careers or build new career paths.”

    Scholarship applicants are required to enroll in an accredited college or university in Illinois for a minimum of six credit hours to qualify, making the scholarships available to part-time and online students. Applications are accepted at www.cowlil.com until Friday, May 1, 2020. Awardees will be notified by Monday, June 1, 2020.

  • Holmes supports expansion of domestic violence and sexual assault services

    holmes 031220Aurora, Ill. – Most of us are staying home to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for many survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, home isn't a safe place. 

    Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) supports Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services for expanding services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

    “Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors live in fear,” Holmes said. “Staying at home now means they have nowhere to go and no one to watch out for them. I can’t imagine how scared some of these people are in an already worrisome time.”

    IDHS announced Thursday the launch of a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its current statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

    The plan expands the domestic violence helpline by creating a one-stop access point for all shelter needs. Survivors can call the helpline at 1-877-863-6338 to be connected to a shelter that can provide assistance.

    The agency is also working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with assistance needs related to COVID-19.

    Additionally, domestic violence prevention and intervention providers will receive a three-month advance of their current grant to support continuations of services and respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors.

    IDHS will also provide the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers statewide to aid sexual assault survivors. The agency will similarly advance grant funds to Partner Abuse Intervention Program grantees for programs costs related to COVID-19.​

  • Holmes invites small business owners to apply for new loan, grant programs

    closed signAurora, Ill. – Restaurants, hotels and other small businesses across the state are invited to take advantage of two new emergency assistance programs, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) announced today.

    “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economies, but the COVID-19 outbreak has hit many of them hard and even forced some to close,” Holmes said. “We must invest in stores, restaurants and hotels that make our communities unique.”

    To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of Chicago. (Small businesses in Chicago can apply for a similar loan program here.)

    Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Loan recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

    Pritzker also announced the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

    Grant funds can be used to compensate employees and pay rent, or to support new practices like expanded pick-up, delivery and sanitation.

    “Our beautiful main streets and their shops and restaurants are vital for most of us every day. It’s heartbreaking to see them struggling during this outbreak,” said Holmes. “These programs may offer some help to small business owners and get them through this challenging time.”

    Applications to the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will be available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website by Friday, March 27.

    The application period for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is open now and closes April 1 at 5 p.m. Businesses can find more information on the program here or apply here. A Spanish-language application is available here.

  • Holmes responds to latest Illinois coronavirus updates

    holmes 031220Aurora, Ill. – Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared that coronavirus is now a pandemic. With the number of cases rising in Illinois, and now three cases outside of Cook County – including one in Kane County – Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) wants to encourage caution and calm for area residents regarding coronavirus.

    “I am monitoring the situation daily through the governor, the Illinois Department of Public Health and local and county health officials to get updates,” Holmes said. “I urge people in Kane County and across Illinois to stay informed and keep following the steps IDPH says will help us and everyone around us to stay safe and well.”

    “The young and healthy among us may believe they have nothing to worry about, but I urge them to remember that they could unknowingly transmit the virus to an older relative or friend with a compromised immune system,” Holmes said. “This is why it is vital that everyone takes the actions recommended by IDPH every day.”

    “The General Assembly has announced it is canceling legislative session next week, which demonstrates that we are doing our part as a safeguard against more transmission,” Holmes said.

    IDPH recommends everyone:

    • Wash your hands often and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Don’t shake hands, and avoid large gatherings and air travel.
    • Avoid close contact with sick people who have respiratory symptoms.
    • Put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately throw it away.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    If you have questions or concerns, please contact your local health department or visit http://dph.illinois.gov/.

  • Holmes proposes savings for City of Aurora with smarter disposal of water treatment product

    holmes 030520SPRINGFIELD – Limestone quarries provide a number of products encountered every day: on our roads, in our homes and businesses, and in agriculture. One such lime product is used to treat drinking water and remove particulates. Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is the sponsor of legislation to allow the return of the limestone residual back to a limestone mine after that use, projected to save the city an estimated $7 million over 10 years.

    “Aurora’s Water Treatment Plan has used this process since it was built in 1992, but disposing of the residual product was problematic,” Holmes said. “The City of Aurora initiated this legislation, as it cost the city quite a bit of money to dispose of it in landfills or to apply it on farm land. Pumping that material back into an underground mine cavity 250 feet below ground will save significant taxpayer dollars.”

    Senate Bill 3291 would amend the Environmental Protection Act to require the IEPA to grant Aurora a modification to its existing permit to construct and operate a system of disposal of lime residual, and authorize the disposal from the water treatment plant into an existing mine cavity.

    The bill passed on second reading in the Environment and Conservation Committee, with the expectation of refining it with more input from IEPA before the full Senate will vote on it.

  • Holmes’ measure clarifies Fox Valley Park District election requirements

    holmes 030420SPRINGFIELD – Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation with reforms to clarify a local election process and encourage more candidates to get on the ballot.

    Senate Bill 2779 was brought to Sen. Holmes by Jeff Palmquist of the Fox Valley Park District. The intent is to clarify the number of signatures required for those running for Fox Valley Park District commissioner.

    “There was some confusion as to how many signatures were required for each candidate, and from which area of the district those signatures were required to come from,” Holmes said. “There was no litigation, but the district received numerous calls about the ambiguous requirement. This is now clear and specific, and with fewer signatures required, more candidates may be able to get on the ballot.”

    The Fox Valley Park District consists of seven commissioners, elected to four year terms. Six commissioners make up three two-member sub-districts, and one commissioner is elected at large.

    SB2779 calls for six members to reside within the sub-district in which they were elected, and they are only required to collect two percent of signatures from registered voters in that specific sub-district.

    Having passed the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for their consideration.

  • Illinois Senate welcomes students from Illinois Math and Science Academy

    Sen. Elgie R. Sims and Sen. Dave Koehler with students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy

    SPRINGFIELD – Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “I shared a wonderful day with my constituent Esha Dani who attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The Senate was honored to host such a brilliant group of students and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold,” Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said.

  • Holmes seeks to cut delays for patients’ medical care due to “prior approval” process

    holmes priorauth 021820SPRINGFIELD – Delays and denials for health care are a growing concern for patients across the country as insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers add barriers and even longer times to receive care. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is sponsoring legislation with reforms to streamline this process and improve transparency.

    “Extra paperwork and delays for treatment are a hassle and distraction to those of us seeking routine or emergent procedures and treatment, and to our health care providers as well,” Holmes said. “The Prior Authorization Reform Act will take down obstacles, get patients the care they need more quickly and save them money.”

  • Holmes introduces bill to cut pet restrictions in public housing

    holmes pet presser 021820 1

  • Holmes congratulates Virginia for ratifying ERA

    holmes ERA 011520AURORA – Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 2018, and State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is pleased the Virginia legislature ratified the ERA today. This brings the total number of states to ratify to 38 -- the threshold necessary for it to be included in the U.S. Constitution -- and it sets the stage for all 38 states to call for a historic constitutional convention.

    “This is a good day,” Holmes said. “It is frustrating that there are still several hoops to jump through to actually get the ERA over the finish line, but we will keep working to enshrine the simple concept of equality in our nation’s Constitution, as it should have always been.”

    Holmes notes that this year is the 100th anniversary of the amendment’s introduction; she expects the anniversary and ratification benchmark to be observed in Illinois.

    Holmes serves as the co-chair of the Senate Women’s Caucus.