Special Session

  • The Majority Report 06/22/20 - A need for utility, housing instability and small business assistance

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    Lightford and other Black leaders host Juneteenth march for justice and police accountability

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordBROADVIEW — Communities in the West Suburbs came together on Juneteenth to celebrate both the end of slavery and to continue the fight for justice, equality and police accountability.

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) was joined by West Suburban Mayors Katrina Thompson, Andre Harvey, Edwenna Perkins, Rory Hoskins and other elected officials on Friday for a Juneteenth Police Accountability Protest.

    Lightford not only wanted to shine a light on Juneteenth, Freedom Day for slaves in America, but she also calls for police accountability after seeing Chicago police officers sleeping on the job in Congressman Bobby Rush’s office on the South Side of Chicago.

    Read more.

     


    Hastings: Utility assistance needed for COVID-19 recovery

    Electric MeterFRANKFORT — The Illinois Commerce Commission announced the decision to approve several consumer protection measures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of which State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) called for as leader of the Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities working group this past legislative session.

    “Throughout March and April, I met with my colleagues on the Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities working group and numerous stakeholders. Our charge was very simple: we had to arrive at a solution to protect consumers,” Hastings said. “I’m thankful that Chairman Zalewski and the ICC listened to our recommendations, allowing us to arrive at a helpful solution.”

    Read more.

     


    Aquino: Help is on the way for people and businesses affected by COVID-19, civil unrest

    Sen. Omar AquinoCHICAGO — Funds from a comprehensive relief package supported and negotiated by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) aimed to support working families, small businesses and communities heavily impacted by COVID-19 and civil unrest will become available within the next month.

    Much of the relief comes from the new Business Interruption Grant program, which will provide financial assistance to small businesses affected by the pandemic. Additionally, the Illinois Housing Development Authority will launch a $5,000 grant program to provide emergency rental assistance to 30,000 renters impacted by the pandemic, as well as grants to assist homeowners with mortgage payments.

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Vote by mail program extended, thanks to Senator Morrison

    Vote-by-mailDEERFIELD — Illinoisans across the state will receive an application in their mailbox to vote from the comfort and safety of their home, thanks to a measure spearheaded by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

    “If you’re eligible to vote, you should be able to do so safely and securely. No one should have to worry about jeopardizing their health to practice their civic duty,” Morrison said. “It is vital that no eligible voter — regardless of age or health — end up disenfranchised by the current health crisis.”

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    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Special Delivery Aids Local Medical Professional | Vermilion County First

    Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Pritzker signs bill to extend teacher licenses | State Journal-Register

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe highlights new grant program aimed to support child care providers | The Telegraph

     


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  • The Majority Report 06/01/20 - Bringing revenue and resources to Illinois communities

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    Cunningham succeeds in long effort to make Chicago casino fund police and fire pensions

    Sen. Bill CunninghamCHICAGO — Shortly after taking his seat in the Illinois Senate in 2013, State Senator Bill Cunningham introduced legislation requiring the city of Chicago to dedicate future revenue from a proposed casino to the city’s financially strapped police and fire pension funds. At the time, the thought of Chicago ever getting legislative approval to open a casino seemed like a distant and remote possibility.

    That possibility became a reality when Cunningham, serving as chief sponsor, helped push Senate Bill 516 through the General Assembly. The legislation made a number of changes to the state’s gaming laws and will enable Chicago to open its long-sought casino. When fully operational, the casino is expected to funnel more than $200 million dollars a year to Chicago’s police and fire pension funds.

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

    Sen. Laura MurphyDES PLAINES — When Daniel Salgado-Alvarez tried to visit his local library to find new reading material during summer break, he was told he’d have to pay hundreds of dollars in fees to check out a book. Stories like Daniel’s motivated State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) to sponsor the Cards 4 Kids Act, which allows low-income students in unincorporated areas to access the resources at their local library without paying nonresident fees.

    “During summer break, I couldn’t go to my school’s library, and I couldn’t go to the public one either, because I couldn’t check anything out,” said Daniel. “I wanted to fix that.”

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    Feigenholtz delivers on to-go cocktail sales for Illinois bars and restaurants

    Sen. Sara FeigenholtzSPRINGFIELD — A measure that will allow cocktails to go sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) which will bring much needed relief to bars and restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic passed both chambers during the legislative session. The legislation would allow the sale of cocktails and mixed drinks for delivery and curbside pickup, giving bars and restaurants one of many permissions they need to survive closures dating back to March.

    “The 6th Senate District is a top destination known for its vibrant independent restaurants, bars and entertainment,” Feigenholtz said. “The closure of these businesses during the pandemic has been devastating. We are working daily to provide them with relief and develop innovative ways to survive this pandemic.”

