Murphy

  • Murphy encourages small businesses to apply for second round of BIG funding starting Thursday

    RestaurantDES PLAINES – In a continued effort to provide aid to small businesses struggling with income losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is notifying local business owners that applications for the second round of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program will be made available Thursday, Sept. 17 and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.

    “For the shops, restaurants, event venues and other businesses that bolster our local economies, these funds can’t come soon enough,” said Murphy. “I encourage business owners to look over the program requirements and gather necessary materials to make sure they can apply as soon as the application period opens.”

     

  • Murphy announces $1.2 million investment in recruiting, training DuPage County workers to support pandemic response

    sanitization workers 091120DES PLAINES – Two new grants from the U.S. Department of Labor will create nearly 1,300 jobs across Illinois to support the state’s ongoing pandemic response, and State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is pleased to see DuPage County will receive over $1.2 million to administer job training and placement programs.

    “The pandemic has put thousands of Illinoisans out of work, but it’s also created a need for certain kinds of workers, like contact tracers, community health coordinators, food pantry workers and more,” said Murphy. “To meet the challenges this pandemic has presented us, we need to make sure our workforce has the skills to support our state’s recovery.”

    DuPage County Northeast has been awarded over $1.2 million by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Security (DCEO) to place, train and hire Illinois workers to fill high-demand positions and assist local disaster relief programs.

    DCEO received a total of $16.6 million as part of the National Dislocated Worker Program. The funding was distributed among 12 Local Workforce Innovation Areas to expand education and training opportunities throughout Illinois.

    DCEO will partner with local workforce agency partners to fill high-need, temporary roles to help mitigate COVID-19 in communities, including contact tracers, COVID-19 protocol workers, building sanitization workers, temperature screeners, and food preparation and distribution workers.

    Training and hiring for new workforce programs are expected to begin this fall. Local workforce agencies will prioritize applicants who have been laid off or otherwise lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis at the time of their application. A full list of available training and hiring opportunities is available on Get Hired Illinois.

  • Murphy invites residents to explore utility savings options with Citizens Utility Board

    thermostat 091020DES PLAINES – To help customers lower their utility bills, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is partnering with the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) to offer free, virtual one-on-one consultations to consumers Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

    “Especially now, when many families are struggling with finances, every penny counts,” Murphy said. “I encourage utility customers to schedule a consultation with CUB to make sure they’re taking advantage of all available cost-saving opportunities.”

    Starting Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 9 a.m., residents will be able to register here for a virtual one-on-one consultation with a CUB professional to discuss lowering their electric, water, gas, phone, cable and internet bills. After registrants have selected a time slot, they will receive details for a private video call with a CUB representative.

    During the clinic, the representative will evaluate participants’ bills to determine if they are signed up with an alternative supplier or paying for unnecessary products or services. CUB will also let participants know if they are eligible for money-saving programs, like financial assistance, and share information about energy efficiency programs.

    CUB encourages attendees to provide copies of their utility bills ahead of time or obtain digital versions to ensure representatives can examine all documents with care. For more information on the program, visit www.citizensutilityboard.org or contact Murphy’s office at 847-718-1110.

  • Murphy offers free COVID-19 antibody testing at upcoming blood drive

    antibodies 090820HOFFMAN ESTATES – To combat the nationwide shortage of donated blood and potentially help develop a treatment for COVID-19, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is hosting a blood drive Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Vernon A. Laubenstein Town Hall, located at 1 Illinois Blvd. in Hoffman Estates.

    “When the pandemic began in March, blood donations dropped significantly, but the need persisted,” said Murphy. “Now, with researchers looking into plasma therapy as a potential COVID-19 treatment, donated blood is in especially high demand.”

    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.

    Murphy has partnered with Versiti Blood Center of Illinois to host the event. To ensure the safety of all staff and donors, masks will be required.

    Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins may be accommodated if there are open slots. To schedule an appointment to donate, visit http://bit.ly/BloodDrive-9-30.

  • Local food pantries receive hand-picked sweet corn at Murphy giveaway

    Murphy sweetcorn 081820DES PLAINES – Local food pantries will be able to offer fresh, Illinois-grown sweet corn to families in need, thanks to a donation from State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and the Mercer County Farm Bureau.

    Murphy hosted a giveaway Monday, where a truck bed full of sweet corn was distributed to local food pantries and other community organizations serving families in the 28th District.

