As we celebrate this year’s 4th of July holiday, I want to take a moment to simply thank the men and women of the United States military, and the men and women of the United States’ many police and sheriff’s departments and law enforcement agencies across the country for serving, sacrificing, and preserving the freedom and security that we all enjoy.
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.
I am proud to be an American! As you celebrate this 2020 Independence Day, please remember the men and women who paid the ultimate price to secure the blessings of our precious God-granted liberties.. God Bless you, and may God continue to bless America!
Virtual Town Hall Round Up
This past week I was happy to host another virtual town hall meeting with fellow Reps. Dave Severin and Terri Bryant. We were live on Facebook to discuss changes to Illinois’ business and recreational climate as a result of moving in to Phase 4 of the governor’s reopening plan.
We also were able to cover some information on the proposed rules released by the Illinois State Board of Education aimed at reopening our public schools in the fall.
There is a lot of information to digest, but these items are important. For the entirety of the COVID-19 crisis, I have taken your comments, concerns, and suggestions to the governor and his staff to try to claw back some of the things that have been disrupted or outright taken away due to the governor’s executive actions.
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:
Rep. Bailey’s Lawsuit against Governor Pritzker Advances to Next Phase
On Friday, Clay County judge ruled in favor of State Rep. Darren Bailey’s lawsuit against Governor Pritzker’s Executive Orders. Here’s my reaction to the news.
“The ruling by a Clay County judge underscores a point that I have been making since the Governor first took Executive action in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Government works best for the people when all co-equal branches have a chance to weigh in. To that end, this week I signed on to co sponsor HB 5780, legislation that would limit the governor’s emergency declaration power to 30 days. The governor has indicated he plans to appeal the Clay County ruling. I look forward to watching as the judiciary weighs in but would again request the governor work in cooperation with the legislature to improve the response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Windhorst Co-Sponsors Legislation Aimed at Limiting Governor’s Emergency Powers
Metropolis….State Rep. Patrick Windhorst has joined several House Republican members in co-sponsoring legislation aimed at liming the emergency powers of the Governor of Illinois.
Windhorst says HB 5780 limits the governor’s powers during an emergency. The bill states 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.
Windhorst says he believes firmly that the General Assembly needs to be involved in helping manage major public health crises going forward.
“The State of Illinois was hit hard by COVID-19, and I tried hard to be understanding as the governor took executive actions to contain the spread of the virus,” Windhorst said. “But, as time has passed, I and many others have felt great reservations about the unilateral nature of the State’s response. Governor Pritzker has pretty much decided on his own how everything would run in Illinois for the last 3 months. That is not how our system of government is supposed to work.”
Windhorst says he will push hard for the bill’s passage in November’s Veto Session.
“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,” Windhorst said.
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
2 N. Vine St., 5A
Harrisburg, IL 62946
214-N Stratton Building
Springfield, IL 62706