Villivalam

  • Villivalam helps secure local temporary COVID-19 testing site, urges residents to get tested

    Jones cvd testing 041520CHICAGO – In response to the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging residents to take advantage of a new temporary testing site set up at the Bernard Horwich JCC.  

    “Due to the increasing positivity rate in Chicago, we need to continue our strong testing and contact tracing operations to stay ahead of the virus and prevent a big outbreak,” Villivalam said. “Not only is this temporary testing site a way to make it easier than ever to get a fast, easy and free test, but it’s also key to being able to safely reopen our state and economy. Testing and contact tracing are vital to being able to put people back to work without compromising their health or that of their coworkers.” 

    The temporary testing site is located at 3003 W. Touhy Avenue in Chicago. Testing will be available Monday, Aug. 10 through Sunday, Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Simple nasal swabs will be used, and both drive-thru and walk-up testing are available. Anyone can get tested regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms. The tests are free, and the results will be available within four to seven business days. Residents should bring their insurance card but can still get a test without insurance. 

    “Part of why this virus is so dangerous is the asymptomatic cases that spread silently through communities,” Villivalam said. “Most asymptomatic cases won’t know they have the virus unless they get tested. This site will allow anyone who may be worried about upcoming travel, visiting family, going to work or caring for children to get a test to make sure they don’t have COVID-19 and hopefully bring them a little peace of mind.” 

  • Villivalam asks those who are able to join COVID-19 contact tracing initiative

    contact tracing 080420CHICAGO – In light of the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases around the country, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is asking anyone who is able to consider applying to become a contact tracer for the Chicago or Cook County Health Department.  

    “Illinoisans have been and need to continue to do a decent job of limiting the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, socially distancing, and washing their hands for 20 seconds,” Villivalam said. “However, while we are doing relatively well compared to other states in the country, we can’t afford to relax our efforts. If you are able, please consider becoming a contact tracer to help us stop any new major outbreaks in our communities.” 

    The Chicago Department of Public Health has received a $56 million grant to create the COVID Contact Tracing Corp and COVID Resource Coordination Hub, while the Cook County Department of Public Health has received almost $41 million in COVID-19 relief funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health via the FEMA Disaster Relief Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. 

    Contact tracing is the multi-step process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have come into contact with a positive case of COVID-19 and connecting them to resources to help them during quarantine. The CDPH is looking to expand and diversify its workforce up to 600 people and the CCDPH is looking to expand its workforce to 400 people. Bilingual and multilingual speakers are needed to help with outreach to all of Chicago’s diverse communities. Contact tracers in Chicago will earn $20 per hour, with supervisors able to earn $24 per hour. 

    Individuals interested in applying to become a contact tracer can find the IDPH Contact Tracing Program interest form on IDPH’s website. More general information is available on the City of Chicago’s website and the CCDPH website

  • Villivalam believes mass transit districts must take proper safety precautions

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  • Villivalam alerts residents to unemployment fraud scam

    IDES fraudCHICAGO – Recent reports of identity theft and unemployment fraud have prompted State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) to urge anyone who may have been targeted to file a report.

    “Using a global pandemic to take advantage of people is unethical and illegal,” Villivalam said. “If you think you’ve been a victim or target of fraudulent activity, report it immediately.”

    Reports surfaced last week of individuals receiving KeyBank debit cards with an accompanying unemployment benefit letter despite never having applied for assistance. The Illinois Department of Employment Security suspects these mailings may be fraud attempts.

    IDES currently believes they’re part of a nationwide fraud scheme targeting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program applicants.

    IDES staff is currently working with individuals whose identities have or may have been compromised by a scammer. The department is also partnering with local and federal law enforcement to catch and prosecute the perpetrators.

    “If you have received a debit card in the mail and have not applied for assistance, don’t activate the card. Call IDES immediately at 1-800-814-0531 to report potential identity theft,” Villivalam said. “We can’t let these scammers get away with their schemes while people are struggling to overcome the pandemic. I would also encourage anyone who has been targeted to check your credit reports for suspicious activity.”

    When you have filed a report, the Illinois Attorney General is offering information and tips free of charge for those who think their personal and financial information may be at risk. For assistance, consult their Identity Theft Resource Guide or call the toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630.