    “Especially during tough economic times, it can be challenging for families to afford the fresh, nutritious produce Illinois farmers offer,” said Murphy. “I’m grateful to the Mercer County Farm Bureau for making sure every member of our community can enjoy delicious, locally grown sweet corn.”

     

  • Murphy announces youth mentorship program at Schaumburg Township District Library

    mentoring 081120SCHAUMBURG – Schaumburg Township District Library has received a $28,640 grant to provide mentorship opportunities to disadvantaged middle and high school students, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced.

    “When we invest in our youth, the entire community benefits,” said Murphy. “This grant will allow our libraries not only to foster literacy and instill a love of learning in our communities, but also to give the next generation the tools they need to become tomorrow's leaders.”

    The 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 Schaumburg Township District 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.”

  • Murphy highlights local schools selected to receive grants supporting future educators

    young teacher 072320DES PLAINES – To encourage more young people to enter the education field, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is proud to announce nine local schools will receive Education Career Pathways Grants from the Illinois State Board of Education.

    “Teachers are among the most important members of our workforce—a great teacher can make all the difference in a child’s life,” said Murphy. “The grants will help our schools recruit a diverse, well-trained and passionate team of educators to lead their classrooms.”

    The Northwest Education Council for Student Success has been awarded $249,000, which will be distributed to nine high schools in the Northwest Suburbs to assist these schools in developing Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to prepare students for careers in education.

    CTE programs help students develop technical and employability skills while strengthening their core academic abilities to enable them to pursue higher education opportunities and succeed in the workforce. Students in CTE programs also have the opportunity to earn dual credit or credentials and certifications from partner institutions prior to high school graduation.

    The programs will place a special focus on recruiting underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois.

    “Students succeed when they can relate to their teachers,” said Murphy. “Investing in our local teacher pipelines encourages Illinois students to return to the communities where they grew up and give back to the next generation.”

    Nearly $2 million in total funding has been awarded to 11 Education for Employment Systems statewide to recruit and support future educators at 62 high schools and vocational centers across the state. For a full list of grant recipients or to learn more about career and college readiness programs in Illinois, visit www.ISBE.net/CTE.

  • Murphy urges residents to donate at upcoming blood drive

    blood donor mask 072320DES PLAINES – Hospitals have experienced a dire shortage of blood donations during the COVID-19 crisis, inspiring State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) to host a community blood drive Wednesday, July 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Prairie Lakes Community Center, located at 515 E. Thacker St. in Des Plaines.

    “At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many blood drives were cancelled, causing a shortage that put many patients at risk,” said Murphy. “Now that we have the necessary safety protocols in place, I encourage healthy people to make an appointment to donate.”

  • Murphy urges fraud victims to come forward, help bring scammers to justice

    murphy 030420 2DES PLAINES – To comfort individuals who may be concerned about identity theft after recent reports of unemployment fraud, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) assures Illinoisans the Illinois Department of Employment Security is aggressively cracking down on fraudsters filing false claims and encourages victims to file a report.

    “This problem isn’t just affecting a few people—nationwide, scammers are using the uncertainty of the pandemic to take advantage of vulnerable people,” said Murphy. “If you believe you’ve been the victim of fraud, report it immediately. With your help, we can hold these scammers accountable.”

    Last week, reports surfaced of individuals receiving KeyBank debit cards and unemployment letters in the mail, despite never having applied for benefits. According to IDES, people who received these erroneous mailings may be targets of fraud.  

    After receiving these reports, IDES uncovered and launched an investigation into a nationwide fraud scheme targeting applicants to the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. IDES said ambiguous federal guidelines—developed hastily to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic—leave PUA claimants open to attack. IDES maintains this scheme is not connected to the PUA program access issue experienced in May.

    A dedicated team of staffers is now working directly with individuals whose identities are being used or have possibly been stolen. The department is also working with local and federal law enforcement authorities to pursue and prosecute those committing fraud.

    Individuals who have received debit cards in the mail without applying for benefits should call IDES immediately at 1-800-814-0513 to report identity theft. Do not activate the debit card.

    Victims of fraud are also encouraged to check their credit reports for possible suspicious activity, post a fraud alert and visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.

  • Murphy: Crimes described in federal court filings breach public trust, cannot be tolerated

    gavel 071720DES PLAINES – In response to federal court documents that implicate an unnamed Illinois official in a bribery scheme involving electric utility company ComEd, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) has issued the following statement:

    “The court documents filed Friday include troubling allegations of corruption within our state government. These crimes are a breach of the public’s trust, and they cannot be tolerated.

