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  • The Majority Report 09/08/20 - A plan to overcome oppression, a new IDOT diversity initiative and more

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    Black Caucus seeks to develop agenda to overcome centuries of oppression

    ILBC PresserCHICAGO — The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus presented four pillars of policy through which they are building out an agenda for veto session to help Black communities in Illinois overcome centuries of oppression.

    Recent events, including the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent police killings, have highlighted staggering disparities that have made it clear that comprehensive reform is crucial to end systemic racism.

    ILBC Chairman Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) says the caucus seeks to bring justice to Black Illinoisans.

    Read more.

     


    Hunter applauds new IDOT diversity initiative

    Sen. Mattie HunterCHICAGO — After a Senate hearing Thursday about transparency and equity at the Illinois Department of Transportation, IDOT and other members of the Mid-America Association of State Transportation Agencies voted to establish a diversity committee. State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) praised the decision in the following statement:

    “For years, we’ve heard serious complaints about acts of discrimination at IDOT. We gave Secretary Omer Osman the opportunity to respond to these allegations, and I’m happy to see that he’s taken them seriously."

    Read more.

     


    Crowe completes first round of small business tour in Metro East

    Sen. Rachelle CroweMARYVILLE — To highlight individual social-distancing efforts and give business owners an opportunity to voice concerns, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) has completed the first round of her small business tour, visiting nine locally-owned businesses within the Metro East region.

    “From visiting retail employees to optometrists, every business owner I had the pleasure of meeting with is taking the pandemic seriously and imposing mask requirements, social distancing and deep sanitizing,” Crowe said. “My goal with this tour was to highlight their efforts, while also offering a casual conversation in order to have a better understanding of the effects of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Read more.

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senators Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign): Cover Crop Premium Discount Program Returns for 2020 | MyRadioLink

    Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago): Census delays could take toll on states | CBS News

     


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  • The Majority Report 08/31/20 - Celebrating 100 years of 19th Amendment, artificial intelligence research and a call for equity at IDOT

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    Celebrating 100 years of the 19th Amendment

    19th AmendmentOne hundred years ago, suffragettes who had worked for decades finally saw their long-sought 19th Amendment to the US Constitution become law, granting women the right to vote. The Illinois Senate Women’s Caucus offers a resounding thank you to the women 100 years ago for paving the way for more work to be done.

    Moreover, we honor African American suffragettes who continued to fight for 45 years until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and carved the path to get us where we are now.

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    Senate Democrats believe artificial intelligence research at U of I will propel Illinois into the future

    Artificial IntelligenceCHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois has been chosen to receive federal funding for two research institutes focused on artificial intelligence. This will build on the state’s commitment to boost science and technology, adding two research institutes focused on artificial intelligence.

    “This is a tremendous technological and economic opportunity for the future of our state,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “Senate Democrats recognized the great potential for this research and worked to secure the needed funding to make this happen. It's a great team win for all of Illinois. I’m pleased to see our state gain national recognition as a brain hub and center for cutting edge innovation.”

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    Villivalam: Transparency and equity must be guiding principles of the IDOT Project Selection Process

    Road constructionCHICAGO — State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, led a virtual hearing focused on how the Illinois Department of Transportation chooses which projects to fund. He and other members of the committee believe that transparency and equity must guide the IDOT project selection process.

    “The state spends billions of taxpayer dollars on roads, bridges, and mass transit construction and repair,” Villivalam said. “The people of Illinois deserve to understand how, why, and where that money is spent. The decisions have to be equitable and transparent. It was great to hear that IDOT Secretary Osman and a number of stakeholders are committed to doing just that.”

    Read more.

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senate President Don Harmon, Oak Park: Pritzker, Harmon push back hard on Exelon nuke closure warning | Chicago Business

    Senator Patrick Joyce, Essex: Joyce enraged over Dresden nuclear plant shutdown | Patch

    Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: New commission to end systemic racism to launch in Peoria | NBC 25

    Senator Julie Morrison, Lake Forest: E-tobacco use among Illinois high school students trending in an alarming direction | Belleville News-Democrat

    Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: Sen. Stadelman announces driver’s license extensions for age 75 and older | Rockford Register Star

     


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  • The Majority Report 08/24/20 - A call for Mercy Hospital to stay open, lawmakers join energy summit and more

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    Lawmakers join Energy Summit to discuss coal to solar transition in Illinois

    Coal PlantCANTON — In response to recent coal plant closures around the state, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) held an Energy Summit to discuss the future of energy policy in Illinois with Senate colleagues Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort), Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and stakeholders from Vistra Energy.