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    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Illinois Receiving Millions To Help Small Businesses | WJOL

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe votes to expand protections for Fairmount Park Racetrack employees | Advantage News

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: State Budget Approves Lawmakers’ Cost-of-Living Raise, But Sets Aside $0 | WTTW

     


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  • The Majority Report 05/26/20 - Senate passes budget, COVID-19 relief measures, among other items

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    Senate approves budget prioritizing COVID-19 relief

    Sen. President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and focusing on preserving vital services, the Illinois Senate passed a budget that prioritizes public health and safety.

    In order to protect people’s health, the budget provides additional funding to both the state’s health department and local health departments. It also expands programs that help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes, keeping them out of long-term care facilities that have been hit disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

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    Murphy leads local government COVID-19 recovery plan

    Sen. Laura MurphySPRINGFIELD — To help guide local governments through the COVID-19 recovery process, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) 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.”

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    Morrison: Vote by mail is essential for voter safety

    Sen. Julie A. MorrisonSPRINGFIELD — Thanks to efforts from State Senator Julie Morrison, Illinoisans will have a more accessible way to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, standing in line to vote isn’t safe for many, specifically older populations and those at higher health risks.

    “COVID-19 has made congregating in small and enclosed spaces more dangerous,” Morrison said. “Long lines to get to the ballot box would require people to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

    Read more.

     

     


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

    Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — To protect essential workers and incentivize employers to provide the best protective measures possible in the workplace during the pandemic, State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) led the effort to pass a comprehensive labor and workers’ compensation plan out of the Illinois Senate Thursday.

    “This is an agreement between business and labor that ensures better protections for employees and clear, consistent guidelines to ensure employers know how to operate safely,” Holmes said. “I’m grateful for the spirit of cooperation that allowed us to work quickly and decisively to pass this plan.”

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    Koehler works to provide financial relief for property owners

    Sen. Dave KoehlerSPRINGFIELD — To provide much needed flexibility and relief as businesses and counties begin to reopen, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored legislation that would give property owners the means to continue meeting the challenges presented by COVID-19.

    "I led the Senate’s economic revitalization working group with one goal in mind. We had to provide people with real, tangible solutions to the enormous challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Koehler said. “Implementing property tax relief measures and extending payment deadlines is where we have to start as we begin to work toward the recovery of our local economies.”

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    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe applauds suspension of proposed rule to penalize businesses | Advantage News

    Senator Sara Feigenholtz, Chicago: Both chambers pass cocktails-to-go measure | Herald & Review

    Senator Emil Jones III, Chicago: Illinois Senate OKs graduated tax language for ballot | Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

     


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  • The Majority Report 05/18/20 - Senate returns for special session next week

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    Harmon calls for cooperation heading into COVID-19 special Senate session

    Sen. President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s return to session later this week.

    “Time and again the Illinois Senate has shown its members can work together to solve problems and produce results for the people of this great state. That cooperative spirit of bipartisan achievement is needed now more than ever. This global pandemic has decimated our state and local economies regardless of political affiliation. From far flung living rooms, kitchen tables and home offices, Senators have been working together while apart to figure out what we can and need to do now."

    Read more.

     


    Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago Tonight

    Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago TonightCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) and Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) appeared via video teleconference on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight for an interview with Carol Marin last week.

    Lightford and Castro answered questions regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to reopen Illinois and the upcoming return to Springfield to hold session on May 20, 21 and 22. They spoke of legislative priorities for the busy yet pandemic-shortened session period, how to balance reopening the economy with public safety, the safety concerns surrounding legislators convening and what needs to be done to address the needs of struggling families in Illinois.

    You can watch the full interview here.

     


    Hastings, Senate Working Group push for additional energy consumer protections during the coronavirus pandemic

    Sen. Michael E. HastingsCHICAGO — As the world adapts to unprecedented change from coronavirus, a bipartisan group of legislators is urging state regulators to strengthen consumer protections to keep the lights on for residents and businesses turning to recovery in Illinois.

    The Illinois Senate Energy Working Group, led by Chairman Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park), last week sent a letter to the Illinois Commerce Commission urging the commission to adopt several reforms that would protect small and large energy consumers once Illinois emerges from the coronavirus shutdown.

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    Bennett encourages self-advocates at virtual Going Home Rally

    Nursing home PPECHAMPAIGN — State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined hundreds of advocates from across Illinois virtually last Thursday to speak on the plight of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This year’s advocacy day looked a little different than in years past, but it’s critical that advocates continue to raise their voices about issues that impact people with disabilities,” said Bennett. “The coronavirus pandemic has been overwhelming for everyone, but especially for individuals with disabilities whose routines have been disrupted abruptly.”

    Read more.

     

     


     

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: Illinois dentists able to resume routine care as of this week | Illinois Business Journal

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Illinois State Senator To Call For Donations For Seniors | CBS 2 Chicago

    Senator Ram Villivalam, Chicago: Chicago Refugee Group Making Masks For Those In Need — Here’s How You Can Help | Block Club Chicago

     


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  • 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.”

  • Senators react to governor’s call for special session

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