Senate President

  • The Majority Report 03/23/20 - Stay at Home Order takes effect, economic assistance offered

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    It’s no longer “business as usual”—the coronavirus has disrupted many of our jobs, social lives and daily routines. For the sake of the health and safety of everyone in our communities, we must continue to follow the advice of our public health experts and do our part to help contain the virus.

    Stay at homeGov. Pritzker issued a ‘stay at home’ order for the State of Illinois beginning, March 21 at 5 p.m. until April 7.

    The executive order requires Illinoisans to practice a more rigorous form of social distancing, staying home as much as possible aside from meeting their basic needs. The order permits a range of essential activities, including but not limited to:

    • For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional

    • For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences

    • For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds

    • Economic AssistanceFor certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations

    • To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another household

    While certainly an inconvenience, and a detriment to our economy, this measure could spare the lives of thousands of Illinoisans and is absolutely critical to the survival and stability of our hospitals.

    More information on Governor Pritzkter’s shelter in place order can be foundhere. For a list of frequently asked questions, click here.

    Please know despite rumors circulating online, Gov. Pritzker has emphasized that essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will never close.

    State agencies and local organizations are working tirelessly to make sure those affected by business and school closures are provided with help, support and relief. For more information on what assistance is offered, keep reading.

    Economic Assistance

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security is allowing workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 to apply for unemployment.

    Sheriffs in Cook, Will and Lake Counties have suspended enforcing evictions for at least 30 days. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a moratorium on evictions of single-family homes with federally insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also offering mortgage assistance.

    The Small Business Administration is providing disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

    Resources for Students

    The Illinois State Board of Education is working to provide meals every day to all students, no questions asked. Grab-and-go meals are available statewide for students who need them, and some schools are even offering delivery. Contact your child’s school district for more information. For more updates and resouces, click here.

    Updates for Restaurants & Businesses

    RoadsDespite school and restaurant closures, Gov. Pritzker assures that essential services—including pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations—will remain open. It’s a good idea to be prepared, but only buy what you really need. Hoarding supplies prevents others from accessing the basics. Experts recommend keeping on hand about what you need for two weeks at a time.

    All bars and restaurants are closed through April 7. Restaurants will have take-out, drive-thru and delivery options still available.

    Many grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors.Residents can contact local stores for their specific hours.

    To provide some relief to local eateries during the coming weeks, Grubhub is suspending commissions and Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees on orders from independent restaurants. Some larger restaurants are offering free delivery. Many delivery services have introduced no- or low-contact delivery options.

    Utilities Support

    Ameren and ComEd are suspending any disconnections and waiving late payment fees. Other major utility companies, like People’s Gas and Nicor, are suspending disconnections as well.

    The Illinois Commerce Commission has banned utility service disconnections during the outbreak and has pledged to assess late fees through at least May 1. AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, Viasat and others are offering accommodations to those in need of telecom services during the crisis.

    State Services

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation hasextended license expiration dates and continuing education deadlines.Licensees may complete continuing education requirements and other coursework online.

    The Office of the Illinois Attorney General encourages residents to file a complaint if they notice price gouging on essential items related to the coronavirus outbreak, including hand sanitizer, cleaning products and protective gear.

    All Illinois Secretary of State offices and Driver Services facilities are closed to the public through March 31. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards, vehicle registration and other transactions will be extended by 30 days. More information and some services are available online.

    All emergency food relief (SNAP), cash assistance (TANF) and medical (Medicaid eligibility) applications will continue to be availableonlineor by phone at 800-843-6154. Home Services & Vocational Rehab resources will remain available through DRS’ statewide network of counselors who will continue working remotely.

    For the most up-to-date information, please continue to check the governor's coronavirus response website found here.

    We will continue to send periodic updates. Rest assured that together, we will get through this trying time.

     


    Copyright 2020 - Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus - All Rights Reserved

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    Lightford minimum wage increase now under effect
  • Illinois Senate cancels session next week

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    SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon canceled next week’s Senate session days as part of a public health effort to limit exposure and hopefully slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Senate was scheduled to be at the Capitol next Tuesday through Friday, March 24-27.

