Joyce applauds rapid flood emergency response in Grundy County

sandbags 052820PARK FOREST - As the Illinois River Valley continues to experience record-breaking rainfall, the dangers of catastrophic flood levels increase.

In order to mitigate flood levels the Illinois National Guard, Department of Transportation, and Department of Corrections deposited 150 million sandbags along the river, supplementing local efforts.

“In flood emergencies, we must act strategically and swiftly,” State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) said. “We want to make sure people stay as safe as possible under the current conditions.”

National Guard personnel and IDOC detainees who have been dispatched to help address the flood emergency have been screened for COVID-19 in order to keep the communities safe.

“Floods can cause a lot of property damage. In these trying times, it may be difficult for folks to replace some of the items lost to the flooding,” Joyce said.

According to Grundy County Emergency Services, residents have reported damage ranging from household items to structural damage.

Grundy County residents who have experienced flood damage can call Grundy County Emergency Services at (815) 941-3212 in order to assess their individual cases.

Joyce secures Kankakee River improvement funding in state budget

kankakeeriver 052720PARK FOREST – The Kankakee River is a critical asset for neighboring communities, providing resources for nearly 80,000 people in Kankakee and Will Counties while serving industries that provide many jobs.

For decades, the river has suffered from excessive sedimentation, resulting in flooding and threatening its future. To help address this problem, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) fought for and won $7 million for local flood prevention and other improvements in his first year in office.

“Since I took office,  addressing the issues of the Kankakee River has been one of my top priorities, because I know how important the Kankakee River is to our community,” Joyce said. “Seven million dollars may not solve all its problem, but this funding will  help people and industry better enjoy and make use of the river.”

The $7 million project is part of the Rebuild Illinois statewide construction program, and the money will be for river bank stabilization, silt removal and flood prevention projects.

“Access to clean, abundant water is vital for economic development and provides great recreation opportunities for families,” Joyce said. “These projects will help ensure the Kankakee River remains a great resource for years to come.”

Part of the $7 million will also go towards the flooding issues that have increased in the surrounding communities over the last decade.

Joyce: Property tax relief will help ease financial hardships

joyce floor 052220SPRINGFIELD - In order to offer much needed relief to Illinois property taxpayers, the Illinois State Senate passed a measure that defers tax sales and gives counties the ability to extend homestead exemptions and waive late fees.

“Communities I represent pay up to three times the national average on property taxes, which can be a huge financial burden,” State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) said. “We have to offer as much relief as we possibly can, especially knowing the hardships many are facing right now.”

Senate Bill 685 gives chief county assessment officers the authority to approve homestead exemptions without applications in 2020 for people who have disabilities, are veterans with disabilities, and senior citizens who qualifies for assessment freezes.

Exemption extensions permitted if:

  • The county board has previously declared a local disaster related to COVID-19;
  • The owner of the property as of Jan. 1, 2020 is the same owner as of Jan. 1, 2019;
  • The applicant for the 2019 taxable year has not yet asked for the exemption to be removed for the 2019 or 2020 taxable
  • The exemption for the 2019 taxable year has not been determined to be an erroneous exemption.


County assessment officers are still permitted to conduct audits of taxpayers claiming an exemption in order to verify the applicant is eligible to receive the senior citizens assessment freeze homestead exemption.

In addition, the measure defers tax sales and gives the county the authority to waive property tax interest penalties. However, these provisions do not apply in Cook County.

The legislation, Senate Bill 685, passed the Senate 56-0 and now goes to the governor for his approval.

Joyce: There are new resources for job searches, career training

joyce 031120PARK FOREST – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is promoting the state’s new Get Hired Illinois web portal, which connects workers with available job opportunities and a new partnership with Coursera to provide Illinoisans with professional development.

“I know many have lost their jobs during these unprecedented times,” Joyce said. “I encourage everyone who has lost their job to use this new website to help find work.”

The Get Hired portal combines resources from the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide information on both unemployment and job opportunities in one location. The page is designed for job seekers of all levels and backgrounds and allows employers to upload jobs, virtual career fairs, and training opportunities.

Job seekers and employers can access the page here.

Nearly 60,000 job opportunities across a range of industries are currently available on the Get Hired portal, and more will be made available in the coming weeks. Additionally, more than 70 employers have committed to hosting virtual job fairs through the site.

The state is also launching a new partnership with Coursera to provide professional development opportunities for individuals looking to navigate new career pathways. After completing these online programs, participants will have the opportunity to continue their studies at a local community college or university, or to connect with employers through their local workforce boards.

Unemployed Illinois residents can access the Coursera platform on Illinois WorkNet beginning June 1, 2020.

Sen. Patrick Joyce

Sen. Patrick Joyce

40th District

Years served: 2019–Present

Committee assignments: Public Health; Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com.; Agriculture; Energy and Public Utilities; Labor; Local Government.

Biography: Fourth generation farmer; grew up Reddick, Illinois, now resides in Essex, Illinois; B.A. in Agribusiness, Illinois State University; 19-year member of the Kankakee County Farm Bureau Board of Directors; lifelong advocate for conservation and environmental awareness; 25-year owner and operator of his family-owned farm; married, father of three, lost one daughter to leukemia in 2011; has since become a team leader for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Associated Representatives:
Anthony DeLuca
Lindsay Parkhurst