Murphy

  • 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

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  • Murphy leads local government COVID-19 recovery plan

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

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

  • Murphy urges residents to get tested for COVID-19 at new Rolling Meadows testing site

    aurora drivethrough 042220ROLLING MEADOWS – Residents of the Northwest Suburbs will be able to get tested for COVID-19 safely and easily at a new drive-thru testing site opening May 20 in Rolling Meadows, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced.

    “Especially as we start the reopening process, increased testing is one tool we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Murphy. “The best way to make sure you aren’t spreading the virus is to get tested. It’s easy and free—if you think you may be at risk of infection, I encourage you to visit this new site.”

    The new site will be located in the parking lot of Rolling Meadows High School at 2901 Central Rd. and will offer testing services seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or while supplies last.

    Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can be tested for the virus without a doctor’s order. You can also get a test if you’ve been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, if you have a compromised immune system or other chronic medical condition, or if you are a front-line worker, whether or not you are experiencing symptoms.

    At drive-thru testing sites like the one in Rolling Meadows, patients must remain in their vehicles—walk-ups will not be accepted. Testing is free, but patients will be asked to show photo identification and a health care employee or first responder ID badge, if applicable.

    “There are lots of people who need tests, so keep in mind that the wait times at these sites may be significant,” said Murphy. “Please be patient with personnel and the other people in line. We’ll get through this if we work together.”

    Testing sites continue to open across the state. For the most up-to-date list of these sites, as well as testing hours and contact information, visit https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/testing-sites.

  • Murphy hosts Telephone Town Hall to connect with residents during Stay at Home Order

    murphy 030420 2SPRINGFIELD – To connect with community members during the Stay at Home Order and stay up to date on the issues affecting her district, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) hosted a Telephone Town Hall event Thursday evening, which also featured input from medical and public health experts.

    “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I haven’t been able to speak to constituents in person for the past few weeks,” said Murphy. “This Telephone Town Hall was a great opportunity to hear from my neighbors about the challenges they’re facing and offer my assistance in any way I can.”

  • As businesses reopen, Murphy reminds employers of health and safety guidelines

    reopen barber 051420DES PLAINES – As some businesses prepare to reopen during the modified Stay at Home Order, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) seeks to protect employees and consumers by highlighting new employee safety measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

    “It’s great to see business able to reopen, but as we begin that process, we must keep health and safety in mind,” said Murphy. “These simple guidelines are vitally important for protecting employers, employees and shoppers from the spread of COVID-19.”

    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. Murphy’s office is currently closed, but her staff is working remotely and responding to calls and emails. With questions or concerns, call 847-718-1110 or visit senatorlauramurphy.com/contact-us.

  • Murphy: Census responses could help community secure much-needed support

    murphy 021820DES PLAINES – To protect the region’s representation in government and ensure its fair share of federal funding, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) encouraged residents of the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago to fill out the 2020 Census. 

    “Census data is used to determine federal funding for our roads, schools, hospitals and more. Especially during these challenging times, our communities need help to continue providing important services to residents,” said Murphy. “Your response could help our community secure that much-needed support.”

    As of May 11, 73.4% of DuPage County residents had responded to the census, significantly higher than Cook County’s response rate of 58.2%. Both counties have yet to reach their response rates from the 2010 Census.

    Murphy 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.

    “It only takes 10 minutes to fill out the census,” said Murphy. “If you’ve already completed it, call a family member or neighbor to check if they’ve been counted. Taking that extra step could make all the difference for our community.”

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

  • Murphy urges contract workers to apply now for unemployment benefits

    murphy 030420 2DES PLAINES – Contract and gig economy workers who believe they may be eligible for new federal benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program should apply for and be denied regular unemployment insurance before applying for benefits under PUA, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced Thursday.

    “It may seem counterintuitive, but you must have your application denied before you can submit a claim through the new PUA program,” said Murphy. “If you think you’ll be eligible for federal benefits, I encourage you to apply as soon as possible to get a head start on that process.”

    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.

    “Lots of gig economy workers are struggling at this time, and the current unemployment program doesn’t cover them,” said Murphy. “I hope the PUA program rolls out smoothly and offers some relief to these Illinoisans soon.”

    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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  • Murphy hosts virtual meeting of over 50 small businesses to help navigate assistance programs

    murphy 012920SCHAUMBURG – To help local business owners navigate state and federal financial assistance programs during the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8th) co-hosted a virtual meeting with the Schaumburg Business Association on Monday, April 27.

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

    “Small businesses strengthen our local economies and make our communities unique. We must do everything we can to help them survive this challenging period,” said Murphy. “I hope business owners came away from this meeting with the knowledge they need to find help.”

  • Murphy urges student loan borrowers to contact providers for relief options

    student loan 042320DES PLAINES – In an effort to provide support to Illinoisans facing unprecedented economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) highlighted relief options that could help nearly 140,000 Illinoisans pay their student loans.

    “Widespread unemployment means that many Illinoisans are struggling to keep up with bills, including student loan payments,” Murphy said. “If you’re facing financial hardship during this time, don’t wait—contact your loan provider now to discuss your options.”

    Under this new initiative, spearheaded by Gov. JB Pritzker and Secretary Deborah Hagan of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, people with commercially owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are having a hard time making their payments due to COVID-19 will be eligible for expanded relief.

    Borrowers who need assistance are asked to contact their student loan provider immediately to set up a plan.

    Relief options are based on a person’s individual needs and include:

    • Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance;
    • Waiving late payment fees;
    • Ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting;
    • Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days; and
    • Working with borrower to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income-based repayment.

    Those having problems contacting their student loan servicer can contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Division of Banking at 217-785-2900 or the attorney general’s student loan helpline at 1-800-455-2456.

  • Suburban residents eligible for $460,000 to assist with home repairs

    Senator MurphyDES PLAINES – The North West Housing Partnership in Schaumburg has been awarded $460,000 in grant funds to help area homeowners with repairs, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced Monday.

    “People are spending more time at home during the COVID-19 crisis, which makes home repairs all the more urgent,” said Murphy. “Especially during a time when many families don’t have much savings to fall back on, I’m glad to see that there is help available.”

    The North West Housing Partnership, which serves the West and Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, is one of 25 local governments and non-profit organizations in the state to receive funds from the Illinois Housing Development Authority Board of Directors. The group awarded $11 million statewide through the state’s Single Family Rehabilitation Program. The lump sum is projected to help at least 326 low- and very low-income families with necessary home repairs.

    The Single Family Rehabilitation Program provides forgivable loans of up to $45,000 per household to assist with necessary repairs to remove documented health and safety hazards. Eligible repairs include roofing, flooring and plumbing, among others.

    A roof-only option is also available for people who do not need other repairs. Those recipients are offered up to $16,500 to militate against future roof damage.

    “The North West Housing Partnership has already made a difference to so many families in our community. With these funds, they can keep up the good work and help even more households,” Murphy said. “If your home is in need of maintenance, I encourage you to apply.”

    Households can apply for grants by contacting the North West Housing Partnership at 847-969-0561. The organization will walk residents through the application process and explain eligibility.