Dear friends,

If you’re decluttering your home before colder weather keeps us inside, let us help you safely dispose of personal paperwork.

I’m hosting a shredding event with Rep. Kathleen Willis in Northlake on Saturday, October 10, from 9 a.m. to noon at 112 N. Wolf Rd.

Bring documents that contain your personally identifiable information to be safely shredded, such as old bank statements, medical records, tax returns, bills, receipts and credit card applications. Participants will be limited to two boxes per person.

Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness will be partnering with us to provide free face masks while supplies last.

This event is free and open to the public. All safety and social distancing measures will be observed.

More information is on the flyer below. I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

donharmonsig

Don Harmon

Senate President, 39th District

 

10 10 20ShredDay

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear friend,

As we move further into Phase 4, more businesses are reopening and Illinoisans are beginning to go back to work. But the road to recovery is long—many families are still facing economic challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Thankfully, support is available for businesses, community organizations and individuals struggling to make ends meet during this time. I’ve included resources below that I hope you’ll find useful. Feel free to forward the information to friends, loved ones and neighbors who may be able to benefit.

If you have any questions and concerns, please contact my office at (708) 848-2002 or click here to email me.

To keep our state moving in the right direction, I encourage you to continue washing your hands, wearing a mask and maintaining a safe social distance. It’s up to all of us to contain the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can save lives.

Sincerely,

donharmonsig

Don Harmon
Senate President, 39th District

Keeping small businesses afloat

The deadline for the federal Paycheck Protection Program has been extended to Aug. 8. Through the PPP, the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering up to $10 million in loans to eligible businesses to cover payroll costs, rent, utilities or interest on mortgages. Loans are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and if used as intended, the loans don’t have to be repaid. Find participating lenders here. If your business needs assistance with the application process, contact the local Small Business Development Center, located at 1140 N. Lamon, Chicago, IL, 60651 or online here.

Preparing Illinoisans for high-demand jobs

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is investing $4.7 million in 25 partner organizations to expand the Illinois Apprenticeship Program and train more residents for high-demand, well-paying jobs. Apprenticeship opportunities span a wide range of industries, including new programs in IT and medical assistance. Through the expansion, apprenticeship intermediaries will begin to operate for the first time in DeKalb, Sterling, Rock Island, Moline, Rockford, and Springfield. These investments will also provide existing programs in underserved communities with additional capacity. DCEO partners currently offer programming in East St. Louis, Southern Cook County and Southern Illinois. Residents and employers interested in joining the Illinois Apprenticeship Program can visit www.ApprenticeshipIllinois.com to learn more.

Protecting yourself against scams

Scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic by posing as contact tracers. Illinois State Police issued a warning on their Instagram page that included a screenshot of the most recent text scam circulating throughout the state. The message appears to be from a contact tracer and invites recipients to click on a link for more information—if you receive a text like this, do not click on the link. If you believe you are a victim or the target of a coronavirus scam, you should contact local police immediately.

Helping students continue their education at City Colleges of Chicago

Students who have had difficulty returning to City Colleges of Chicago due to unpaid debt may have an opportunity to return under the new Fresh Start program. Students who have dropped out and failed to pay may be able to have half of their outstanding debts waived, as long as they meet certain academic requirements. Most qualifying students are Black and Latinx and live in the neighborhoods hardest hit during the pandemic. To participate, students must enroll in at least one fall course by Aug. 20. Start the process here.

Testing locations

 

The State of Illinois operates community-based testing sites in all regions of the state. These sites are open to all, regardless of symptoms, and provide free tests. For a list of these locations and to find any other testing sites in your area, visit dph.illinois.gov/testing. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be tested. A full list of symptoms can be found here.

Category: E-Newsletters

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.

Sincerely,

 

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.

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear friends,

To continue our progress in containing the spread of COVID-19, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he will extend and modify the Stay at Home Order through the end of May.

This modification is an effort to give Illinoisans more flexibility while maintaining social distancing—under the new Stay at Home Order, you may be able to spend more time outside, reopen your business or even return to work. 

Here are some changes you can expect to see beginning May 1:

Face coverings will be required in public indoor spaces.

Beginning May 1, individuals over the age of 2 will be required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces where they can’t maintain six feet of social distance, including grocery stores. The modified order will also include occupancy limits for essential businesses.

You’ll have more options for outdoor activities.

State parks will begin a phased reopening in May, and fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website. Golf will also be permitted, as long as golfers respect strict safety guidelines and social distancing measures.

