Villivalam

  • 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..

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Copyright 2020 - Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus - All Rights Reserved

    Subscribe to The Majority Report

    Lightford minimum wage increase now under effect
  • 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.

     

  • Villivalam to host Ela Gandhi for fireside chat on justice

    Fireside Chat Ela Gandhi 5SKOKIE – State Senator Ram Villivalam will host a fireside chat this Thursday with Ela Gandhi, peace activist and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi.

    Mandali Buddha Prasad, former Deputy Speaker of Andhra Pradesh, and David Grengan, President of the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Committee RSA, will also be on the panel.

    The conversation will center on the panelists’ work towards the pursuit of justice and the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Historic statewide construction package signed into law

    Historic statewide construction package signed into law

    Communities across the state will see renewed investment in their infrastructure under a bipartisan construction plan approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

    The $45 billion construction package is the culmination of a three-month negotiation process during which lawmakers traveled throughout Illinois to hear input from local officials, educators, transportation experts and other interested parties.

    “We spent months traveling this state and learned more than I thought possible about the infrastructure needs in various communities,” said State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), who co-chaired the committee charged with developing the construction plan. “The result is a comprehensive package that takes into account the testimony we heard and fairly invests in communities in every corner of the state.”

  • Hunter leads effort to increase wages for home health care workers

    hunter 051419SPRINGFIELD – Speaking at an SEIU Healthcare Home Care Lobby Day rally, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) once again stressed the importance of giving a raise to care workers who provide in-home services for seniors in Illinois.

    “Right now, home care agencies are struggling to recruit and retain caregivers in every corner of the state,” Hunter said. “Why? Because the average Illinois home care worker’s hourly wage is only $11.08.”

  • Villivalam expands access to baby changing stations

    baby change 050819SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that would increase the availability of baby changing facilities in public buildings passed the Senate Public Health Committee today.

    State Senator Ram Villivalam is the chief sponsor of this initiative.

    “There are a number of challenges that young families face today,” Villivalam (D-Skokie) said. “This legislation aims to remove one of these challenges by ensuring that parents, regardless of gender, have more access to a baby changing station and can provide important care for their children.”

    HB 3711 would ensure that all public restrooms in a public buildings have baby changing stations that are physically safe, sanitary, and usable. In addition, signage outside the entrance to restrooms where the baby changing station is located would be required.

    The legislation will be heard before the Senate in the coming weeks.

  • Senate marks Holocaust Remembrance Day

    fine 050219SPRINGFIELD – Today the Illinois Senate commemorated Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, in honor of those who lost their lives and those whose lives were forever altered by the horror of the Holocaust. 

    Members of the Illinois Senate released the following statements to reassert their commitment to human rights:

    “Now more than ever, the world needs to remember and reflect on the atrocities that occurred and the sentiments that led to them so that we, for the sake of basic human decency, can ensure they never again happen,” Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) said.

  • Villivalam touts simpler payment system for state contractors

    Sen. Ram VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam joined with colleagues and Illinois business owners to call on the General Assembly to ensure state contractors will receive payments for their work in a timely manner.

    “With this legislation we’re trying to make the payment process as seamless and transparent as possible,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “By taking advantage of an electronic payment system and implementing a database of those contractors who are owed money from the state we will be able to meet those aspirations.”

    Senate Bill 104 would require that subcontractors be paid within seven business days after the prime contractor receives payment, as the overwhelming majority of prime contractors receive electronic payments from the state, reducing the need for time when the subcontractors are waiting to be paid their share for work already performed.

  • Villivalam holds town hall to provide legislative update

    Sen. Ram Villivalam's Town Hall EventWednesday night State Senator Ram Villivalam was joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and State Representative Mark Kalish for a town hall meeting with constituents.

    Sen Villivalam spoke about legislation furthering protections for those working in the hospitality industry.

    “Sexual harassment against service workers is an oft-ignored epidemic, with 58% of hotel workers and 77% of casino workers reporting some kind of harassment or unwanted advance from a guest,” Villivalam said. “Those numbers are absolutely unacceptable, and I decided to do something about it.”

  • Villivalam seeks to ensure LGBTQ elders will not face discrimination

    Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Legislation Sponsored by State Senator Ram Villivalam to advance equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) older adults passed Senate on Wednesday.

    “It is important to protect our LGTBQ population at all ages. The older members of this community face very specific challenges as they age,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “We need to ensure that aging programming by service providers and the environments in assisted living facilities are welcoming and inclusive, and I’m proud to say this legislation does just that.”

    Senate Bill 1319 would both highlight to service providers the need to develop aging programming that includes LGBTQ people and help cultivate affirming environments in assisted living facilities for LGBTQ older adults.

    “LGBTQ older adults face many challenges as they age, including fears about neglect, abuse, and harassment because of their identities,” Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois said. “Sometimes, many LGBTQ older adults are forced by circumstances to go back into the closet as they age because of the absence of inclusive programming by service providers and a lack of affirming care in long-term care facilities. As they age, we must ensure laws and programming support and affirm them. Thank you, Sen. Villivalam, for leading this charge.”

    The bill now moves to the House for consideration.