DEERFIELD –State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is pleased to learn 19 businesses in the district she represents have received financial assistance from the Business Interruption Grant program to help offset financial losses stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and she is encouraging more to apply.

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“Small business owners have been some of the people hardest hit by the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Morrison said. “These funds will help them keep their doors open and their employees paid while keeping the community safe.”

Nearly 20 businesses in the district Morrison represents received a combined $700,000. Each business received between $5,000 and $150,000 to be used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants last week, as part of the second round of BIG Grants. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“Although these grants are extremely helpful, nothing beats support of the local community,” Morrison said. “I encourage people to continue to shop at their local small businesses, especially when shopping for the holidays.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Applications are available on the DCEO’s website.

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DEERFIELD – As the district State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) represents begins to see increased COVID-19 restrictions, she is urging people to get tested for the virus and support small businesses.

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“If we pull together and continue to do simple tasks like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, we can once again slow the spread,” Morrison said. “We’ve proven in the past that following these rules works, so let’s not stop now.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that resurgence restrictions will be put into place at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 for Region 9 – which is Lake and McHenry County. Mitigation measures include no indoor service at bars and restaurants, required reservations for each party, and social gatherings limited to 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity.

Morrison also represents portions of Region 10, which began the same restrictions Wednesday.

To help alleviate further spread of the virus, Morrison is encouraging anyone – regardless of symptom or exposure – to take advantage of a number of additional free COVID-19 testing sites coming to the area, including two this weekend. People can get tested Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Libertyville High School, located at 708 W. Park Ave., or Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Deerfield High School, located at 1959 Waukegan Rd.

Additionally, she is encouraging people to support small businesses that may be struggling during this time. Supporting local businesses, however, doesn’t just mean going to brick and mortar stores. Residents can support small businesses through online sales, ordering carry out from a locally owned restaurant or buying a gift card for a friend. For every dollar spent at a small business, 67 cents stays in the community.

“Small businesses help us. Now it’s time for us to help them,” Morrison said. “As you start your holiday shopping, I encourage you to consider the many small, local businesses that make our community such a vibrant place to live.”

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DEERFIELD – During a Senate Human Services Committee Monday, Chairman Julie Morrison called on the Department of Children and Family Services for greater transparency relating to child deaths and injuries that happen under the agency’s watch. 

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“Every member of the General Assembly should receive the Death or Serious Life-Threatening Injury Report each month so we can all be aware of these tragedies,” Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said. “We need to know about those children, their cause of death and the circumstances.”

The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act requires DCFS to investigate the death or serious life-threatening injury of a child in its care and issue a report on the circumstance to a number of legislators in leadership positions, as well as the senator and representative in whose district the death or injury occurred within six months. Additionally, a cumulative report of all deaths and serious life-threatening injuries must be submitted to the General Assembly annually.

However, since first joining the Senate in 2013, Morrison said she has not been notified of a death or serious life-threatening injury of a child in her district, nor has she been sent the quarterly data released by DCFS without asking for it. Additionally, Morrison argued there is data missing from the reports and it isn’t easy for an everyday person to read.

During Monday’s meeting, Morrison also brought up concerns about children who are in psychiatric hospitals ready to be released but have no where to go, and what kind of step-down foster care programs are available for them. She was heartbroken to learn that there isn’t a specific plan for the current 44 children who are in these situations.

“These children need help, but they can’t receive that help without a loving and stable home,” Morrison said. “The agency must act on this immediately and find the least restrictive setting possible so no more children have to suffer.”

Morrison will continue conversations with the Department of Children and Family Services to find the best solutions to ensure the state’s most vulnerable children receive the best care.

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DEERFIELD — State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is highlighting the Illinois Department of Human Services’ COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program, which created 100 summer jobs for Lake County teens.

“So many teens rely on summer work — especially those who live in low-income households,” Morrison said. “The current pandemic made finding jobs more difficult. However, thanks to the program, dozens of teens will be able to earn money while learning skills they can put to use both now and for years to come.”

Lake County-based Employee Connections was one of 30 youth employment providers to receive $500,000 to employ 100 youth between June and August. The program will provide a total of $9.3 million to support dozens of projects across counties hardest hit by the pandemic, which in turn will employ thousands of teens. 

Many people — both teens and adults — have struggled to find work during the COVID-19 health crisis. The program will curb those struggles by putting Lake County teens to work while helping complete projects in the community. 

“The program will allow teens to kick start their careers by learning the skills they need to succeed in the future,” Morrison said. “This is a great opportunity for young adults to receive career training that will shape them into community leaders for years to come.” 

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