Capitol Report from Senator Craig Wilcox

SAFE-T Act update:  ‘No cash bail’ set to take effect September 18

Since the final day of the 2021 lame-duck session, the SAFE-T Act has been highly criticized among the public, law enforcement, and state’s attorneys. Now, two and half years later and after multiple court battles, the “no cash bail” provisions found within the law are set to take effect statewide Sept. 18.

Among other things, the SAFE T Act creates a standard that all defendants in a criminal process are presumed eligible for pretrial release and that State’s Attorneys must petition the court to even start the process of trying to hold a defendant behind bars pending trial.

I opposed the SAFE-T Act when it passed the General Assembly because the law places restrictions on how law enforcement officials can apprehend suspected criminals and fails to address the financial impacts that the elimination of bail will have on counties and victim services. The law also fails to provide judges enough discretion to be able to hold certain offenders in jail pre-trial, leading to a heightened risk to public safety.

Wilcox to co-host college student financial aid seminar on September 19

Selecting a college can be a daunting task, and the cost of a college education can make the goal of completing a college degree seem unattainable. If you have a college student or a high school student exploring their post-high school education options, I would like to personally invite you and your student to attend an online session where a great deal of beneficial information will be shared.

On Tuesday, September 19 from 6:00-7:00 PM, I am partnering with State Senator Dan McConchie and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ILAC) for a free online seminar on applying for federal and state student financial aid and options for repaying student loans. A question and answer period will be provided.

Virtual FASA Student Loan Seminar
February, September 19
6:00-7:00 PM

Again, this event is tailored for current college students, high school students exploring their collegiate options, and families that want to learn more about available financial aid.

Specifically, the webinar outlines the financial aid process and provides insight into how financial aid works, how to apply for it, student eligibility, and how it can be used to help pay for college. It introduces the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, along with summarizing state and federal aid programs and other topics

Registration is required, and information on how to join the webinar will be sent to registrants prior to the September 19 event. To receive additional information or to register, email Hannah at

Variety of outreach events scheduled for the 32nd District this fall

Mark your calendars now for the following community outreach events:

  • September 14, Conversations Untapped: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Cary Ale House & Brewing, 208 W. Main Street, Cary

  • September 19, Virtual Student Financial Aid Information Meeting: 6:00 PM-7:00 PM, online, to receive the webinar link, please RSVP to Hannah at

  • October 10, Conversations Untapped: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Timothy O’Toole’s Pub, 10 W. Grand Avenue, Lake Villa

  • October 12, Conversations Untapped: 5:30 PM- 7:00 PM, Rivalry Alehouse, 945 Main Street, Antioch

  • October 17, Senior Fair: 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon, Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake

Scholarships for low-income students in jeopardy as program is set to expire

Since its inception in 2018, the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Fund has provided 40,000 scholarships to K-12 students. Now, unless the Legislature intervenes during the upcoming fall Veto Session, the program will expire at the end of the year. As lawmakers, we cannot allow this to happen.

I have been a vocal supporter of the Invest in Kids Scholarship Fund because it helps underserved students improve their chances of academic success by offering private school monetary scholarships for them to attend a different school. Invest in Kids offers a 75% state income tax credit to individuals and businesses that contribute to the Fund. Scholarships are provided to families that meet certain academic and income requirements. 

The looming fate of the program comes as just last week, news reports have called attention to hypocritical comments made by the head of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), who has been a staunch opponent of Invest in Kids. In a report by WBEZ, the CTU President confirmed that one of her children attends a private high school despite her many comments criticizing these private schools.

HFS halts co-pay requirement on state-funded undocumented immigrant healthcare program

On September 5, the Governor’s Administration sent a notice to hospitals regarding the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors Programs, informing them not to collect co-pays from patients enrolled in the program. The program provides top-notch healthcare to illegal immigrants ages 42 and older in Illinois.

Back in June, Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) filed emergency administrative rules to set maximum co-pay amounts for certain services in an attempt to rein in state costs of the ballooning program, which was expected to cost $1.1 billion this fiscal year. Previously, illegal immigrants in the program were allowed free services without co-pays. However, even though the emergency rules went into effect immediately, HFS is now informing providers that the cost-sharing portion of the rules were never meant to be implemented immediately and is on hold until further notice.

A total of $550 million was allocated to the program in this fiscal year’s budget, despite projections showing costs over $1 billion. To attempt to lower these costs, the Pritzker Administration filed a variety of new rules but has failed to provide an updated financial outlook of the program. Given the recent pushback by many in the Governor’s own party over his “cost-saving measures” and the lack of transparency, I am not confident that the program will stay within the $550 million allocated to the program. In fact, I believe it is likely just a matter of time before the Governor and the Majority Party come back to the Legislature asking for more money.

Illinois homeowner grant program set to expire

 Illinois homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic seeking financial mortgage assistance have until October 31 to apply for a grant through the Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF). ILHAF is a federally funded program dedicated to assisting homeowners at risk of default, foreclosure, or displacement because of financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ILHAF was initially launched in April 2022 and has provided more than $246 million to help nearly 14,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure while regaining their financial stability. ILHAF supports qualified homeowners with grants of up to $60,000 for past-due mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, and homeowner and/or condo association fees. The average grant is $17,988 per household.

Applications must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31 to be reviewed for eligibility. A submitted application does not guarantee approval.

To qualify for a grant, Illinois homeowners must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a household income less than 150% of the Area Median Income.
  • Own and occupy their property as their primary residence.
  • Are past due on their mortgage, property tax payments, or homeowner association dues.
  • Have experienced a financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 that began, continued, or worsened after Jan. 21, 2020.

Eligible Illinois homeowners can apply online at

Craig Wilcox

Want to stay up to date with Senator Wilcox?

Sign up for his E-Newsletter below: