Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Child Victims
A new law seeks to prevent victims of violent crimes from being re-traumatized when they pursue justice through the criminal justice system. I was proud to co-sponsor this bill. House Bill 2607, which was signed into law on June 30, allows victims under the age of 13 to testify remotely via closed circuit TV in most cases. This ensures that they won’t be forced to testify in person about the worst moments of their life in front of a room full of strangers and their attacker.
The legislation was inspired by a downstate Illinois family who was forced to take legal action to prevent their child from being required to testify against their abuser in court.
New Law Addresses Isolation of Long-term Care Residents During Public Health Emergencies
Addressing the heartbreaking isolation that long-term care residents faced during the COVID-19 pandemic is the goal of a new state law. Senate Bill 2322 directs the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to establish a statewide policy for visiting residents in long-term care facilities in the event of a public health emergency. Facilities would be required to inform residents of their rights to designate both a “primary essential support person” and a “secondary essential support person” of their choice. These support people would provide essential care for residents far beyond a general visit. I was happy to support this bill.
This new law allows residents to continue receiving essential care from their support persons despite visitation restrictions, and even under a statewide emergency. The legislation does not affect hospitals or certain care facilities where IDPH has no regulatory oversight.
State Police Launch Crime Statistics Website
On July 1, the Illinois State Police (ISP) officially launched the Crime in Illinois Online website. Part of the Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting Program, this website makes it possible for the public to view yearly crime statistics. Previous years’ reports are hosted in the archives, but up-to-date information is viewable by each category rather than the entire report.
This program serves as the state repository for the collection of crime statistics, and with increasing need for transparency, Illinois has transitioned over the last two-and-a-half years from a more traditional system to the new, more robust National data system, according to ISP. Participation in reporting is mandated by Illinois law.
On the website, the public can find data on crime rates per county and the type of offenses and their trends. All reports can be downloaded and the website itself is interactive with a variety of information. This website will be continuously updated as that data is submitted by various agencies.
HAFHR Program Applications Open
The Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund Home Repair Program (HAFHR) is accepting applications through July 31. This program awards grants to nonprofits and governmental entities to make home repair grants to homeowners negatively impacted or housing insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and unaddressed home repairs.
In total, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has awarded $25 million in funding for this program. The grants received will be between $1 million to $5 million, and the organizations awarded will be responsible for then awarding home repair grants of up to $60,000 per eligible homeowner.
The application process can be completed online, and applications are due by Monday, July 31 at 3 p.m. If potential applicants have any questions, the IHDA is hosting an Application Workshop Webinar on July 13 at 10 a.m., which you can register online. Please keep in mind, that this application is not for homeowners, as the program will not be open for the public until sometime in 2024.
Upcoming Events in the 32nd District
As a reminder, I have several upcoming outreach events in the 32nd District. Please mark your calendars for the following dates:
- Summer Reading Program: Ongoing through August 2, click here for more information.
- July 17, Retail Roundtable: 5:00 PM-6:30 PM, McHenry Recreation Center 3636 Municipal Drive, McHenry (if you own a retail business in McHenry or Lake Counties and would like to attend, please contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org).
- August 16, Unclaimed Property Day: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM, Fox Lake Public Library, 255 E. Grand Ave., Fox Lake
- September 19, Virtual FAFSA Information Meeting:, 6:00 PM-7:00 PM, online, details coming soon
- October 17, Senior Fair: 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon, Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 IL-176, Crystal Lake