Senator Lewis to host ‘Back to Business’ grant webinar on May
Support of Illinois’ job creators is critical to a thriving state economy. This year I filed legislation that lifts up our businesses and helps them succeed and reach new levels of success. But my advocacy in this area is not limited to legislative endeavors.
If you or someone you know is the owner of a restaurant, hotel, or creative arts organization, I would like to invite you/them to join me and representatives from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for a FREE webinar to learn how to apply for a significant outlay of grant money.
Senator Lewis’ Back to Business Grant Webinar
Wednesday, May 3
Online via Zoom
DCEO is offering $175 million in recovery grants through the Back to Business (B2B) program. Through this program, businesses in three select categories that have been hardest hit by the pandemic will be able to apply for grants from April 5 through May 10.
In total, $75 million will be available for the hotel grants, while $50 million will be available for restaurants and creative arts organizations respectively. Grants are wide-ranging, from $5,000 to $50,000 for restaurants, up to $1,500 per room for hotels, and $5,000 to $250,000 for creative arts organizations. Businesses in either the restaurant or creative arts categories will be awarded with flexible spending to support losses; however, for those in the hotel category, 80 percent must be used for payroll-related costs with the remaining 20 percent being flexible spending.
You must register for this webinar, and once registered and prior to the May 3 event, you will receive a link via email that will allow you to connect to the webinar. To register for this event, please send your name, as well as your business’ name, address, and phone number to this email address: RSVP@sgop.ilga.gov.
Senate Republicans push pro-jobs, pro-business bill package
The Senate Republican Caucus has three issue-specific bill packages that seek to address serious issues affecting Illinois’ business community and families.
One of these packages helps businesses grow jobs and the state’s economy. I participated in a press conference recently to highlight the bills, including my Senate Bill 2075. You can listen to my press conference remarks here.
Other bills sponsored by Senate Republicans that lift up our businesses and help them grow and thrive include:
Senate Bill 140 eliminates the Estate Tax and the Generation-Skipping Estate Tax. This bill is especially helpful to farming families.
Senate Bill 163 provides corporate manufacturers with enhanced incentives to invest more in research and development of new products.
Senate Bill 1406 repeals the franchise tax that thousands of Illinois businesses pay.
Senate Bill 1810 removes the $100,000 cap on the Net Operating Loss (NOL) deductions to help businesses invest and grow their organizations without revenue loss to the state.
Senate Bill 2084 incentivizes privately-held businesses to grow and thrive in Illinois through an innovation tax credit tied to research expenses.
Senate Bill 2140 reduces the filing fee for Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) by 50 percent.
Lewis questions DCFS Director during appropriations meeting
As a member of the Senate Appropriations- Health & Human Services Committee, I recently had an opportunity to question officials from the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) on the Department’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024. DCFS funding has increased over the past few years and reflects an increase of $767 million since Fiscal Year 2018.
Despite this increase and the recent request during the Appropriations hearing for even more money, the number of child deaths under the agency’s radar continues to grow each year. From Fiscal Years 2015 to 2018, an average of 100.5 children died per year, while from Fiscal Years 2018 to 2022, that number increased to 129.5 children. In 2022 alone, there were 171 deaths of children who met the criteria for an investigation by DCFS.
DCFS has failed to improve the quality of care for these vulnerable children. Instead, the issue has only worsened over time. And this is not the only issue that DCFS has faced. In the past few years, the Director of DCFS has faced multiple contempt of court charges over child placements and the agency has been accused of mishandling numerous cases. Despite these disturbing trends, the Governor has refused to change the agency’s leadership.
VIDEO: Watch my questioning of DCFS Director Marc Smith during the hearing here.
Lewis co-hosts successful drug take-back event
Last weekend State Representative Amy Grant and I partnered with the Wheaton Police Department for a prescription and over-the-counter drug takeback event outside of the police station. High winds, sleet, and hail did not diminish the event’s success, and at the conclusion of the four-hour event, our volunteers had collected 269 pounds of unused or expired medications that had built up in people’s medicine cabinets. The medications will be incinerated in a safe manner.
