Bill Spotlight, Witness Slips, PPP for Small Businesses, Vaccines, and Coffee
In This Issue:
- Bill Spotlight: Property Tax Limits & School Districts
- Witness Slips
- PPP Loans for Small Businesses
- COVID-19 Vaccine Expansion
- Tomorrow’s Coffee & Conversation
The Springfield legislative session goes into full force in the coming weeks, and there are many ways for you to participate. In addition to contacting our office and joining our district’s Citizen Advisory Panels, we’ll also let you know about how to submit witness slips for any bill being introduced in committees.
Within the district, our office continues to focus on serving and meetings with constituents, connecting them with state agencies, grants, and other opportunities, some of which we’ll outline below.
As always, we love hearing from you and want to give you plenty of opportunities to provide feedback for how you want to be represented in Springfield. Consider joining February’s Coffee & Conversation, taking place tomorrow at 10 am (February 27), to chat and hear more about new potential legislation.
Bill Spotlight: Property Tax Limits & School Districts
My colleagues and I were in a flurry of activity to meet last week’s bill submission deadline, and you can see a current list of our district’s bills on my ilga.gov bill site. My staff and I have begun the process of building support from fellow legislators as well as looking through their bills and identifying bills to co-sponsor that support our district’s priorities
One bill I introduced, HB3774 PTELL-School Districts, came directly from my time as a member of the Naperville 203 school board. In 2017, that board passed a resolution with the Illinois School Board Association to support legislative efforts to allow school districts to more easily lower tax levies, and, as a result, lower local property tax bills. Current law makes it difficult for school districts to responsibly lower their tax levies without hampering longer-term financial health, and this bill gives schools more tools to be able to responsibly lower property tax bills.
We deeply appreciate it when constituents contact us to let us know their opinion on bills, and it’s important that we all continue to do so. One additional way to make your voice known is via witness slips, which help committee members and legislators voting on bills know where people stand on any bill.
The Illinois ACLU has a helpful primer on how to file witness slips. It’s worth a read, but in short, you can file witness slips via the GA Dashboard for any bill that has been scheduled for a committee hearing. Most witness slips are “Record of Appearance Only”, which will be recorded as your support or opposition to the bill. You can also submit a written statement or note your interest in providing oral testimony to a committee.
PPP Loans for Small Businesses
From now until March 9, 2021, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program will be open only to businesses with fewer than 20 employees. During this time, lenders will be able to focus on some of our smaller and more vulnerable businesses. For more details, please visit the SBA website. You can view all lenders near you on this map. Illinois’ Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity is making technical assistance a priority, so please make sure to take advantage of its webinars and local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).
COVID-19 Vaccine Expansion
As of yesterday (February 25), Governor Pritzker expanded the eligibility of those currently prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines to include those with comorbidities and underlying conditions, as well as individuals with disabilities. That expansion in eligibility comes in tandem with increased vaccine supplies, which will allow Illinois to continue its accelerating pace in getting people vaccinated. Nevertheless, we continue to hear pockets of our community that are still having trouble getting vaccination appointments, and we will continue working with public health officials to address those issues.
Compared with other states, Illinois remains ahead of the rest of the country in administering at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccinations to those over 18, while it’s catching up in the proportion of that population that’s fully vaccinated with two doses.
Tomorrow’s Coffee & Conversation
We host 41st District Coffee & Conversations on the last Saturday morning of each month. We’re getting closer to one day being able to meet in person! In the meantime, please join us for tomorrow’s February Zoom chat.