Dear Friends,

This upcoming Labor Day, I would like to thank all the hardworking people of Illinois who make this state a great place to live.

I would like to give extra thanks to the essential and front-line workers who have spent more than a year risking their health and safety to care of the rest of us. I wish everyone a fun and safe Labor Day weekend!

Sincerely,

Don Harmon

Senate President, 39th District

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear Friend,

Illinois’ eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire on Aug. 31, meaning evictions can begin again in the state.

I want you to know there is still help available.

If you’re a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities, or other housing costs – or if you’re a landlord trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation – help may be available. State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic.

Visit the CFPB’s Rental Assistance Finder to find out what this means for you and what you can do.  The CFPB’s site also includes resources to help renters and landlords understand other resources to help navigate various financial hardships related to the pandemic.

If you have any questions or need help accessing these resources, call (708) 848-2002 or email me at donharmon.org.

Sincerely,

Don Harmon

Senate President, 39th District

 
 
 
Category: E-Newsletters

Dear Friend,

With federal supplies of the vaccine increasing steadily and the rollout well underway in Illinois, I am proud to say we are on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back to the New Normal

Last week, Gov. JB Pritzker announced a phased approach that Illinois will use to advance to Phase 5—the final phase—of the state’s Restore Illinois Plan, in which all businesses and recreation can fully reopen and large events like festivals and conventions can take place. Masks will likely still be required for some time, however.

Like prior stages of the Restore Illinois Plan, this new plan—the “Bridge to Phase 5”—will depend on COVID-19 hospitalization, death and vaccination rates. However, rather than a regionalized approach, Illinois will move forward to Phase 5 as one unified state.

How We Move Forward

If our positivity and hospitalization rates remain steady,

  • When 70% of Illinois residents age 65 and older have been vaccinated, our state will begin the Bridge to Phase 5, in which capacity limits on restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and other establishments will be loosened.
  • When 50% of Illinois residents 16 and older have been vaccinated, we will move into Phase 5, eliminating all restrictions and capacity limits.

The Bridge to Phase 5 plan also includes updated capacity limits based on risk level, with new guidelines for fully vaccinated Illinoisans. The full plan is detailed here.

 

Vaccines for All Starting April 12

Vaccine eligibility will be expanded in the coming weeks to include higher-risk groups who do not qualify in Phase 1A or 1B, building up to universal eligibility.

Eligibility will be expanded as follows:

  • March 22: Higher education staff, government workers and media
  • March 29: Food and beverage workers, construction trade workers and religious leaders

Starting April 12, all Illinoisans over age 16 are expected to be eligible to receive the vaccine. Residents are encouraged to be patient in the days and weeks following this expansion, as vaccination appointments may be limited. Find up-to-date eligibility guidelines, vaccination locations and available appointments at coronavirus.illinois.gov.

Looking Ahead, Together

We have almost reached the finish line. In order to keep up our progress, we cannot let our guard down—please wear a mask and practice social distancing as we continue to drive down new cases. If you are still waiting to get your vaccine, I urge you to be patient as the state progresses through our rollout plan. I will continue to update you with new information as I receive it.

If you have questions or are in need of support during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 708-848-2002 or donharmon.org.

Thank you for your efforts thus far to keep your family, friends and community safe. Your sacrifices have saved lives.

Sincerely,

donharmonsig

Don Harmon

Senate President | 39th District

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear friends,

Happy New Year! The Senate started 2021 off with a busy end to the 101st General Assembly.

We passed sweeping reforms to address inequalities in education, economic opportunity and the criminal justice system.

We also passed measures to help businesses stay afloat during the ongoing pandemic and give CPS teachers the same bargaining rights as all other teachers in the state.

A brief overview of these measures is below.

If you have any questions, please reach out to my district office at (708) 848-2002 or send me an email at donharmon.org.

Sincerely,

donharmonsig

Senator Don Harmon

Senate President, 39th District

Education reform

The education pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ agenda addresses systemic racism and the reality that many children never get a fair chance at a quality education. The measure allocates resources to children whose lives may already be shaped by trauma by the time they start kindergarten and will require a real examination of the way biases influence our school systems and curriculums.

The bill also:

  • Seeks to eliminate barriers to college admission by requiring two years of laboratory science and a foreign language to graduate high school. This matches the admission requirements for most public colleges and universities in Illinois.
  • Makes it easier for students to succeed by requiring schools to automatically enroll them in the next level of advanced coursework if they meet or exceed state standards in that subject matter.
  • Expands access to Early Intervention services to give students an equitable start.
  • Codifies the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment to ensure children start on equal footing when entering Kindergarten.

Chicago Public Schools bargaining

House Bill 2275 allows Chicago teachers to collectively bargain over issues like class size, length of school year and staff reductions.

All other teachers in the state are already allowed to bargain over these items. This legislation simply gives Chicago teachers parity.

