COVID update

Small business relief

  • Sales tax deferment: To help alleviate some of the unprecedented challenges facing bars and restaurants due to COVID-19, Gov. Pritzker has directed the Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants — accounting for nearly 80% of all such entities statewide. For more information, please view IDOR's informational bulletin available at tax.illinois.gov.
  • Small business disaster loans: Gov. Pritzker announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state's eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans here.
  • Counseling for small businesses: Advisors at Illinois Small Business Development Centers across the state are available to assist businesses with preparedness planning and accessing disaster loans approved for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can find the location and contact information of your nearest SBDC here.

Health care assistance

  • Telemedicine expansion: Through emergency rules imposed by the Pritzker administration, the state has significantly relaxed rules around telemedicine for both Medicaid and private insurers, allowing more providers to get reimbursed for these services that allow patients more flexibility and safety.
  • Health care access for families: The State of Illinois has filed a waiver with the federal government to loosen restrictions on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Pritzker administration is seeking to increase access to telehealth and the number of health care providers that can screen patients, allow 90-day prescription supplies without prior authorization and early refills, as well as several other items that will increase flexibility and provide additional resources.

Food Security

  • Food assistance for children and families: The Department of Human Services has filed a federal waiver to ease eligibility requirements for food assistance programs like SNAP and WIC, which cover 1.8 million Illinoisans and 174,000 pregnant women and parents of young children respectively.
  • Free meals 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.
  • Grocery store hours for seniors: Gov. Pritzker announced yesterday that a growing coalition of grocery stores statewide will set aside one or more hours of operation for older residents to shop, before stores open to the general public. Among the grocers with new hours for elderly shoppers are Whole Foods and Shop & Save in the Chicagoland area and Hy-Vee and Valli Produce throughout Illinois. Contact your prefered store to see if they are participating.
  • Food for the homeless and at-risk famlies: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Chicago Food Depository is hard at work responding to the increased need for food. Locations of soup kitchens, food pantries and food distribution centers can be found here.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

Category: Uncategorised

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What is coronavirus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), coronaviruses commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. Most of the time, they aren't much different from a cold or flu virus— coronavirus symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and usually only last for a short amount of time. There are no specific treatments for coronavirus, but to relieve symptoms, patients are instructed to take pain and fever medications, drink plenty of liquids, and stay home and rest.

What’s the status of coronavirus in Illinois?

Currently, the number of coronavirus cases in the state remains low, but it continues to climb. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has posted coronavirus case totals and test results on its website, updated daily.

Is Illinois prepared to handle a potential outbreak?

Illinois health officials have acted swiftly to contain the virus, and they are prepared for the future. Illinois was the first state to provide coronavirus testing, and hospitals and health providers across the region are already expanding their surveillance efforts by offering patients with flu-like symptoms the option to be tested for the virus. IDPH has outfitted two additional labs in central and southern Illinois to handle the extra testing load.

On March 9, Gov. Pritzker issued a statewide Disaster Proclamation, which will allow Illinois to receive federal resources and support to advance preparation and planning. This declaration will build on the state's strong response to the outbreak.

How do I know if my family and I are at risk?

Public health officials will reach out to individuals who may have been exposed. They are actively monitoring the situation and will update the public in the event that certain measures— like school and business closures— are necessary.

How does coronavirus spread?

According to the CDC, coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person. Act the same way you would act if you had the flu— if you think you may be sick, keep your distance from other people and always cover your coughs and sneezes.

How can I stay healthy?

The IDPH and the CDC have issued recommendations to help people avoid coming down with coronavirus. Keep in mind: These tips are helpful for avoiding any virus, including the flu and the common cold!

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If I get sick, will insurance cover my care?

If you have questions regarding health insurance and HMO inquiries, please call the Illinois Department of Insurance at (877) 527-9431. If you have questions regarding Medicare beneficiaries and caregiver inquiries, please call CMS at (800) 548-9034.

What if I have have a family member that belongs to a vulnerable population?

The State and the City of Chicago continue to focus outreach efforts for those most vulnerable to severe illness from the coronavirus, our elderly and immunocompromised residents. Individuals who fall into these categories should take extra caution when attending gatherings of any size and avoid exposure to large groups of people whenever possible.The state has implemented new staffing procedures and strict guidelines restricting visitors at state-operated long-term care facilities and is also working closely with private nursing home and assisted living associations on the adoption of similar guidelines.

With questions and concerns about coronavirus, please call the IDPH 24/7 hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Category: Uncategorised

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CHICAGO – In what she views as an imperative step toward a more equitable criminal justice system, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) has introduced legislation that would give tens of thousands of Illinoisans a second chance at a clean slate by clearing their criminal records of arrests for which charges were acquitted or not filed.

“Even if the government doesn’t have a solid case or decides not to prosecute, having an arrest record can hinder an individual’s advancement in all aspects of their life – from housing to education to job prospects,” Hunter said. “It is an injustice to subject people to that if there is no chance they’ll be convicted of a crime, or even charged.”

Senate Bill 3476 requires automatic expungement of records in cases where:

  • arrests result in release without charges;
  • charges result in acquittal or dismissal; or
  • the conviction was reversed or vacated.

This would not apply to arrests related to domestic violence or sexual assault.

Studies indicate that nearly 9 in 10 employers, 4 in 5 landlords and more than 3 in 5 universities and colleges perform background checks while assessing applicants.

SB 3476 also requires that after an automatic expungement, the arresting authority must notify, by mail, the person whose record has been expunged.

“Innocence should not come with a price tag,” Hunter said. “We know that arrests disproportionately affect African-Americans, and low-income Illinoisans who, more often, lack the means to pay for expenses related to the expungement process.”

Under the current procedure for expungement, the petitioner must file a request for the records to be sealed or expunged. A copy of the petition must be served to the State's Attorney or prosecutor in charge of prosecuting the offense, the Department of State Police, the arresting agency or the local government entity that made the arrest. Any party entitled to notice of the petition may file an objection with the circuit court clerk. The red tape and legal expenses are often a barrier to low-income Illinoisans.

SB 3476 has been assigned to the Senate Criminal Law committee.

Category: Uncategorised

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SPRINGFIELD – School administrators and employers would no longer be able to enact policies banning dreadlocks, braids and other hairstyles, or punish those who wear them, under legislation introduced by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

“Hair styles are a core part of African-American history and culture,” Hunter said. “Far too often, black women, men, and children are forced to suppress their cultural identity in order to more closely align with someone else’s culture. This legislation would end that.”

Currently, the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination against a person because of his or her actual or perceived race. Senate Bill 3477, known as the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act, expands that protection to include traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.

SB 3477 follows the lead of California and New York, which both instituted versions of the CROWN Act in 2019.

Hunter’s measure comes amid reports in the media that students across the United States are being penalized by hair discrimination policies.

“We want children to be proud of their culture and heritage,” Hunter said. “Discriminatory hair policies strip them of that pride and inject self-doubt.”

Category: Uncategorised

COVID19 Updates

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
619 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5966
(217) 782-1631 FAX
 
District Office:
2929 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 102
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 949-1908
(312) 949-1958 FAX

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