    One proposal, which Koehler is sponsoring and Manar is co-sponsoring, would freeze property tax rates on coal, gas, and nuclear plants at pre-closure rates for a total of five years, ensuring local governments and school districts a consistent source of revenue in the short term. Additionally, it would provide an extra week of unemployment insurance benefits for those who are laid off from their job at a plant or mine.

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Hunter: Mercy Hospital is necessary to our community's wellness, needs to remain a hospital

    Mercy HospitalCHICAGO — Mercy Hospital announced plans to close by May 2021 last month, and State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is advocating against it, saying Mercy should remain open.

    “This decision could devastate our community, which is already struggling in the middle of this global pandemic,” Hunter said. “Mercy owners requested hundreds of millions of dollars just to close it down, and turn it into a clinic. But we don’t need a clinic, we need a hospital, which has the resources necessary to save lives in times of urgency and in times of severe illness.”

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    Local food pantries receive hand-picked sweet corn at Murphy giveaway

    Murphy SweetcornDES PLAINES — Local food pantries will be able to offer fresh, Illinois-grown sweet corn to families in need, thanks to a donation from State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and the Mercer County Farm Bureau.

    Murphy hosted a giveaway last Monday, where a truck bed full of sweet corn was distributed to local food pantries and other community organizations serving families in the 28th District.

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Laura Ellman, Naperville: 23 Naperville businesses hurt by pandemic awarded grant ranging from $10K to $20K | Chicago Tribune

    Senator Patrick Joyce, Park Forest: Joyce commends area businesses receiving recovery grants | Patch

    Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Central Illinois coal plants could soon turn to solar energy | NBC 25

    Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr., Chicago: Illinois awards Calumet City $1.4 million for canoe launch, riverwalk | KPC News

     


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  • The Majority Report 08/17/20 - Transportation diversity goals, more help for rental assistance and an update on DNA accountability

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    Villivalam leads virtual transportation committee on transparency, diversity goals

    IL TollwayCHICAGO — In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s economy and more specifically, Illinois’ transportation and infrastructure system and workforce, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, led a virtual hearing focused on transparency and diversity goals as it relates to contracts with the Illinois Tollway Authority.

    Among those who gave testimony to the committee were representatives from the Illinois Tollway Authority, the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, the African American Contractors Association, the American Council of Engineering Companies, the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association, the Federation of Women Contractors, and the Asian American Contractors Enterprise.

    Read more.

     


    Illinois Latino Caucus supports the Rental Assistance Program, but more help needs to be provided

    Rent assistanceCHICAGO — While the Senate Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus is pleased with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program introduced last week by Governor JB Pritzker, it unanimously agrees more work needs to be done. The program aims to avoid massive evictions across the state due to families’ inability to pay their rent. The Latino Caucus lawmakers fought hard to make this $150 million funding available to communities in need.

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    Van Pelt on DNA accountability: ISP is on the right track

    DNACHICAGO — The Illinois State Police’s Division of Forensic Services Forensic Sciences Command released the DNA Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2020 earlier this month, and State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is highlighting its major improvements to reduce the DNA backlog, while recognizing there is still work to be done.

    “I am excited about the progress ISP has made,” Van Pelt said. “I hope this trend continues, and I will keep tracking them to make sure they continue to move forward in fulfilling their commitment to giving these families justice.”

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    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Melinda Bush, Grayslake: Illinois Democrats outline ethics proposals | Northwest Herald

    Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, Chicago: State-of-Art Urban Farming Campus to Chicago's South Side | Illinois Ag Connection

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: New Transportation Option Serves County's Most Vulnerable | RiverBender

    Senator Ann Gillespie, Arlington Heights: New Law Protects Essential Employees, First Responders | Patch

     


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  • The Majority Report 07/13/20 - Health care expansion for low-income families and communities

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    New Hunter law expands access to health care for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19

    Older peopleCHICAGO — State Senator Mattie Hunter’s (D-Chicago) legislation aimed at improving access to health care in communities across Illinois that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic was signed into law last week by Governor JB Pritzker.

