Dear Neighbor,

This was a big week down in Springfield. I wanted to break down what’s happening in the legislative process and give you a clear look at the bills that will affect our friends, family, and neighbors in the 7th District. Read on to learn about the initiatives I’m sponsoring and some important local resources.

Legislative update

Bills for which I am the lead sponsor

SB 817

This bill bans discrimination in schools against hairstyles traditionally associated with race and ethnicity. This bill is near and dear to my heart because it confronts structural racism with a structural response. 

What’s next? It will be heard in the Education committee next week on Tuesday at 1 p.m. 

SB 2132

This bill would create a $600-per-child tax credit. This credit phases out gradually for single parents making more than $40,000, or parents filing jointly earning above $60,000. Any post-pandemic recovery needs to include aid for working families.

What’s next? After this past week’s subject matter hearing, the bill is set for budget discussions.

HB 648

I am the Senate sponsor of this bill, which requires the Illinois Housing Development Authority to develop grants for funding rent subsidies for low-income families. You can find more info here.

What's next? HB 648 passed the House and the Senate Revenue committee, and awaits debate on the Senate floor.

SB 2133

This bill would require State agencies to add age, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity to the categories of data collected about individuals who utilize major services administered by state government. This is specifically about LGBTQ+ visibility during this pandemic. We know this community faces disparities in access to health care. To ensure justice as we recover from the pandemic, we have to know how COVID has harmed our LGBTQ+ community.

What’s next? This bill passed the Senate and now awaits consideration in the House Human Services Committee.

SB 966

This bill expands eligibility for Medicaid to include families making 276% of the federal poverty level. We need to make insurance more readily available to families and to acknowledge that while the federal poverty level has not budged, the reality of poverty absolutely has. 

What’s next? Discussions are ongoing, and we hope to see this legislation added to a larger Medicaid package currently in the works.

SB 2134

This legislation increases wages for home care providers to $15/hour. These jobs require skill, compassion, and physical care. They must be paid at a living wage.

What’s next? I hope to see this included in budget negotiations.

Legislation I am co-sponsoring

SB 347

Senator Robert Peters is the lead sponsor on SB 347. This bill requires the state to develop an alternative to 911 for mental health crises. I was proud to vote in support of this bill as it passed the Senate.

What’s next? The bill moved over to the House and awaits a hearing in the Mental Health & Addiction Committee on Thursday, May 13. 

SB346

Senator Julie Morrison is the lead sponsor on this bill, which I am co-sponsoring. This bill expands Medicaid to dental coverage for students. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services would be responsible for administering and regulating this holistic and preventative care. I was proud to support this bill as it passed the Senate.

What’s next?  The bill moved over to the House and awaits consideration in the Executive Committee on Wednesday, May 12.

HB 1779

I am a Senate co-sponsor on this bill. Starting in 2022, it would disallow health care service plans from requiring prior authorization for biomarker testing for someone with advanced or metastatic stage 3 or 4 cancer. 

What’s next? This bill passed the House and now awaits consideration in the Senate Insurance Committee on Wednesday, May 12.

Important resources for you

Senior Sewer Rebate

2021 renewals for the Senior Citizen Sewer Rebate were mailed in January. New applicants who did not receive a rebate in 2020 can use the application form by clicking on the link below. If you wish to apply, you must submit a Senior Sewer Application. Whether you’re applying for the first time or renewing your application, be sure to complete the form in its entirety and submit all the necessary supporting documents, including driver's license or passport, and proof of tax payment in the form of a property tax bill.

Please send any questions to Jerry Goodman via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Help for parents under the federal stimulus

For small businesses

Here are some state resources for small businesses:

    • Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund
  • DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000
  • Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply.  Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term.
  • Learn more about eligibility and how to apply here.
  • Government Contracting Assistance:
    • Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers provide on-on-one advising, technical information, marketing assistance and training to existing businesses that are interested in selling their products and/or services to local, state, or federal government agencies. Click here to find an Illinois PTAC near you.

Federal Assistance for restaurants:

  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund: SBA
    • SBA is awarding funding through the Restaurant Revitalization Program to restaurants, bars, and other similar places of business that serve food or drink. The purpose of this funding is to provide support to eligible entities that suffered revenue losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • These are grants, not loans, and they’re open now!

 

Where to find me this weekend

Edgewater Art Walk 2021

 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about my legislation or other things happening in Springfield, you can contact me via my website at https://www.senatormikesimmons.com/contact-us or call my district office at (773) 769-1717.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Category: Newsletters

Dear Neighbor,

I’m writing to you to talk about some important developments in child care here in Illinois. As I said when I spoke earlier this month about the child tax credit I’m proposing, we can’t forget the effect COVID-19 has had on working parents. A big part of that has been the harm done to child care facilities. We need to build back these providers if we’re to truly recover from the devastation of this pandemic.

