HIGHWOOD – Following more than a year of most Illinois schools being remote, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is announcing financial assistance to help districts address COVID-19 challenges.

“Teachers aren’t just educators to students – they are often friends, protectors and role models,” Morrison said. “During the pandemic, teachers stepped even further into these roles – and I can’t thank them enough.”

The funding comes as part of the most recent federal COVID-19 relief packages. Schools, students and parents have overcome challenges that no one could have imagined before the pandemic began, including remote and hybrid learning, digital connection issues, new processes for receiving state and federal aid that normally flow through schools, and more.

Local school districts are set to receive the following amounts:

  • Wheeling CCSD 21: $13,123,520
  • River Trails SD 26: $1,530,393
  • Northbrook ESD 27: $591,162
  • West Northfield SD 31: $1,741,183
  • Lake Bluff ESD 65: $372,211
  • Lake Forest SD 67: $1,022,503
  • Bannockburn SD 106: $301,669
  • Deerfield SD 109: $680,229
  • North Shore SD 112: $4,252,828
  • Twp HSD 113: $1,425,035
  • Lake Forest CHSD 115: $718,497

The majority of the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which gives local schools a great deal of flexibility in how they can use the money over the next 3 ½ years. At least 20% of the funding must be used to address learning loss, but beyond that, school districts can use the money to address many different issues and costs. For example, it can be used to better equip schools for safe learning, to prevent layoffs, to address students’ social and emotional needs, to fund summer programs, or to ensure all students have access to reliable Wi-Fi and technology.

The State Board of Education, in collaboration with other state agencies that address education, has produced a guide for local school districts to help them decide how to best use their resources. While the guide and other state-sponsored services are completely voluntary, the state aims to support local districts during this difficult time.

“The thought of going back to full-time in-person learning, while exciting, can also seem daunting for some teachers and students,” Morrison said. “This additional funding will ensure educators have the resources they need to help students best transition back to the classroom.”

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In total, Illinois received nearly $7 billion to support local school districts.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – Due to the extremely high cost of EpiPens, many people go without – living life each day hoping they aren’t faced with an allergic reaction that requires the lifesaving medicine. To combat the burdensome price, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is leading a measure to require insurers to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors.

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“With increases in food allergies and other serious allergic conditions, people are relying on EpiPens more than ever,” Morrison said. “Nobody with a serious allergy should go without an epinephrine injector simply because they cannot afford one.”

In 2019, Morrison passed legislation to require insurers to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors – also known by the brand name of EpiPens – for minors. However, she wants to take the law one step further by removing the age limitation. Morrison introduced identical legislation last year, but it was stalled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When injected into people experiencing a severe allergic reaction, epinephrine narrows blood vessels and opens lung airways, reversing the symptoms of a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

“People are dying because they can’t afford EpiPens,” Morrison said. “That’s wrong.”

Senate Bill 1917 passed the Senate Insurance Committee Wednesday. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – Last month, three Illinois officers were struck by cars within 24 hours after drivers chose to ignore the “Move Over” law. To help combat the rising number of officer injuries and deaths by vehicle, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is leading the charge to enhance Scott’s Law penalties.

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“This law is common sense, yet every day dozens of people are breaking it and putting the lives of officers at risk,” Morrison said. “This has to change. Writing a check for a fine doesn’t seem to be enough for some people, so we’re going to do all we can to make sure the purpose of this law is heard loud and clear – and that’s by requiring people to give up their free time to do community service work.”

Scott’s Law – or the “Move Over” law – requires drivers to slow down their cars, change lanes if possible and proceed with caution when they are approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights on. During a 19-day span last month, the Illinois State Police issues 1,340 tickets to people not following Scott’s Law.

Under current statute, a person who violates Scott’s Law will be fined between $250 to $10,000 for their first offense, and between $750 and $10,000 for their second. The amount is determined by a judge.

If Senate Bill 1913 passes and is signed into law, a judge may also issue the violator a term of community service work on top of the fine.

“Far too many officers have been recklessly injured or killed, simply by doing their jobs,” Morrison said. “We must ensure no other family has to endure the pain of a call that says their loved one was hit while protecting their community.”

The Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Fire Chiefs and secretary of state, among others, support the measure. It passed the Senate Criminal Committee Tuesday and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

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Category: Latest News

HIGHWOOD – People with disabilities will soon be able to take greater advantage of the Watts Recreational Center and its ice skating rink thanks to a $2.5 million investment from the Rebuild Illinois capital grant program supported by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

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“The Watts Recreational Center has been a staple for many years thanks to its outdoor, lighted skating rinks and more than three acres of land,” Morrison said. “More people will be able to comfortably use this Glencoe gem because of this additional funding.”

The Watts Recreational Center, located within the Glencoe Park District, will receive $2.5 million for renovations and updates to allow the center to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Projects include a new elevator, a secondary entrance, as well as a new multi-purpose room, restrooms and storage. Additionally, support spaces within the ice skating rink will be renovated.

The PARC grant program provides up to 90% of project costs to help build, renovate and improve recreational buildings used by the public, with local governments matching the value of the grants awarded. The grant to Glencoe Park District was one of 17 grants awarded across the state this week.

“Fighting for inclusivity for people with disabilities has been one of my top priorities as a state senator, so it’s great to see that by voting for the Rebuild Illinois capital grant program, I was, in part, voting for a more inclusive community,” Morrison said.

A full list of grantees is available on IDNR’s website.

Category: Latest News

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