    “Our elected officials should be held to a higher ethical standard, and as such, I urge a thorough federal investigation of these wrongdoings.

    “But whether or not the investigation ends with an indictment, I will continue to push for significant reforms to eradicate greed in all levels of government, hold bad actors accountable, and show the public we can and will do better.”

  • Murphy: Free credit reports can help Illinoisans get back on track after COVID-19 crisis

    creditreport 070620DES PLAINES – As unemployment claims begin to level off and the economy reopens, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) urges Illinoisans to take advantage of free credit reporting websites to assess their financial situation.

    “We’re starting to see things open up and people go back to work, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. The pandemic may have long-term economic consequences for some families,” said Murphy. “These free resources can help you get back on track.”

    Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—to provide a free credit report every 12 months if requested. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, these companies are offering free online weekly credit reports through April 2021.

    The information in these reports may affect mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment requests and job applications. Reviewing credit reports can also help catch signs of identity theft early.

    “COVID-19 may have delayed some of your financial goals, but you shouldn’t let it derail them completely,” said Murphy. “Credit reports are just one more tool to help you toward a full recovery.”

    To find out more about why credit is important or to request a credit report, visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

  • Murphy urges local businesses to apply for grant funding

    murphy 060319DES PLAINES – To help local businesses recover from pandemic-related closures, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) invites business owners to apply for assistance through the new Business Interruption Grant program, which will make $60 million available for 3,500 small businesses affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the first round of funding.

    “During our shortened legislative session, we made it a priority to pass a budget that included help for the small businesses suffering most during the pandemic,” Murphy said. “The BIG program is one way we are lending a hand to the establishments that underpin our local economy and make our neighborhoods unique.”

    The BIG program is part of more than $900 million in new relief programs recently announced by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, with a focus on restoring communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

    Grants will be made available for small businesses in amounts ranging between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on business type and other eligibility criteria. Eligible businesses include restaurants and bars, barbershops and salons, and gyms and fitness centers. Other businesses that have suffered property damage during recent civil unrest are also eligible for assistance.

    Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020.

    The first wave of BIG funding will prioritize businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas, or low-income areas that have experienced high rates of COVID-19 cases, including those in the 60018 and 60133 zip codes.

    “Our region saw above-average numbers of COVID-19 cases during the pandemic, and businesses suffered,” Murphy said. “I encourage any business that needs assistance—particularly those in high-priority zip codes, including 60018 and 60133—to apply immediately.”

    BIG funds may be used to help businesses cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

    A full list of criteria, as well as the application, can be found on the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website. All applications must be submitted by Tuesday, July 7 at 5 p.m.

  • Murphy promotes tollway reforms to reduce costs for drivers

    ipass 062920DES PLAINES – To provide relief to thousands of Illinois motorists facing steep fees for unpaid tolls, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is drawing attention to a new reform and relief package implemented by the Illinois Tollway.

    “It’s outrageous to slap motorists with such hefty fees for something as minor as an unpaid toll, and recent financial conditions have made it even harder for Illinoisans to face those costs,” Murphy said. “I’m glad to see the Illinois Tollway offering relief to customers by introducing a more equitable tolling system.”

  • Murphy appointed co-chair of state’s reopening commission

    murphy 030420SPRINGFIELD – To provide input on plans to restore the state’s economy after the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) has been appointed co-chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, the group charged with navigating the public health and economic concerns of the state’s reopening plan.

    “Decisions about our state’s recovery can’t be made in a vacuum,” said Murphy. “It’s important the legislature is able to give feedback, present ideas and voice concerns as we move forward with the reopening process.”

    The Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission will enable cooperation between the legislative and executive branches in dealing with the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. The commission will work closely with the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on plans to revive the various sectors of the Illinois economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The commission is made up of 14 members drawn from both political parties and both chambers of the General Assembly. Members of the commission will serve without compensation.

    DCEO will provide a written report to the commission and the General Assembly every month regarding the status of current and proposed recovery efforts, with metrics and other information to demonstrate the state’s progress. The first report will be delivered July 1.

    “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure our state is on the right track toward a successful recovery,” said Murphy.

    The Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission was created by Senate Bill 2135.

  • Senate President Don Harmon announces appointments to Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission

    harmon 03052020CM0660SPRINGFIELD, IL – Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced four appointees to the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission, a group created to help guide Illinois through the reopening process following stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    Senators Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) will represent Senate Democrats on the commission. 