Some businesses will reopen.

The governor's order clarifies that greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries are essential businesses. So too are animal grooming services. Non-essential retail stores may reopen to fulfill curbside pickup and delivery orders. However, these businesses must follow social distancing guidelines and require customers and employees to wear face coverings.

If you return to work, you’ll be safer.

Manufacturers will be required to provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six feet of social distancing. The order will also require manufacturers to adopt new practices to protect customers and employees, including staggering shifts and operating only essential lines. 

The order will also include guidelines to help navigate other unexpected effects of the outbreak: Schools with dormitories will be given direction on allowing students to pick up belongings, and surgical centers and hospitals that meet strict safety criteria may be able to resume certain elective surgeries. Find more details on the modified Stay at Home Order here.

Staying home isn’t easy, but it’s the best tool we have to fight COVID-19. According to data from top academic institutions and researchers in Illinois, the Stay at Home Order has saved thousands of Illinoisans, if not more—without these restrictions in place, we may have seen up to 20 times as many deaths as we are currently experiencing.

But the fight isn’t over: The data also suggests the state would see a second wave of the virus if social distancing requirements were lifted now, which could claim tens of thousands more lives.

So for the health and safety of our friends, families, neighbors and front line workers, we must continue our efforts to contain the spread of this virus. We know many people are eager to return to their jobs, social lives and daily routines—we’re hoping that this modified order will help ease some of that restlessness. 

If I can answer any questions or provide assistance to you during this difficult time, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling 708-848-2002.

Together, we can finish the job and put a stop to COVID-19.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.

Sincerely,

 

Senate President Don Harmon

Category: E-Newsletters

Dear friend,

Friday afternoon, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year to contain the spread of COVID-19. Remote and e-learning will continue in place of in-person classes.

We know many Illinois families were hoping to return to their regular routines by the end of the school year. Students miss their friends and teachers, and parents are eager to watch their children graduate, go to prom and enjoy other milestones. 

But for the sake of everyone’s health and safety, it’s vital that we follow the guidance we’ve received from top health care and science experts around the world. That means continuing to stay home as much as possible.

We are taking the necessary steps to ensure our schools are prepared to handle remote learning: Illinois schools will receive $569 million in federal funding to help equip students with technology and internet access, support teachers in developing their remote instruction skills and continue providing meals to children and communities during closures. When schools reopen, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will release recommendations to address learning loss and students’ social-emotional needs.

To help you through this difficult time, here are a few resources you may find useful:

Learning from Home

 

At-home learning presents a unique set of challenges for both students and parents. ISBE has put together a list of free resources and tips to help teachers and parents support student learning while schools are closed. For advice on keeping students engaged in education, visit www.isbe.net/keeplearning.

Families of children with disabilities may need extra support during this time. The Illinois Autism Partnership and Easterseals have developed a School Closure Toolkit to support children with autism through school closures. Other special education resources, including activity ideas and home learning packets, are available on the Easterseals website.

Finding Child Care

 

With schools and many daycares closed, some essential employees are worried about finding care for their children while they are at work. Find contact information for available resources in your area by searching by your county or zip code here. Essential workers in health care, human services, government, and essential infrastructure may eligible to receive child care through Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program. Get more information and access application materials here.

Managing Mental Health

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many Illinoisans—being stuck at home can be harmful to anyone’s mental health, including children. If you or your child is feeling anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed during this time, there are resources available to help.

Illinois has launched a free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19. To speak with a mental health professional, text “TALK” (or “HABLAR” for Spanish-language services) to 552-020. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also offers support groups and other resources for individuals who may need help dealing with a mental health condition. Call 800-950-NAMI (6264) or visit www.nami.org to find what resources your local NAMI chapter is offering during the COVID-19 crisis.

Make no mistake: The next few weeks won’t be easy. But in order to protect our friends, loved ones, and neighbors from COVID-19, we must make sacrifices.

Our state is acting with the input of top medical experts, scientists, public health researchers, and epidemiologists—based on their advice, staying home is our most powerful tool to fight the spread of this virus. We have begun to flatten the curve, but we must maintain our course to keep the infection under control and prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed.

If you have questions about school closures or need other assistance, my staff is working remotely to support you during this time. Give us a call at 708-848-2002 or visit donharmon.org, and we’ll do our best to address your concerns.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home.

Sincerely,

 

Senate President Don Harmon

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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