    “In Illinois, you deserve access to high-quality health care and treatment, no matter your economic status, your ZIP code or what you look like,” Hunter said. “This law extends that promise to many of our neighbors who have been left out, often due to long-standing racial health and economic disparities.”

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    Aquino applauds legislation aimed to provide funding for hospitals serving low-income families

    Sen. Omar AquinoCHICAGO — State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) applauds the signing of legislation aimed at providing funding to hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law brings an additional $450 million to safety-net hospitals, prioritizing the institutions that serve a high number of Medicaid patients.

    “I thank Governor J.B. Pritzker for signing this legislation that brings certainty to health care providers and the low-income clients they serve,” Aquino said. “The additional money will be vital to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.”

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    Villanueva encourages youth employment assistance providers to apply for state grant

    Youth employmentCHICAGO — With young people facing high rates of unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) announced the Illinois Youth Investment Program is extending its grant application deadline to Aug. 3, 2020.

    “For most of my career I have been dedicated to the development of young people and am continuously amazed at the things that they can accomplish,” Villanueva said. “Organizations looking to help at-risk young people should apply for these grants so that they have the necessary resources to set them up for success.”

    Read more.

     

     


    Lightford: Chicago gun violence is a symptom of a larger problem

    Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordCHICAGO — Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Chicago saw gun violence across the city, including the deaths of 7-year-old Natalia Wallace and 14-year-old Vernado Jones. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) released the following statement in reaction to the devastating events that took place.

    “I have dedicated my career to the idea that every child deserves a quality education, a transformative tool they can use to better themselves. Then, tragedies like the killings of Natalia Wallace and Vernado Jones happen, and we are once again facing the dark reality that our children are not safe enough to benefit from any education."

    Read more.

     

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Cristina Castro: Presentan en Illinois una nueva legislación que busca una mayor diversidad en entidades financieras | Univision

    Senator Laura Ellman and Senator Glowiak-Hilton: Edward-Elmhurst Health thanks area legislators | The TImes Weekly

    Senator Kimberly Lightford and Senator Patricia Van Pelt: There could be more video connected to Eric Lurry’s death that Joliet police haven’t released to the public | CBS 2 Chicago

    Senator Andy Manar: Cancer trials for Medicaid recipients now covered | FOX Illinois

     


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  • The Majority Report 07/06/20 - New laws in the new fiscal year

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    Castro protects more Illinois workers with Human Rights Act expansion

    Sen. Cristina CastroELGIN — More workers in Illinois will have protections under the state’s Human Rights Act as a law sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro took effect July 1.

    “Workplace discrimination exists. It may not be done with bad intent, and at times it might not even be done intentionally, but it still happens, and real Illinois families are affected by it,” Castro said. “Everyone deserves the right to work at their job without having to worry about being discriminated against just because of who they are.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Lightford celebrates July 1 minimum wage increase

    Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) celebrated the July 1 increase to the state’s minimum wage, believing it will help working families navigate the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “So many families are struggling right now,” Lightford said. “Though minimum wage workers may count themselves lucky to have jobs while a great deal are unemployed, they still deserve to make a living wage. This increase takes them closer to that goal.”

    Read more.

     

     


    Middle schools to teach civics under new law by Collins

    Middle School CivicsCHICAGO — Middle school students will be required to study civics as part of their course work under a new law passed by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) that took effect last week.

    “Current events teach us the importance and impact of civic engagement at every age,” Collins said. “In the malicious action and shameful inaction of our current president, we are given daily reminders that to be a society ruled by laws, not men, we must be vigilant and active. That starts with education about our system of government and our own responsibility to it.”

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: Illinois lawmakers will consider police reform, but defunding isn't on the agenda | The Pantagraph

    Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Measure gives Will County Board toll rate authority | The Times Weekly

    Senator Laura Ellman, Naperville: Naperville ranks No. 1 in the nation in census response rate among cities of 140,000 or more | Chicago Tribune

     


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  • The Majority Report 06/29/20 - Broadband expansion, new commission appointments and guidelines for school return

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    Senators Cunningham and Manar join Pritzker to launch connect Illinois Plan, announce $50 billion in broadband expansion grants

    Wi-FiSPRINGFIELD — State Senators Bill Cunningham and Andy Manar joined Governor JB Pritzker this week to announce $50 million in Connect Illinois grants that will support 28 projects expected to deliver high-speed internet access to more than 26,000 homes, businesses, farms, and community institutions across Illinois.

