Throughout the spring 2021 legislative Session, I spoke several times at events and through my email newsletter and press releases about my objection to Illinois House Democratic and Senate Democratic politicians drawing their own legislative maps. I believe this work is best left to an independent commission, and I have sponsored legislation that would amend the State of Illinois’ Constitution to take politicians out of the process.
Despite my objections and the objections of my Republican colleagues, Democrats in the General Assembly forged ahead, drew a gerrymandered legislative map behind closed doors far from the public eye, passed legislation in the dead of the night and earned Governor JB Pritzker’s signature. Gov. Pritzker even signed the politician passed maps after previously promising to veto any such map.
A major objection that I shared with my colleagues was the Democrats’ use of American Community Survey data instead of waiting to draw new legislative maps using US Census data, which has been known to be far more accurate. This week, as Census data was released, Democrats in charge of Illinois are finding out their maps are fatally flawed, and unconstitutionally out of balance. Simply put, new maps are coming – what these will look like is yet to be determined.
A lawsuit, filed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, and Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie is scheduled for a status hearing later this month. Despite the uncertainty, one thing is for sure, legislative and judicial action is coming and more news will break. Please stay tuned for updates on this critical issue! For more in depth analysis and news on this issue, please check out some of the links below!
IL DCEO Announces $250 Million in Back to Business (B2B) Grant Programs
This week, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) launched the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program to support the continued recovery of small businesses across Illinois. The first round of Back to Business Grants will offer the hardest hit industries grants of $5K-$150K to help offset losses, bring back workers, and take continued steps to rebuild amid the fallout from the pandemic.
DCEO will work alongside over 100 community navigators, 42 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and other outreach partners who have relationships with their local business community. These partners will help small businesses prepare and apply for funding with 1-on-1, and multilingual assistance in every region of the state.
Interested businesses can find information on grant opportunities and connect with navigators to assist in the process at https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/AboutDCEO/GrantOpportunities/Pages/CommunityNavigator.aspx
Traveling the 117th District and Beyond!
It was great to be with my fellow legislators las week for meetings at SIU Carbondale with President Mahony and Chancellor Lane to discuss the upcoming school year, successes and challenges. Go S I U!
Ribbon Cutting in Marion!
A great time was had by all at last week’s ribbon cutting in Marion, at Dr. Graham’s office on 17th street. It was my honor to join Mayor Absher, Ed Cunningham CEO of heartland regional hospital and Senator Fowler in the celebration.
$10 Million in IL DCEO Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grants Available
$10 million is being made available by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to boost tourism in Illinois. Applicants may be eligible for up to $1 million to help offset the costs of putting on festivals and other events that bring tourists to the State of Illinois.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted with awards made quarterly and the department will have the ability to fund applications most closely aligned to eligibility criteria approved for immediate funding. To view the NOFO, please visit https://bit.ly/3fRxKgN.
COMING SOON – 2021 Du Quoin State Fair August 27 – September 6
The Du Quoin State Fair begins Friday, August 27th with the Twilight Parade and ribbon cutting. This year’s fair entertainment includes acts like Riley Green, Jamey Johnson, REO Speedwagon, horse racing, dirt track and ARCA racing, and much much more! Check out the entire line up at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/dsf/Pages/default.aspx
My office in Marion is available to serve you by appointment or phone Monday through Friday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. You may reach my office any time at 618-440-5090 or by visiting RepSeverin.com/contact and sending me a message. You can correspond by mail with my office at 600 Halfway Road, Marion, IL 62956.