Happy Independence Day! As Americans, we refer to the Fourth of July as our nation’s birthday…the birth of our direct representative style, Constitutional Republic. Since our founding, the United States of America has done more to improve the human condition, lift people out of poverty, and spread freedom around the world than any other nation on the planet.
Americans are free because of the battles won by heroes on both American and foreign soil.
We are free because throughout our history, brave patriots have answered the call to fight and die to defeat imperialism, the scourge of slavery, Nazism, Communism, and radical Islamic jihad. Some battles continue to this day.
While our military continues to be the most dominant force for peace and stability on Earth, the men and women that wear the uniform of our nation’s police are equally deserving of our thanks and praise. American police put their lives on the line every day to keeps our communities safe.
American police protect our freedom in ways we can’t even measure. THANK YOU to our police…the vast majority of Americans love and appreciate you!
The United States as we know it also endures today because of our shared freedoms to organize, assemble and protest (peacefully), and vote for our representatives. We are free to do these things because there are heroes that have worn and still wear the uniforms of our country and communities in service to our nation. Thank you to our police, first responders, and military members for working tirelessly every day to protect every American’s God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I am proud to be an American for these and many other reasons. As you celebrate this 2020 Independence Day, please remember the men and women who paid the ultimate price in defense of our country. God Bless you, and may God continue to bless America!
Virtual Town Hall Wrap Up
This past Tuesday June 30, I joined Rep. Terri Bryant and Rep. Patrick Windhorst for a Virtual Town Hall meeting live on Facebook. We discussed changes that apply to businesses and recreational activities as part of Phase 4 guidance provided in Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois reopening plan.
Illinois entered into Phase 4 on June 26th. Many businesses and individuals are impacted by the changes that have resulted from Illinois moving forward with reopening.
You can find the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Phase 4 Guidance comprehensive reference guide at this link:
We also discussed guidance recently released by the Illinois State Board of Education for the reopening of in-person instruction in schools this fall. The topics that we covered in relation to these new rules brought lots of questions and comments. I understand that many parents are very concerned about students being made to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing.
As we continue to lobby the governor to partner with the legislature in managing the state’s COVID-19 response, especially with schools expected to open next month, I want to invite you to continue to share your specific concerns with me.
PHASE 4 GUIDANCE – A QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO SCHOOLS REOPENING
The entire “Starting the 2020-2021 School Year” guidance document from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health can be found on ISBE’s website. Here are 10 highlights.
FACE MASKS – All individuals in school buildings serving students in grades prekindergarten through 12 must wear a face mask at all times, with limited exceptions, even when social distancing is maintained. **Face coverings do not need to be worn outside as long as social distance is maintained.
SOCIAL DISTANCING – Each school will have to come up with its own plan for keeping students and staff appropriately distanced. The state is recommending that students get assigned seating and stay in those seats for as long as possible. If possible, desks should be rearranged so they are six feet apart. Schools are being asked to limit number of people in hallways at the same time. Guidelines suggest that lockers not be used and that locker sharing should be prohibited. While in-school instruction is strongly recommended for all children, remote learning likely will continue in some form based on individual family and school needs.
HEALTH SCREENINGS – Schools are going to have to take temperatures or require a self-certification of temperature and symptoms for all staff, students and visitors entering school buildings. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or other known symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle and body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea may not enter buildings.
MUSIC – Indoor rehearsals are discouraged. Districts should consider moving music and band outside and reducing class sizes. Students should wear face masks while singing and avoid touching, choreography and singing or playing in circles. Instruments should not be shared at any time.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION – Games and sports that require close guarding and any potential physical contact with another player must be avoided to comply with state health guidelines. When possible, physical education should be held outside. Hand-shaking, high fives or other physical contact is prohibited. Districts should consider not using locker rooms. Use of shared equipment is not recommended.
CAFETERIAS – Schools and districts should consider adding additional meal service times so cafeterias are able to operate with 50 people at a time. Schools may also want to consider having students eat at their desks or outside. Meals should be individually plated. Buffets, salad bars and the sharing of food and utensils should be prohibited.
PLAYGROUNDS – While playground use is allowed during Phase 4, the state is asking districts to consider making playgrounds off limits to adhere to social distancing requirements. Playground equipment that is to be used should be monitored, the guidelines state, and there should be a cap on how many students can use the various pieces of equipment at the same time.
SCHOOL BUSES – Face coverings must be worn on buses, too. There can be no more than 50 people on a bus at a time and social distancing must be maintained to the greatest extent possible. Students will be subject to symptom and temperature checks, which may include self-reporting, before they can get on the bus. Seating charts are recommended.
HEALTH OFFICES – Schools will need to create health care areas that allow students to social distance and provide separate areas for sick and healthy children. Health care offices should contain a supervised quarantine space for staff and students experiencing what could be COVID-19 symptoms.
FIELD TRIPS – Field trips are discouraged at this time. The state is hoping that schools hold off on any field trips until health officials determined they are safe. The CDC recommendation is to use virtual activities and events instead.