    The announcement marks the launch of Connect Illinois, the state’s plan to bring basic internet access to every community in the state by 2024. This plan aims to improve access through an unprecedented capital investment and with the nation’s largest grant matching program.

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Senate President Don Harmon announces appointments to Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission

    Sen. President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — 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.

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Belt promotes guidelines for students returning to school

    Sen. Christopher BeltEAST ST. LOUIS — State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) promoted guidelines for students to return to school this fall, as numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to gradually decrease.

    “Our students and teachers have done an amazing job adapting to e-learning during this health crisis,” Belt said. “Now that they have opportunity to return this fall, parents and teachers have an important role of carefully transitioning our students back into a productive and safe environment.”

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Cristina Castro, Elgin: COVID-19 Across Chicago: Elgin | WTTW

    Senator Michael Hastings, Frankfort: Utility assistance necessary for COVID-19 recovery | The Times Weekly

    Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Ameren’s first community solar project in Illinois now complete | Renewable Energy World

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Chicago: Lightford urges Illinoisans to harness opportunity to enact change | Chronicle Media

    Senator Ram Villivalam, Chicago: Lawmakers discuss 2021 state budget | Nadig Newspapers

     


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  • 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.”

    Read more.

     

     


     

    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 06/15/20 - Days of Action hosted by Black Caucus, a call for peace, and how the state budget preserves vital services

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    Joint Caucus of Black elected officials host Days of Action

    Joint Caucus of Black Elected OfficialsCHICAGO — The Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials hosted a series of days of action to spark change in the Chicagoland area. There were a total of four events, one each on the South Side, West Side, South Suburbs and West Suburbs.

    Black leaders, governor, lieutenant governor and the Senate president gathered for the West Side Day of Action at Cicero and Monroe on Thursday, June 4.

    Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said the Black community has never been treated fairly, and that’s about to change.

    Read more.

     


    Women's Caucus calls for justice and peace as protests continue across Illinois

    Sen. Jacqueline Y. CollinsCHICAGO — The women of the Illinois Senate came together to issue a united call for justice and peace. Lawmakers from both parties called on the state to address the issues that have led to the protests and to join together in healing.

    “We cannot condone violence in any form,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Deputy Majority Caucus Chair (D-Chicago). “That means that we must have justice for Americans who have been brutalized by the violence of law enforcement. Voices across Illinois join those across the nation in loudly proclaiming that Black lives matter, and that peace cannot come about without justice.”

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    State budget provides COVID-19 relief

    Illinois CapitolSPRINGFIELD — Following weeks of negotiations carried out under pandemic conditions, the governor signed a budget aimed at fighting COVID-19 and preserving state services in the face of unprecedented revenue shortfalls.

    “The budget was extremely difficult to craft in these unprecedented times, but I believe it will provide desperately needed relief to communities as we continue on a path toward recovery,” said State Senator Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), one of the Senate’s budget negotiators.

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    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Melinda Bush, Grayslake: Amid COVID-19 fears, law allows rape kits at places other than emergency rooms | Journal Gazette Times-Courier

    Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Peoria Public Schools land grant for 220 summer jobs for young people | JournalStar

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Seniors, already at risk from COVID-19, face problems getting groceries and prescriptions | Chicago Tribune

    Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: $270 million child care grant program now available | WIFR

     


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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.

    Read more.

     

     


    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.”

    Read more.

     


     

    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.

    Read more.

     

     


    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.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    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.”

    Read more.

     


    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.”

    Read more.

     

     


     

    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.

    Read more.

     

     


    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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  • The Majority Report 05/11/20 - New drive thru-testing sites, Senator distributes masks and a call for PPE transparency

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    New drive-thru COVID-19 testing site available in Waukegan

    TestingWAUKEGAN — A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility in Waukegan is now open to area residents, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced.

    “It remains critical that we continue to test as many individuals as possible to help us better understand the presence of this virus in Lake County and help limit its spread,” Link said. “If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, I highly encourage you to stop by this new site and get tested.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Munoz distributes masks to local organizations

    Assistant Majority Leader Tony MunozCHICAGO — To help prepare local residents for the new face covering requirement, Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) partnered with Joann Fabrics in donating 5,000 masks to local businesses and organizations on Friday.

