SPRINGFIELD — While people are staying home to keep safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a population —survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence — who are living in more vulnerable situations. 

State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) applauds Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services for expanding services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are living in constant fear,” Morrison said. “Right now, they have nowhere to go and no one to watch out for them. I can’t imagine how scared some of these people are in an already worrisome time.”

IDHS announced Thursday the launch of a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its current statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The plan expands the domestic violence helpline by creating a one-stop access point for all shelter needs. Survivors can call the helpline at 1-877-863-6338 to be connected to a shelter that can provide assistance.

The agency is also working with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to establish an emergency fund to support local providers with assistance needs related to COVID-19.

 

Additionally, domestic violence prevention and intervention providers will receive a three-month advance of their current grant to support continuations of services and respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors.

IDHS will also provide the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers statewide to aid sexual assault survivors. The agency will similarly advance grant funds to Partner Abuse Intervention Program grantees for programs costs related to COVID-19.​

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SPRINGFIELD — As Illinois’ date to choose the nominees for a new U.S. president at the ballot box was on the horizon, the worry of low voter turnout due to the coronavirus pandemic loomed in the background.
 
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“Illinoisans had to choose between keeping themselves healthy or casting their vote,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said.
 
That worry turned into a reality Tuesday, after some counties throughout the state saw turnouts 20% lower than during previous presidential primaries. In Sangamon County, the turnout was 22.2% — before counting mail-in ballots — compared to the 43.4% turnout in 2016.
 
The case was similar in Chicago, where the turnout was only about 35%. Suburban Cook and the collar counties saw the same truncated numbers.
 
“People simply didn’t want to risk going out and catching the virus,” Morrison said. “Others were willing to take the chance but didn’t know where their polling place was due to last minute changes. We wouldn’t have seen low turnouts if more people could vote from the comfort and safety of their own homes.”
 
Senator Morrison (D-Lake Forest) will soon file a measure to further expand Illinois’ vote-by-mail program. Illinoisans would have the option to forego traditional polling places and cast their ballot from the comfort of their home. Under the proposal, each registered voter would be mailed a ballot, which would then be returned to the county elections office and counted on Election Day.
 
However, this does not preclude in-person voting opportunities on and/or before Election Day.
 
Morrison’s vote-by-mail measure will be based on similar protocols in Oregon, Colorado and Washington state.
 
Washington — which is home of one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the country — held its primary a week before Illinois. Yet, because all its voting is done by mail, people were able to cast their ballot without putting their health and safety in jeopardy.
 
“The situation we are seeing throughout the country during one of the most important elections to date is further proof it is time for Illinois to expand its vote-by-mail program,” Morrison said. “It adds simplicity to people’s right to vote and will boost turnout numbers.”
 
According to a 2016 study of Colorado, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and published by the National Conference of State Legislators, because of convenience, turnout increases. Statewide turnout in Colorado grew from 51.7% in 2010 to 54.7% in 2014 after implementing vote-by-mail.
 
The bill will be read into the record when legislators return to Springfield.
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Over the past few days, Governor JB Pritzker has been offering daily updates and guidelines on some of the measures recommended to ensure minimal spreading of the coronavirus.

 

While the coronavirus is changing how we go about our daily lives, it’s important to remain calm and to take proper precautions. Right now, the best possible thing you can do to help is to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to venture out.  Regardless of your health or age, it is vital that we take this recommendation seriously, as preventing further spread of the disease is the key to keeping you, your family, and our community healthy.

 

On Monday, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced the closure of all secretary of state and driver services facilities until March 31, 2020 due to coronavirus and the need to social distance.

 

However, there’s no need to worry if you need to update your license or registration. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations and other transactions will be extended by 30 days through an emergency rule.

 

 

 

Additionally, Gov. JB Pritzker announced over the weekend the closure of all bars and dine-in restaurants for two weeks. I am aware the affect this could potentially have on those in the service industry.

 

Workers who are unemployed due to coronavirus or do not have access to paid sick leave will be able to apply for economic assistance through the Illinois Department of Employment Security. More information can be found by calling 1-800-244-5631.

 

 

For businesses affected, the Small Business Administration is providing disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus for more information.

 

In order to apply for an emergency injury disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration, Illinois needs data from businesses across the state. If your business has been affected by COVID-19, please complete this online survey.

 

Our state’s governmental and economic leaders are stepping up to do their part in helping our people during this immensely difficult time. They know as well as I do that now, more than ever, it’s vital that we watch out for one another.

 

If you have any questions, please contact my district office at 847-945-5200. The office is closed, but we will continue to access voicemails and emails.

 

Continue to check my Facebook page and the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website for daily updates. 

Category: Uncategorised
During this trying time, I encourage people willing and able to donate to local food pantries.
 
People throughout the state have lost work due to the coronavirus outbreak, either temporarily or permanently. Their feet were pulled out from underneath them, and now they don’t know how they’re going to feed their families.
 
I ask people who have the means to donate to local food pantries in the northern suburbs.
The following food pantries are currently accepting donations:
  • The Shields Pantry, 906 Muir Avenue, Lake Bluff: Donations may be made by calling 847-234-0802.
  • Northfield Township Food Pantry, 2550 Waukegan Road, Suite 100, Glenview: The pantry is asking for financial donations that will be used to provide additional resources and food to its clients. Please visit spatpta.memberhub.store/shopping/items/112947 to donate or mail a check to the above address.
  • Wheeling Township Food Pantry, 616 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights: The most needed items at the moment are beverages, jelly, peanut butter, vegetables and white rice. Please call 847-259-7730 to arrange a drop off.
  • Moraine Township Food Pantry, 800 Central Avenue, Highland Park: Drop offs are accepted. Please leave groceries on the table outside. The most needed include oatmeal, canned fruit, cereal, mac & cheese and tuna. The pantry is also accepting direct donations to keep it stocked. Donations can be made by visiting www.morainetownship.org/super/pantry.html.
  • West Deerfield Township Food Pantry: 601 Deerfield Road, Deerfield: The pantry is in need of non-perishable food items and personal hygiene items. It is closed to the public; however, donors may put their donations in a cart found outside the door.
Category: Uncategorised

SPRINGFIELD – The deadline to file taxes is around the corner and State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is urging people in need of financial assistance and the elderly to take advantage of free tax preparation programs.

“Tax season can be stressful, especially for people who cannot afford to have their taxes filed by a professional,” Morrison said. “The free programs will give people the peace of mind to know their taxes were done accurately, without worrying about paying hundreds of dollars for the service.”

A number of communities in the north suburbs have opportunities for free tax preparation for elderly and low income families.

Every Friday from now until April 10, eligible people can get their taxes prepared and filed for free at the Deerfield Turner Center, located at 375 Elm Street. You must make an appointment by calling 847-940-4010.

Moraine Township is also hosting free tax filing for those with household incomes of $55,000 or less. Call 847-780-6644 to schedule an appointment.

There are dozens of other areas in the community that offer similar assistance. AARP’s Foundation Tax-Aide program – which is open to non-members – helps those with low-to-moderate income with their taxes. Locations for the program can be found here.

Additionally, the IRS offers income tax assistance and tax counseling for individuals making $56,000 or less, people with disabilities, taxpayers who speak limited English and individuals 60 years of age or older. To find a location, click here.

Federal and state income taxes must be filed by April 15.

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