ISBE’S ENTIRE GUIDANCE CAN BE FOUND AT THIS LINK:
Severin Co-Sponsors Legislation Aimed at Limiting Governor’s Emergency Powers
Benton….State Rep. Dave Severin has joined several House Republican members in co-sponsoring legislation aimed at liming the emergency powers of the Governor of Illinois.
HB 5780 says that within a 12-month period, the Governor shall have the authority to issue only one proclamation per disaster and that any further proclamation for the disaster that triggered the original proclamation shall be in force only after a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the General Assembly approves a joint resolution containing the exact language of the proclamation and which the Governor must follow.
Simply put, Severin says, the General Assembly needs to be involved in helping manage crises going forward.
“The State of Illinois was hit hard by COVID-19, and I was understanding at first when the governor took action to contain the threat,” Severin said. “However, as the months have worn on, I and many others have expressed great reservations about the unilateral nature of the State’s response. Basically, Governor Pritzker decided how everything would run in the state for the last 90 plus days. That is not how our system of government is supposed to work.”
Severin says he hopes to push HB 5780 when lawmakers return to Springfield in November for Veto Session.
“I have demanded for months that Governor Pritzker do the hard work of cooperating with the General Assembly to manage the COVID crisis,” Severin said. “The legislation I am sponsoring would force the governor, no matter who he or she may be, to work with the General Assembly going forward to manage long term crisis response.”
New grants available to help businesses impacted by COVID-19
June 23, 2020
Applications are being accepted for the state’s new Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG) and the Distressed Capital Program. Both programs will give priority to minority-owned businesses, or businesses located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIA).
The state will make $60 million available for up to 3,500 businesses experiencing losses and/or unable to fully reopen until Phase 4 or 5 through the BIG program. Funds are earmarked specifically for restaurants which haven’t been permitted to allow outdoor dining, health and fitness centers, barbershops and salons, and other businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) of the state. The first round of BIG funds are for businesses located in a subset of DIAs where there has been recent property damage due to civil unrest will be eligible for specific grant funds. The zip codes eligible for this specific subset of funding are found here. DCEO will begin accepting applications on June 26th. Read the eligibility questions.
The Distressed Capital Program brings forward $25 million in Rebuild Illinois capital funds to help those businesses sustaining damages as a result of events related to civil unrest begin to restore and repair.
Together, these programs mark over $150 million in assistance made available since the onset of COVID-19 to help businesses with urgent needs.
More information on these programs and other available grant opportunities can be found on DCEO’s website.
CURE Program Delivers Grant Funding to Local Governments
Examples of costs which are eligible for reimbursement under the program:
- Medical expenses, including but not limited to: expenses of establishing temporary public medical facilities and other measures to increase COVID-19 treatment capacity, costs of providing COVID-19 testing, and emergency medical response expenses;
- Public health expenses, including but not limited to: expenses for communication and enforcement by local governments of public health orders related to COVID-19;
- Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services were substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to COVID-19;
- Expenses for actions taken to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures;
- Any other COVID-19 related expenses reasonably necessary for the unit of local government to respond to the public health emergency that satisfies the Local CURE Program eligibility criteria. Local governments must document how expenses are related to COVID-19.
The process for receiving assistance:
- Based on rule or application, DCEO drafts a certification outlining a “not to exceed” value for which the local government may claim reimbursements under the program.
- For County and Municipal Governments
- County and Municipalities DO NOT need to apply for assistance.
- 14 Ill. Admin. Code § 700.80(a) allocates 80% of the program’s assistance and by rule the department has determined how much will be initially allocated to each County and Municipality. The searchable PDF linked below indicates each amount.
Allotment A Detail: Per capita formula allotments for Counties & Municipalities
- For Certified Local Public Health Departments
- Certified Local Public Health Departments DO NOT need to apply for assistance.
- 14 Ill. Admin. Code § 700.80(b) allocates 5% of the program’s assistance and by rule the department has determined how much will be initially allocated to each Certified Local Public Health Department. The searchable PDF linked below indicates each amount.
Allotment B Detail: Per capita and low-income population distribution to Certified Local Public Health Departments, based on IDPH’s Local Health Protection Grant formula
- For all other Units of Local Government
- All other units of local government not covered by the above allotments must apply for assistance under the program.
- 14 Ill. Admin. Code § 700.80(c) allocates 8% of the program’s assistance for other units of local government.
- Local governments serving areas which have been most disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency will be prioritized in the application process.
To find out if your local government serves a disproportionately impacted area, follow the link below.
Zip Codes that Qualify as a Disproportionately Impacted Area
To apply for assistance the Department will start accepting applications at 4pm on July 6th through July 17th at 4pm.
Have a sneak-peak of the application by clicking the link below.
Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Program Allotment C Information
- For County and Municipal Governments
600 Halfway Road, Suite 103
Marion, IL 62959
208-N Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706