    “My volunteers and I are more than grateful to be able to provide masks to local residents,” Munoz said. “I thank Joann Fabrics for their partnership and work during these trying times.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


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

    Nursing home PPECHICAGO — Before reaching an agreement with their managers, nearly 70 nursing homes across the state planned to go on strike because of unsafe working conditions. In response to the initial strike proposal, several Illinois Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the Illinois Department of Public Health and many local health departments requesting to know the amount of Personal Protective Equipment that has been distributed to those nursing homes and the process by which it was distributed.

    The request comes from members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus who have at least one nursing home in the district they represent where management received strike notices last week. Employees of 64 nursing homes across the state sent strike notices to management, saying facilities do not have enough PPE, safety protocols, and adequate hazard pay.

    Read more.

     


    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Helping small businesses and their workers during COVID-19 | myRadioLink

    Senator Cristina Castro, Elgin: Latinos represent highest number of COVID-19 confirmed cases | Daily Herald

    Senator Robert Peters, Chicago: Senate Democrat proposes six month rent, mortgage holiday to ease pain of pandemic | WSIL TV

     


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  • The Majority Report 05/04/20 - Thanks to all serving during this difficult time

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    Thanks to all serving during this difficult time

    Thank you

    From Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and members of our Democratic Caucus, this is a thank you to all who are serving our communities through this very difficult time. From hospitals to grocery stores, post offices to nursing homes, and restaurants to truck drivers, we have so much to be grateful for as Illinoisans.

    And to everyone staying at home with families and friends, buying locally and connecting by phone and internet, please accept our humble thanks.

     

     

     


    Downstate Senate Democrats push to double funding for local health departments

    TestingSPRINGFIELD — To help local health departments sustain their COVID-19 response efforts in addition to their basic functions, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and other Downstate Senate Democrats are pushing to double state funding to support local health departments for the coming year.

    Manar’s plan would increase funding for Local Health Protection Grants to $36 million in the state’s next budget, which Manar says is key to opening up the economy.

    Read more.

     

     


    Collins: Gambling has rapidly expanded into poor communities with no study of impact

    Sen. Jacqueline Y. CollinsCHICAGO — State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) spoke to WTTW's Carol Marin this week about the vast and rapid expansion of video gaming in Illinois, even as the state has repeatedly refused to study the effect it's having on poor communities and those who struggle with addiction, even as it is now home to more gambling positions than the state of Nevada.

    "I see a lot of red," Collins said, looking at a map of the 16th Illinois Senate District with dozens of markers indicating gambling sites. "I see a lot of poor people losing their livelihoods on false promises."

    Read more.

     


    Glowiak-Hilton: Alzheimer's Association is here to help

    Alzheimer'sWESTERN SPRINGS — To support residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) highlighted resources available from the Alzheimer’s Association.

    “No one should face Alzheimer’s alone,” Glowiak Hilton said. “The Alzheimer’s Association is here to help families and caregivers during these unprecedented times.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Murphy hosts virtual meeting to help small businesses navigate assistance

    Sen. Laura MurphySCHAUMBURG — 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.

    Read more.

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: Here's how to file for unemployment if you're self-employed | Illinois Business Journal

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe notes virus help for small businesses | The Telegraph

    Senator Celina Villanueva, Chicago: New Aurora COVID-19 testing site expects to see hundreds on 2nd day | ABC7

     


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  • The Majority Report 04/27/20 - Parks, some businesses reopen in May

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    Unemployment and the CARES Act: What you need to know

    Umemployment

    SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Dept. of Employment Security has released updates on unemployment insurance programs that have been put in place in response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinoisans’ jobs.

    Employees who have become unemployed through no fault of their own are eligible for unemployment insurance. A new program covers those workers who are considered part of the “gig economy” or other independent contractors who were not eligible before.

    There are three new federal programs under the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus package recently passed by Congress: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    Read more.

     


    Lightford announces expansion of COVID-19 testing in black communities

    Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader and Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is backing Gov. JB Pritzker’s efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in African-American and other minority communities across Illinois.