Economic recovery

Businesses are struggling to survive as the state has imposed necessary mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many have turned to curbside pickup and delivery, but there was not a statewide standard for alcohol delivery, limiting some establishments’ ability to conduct business.

Senate Bill 54 allows retail establishments to use third party delivery services like Instacart to deliver alcohol along with other items like groceries.

Economic access, equity and opportunity

The economic development pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ agenda addresses disparities faced by communities of color.

It is divided into four pieces of legislation that address different issues:

  • Housing
  • Hiring and pay equity
  • State contracting and procurement
  • Business barriers and predatory lending

Click here for more details.

Criminal justice reform

This comprehensive criminal justice reform bill makes significant reforms in the areas of police training in everything from crisis intervention tactics to de-escalation, police accountability, transparency in law enforcement and the rights of detainees and prisoners.

Spurred by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans at the hands of police, it is the culmination of nine public hearings over four months with over 30 hours of public testimony and many more hours of stakeholder meetings and negotiations.

What the bill does:

  • Modernizes sentencing laws.
  • Replaces the cash bail system with a new system that detains all dangerous defendants, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Institutes certification & decertification system statewide for police officers.
  • Requires the use of body cameras.
  • Prevents destruction of law enforcement misconduct records.
  • Connects substance abuse treatment programs with first responder duties.
  • Increases and improves de-escalation and mental health training for law enforcement.
  • Requires police to develop a plan to protect children during search warrant raids.
  • Empowers the attorney general to investigate deaths occurring in police custody.
  • Addresses officer wellness and mental health awareness and screenings.
  • Bans use of chokeholds and other extreme measures.
  • Establishes statewide use of force standards by 2022.

What it does NOT do:

  • Does NOT defund the police.
  • Does NOT modify or remove protections to allow police departments to be sued (qualified immunity).
  • Does NOT change or take away collective bargaining rights.
  • Does NOT allow those that are charged with a serious offense and are a risk to a person or the community or is a flight risk to be released from custody.
  • Does NOT prevent a judge from revoking pretrial release.
  • Does NOT alter prison time for individuals serving time for heinous crimes.
Category: E-Newsletters

Dear Friend,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying well. Many families are struggling with remote learning, altered routines and disrupted traditions.

But we’ll get through this tough time together. If you, your household or your business is in need of assistance, I encourage you to explore the resources I’ve included below to see if you might benefit.

You can also contact my office with questions and concerns by calling 708-848-2002 or visiting www.donharmon.org. My staff and I are ready to help.

Please keep yourself safe and healthy, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

donharmonsig

Senator Don Harmon

Senate President | 39th District

Helping small businesses reopen safely

The Illinois Department of Labor has launched Back to Business Illinois, a free service to connect small businesses with consultants who will help them create a customized plan that promotes a safe, healthy and productive environment for workers and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is completely voluntary and non-punitive—it’s designed to empower Illinois small businesses to continue operating safely. For more information on the Back to Business Illinois program, visit the official website: www.illinois.gov/worksafe

Supporting struggling tenants and homeowners

Several utility companies have voluntarily extended the moratorium on disconnections until March 1, 2021 for eligible low-income residential customers, and those who self-report to utilities that they are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship. Additionally, the state-issued moratorium on evictions has been extended, and if you applied for the Emergency Rental Assistance program, you will receive an update on your application status before Nov. 10, when full disbursement of funds is expected.

Providing flexibility to Illinois motorists

The Illinois Secretary of State has implemented new policies to allow drivers to stay safe and avoid long lines and crowds at the DMV. Drivers age 75 years and older automatically have their driver’s licenses extended by one year; the new expiration date is their birthday in 2021. All other licenses and IDs have been extended to Feb. 1, 2021. Vehicle registrations will expire Nov. 1 and can be renewed online, along with duplicate license and ID requests, plate replacement, and more at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Advocating for survivors of sexual assault

The Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Services has launched CheckPoint, a secure online tracking system that allows sexual assault survivors to monitor the progress of evidence taken in their cases at every step of the way, from collection to the State’s Attorney’s office. Any survivor who seeks a forensic medical exam at a health care facility that has implemented the CheckPoint system (about 86% of facilities offering sexual assault treatment plans) is now able to track the progress of their evidence. The CheckPoint system is available here.

Preparing unemployed Illinoisans for in-demand jobs

The State of Illinois has partnered with Coursera to offer virtual career training to unemployed workers. Using an Illinois workNet account, job seekers can register for free courses in high-demand fields like information technology from top institutions—such as the University of Illinois—to learn new skills, earn certificates and make themselves more attractive to employers. More than 3,000 residents have enrolled, and over 430 classes have been completed since June. Register here by Oct. 31.

Category: E-Newsletters

Contact Me

Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
327 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

Oak Park Office:
6941 W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
 

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