    Victims of fraud are also encouraged to place a fraud alert through one of the three major credit bureaus should any suspicious activity be found. Individuals should visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for helpful tips on recognizing and reporting identity theft.

  • Villivalam speaks for Illinois’ growing Asian American population in Illinois Senate

    Sen. Ram VIllivalamCensus Bureau estimates Asian Americans as fastest growing demographic in the state

    CHICAGO – Reacting to news that the Census Bureau has identified Asian Americans from countries like India and China as the fastest growing demographic group in Illinois, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) vowed to continue to vigorously support Asian Americans, both recent immigrants and those who have been here for generations.

    “We need to ensure Asian Americans have access to all of the same state services as other Illinois residents,” said Villivalam, the first Asian American elected to the Illinois Senate and the Co-Chair of the Illinois General Assembly’s Asian American Caucus. “Making sure documents and websites are available in Asian languages is an important first step, and one that I’ve been pushing especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

  • Villivalam cautions drivers to be aware of road conditions in summer heat

    pavement 070920CHICAGO – As temperatures continue to rise, Illinois State Senate Transportation Chair Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging drivers to be cautious of potential pavement buckling on roads due to the hot and humid weather. 

    “During the summer we often worry about staying hydrated and reapplying sunscreen,” Villivalam said. “Oftentimes we forget that extreme heat can also cause the road pavement to crack and break which can create dangerous driving conditions.” 

    According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, pavement failures or blowouts can occur when prolonged high temperatures cause roads to expand and buckle up or blow out, resulting in uneven driving surfaces. Precipitation and humidity can also increase the potential for buckling.

    “To ensure road safety this summer, I urge everyone to be cognizant of road conditions and construction workers while traveling and to report any issues immediately,” Villivalam said. 

    Pavement failures should be reported to IDOT by calling 800-452-4368 or by calling 911.

  • Villivalam urges residents to take advantage of new tollway initiative

    villivalam 022720CHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging residents to take advantage of a new initiative announced by the Illinois Tollway this summer. TOLLING 2020 is a new tolling reform package that will significantly reduce the costs of unpaid toll fees.

    “Thanks to this relief period, motorists who have been unable to pay outstanding fees due to COVID-19 will be able to catch up,” Villivalam said. “I believe customers will save under the new invoice process and violation relief.”  

    For the remainder of 2020, the Tollway is reducing all outstanding violations with the Illinois Tollway, and all existing $20 and $50 fines per toll will also be reduced to $3 per toll, providing an opportunity for relief to thousands of motorists. Any unpaid tolls that occurred between March 9 and June 25 during the Stay at Home Order will not incur additional fines or fees.

    Here are some important takeaways for customers under this new program:

    • As always, customers can continue to avoid fees completely for at least 14 days by paying online.
    • Vehicle owners who fail to pay a toll will now initially face a notice with a $3 invoice fee for each unpaid toll rather than a notice with a $20 violation fine, an 85% reduction. (Currently, a $20 fine is assessed for each unpaid toll if left unpaid. That penalty escalates by another $50 if the notice remains unpaid for an additional 60 days.)
    • Customers looking to take advantage of the significant reduction in fines can visit the Tollway’s website to review and pay their updated balances through the end of the year, even if they were previously at collections. (No special arrangements are necessary.)
    • Customers with unpaid tolls during the COVID-19 period will receive an invoice for their unpaid tolls only and are able to pay those tolls online as well.

    The Illinois Tollway is still operating all-electronic toll collection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so tolls should still be paid online to avoid any fines and fees. Anyone who wants to learn more about the program, or how to pay unpaid tolls and violations, should visit the Illinois Tollway’s website at www.illinoistollway.com

  • Villivalam Vote-by-mail law will make voting safer and easier

    Vote by mailCHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker today signed legislation ensuring that all Illinoisans will be able to safely cast their ballots in the November election.

    “Given the COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues and I worked to find ways to keep people from congregating in enclosed spaces, standing in long lines for hours, or otherwise risking their health in order to exercise their right to vote,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), a chief co-sponsor of the measure. “By designating Election Day as a state holiday and creating an expansive vote-by-mail program, it will allow a greater number of people the opportunity to vote without having to worry about missing work or school.”

    Under the new law, those who voted within the last two years or registered to vote after the 2020 primary election will be receiving an application for a vote-by-mail ballot. Additionally, it designates Election Day 2020 as a state holiday, allows for drive-by voting, extends early voting, and allows more people to serve as election judges.

    People who aren’t automatically sent an application will still be able to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot through the State Board of Elections’ website.

    “Allowing people to vote by mail or go in person to vote early are two great options to allow people to maintain a safe physical distance from each other,” Villivalam said. “Participation in the election process shouldn’t be a life or death decision.”

    The law, Senate Bill 1863, takes effect immediately.

  • Villivalam: Voter safety a top priority during pandemic

    Sen. Ram VillivalamCHICAGO – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has chief co-sponsored legislation to ensure that Illinoisans will be able to safely cast their ballots in the November election. The new elections safety package – a part of Senate Bill 1863 – will have expanded access to the state’s vote-by-mail program, early voting, and election day voting. 

  • Several Senate Democrats urge IDPH to release nursing home PPE distribution numbers

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  • Villivalam outlines work with, seeks suggestions from community in response to COVID-19

    villivalam 021420CHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has worked closely with members of the communities he represents to support people in need during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

     

    To date, his office has provided and participated in:

     

     

    • Calls to more than 100,000 constituents to offer assistance and to answer questions

    • Regular newsletter updates, FAQs, and resource guides with the latest information

    • Wellness check calls made to 6,139 seniors, speaking with 855 of them to connect them to vital federal, state, and local services

    • Assisting on 122 COVID-19 related constituent cases, having resolved 64 of them

    • 59 food pantry/grocery deliveries

    • Creation of a GoFundMe that raised approximately $15,000 in support of local food pantries

    • Coordination of constituent services with other governmental offices and

    • Several online presentations and briefings with fellow local lawmakers and community leaders, including town halls on resources for small businesses, first responders, and schools. 

    “People need the support of their elected officials more than ever during this unsettling time,” Villivalam said. “I encourage anyone in the 8th District who needs help and/or has suggestions on how we can help to reach out to my office.” 

    To contact Villivalam and his staff, call (872) 208-5188 or visit his website, www.senatorram.com, to send an email.

  • 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.

     


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  • 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..

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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  • Martwick, Villivalam hold Facebook live to field coronavirus questions

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  • Villivalam pledges renewed transparency as Chair of Transportation Committee

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  • Villivalam pushes for better personal health education in public schools

    villivalam 022620 2SPRINGFEILD - State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and advocates introduced the REACH Act at a press conference this morning. 

    This legislation requires all K-12 public schools to offer a comprehensive and age-appropriate course on personal heath and public safety. The program would be phased in slowly, thus granting schools a smooth orderly transition to the new curriculum.

    The Responsible Education for Adolescent and Children’s Health (REACH) Act lays out the following curricular changes:

  • 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.

  • Villivalam to reinstate small business tax credit for creating new jobs

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  • Senate Dems unveil public safety priorities

    pub safety 020620CHICAGO – Several Democratic members of the newly formed Senate Special Committee on Public Safety met in Chicago today to unveil their public safety priorities for this year’s legislative session.

    State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who will chair the committee, spoke of his past legislative accomplishments and how they motivate him to continue that fight.

    “I’ve dedicated my adult life toward the fight to reimagine and to win real safety and justice, and last year I passed several laws with this goal in mind, including one to abolish private detention centers,” Peters said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to personally head up the Special Committee on Public Safety, and I am confident that the committee will lead to a society that is fair, equitable, just and, most importantly, safe.”

  • Coalition to Phase Out Corporate Tax Giveaways Lead National, Bipartisan Effort to End State Subsidy Battles

    villivalam 012820SPRINGFIELD, IL - Today, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and State Representative Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield) join legislators from around the country in unveiling a national bipartisan campaign to phase out corporate giveaways by establishing an interstate compact. This bold proposal seeks to liberate states from participating in tax-payer funded subsidy battles by having states join together and refuse to provide companies with tax breaks or other incentives, as in the case of the Amazon HQ2 bidding war.

    As of January 28, the legislation is filed in New York, Hawaii, Maryland, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, West Virginia and New Hampshire.