The Spring 2022 legislative session kicked off this month and I am excited to get to work. While we continue to work toward recovery from the ongoing pandemic, we are also focused on crucial protections for working parents, our environment, seniors, and our students.
Illinois has continued to make responsible fiscal decisions, as shown by Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s announcement, that the State has paid back a $2 billion loan from the Federal government two years ahead of schedule. This will save Illinois taxpayers $80 million in interest payments.
Additionally, I was honored to recently receive A+ legislative grades from the Illinois Environmental Council, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, the Illinois Humane Society and the Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee.
Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
2021 Session Outlook
Stabilizing Illinois’ finances, delivering high quality education to every child and keeping our communities safe remain my top priorities as we return to Springfield to begin work on the FY23 budget. In addition, I’ve introduced bills to tackle substance addiction, protect our environment and expand protections for working families and seniors.
- HB1780 – The path to opioid addiction often starts in the home medicine cabinet, but disposing of unused or expired prescription drugs by flushing them down the toilet poses another health risk: polluted drinking water. The Drug Take-Back Act would tackle both problems by establishing a statewide drug take-back program funded by drug manufacturers providing a safe, convenient and environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted medications.
- HB3067 – Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is essentially non-biodegradable, contributing to the worldwide plastic pollution crisis for hundreds of years to come. Decades of producing rapidly-increasing amounts of disposable plastic goods has overwhelmed our ability to manage the waste generated. This legislation bans the sale and distribution of disposable polystyrene food containers by stores to cut down on the immense amount of waste produced every year.
- HB4179 – Expands workplace protections to prohibit discrimination based on family care-giving responsibilities.
- HB4180 – Representation on Senior Facility boards is critical to ensuring that residents’ voices are heard in senior living communities. This legislation would ensure residents’ feedback and concerns are being addressed.\
Fiscal progress continues Comptroller Susana Mendoza recently announced that the State has paid off a $2 billion loan from the Federal government almost two years ahead of schedule. The loan was taken out to help cover State expenses during the early stages of the pandemic. Due to strong revenues, the State was able to pay the loan ahead of time and save over $80 million in interest payments. No Federal stimulus money was used to make the repayment.
Revised ISBE/IDPH guidance for schools The state of Illinois has adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) updated Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools. You can review the updated guidelines HERE and read through the Frequently Asked Questions HERE.
Free COVID tests via USPS Beginning this week the Federal government has begun accepting orders for free COVID-19 at home test kits. There is a limit to one order of four tests per valid residential address and test kits will begin shipping at the end of January. You may request a pack from www.covidtests.gov/.
Flick Park testing continues The COVID-19 testing center run by Northshore Clinical Labs in partnership with the Glenview Park District at Flick Park will be extended through June 1st, 2022.
Registration is required, you can make an appointment HERE.
Hours at the testing facility have been updated and are now:
Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
CEDA Assistance Available
If you need assistance in paying your gas, electric, or water bills, CEDA’s Utility Bill Assistance (UBA) program is here to help. If you are interested in applying, call 800-571-2332 or visit www.cedaorg.net/sites to find a local intake site. CEDA recently held a Q&A session regarding their available programs, you may view it HERE.
Check out Illinois’ iCash Program
The Illinois State Treasurer’s office is currently holding more than $3.5 billion in unclaimed funds. These funds can be claimed at no cost by either the original owner or their heirs.
Over November and December my office worked with the Treasurer’s office to help return over $700,000 to constituents or their families. You can check if you have funds being held by the State at the Treasurer’s website HERE.
New Trier Property Tax Appeal Workshop 1/25
Board of Review commissioner Michael Cabonargi will be hosting a virtual webinar on how to appeal your property tax assessment for residents of New Trier Township Tuesday, January 25th at 6 PM. You can sign up to listen in HERE.
District Shout Out – New Trier Animal Protection Club
This month I want to highlight students in our community who are making a difference. The New Trier Animal Protection club has been active this past year in advocating to protect wildlife throughout our State.
Recently, one of their members, Benicio Becka, penned an op-ed regarding Wildlife Killing Contests. Due to their advocacy, I co-sponsored legislation to end the practice of killing contests in Illinois. I applaud Benicio and the Animal Protection Club’s work on making their voices heard.
Events in the District
- In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th the Illinois Holocaust Museum will be hosting a screening of the film Saul & Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band, followed by a live performance by the band as well as a post-show discussion with the director of the film. You can sign up to attend in-person or virtually HERE.
- Skokie Park District will be hosting a Summer camp virtual open house Wednesday January 26th at 6 PM. You can check out all their available programs ahead of resident registration opening January 30th. Registration for the event is HERE.
- The Wilmette Historical Museum is hosting a free lecture on Sunday January 30th from 2 to 3:30 PM by former Village President John Jacoby to reflect on the Village’s 150th birthday. You can register to listen in HERE.
2021 Legislative Scorecards
I am proud to have received the following A+ ratings from these fantastic organizations following the 2021 legislative session.