    “Governor Pritzker’s leadership has been incredible throughout this devastating crisis,” Lightford said. “His announcement today shows his commitment to people from every part of our state, and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will continue to work alongside him to support his efforts.”

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    Bertino-Tarrant reacts to governor's school closure Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

    PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Friday she supports Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to close in-person classes for the rest of the school year as a way to keep children and families safe from COVID-19.

    “The decision made by our governor Friday afternoon to close schools for the rest of the academic year is best for the safety and health of our community and all of Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Thanks to the hard work and support from our teachers, students will continue education through e-learning and other at-home programs.”

    Read more.

     

     


    McGuire urges people to donate blood, register as organ donor Donate Life

    JOLIET — To help the many people who will need it during the pandemic, State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) urged residents to donate blood, bone marrow and organs during April, which is National Donate Life Month.

    “The pandemic is a cruel double whammy,” McGuire said. “Patients need blood now, and those who survive might need organs later in life due to the virus' damage to the body. People need donated blood and organs for lots of other medical conditions, too.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: New coronavirus testing site to open in East St. Louis | Belleville News-Democrat

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe asks residents to be aware of signs of abuse during Child Abuse Prevention Month | Advantage News

    Senator Patrick Joyce, Essex: Only trust information on COVID-19 from reliable sources | Daily Journal

     


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  • The Majority Report 04/20/20 - What you need to know about unemployment and the CARES Act

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    Unemployment and the CARES Act: What you need to know

    Umemployment

    SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Dept. of Employment Security has released updates on unemployment insurance programs that have been put in place in response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinoisans’ jobs.

    Employees who have become unemployed through no fault of their own are eligible for unemployment insurance. A new program covers those workers who are considered part of the “gig economy” or other independent contractors who were not eligible before.

    There are three new federal programs under the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus package recently passed by Congress: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    Read more.

     


    Lightford announces expansion of COVID-19 testing in black communities

    Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader and Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is backing Gov. JB Pritzker’s efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in African-American and other minority communities across Illinois.

    “Governor Pritzker’s leadership has been incredible throughout this devastating crisis,” Lightford said. “His announcement today shows his commitment to people from every part of our state, and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will continue to work alongside him to support his efforts.”

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    Bertino-Tarrant reacts to governor's school closure Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

    PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Friday she supports Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to close in-person classes for the rest of the school year as a way to keep children and families safe from COVID-19.

    “The decision made by our governor Friday afternoon to close schools for the rest of the academic year is best for the safety and health of our community and all of Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Thanks to the hard work and support from our teachers, students will continue education through e-learning and other at-home programs.”

    Read more.

     

     


    McGuire urges people to donate blood, register as organ donor Donate Life

    JOLIET — To help the many people who will need it during the pandemic, State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) urged residents to donate blood, bone marrow and organs during April, which is National Donate Life Month.

    “The pandemic is a cruel double whammy,” McGuire said. “Patients need blood now, and those who survive might need organs later in life due to the virus' damage to the body. People need donated blood and organs for lots of other medical conditions, too.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Christopher Belt, Centreville: New coronavirus testing site to open in East St. Louis | Belleville News-Democrat

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe asks residents to be aware of signs of abuse during Child Abuse Prevention Month | Advantage News

    Senator Patrick Joyce, Essex: Only trust information on COVID-19 from reliable sources | Daily Journal

     


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  • The Majority Report 04/13/20 - How state and local organizations are providing assistance

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    Martwick reminds residents expiration dates for drivers licenses, vehicle registration extended

    DMV

    CHICAGO — State Senator Rob Martwick (D-Chicago) wants to remind residents that expiration dates for driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations and document filings will be extended at least 30 days after Driver Services facilities reopen.

    “It’s important to take as many steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 as we can,” Martwick said. “The secretary of state’s office is taking great steps to protect the public and its employees.”

    Read more.

     

     

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    Senator Fine urges Illinoisans to be mindful of mental health during COVID-19

    Sen. Laura FineGLENVIEW — To help Illinoisans manage their mental health from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is sharing resources she hopes will offer support to those struggling.

    “We talk a lot about hand washing, social distancing and other measures to protect physical health during this pandemic, but what about mental health?” said Fine. “We’re all experiencing added stress during this time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I urge you to reach out.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Jones announces additional support to essential workers Sen. Emil Jones III

    CHICAGO — State Senator Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago) announced Monday the expansion of support to childcare workers and other essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Essential workers do not have the luxury of staying home during this crisis,” Jones said. “Doctors and nurses are working day in and day out so it’s important these childcare centers are sustained to support these essential employees."

