No-Cash-Bail Provision of SAFE-T Act Upheld, Must be Implemented by Sept. 18
As you may have heard, the Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled on the no-cash bail provision of the SAFE-T Act, and the justices determined the section of the law is indeed constitutional. All Illinois counties now have until September 18 to implement the new rules.
We are fortunate in this area to have had our own State’s Attorney Robert Berlin at the table when the most recent changes were made to the law. The version as updated with recommendations from this panel greatly improved the Act and removed many concerns voiced by those who opposed it.
As approved by the General Assembly and upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court, judges across the state can no longer require those charged with crimes to post cash bail in order to leave jail while they await trial. Judges can, however; use their discretion to keep those who are a threat to the safety of an individual or to the community, or are likely to flee the jurisdiction, in jail.
New rules and mandated timelines for pre-trial hearings will put significant pressures on the court system. To adhere to pre-trial hearing mandates within the Act, adequate staffing and actual courtroom availability remains a concern. Many believe there will be additional updates to the Act as the law rolls out.
Lewis Hosts Successful Shred Event & Utility Clinic Seminar
Thank you to everyone who attended my July 22 document shredding event with Rep. Jennifer Sanalitro and the July 27 Utility Bill Clinic I co-hosted with State Rep. Amy Grant and the Illinois Citizen Utility Board (CUB). We had a great turnout for both events!
About 150 cars flowed through the document shredding event line, and those who attended the utility bill clinic learned how to spot unnecessary or suspicious charges on gas, electric, and phone bills, about energy efficiency programs and rebates that can help lower utility bills, and received tips on how to spot errors and avoid scams. Most importantly, each attendee had an opportunity to meet individually with a CUB counselor to go over their specific utility bills and find savings opportunities.
Upcoming community outreach events in the 24th District include:
- Thursday, September 7, Senior Fair: 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Roselle Park District, 555 W Bryn Mawr Avenue, Roselle
- Wednesday, September 13, Senior Fair: 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon, Wheaton Community Center, 1777 S Blanchard St, Wheaton
- Wednesday, September 27, Unclaimed Property Day: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Wheaton Community Center, 1777 S Blanchard St, Wheaton (Representatives of the Secretary of State’s Office will be available to help people search the state’s “unclaimed property and cash” database. One of four people find cash or property they are owed!)
- Saturday, September 30, Weekend Office Hours: 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, Lewis/Sanalitro District Office, 962 West Army Trail Road, Carol Stream
- Saturday, October 28, Prescription Drug Drop-Off Event: 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, Location TBD
As dates approach, additional information will be available on my website. Additionally, new events are added regularly, so visit SenatorLewis.com often to find more information.
Senator Lewis, Out and About in the Community
My staff and I have been very busy attending community events throughout the 24th District. In the top row of pictures above you’ll see the groundbreaking ceremony for a new transportation center in Schaumburg that will improve ADA accessibility and expand capacity at this major transit center along the I-90 corridor, a Celebrating Strong Women & Creating Connections Event held at RIM Logistics in Roselle, and a speaking engagement where I had an opportunity to talk with educational leaders from across the Midwest about the importance of their voice and of connecting with state legislators.
In the bottom row of pictures you will see the presentation of a Senate Resolution to Milton Township Supervisor John Monino and Wheaton Mayor Phillip Suess, recognizing the Wheaton Lions Club on its 100th Anniversary, a resolution congratulating Jim Reuter for 38 years of service at the Carol Stream Park District, and the presentation of an honorary resolution to constituent Emil Garippo on his 100th birthday.
New Law Addresses Isolation of Long-term Care Residents During Public Health Emergencies
Addressing the heartbreaking isolation that long-term care residents faced during the COVID-19 pandemic is the goal of a new state law. Senate Bill 2322 directs the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to establish a statewide policy for visiting residents in long-term care facilities in the event of a public health emergency. Facilities would be required to inform residents of their rights to designate both a “primary essential support person” and a “secondary essential support person” of their choice. These support people would provide essential care for residents far beyond a general visit. I was the leading Chief Co-Sponsor of this legislation.
This new law allows residents to continue receiving essential care from their support persons despite visitation restrictions, and even under a statewide emergency. The legislation does not affect hospitals or certain care facilities where IDPH has no regulatory oversight.
