Dear friends,

This year’s spring session was unlike any other. Our work helped people in need, offered stability in a time of crisis and bought the state time to get to a better tomorrow – a tomorrow in which we hope medical science has found a way to fight back against this virus and in which Washington recognizes its unique ability to help state and local economies recover. 

Many questions remain unanswered and will in the days and months to come, but I am proud to say that the Senate took decisive action to pass a budget, provide relief for local governments and ensure Illinoisans can vote in November without compromising their safety.

You can read more about these measures below.

As we approach summer, I urge you to stay safe and reach out to my office at (708) 848-2002 or here with any questions or concerns.



Senate President Don Harmon

Senate passes budget during abbreviated special session

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and focusing on preserving vital services, the Illinois Senate passed a budget that prioritizes public health and safety and vital services.

In order to protect people’s health, the budget provides additional funding to both state and local health departments. It also expands programs that help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes.

Responding to the economic harm caused by COVID-19, the budget provides additional funding to address the overwhelming number of new unemployment claims.

To provide struggling families and businesses with additional assistance, the budget directs federal CARES Act funds to help revitalize small businesses, provide mortgage and rent assistance, and create additional resources for immigrants struggling with COVID-19. These programs are structured to ensure that both Chicagoland and downstate communities benefit, and they set aside funds for underserved communities.

Also preserving and bolstering vital services, the budget holds the line on P-12 and higher education funding, public safety and more. It even provides additional funding to help fix problems at the state’s troubled Department of Children and Family Services, which has faced additional problems due to the pandemic.


Vote by mail expansion clears Illinois Senate

The Illinois Senate approved an expanded vote-by-mail program that has garnered increased popularity across the state and country amid public health concerns over voting and elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Senate Bill 1863:

  • Any person who has voted in the past two years (2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election) would receive an application for a ballot in their mailbox.
  • Any person who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election would receive an application.
  • General Election Day, November 3, 2020, would be a state holiday.

Read more here.