    Read more.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Michael Hastings, Tinley Park: Working remotely: Illinois Senators discuss plans to revitalize state’s economy, stabilize energy operations | WGEM

    Senator Linda Holmes, Aurora: Domestic violence services expanded due to pandemic | Chicago Tribune

    Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Legislature in limbo, lawmakers 'going as fast as we can' to help everybody | The State Journal-Register

     


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  • The Majority Report 03/30/20 - Assistance offered amid COVID-19 outbreak

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    Every week we see new impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic — from the effect it has on the tax deadline to the need for more donations at food pantries.

    State agencies and local communities have proven one thing, however: We are stronger together.

    Keep reading to learn about deadline extensions and how you can help in your community.

    Tax deadlineTax Deadline Extended

    Illinois taxpayers will have three extra months to file taxes this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Gov. JB Pritzker announced last week the Illinois Department of Revenue will delay the tax filing deadline until July 15, as the federal government previously announced.

    The state will continue to process refunds to those who are owed one and filed prior to the deadline. For more information, visit MyTax.Illinois.gov.

    Emergency Loans

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to struggling small businesses.

    Small businesses located outside the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 may apply. Applications can be found by visiting the DCEO’s website here.

    Small businesses within the city of Chicago can apply to a similar loan program here.

    Real ID REAL ID Deadline

    The deadline to get a REAL ID has been pushed back a year to October 2021.

    The date change is intended to foster social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    Current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2021.

    Donate to food pantries

    As local grocery stores have been wiped of essential products and many Illinoisans are experiencing layoffs due to COVID-19, more families are leaning on food pantries.

    It is more important than ever to help our neighbors put food on the table. If you feel fortunate enough to donate to a food pantry, please do so. Your simple gesture will make a difference. Use this online locator to find your nearest food bank.

    Senate Democrats roll out COVID-19 webpage

    To create a one-stop shop for resources, announcements and the governor’s daily briefings related to COVID-19, the Illinois Senate Democrats rolled out a new webpage.

    The page will be updated daily as new information is made public. It can be found by visiting illinoissenatedemocrats.com/covid-19.

    For the most up-to-date information, please continue to check the link above or 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 04/06/20 - Giving back during the COVID-19 pandemic

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    Sims and Cullerton to donate disinfectant to first responders

    Cleaning supplies

    GLENDALE HEIGHTS – State Senators Elgie Sims and Tom Cullerton worked with PathoSans/Klarion Technologies, a division of Spraying Systems Co., to spearhead efforts to make disinfectant and sanitizer more readily available to first responders across Illinois.

    Sims (D-Chicago) and Cullerton (D-Villa Park) partnered with PathoSans Technologies to secure up to 5,000 gallons per day of its PathoCide® disinfectant and sanitizer, which will allow the state to clean vehicles, work surfaces, and facilities to keep government personnel and citizens safer during the coronavirus crisis.

    Read more.

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    Manar, McClure call for senior meal delivery volunteers

    Senior mealsSPRINGFIELD – State Senators Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Steve McClure (R-Springfield) are issuing an urgent call to action for Central Illinois residents to fill the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland’s (AgeLinc) volunteer shortage.

    AgeLinc needs volunteers to assist with meal preparation and delivery for seniors in multiple cities, as well as help to package meals for delivery at the Senior Services of Central Illinois meal preparation site.

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Bennett encourages community to donate PPE Face mask

    CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) encourages community members, groups and businesses to donate unused personal protective equipment (PPE) to their local health departments, hospitals and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The shortage of personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and face shields have created a desperate need for healthcare workers,” Bennett said. “If you have essential supplies, please donate them to help protect patients, providers and staff during this critical time.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe encourages new medical practice permits | The Telegraph

    Senator Ann Gillespie, Arlington Heights: Teachers and students create protective gear for essential workers in coronavirus battle: ‘I realized... I have the exact skill that people are calling out for’ | Chicago Tribune

    Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: Illinois rolls out financial support to help keep small businesses afloat | www.mystateline.com

     


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  • 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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