That’s why the news this week that Illinois will use $1.6 billion in federal relief to target early childhood services for recovery is so welcome. Of that, $140 million will be allocated for grants to child care providers. These funds can be used to pay rent or maintain staff, supplies and training.

As part of this plan, Gov. Pritzker has also announced the creation of a new office within the Illinois Dept. of Human Services called the Division of Early Childhood, scheduled to begin work in July.

I am gratified to see Illinois is prioritizing the child care sector as we allocate federal relief. Working families need child care to be safe, affordable and available, now more than ever. We can’t get there without targeted relief efforts like these.

Start your application for early learning today

On that same topic, the time has come to start thinking about your child's options for early learning. Applications open today, and you can begin the process online here. You can find providers in your area right now by entering your address here and seeing what’s available. You can also call 312-229-1690 with questions about preschool programs for your 3- or 4-year-old.

If you have any questions or concerns about child care, my legislation, or what’s going on in Springfield or the 7th Senate District, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Category: Newsletters

Dear Neighbor, 

While vaccination efforts ramp up across the state, not everyone has equal access to a shot. In March I requested COVID-19 data for the 7th District from the Department of Public Health. Upon review it was clear that ZIP codes 60626 and 60659 had the highest COVID-19 infection rates and least access to the vaccine in the district. Those ZIP codes cover Rogers Park and West Ridge, home to many immigrants, non-primary English speakers, and those living without reliable access to quality health care here in the 7th Senate District. 

To address this systemic inequity,  I organized and hosted two COVID-19 vaccine clinics last Friday, which delivered shots directly to 200 residents of Rogers Park and West Ridge. I want to thank the Howard Brown Health Center, the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, and ONE Northside for partnering with me on this event, and to all the health care workers and volunteers who helped plan and execute both vaccine clinics in the 7th district. 

simmonvax

Read more ...

Category: Newsletters

Dear Neighbor,

Now that we’ve entered Phase 1C of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, a new mass vaccination site will open next week near our community at Wrigley Field on April 5. This site will be equipped to serve eligible 7th District residents.

The mass vaccination site will be held at the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way at 1101 W. Waveland Avenue, next to Wrigley Field, and will be operated by Advocate Aurora Health. It will have capacity to administer approximately 2,000 doses a day. The site is by appointment only; there is no on-site registration.

Registration for vaccination appointments will be available starting next week on https://www.zocdoc.com/vaccine

Appointments will start being posted on ZocDoc later this week. Additional appointments will be added daily. All Chicagoans eligible in Phases 1A, 1B, or 1C will be able to schedule appointments. Additional details about telephone options to book appointments at both sites will also be announced prior to opening.

Appointments will be restricted to Chicago residents, and people will need to bring proof of residency to their appointment. A driver’s license, Illinois ID card or REAL ID, City Key Card, library card, postmarked letter, utility bill, voter registration confirmation, Consular ID (Matricula Consular), and many other forms of identification will all be accepted. A complete list of eligible documents is available at Chicago.gov/COVIDVax. The vaccine will be offered at no cost, and insurance is not required. Documentation regarding immigration status is also not required.

Here’s some information that can help you determine if you or members of your family are eligible. Remember that you can find a list of mass vaccination sites in Chicago here and that every one of us who receives a COVID-19 vaccine makes everybody a little bit safer.

Who is eligible to receive a vaccine under Chicago’s Phase 1C?

All types of essential workers and Chicagoans age 16-64 who have underlying medical conditions qualify under Phase 1C.

What underlying medical conditions qualify someone for Phase 1C?

People with the following conditions are eligible for vaccination at locations open to Chicago residents under Phase 1C:

  • Cancer (current diagnosis)
  • Cardiac, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular disorders (including heart disease, coronary artery disease, and hypertension or high blood pressure)
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Chronic respiratory disorders (including cystic fibrosis, moderate to severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema [COPD])
  • Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
  • Disability: physical, developmental, visual, hearing, or mental
  • Neurologic conditions (including dementia)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Liver disease (including hepatitis)
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity, which is defined as having a Body Mass Index greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thalassemia

Which workers are essential workers under Phase 1C?

You qualify as an essential worker if you are employed in:

  • Clergy and religious organizations
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Food and beverage service
  • Higher education
  • Information technology and communications
  • Legal
  • Media
  • Other community- or government-based operations and essential functions
  • Personal care services and hygiene
  • Public health
  • Public safety
  • Retail
  • Shelter and housing
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Water and wastewater

You can find more detailed information here, including a more specific breakdown of essential workers.

Vaccines are safe and effective. I know many people in the 7th Senate District have comforted and looked out for their neighbors and fellow Chicagoans during this year of hardship. Thank you for doing that for our community. Right now, getting vaccinated is one of the best ways we can help each other. 

If you need any help from my office regarding vaccination or anything else, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact me through my website here or call my office at (773) 769-1717.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Category: Newsletters

Covid-19 Resources

Newsletter Archive

Office Info

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-1717

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
M115 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

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