    Senate President Don Harmon’s statement:

    “The Senate will not be in session next week. We remain in contact with members regarding legislative and scheduling priorities so that when we return to the Capitol we can act quickly and efficiently.

    For now, we are taking it day by day and urging everyone to heed the advice of health care professionals by practicing social distancing, regularly washing hands and avoiding unneeded travel.”

  • The Majority Report 03/16/20 - An update on coronavirus from Senate President Don Harmon

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    Illinois Senate cancels this week's session days to "do its part" to slow speed of coronavirus

    Sen. President Don Harmon

    SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon announced Wednesday the cancellation of this week’s Senate session days as part of a public health initiative to limit exposure and hopefully slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Read President Harmon's statement here.

     

     

     

     

     


    Senators Martwick, Villivalam host Facebook Live with public health experts

    State Senators Robert Martwick and Ram Villivalam SPRINGFIELD — State Senators Robert Martwick and Ram Villivalam held a Facebook Live Thursday night alongside public health experts. Susan Reisberg, a Nursing Supervisor at Skokie Health Department and Evonda Thomas-Smith, Assistant Director at Illinois Department of Public Health, joined the senators to field questions from viewers submitted online. The event reached over 12,000 people.

    You can watch the full the video by clicking here.

     

     

     


    Turn to the CDC and IDPH for coronavirus updates COVID-19 infographic

    SPRINGFIELD — The coronavirus is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated on the IDPH website found here and and on the CDC website found here.

    For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Copyright 2020 - Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus - All Rights Reserved

    Subscribe to The Majority Report

    Lightford minimum wage increase now under effect
  • Harmon: It is an honor and a privilege to serve the General Assembly and the people of Illinois as the next Senate president

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  • Senate Latino Caucus meets with immigration advocates (UPDATED)

    Senate Latino Caucus meets with immigration advocates

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate Latino Caucus members joined Senate President John Cullerton, President Pro Tempore Don Harmon and immigrant and refugee rights advocates this week to discuss the Senate’s recent actions taken to protect immigrant communities.

    “I’m the son of hard-working immigrants, and as an elected official it is my honor and duty to support policies that continue to give the immigrant community the opportunities my family has had in the United States of America,” Latino Caucus Co-Chair Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) said. “Donald Trump is trying to take away these opportunities in the land that I love, but policies like these give hope to our people and show we are a force that can use our sacred legislative process to fight back against bigotry.”

  • Loyola Ramblers welcomed to Illinois Senate (AUDIO)

     Loyola Ramblers

    On March 24, 2018, the Loyola Ramblers defeated Kansas State 78-62 to advance to play in their second Final Four in school history. On May 9, they came to the Illinois Senate at the Capitol in Springfield.

    Loyola alum and Senate President John Cullerton welcomed Coach Porter Moser, MVC Coach of the Year, and his team to celebrate the exciting 2017-18 season that culminated in a journey to the NCAA Final Four.

    The woman at the Ramblers’ side for their wild March Madness ride, 98-year-old Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, who has served as team chaplain since 1996, accompanied them again today to Springfield. Sister Jean became a media sensation and a top-selling bobble head at the Loyola bookstore. She also threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Cubs’ season opener this spring.

    The Senate approved a resolution, SR1703, sponsored by President Cullerton. It congratulates the team on their magnificent season in the Missouri Valley Conference and NCAA Tournament. The resolution also points out the many individual honors earned by team members and the inspirational role of Sister Jean.

    The 2018 Ramblers set numerous records this year; the university and its basketball team have a history of breaking records, most notably in 1963 when they won the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament national championship under the leadership of All-American Jerry Harkness. That year, Loyola also spurred a national conversation on race with their integrated team, in one instance holding a game in secret to circumvent segregation laws.

    Here is our look back at that season from a visit by the 1963 team to the Illinois Senate in 2013, on the occasion of their induction to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

     

     

     

  • Cullerton says state’s unfair funding system will be overhauled ‘one way or another’

    Sen. President John J. Cullerton

    SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate will return to a regular session at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 13 with the intention of acting on school funding legislation. The governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1, the historic overhaul of Illinois’ much-maligned school funding system, awaits Senate action. Meanwhile, there are ongoing efforts to try to reach a reasonable compromise on the issue.

    Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton issued the following statement:

    “The Illinois Senate will return to session on Sunday to take action on education funding. This is a priority Senate Democrats have been working on for the better part of four years. I remain optimistic that there is a path to a reasonable compromise on a fair school funding system that improves public education across all of Illinois. That has been our goal from day one.

    “One way or another, we are going to get a fair funding system that improves education in all public schools in Illinois for the long term.”

  • Senate President urges Republicans to end the impasse (VIDEO)

    Senate President John J. Cullerton

    The state’s lingering budget stalemate could end quickly if Republican lawmakers would prioritize a balanced budget deal over their political allegiance to Governor Bruce Rauner, Senate President John J. Cullerton told reporters on Friday.

    “This could all be over if the will is there,” Cullerton said at a Capitol news conference. His comments come as the state creeps ever closer to a third year without a budget under Rauner, who the Wall Street Journal recently dubbed ‘Governor Junk.’

    “The pressure is really on the Republicans in the House, and I think they really want to get this done as well,” said Cullerton.

    The Illinois Senate approved a balanced budget and reform plans last month, but the Illinois House has not yet reached agreement on the budget plan. With the initial May 31 deadline past, it now requires 71 votes in the 118-member House to approve a budget deal. That gives the political minority Republicans a share of the driver’s seat.

    If Republicans could reach a bipartisan deal with Democrats in the House, that deal could be added onto the framework the Senate already passed and quickly approved, perhaps even in a day. Instead of negotiating a deal, Rauner and his Republican allies have focused on a new series of proposals that not only require far longer to get approved but are also inherently out of balance since they forgot to file any proposal to pay for the spending.

    Cullerton called for “an intervention” among Republicans in the House to work on a balanced budget and get it approved before the state’s budget year runs out next week.

    The Senate President also derided as a “political stunt” a series of Special Sessions the governor ordered to force lawmakers back to the Capitol, even though the Senate already addressed all the issues he listed.

    “Everything the special session would do, we have done in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “I think they were unfortunately designed to be a political stunt to give the governor cover.”

    Cullerton also criticized the governor for again intervening and pulling Republicans out of a planned meeting of legislative leaders. The Senate President said these meetings are key because the four leaders have a history of being able to work together to get results.

  • Senate President talks about real problems to solving state’s budget woes

    Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton is often invited to speak to groups and organizations about the fiscal realities Illinois faces with its budget. This presentation was put together to help illustrate the real pressures from both the budget and the growing backlog of unpaid bills.

    The following slides walk through where the state of Illinois gets its funding, where that funding goes, the true pressures facing the state budget and the devastating trajectory of the backlog of unpaid bills.

    The Senate President has been working on what’s been called a “Grand Bargain” to try to stabilize the state’s finances and enact key economic reforms.

     

  • President Cullerton remarks on the budget

    Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) shares his thoughts on the passage of SB2047, a stopgap budget measure.


  • President Cullerton - Chicago press conference

    Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) holds a press conference in Chicago to discuss the progress of a negotiated budget.


  • President Cullerton holds a media availability

    Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) holds a media availability late in the evening on May 31, 2016.


  • President Cullerton - Media Availability, May 31

    Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) addresses the media following a leader's meeting the morning of May 31, 2016.


  • Senate President Cullerton on Memorial Day

    Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) speaks to his experience as a veteran as well as the importance of Memorial Day in America.


  • President Cullerton speaks at the AFSCME Rally

    Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) spoke at an AFSCME Rally at the capitol on May 18, 2016.


  • President Cullerton on the Leaders' Meeting

    Senate President John J. Cullerton takes questions from reporters following the Leaders' Meeting on May 17, 2016.


  • President Cullerton on overriding MAP funding veto

    Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) defends his vote to override the governor's veto of MAP grant funding on March 2, 2016.


  • President Cullerton Q&A after budget address

    Senate President John J. Cullerton shares remarks and a brief Q&A following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016 in the State Capitol.


  • President John Cullerton on IL Lawmakers

    Senate President John Cullerton appeared on IL Lawmakers following the governor’s budget address on February 17, 2016.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton City Club Speech

    Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton delivers his annual speech at the City Club Chicago luncheon on January 25, 2016.