New IDOT Six-Year Plan Includes $6.6 Billion for Six-County Northeastern Illinois Region
On Friday, officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced a six-year comprehensive infrastructure improvement plan that includes over $40 billion to be spread out over all 102 counties in Illinois. The plan invests in all modes of transportation, including roads and bridges, aviation, transit, freight and passenger rail, waterways, as well as bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. It is the largest infrastructure plan in the state’s history.
Included in the plan is a Fiscal Year 2024-2029 Proposed Highway and Multimodal Improvement Program, which calls for an allocation of $27 billion for roads and bridges, with $4.6 billion identified for projects in the current fiscal year. According to documents provided by IDOT, the 2024-2029 program aims to improve 3,006 miles of roads and 9.8 million square feet of bridge deck on the state system, with anticipated funding maintaining 738 miles of roads and 1.1 million square feet of bridge deck for infrastructure overseen by local governments.
The State of Illinois is broken down into nine districts, and the six-county Northeastern Illinois region is identified as District 1. The region includes the City of Chicago, suburban Cook County, and the collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will. District 1 includes 2,712 miles of highways, and 1,454 bridges, which support 55 million miles of travel each day. Many of my constituents travel these roads regularly, so I am pleased to know that approximately $6.6 billion has been earmarked for projects in District 1.
To view the project summary for District 1, click here.
Secretary of State Moving to Appointment-Only Facilities Beginning September 1
Starting September 1 of this year, 44 of the busiest DMV facilities in Illinois will begin requiring appointments for the issuance of driver’s licenses, REAL IDs, or ID cards and in-car driving tests. Customers seeking renewals, license plate stickers, or who need other motor vehicle service transactions will be able to complete their transactions online. All suburban DMV facilities will transition to appointment-only facilities on September 1. Whereas DMVs today are open Tuesdays through Saturdays, moving forward, most stations will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 AM until 5:30 PM. Sixteen facilities will also have Saturday hours from 8:00 AM until 12:30 PM. DMV facilities in this area that will have Saturday hours include the DMVs in Lombard, Naperville, Schaumburg, and West Chicago (CDL licenses only in West Chicago).
Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias believes the move to appointment-only facilities will reduce wait times and incentivize more motorists to use online services for renewals. Motorists can visit ilsos.gov or call (844) 817-4649 to schedule an appointment starting September 1. Click here to view a short video on how to schedule an appointment.
Federal Student Loan Repayment Pause to End
After a more than three-year pause, those with federal student loans will have to restart paying their federal student loan bills in October. Interest on federal student loans will begin to accrue in September.
Student loan experts recommend that borrowers reach out to their student loan servicer with any questions about their loans as soon as possible, especially if they are interested in enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan. Those plans, which set payments based on income and family size, can lower monthly payments but require borrowers to submit some paperwork.
Please consider attending one of the free seminars offered by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation listed in the graphic above to receive additional information. You can use the QR code to register.
Illinois Nonprofit Opens Applications for Student Loan Program
As the start of the school year approaches, Illinois is joining forces with ISL Education Lending to launch the Illinois Partnership Loan Program, a lower-priced undergraduate and graduate student loan program for Illinois residents studying at qualifying Illinois institutions. Specifically, this program is designed to supplement other sources of financial aid for colleges, so students should seek out and exhaust all sources prior to seeking a Partnership Loan.
Applications are currently open, and you can find more information online. In order to be considered, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident currently residing in Illinois who is accepted, enrolled, or attending on a least a half-time basis a nonprofit, Title IV eligible, degree-granting, accredited Illinois college or university. Students can also apply with a cosigner and are eligible to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other aid each year, as certified by the school. Interest rates are dependent on the applicant’s credit score.
Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Child Victims
A new law seeks to prevent victims of violent crimes from being re-traumatized when they pursue justice through the criminal justice system. House Bill 2607, which was signed into law on June 30, allows victims under the age of 13 to testify remotely via closed circuit TV in most cases. This ensures that they won’t be forced to testify in person about the worst moments of their life in front of a room full of strangers and their attacker. I was happy to support this important bill.
The legislation was inspired by a downstate Illinois family who was forced to take legal action to prevent their child from being required to testify against their abuser in court.