  • Murphy urges ComEd customers to explore new COVID-19 relief options

    Senator MurphyDES PLAINES – To help Illinois families pay their electric bills, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is highlighting a new support package from ComEd and the Illinois Commerce Commission.

    “With unemployment at a record high, many families are struggling to afford basic necessities,” said Murphy. “I hope these measures can help keep the lights on.”

    The package includes a number of provisions to help customers get back on their feet, including an extension of ComEd’s current policy suspending disconnections until the state moves to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan or Aug. 1, 2020, whichever comes first. Residential and small business customers will have an additional 30-day grace period, during which time ComEd will not disconnect service for nonpayment.

    Low-income households earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level are eligible for financial assistance for past-due balances. Under this package, customers will have more flexible payment options, including longer payment plans, and ComEd will waive reconnection fees and new deposit requirements for residential customers.

    These new supports supplement relief measures ComEd has already put in place, like budget billing options, grants and debt assistance.

    “Families need all the help they can get right now,” said Murphy. “I’m glad to see companies offering people a hand during these tough times.”

    Customers who are struggling to pay their outstanding balances and electric bills are encouraged to contact ComEd’s customer care team as soon as possible at (800) 334-7661, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information is also available at ComEd.com/CARE.

  • Murphy commends support for working families in new state budget

    murphy floor2 052120SPRINGFIELD – As the state begins a staggered reopening process during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) was glad to see funding set aside for businesses affected by closures in this year’s state budget, signed into law today.

    “Our small businesses not only create jobs and stimulate the local economy—they make our communities unique,” said Murphy. “It’s important that we support them as they reopen after weeks of pandemic-related closures and begin the tough recovery process.”

    The state budget for the 2021 fiscal year sets aside more than $600 million in funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Specific funds have been allocated for daycare providers and businesses in underserved communities.

    To help workers get back on their feet until businesses can reopen, the Department of Employment Security will receive nearly $60 million in additional funding to help address challenges with the unemployment system.

    Murphy also highlighted features of the budget that aim to support middle class Illinoisans more broadly, like the preservation of funding for K-12 and higher education, as well as an $871.8 million increase in funding to human services agencies providing aid to seniors, children and families across the state.

    “Illinois unemployment is at a record high, but I hope these funds will give business owners, workers and their families the support they need to recover from pandemic-related losses as our state begins to reopen,” said Murphy.

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

  • Murphy urges Illinoisans to apply for IT career training programs

    coursera 060820DES PLAINES – With millions of Illinoisans out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) encourages residents to take advantage of a new online career training program for jobs in the information technology industry.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our workforce particularly hard,” said Murphy. “As the state begins to recover, the Workforce Recovery Initiative could help Illinoisans return to the job market with new, in-demand skills and find a great career.”

    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.

    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.

  • Murphy law gives local governments the tools to begin COVID-19 recovery

    murphy 012920SPRINGFIELD – As communities across the state begin to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, local governments will have help addressing pandemic-related challenges under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

    “For the past few months, local governments have been at the forefront of our COVID-19 containment efforts, managing regional health departments and providing financial, housing and meal assistance to their struggling communities,” said Murphy. “As the state begins to recover, they will need guidance and flexibility to continue that important work.”

    House Bill 2096 is a package of legislation which:

    • Grants townships the option to postpone their annual meetings during a disaster declaration enacted by the governor;
    • Clarifies that townships should not count federal stimulus payments toward earned income in determining individuals’ eligibility for General Assistance programs;
    • Exempts low-income students from non-resident library card fees to give all students access to library resources, including e-books and online periodicals;
    • Allows school construction bids to be conducted electronically to enable bid discussions to continue during the COVID-19 emergency; and
    • Authorizes the Housing Authority of Cook County to enter business arrangements with developers to provide safe and stable housing for low- and middle-income suburban families.

    Murphy worked with a bipartisan group of Illinois senators to find solutions to the problems facing local governments as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with input from the Township Officials of Illinois, the Illinois Municipal League and other stakeholders.

    “These measures lend a hand to local governments as they guide our communities through these challenging times,” said Murphy. “I hope this legislation helps address the most pressing issues facing our towns and cities during the pandemic.”

    House Bill 2096 was signed into law Friday.

  • High school students inspire legislation to waive library card fees for students in unincorporated areas

    murphy 052320