The response to this event exceeded our expectations, and we had a steady stream of cars, and even one bike, with people dropping off expired or unused medications. Residents were extremely grateful to have a convenient location to safely dispose of drugs.
Disposing of these kinds of medications safely is important because it keeps them out of the water supply and out of the hands of children and potential abusers. The Wheaton event on Saturday was part of a nationwide Drug Take-Back Day sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and one of hundreds of events in Illinois.
VIDEO: Watch a photo/video of the day’s highlights here.
In addition to hosting community events like drug take-back events, Senate Republicans have a comprehensive package of bills to help keep families and children safe in a variety of ways. Legislation included in our anti-drug/family safety package includes:
Senate Bill 73 creates a new Class X penalty for someone who unlawfully sells or dispenses any scheduled drug containing a detectable amount of fentanyl. In addition, the bill makes it a Class 1 felony for someone to knowingly use an electronic communication device in the furtherance of controlled substance trafficking involving a substance containing any amount of fentanyl.
Senate Bill 1086 in every case in which fentanyl is determined to be the cause or a contributing factor in the death, the coroner or medical examiner shall report the death to the Department of Public Health as “fentanyl poisoning.”
Senate Bill 1405 creates a blended sentencing provision for aggravated driving under the influence where there is an accident that results in the death of one person and great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to one or more persons.
Senate Bill 1968 creates a felony offense for those who threaten a childcare institution or daycare center building or threaten violence, death, or bodily harm directed against someone at a childcare institution or daycare center, a childcare institution or daycare center function.
Senate Bill 1974 enhances the penalty of a domestic battery, other than by discharge of a firearm, in cases when it is committed against someone 60 years of age or older so that they commit the felony offense of aggravated domestic battery.
Senate Bill 1976 expands the offense of domestic assault to cover situations where someone engages in conduct that places any family or household member in reasonable apprehension of great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. In addition, the bill provides for a 72-hour stay-away order.
House Bill 3203 provides that a pharmacist or retailer may sell fentanyl test strips over-the-counter to the public to test for the presence of fentanyl, a fentanyl analog, or a drug adulterant within a controlled substance.
Senator Lewis hosts local high school students for Youth Advisory Council
I recently had an opportunity to host a group of bright students from high schools in the 24th Senate District for a day-long event where they learned about government, jobs in the public sector, and the intricacies of how a bill moves through the legislative process. Students were recommended for the program by teachers and school counselors, and the students enjoyed an inside look at what it’s like to be a state lawmaker.
Students heard from three guest speakers who explained their path into different areas of public service, and each offered periods of Q and A. But the highlight of the day was a mock legislative session, where students were assigned various legislative roles, and they moved a school safety bill through a mock committee process.
It was a wonderful and engaging day, and the students brought great insights into conversations. This group has a bright future, and I cannot thank them enough for participating.
VIDEO: Enjoy a video/photo collage of the day’s highlights here.
Senate Republicans propose cost-of-living remedies for families
Inflation and taxes continue to put pressures on family budgets, and this year Senate Republicans are pushing for reforms that would provide families with some much-needed relief.
Bills in the Senate Republicans’ cost of living remedy package include:
Senate Bill 1150 makes the one-year state sales tax exemption for groceries permanent and also exempts prescription drugs and other medical devices from state sales tax beginning July 1, 2023.
Senate Bill 1151 provides parents with a state tax credit equal to 25% of the federal tax credit for each qualifying child. Under the proposal, qualifying families would receive a tax credit of up to $500 per qualifying child when they file their state income taxes. This measure would make it easier for mothers to re-enter the workforce without childcare costs eating up the majority of the paycheck.
Senate Bill 1152 increases Illinois’ income tax exemption for seniors from $1,000 to $2,000.
Senate Bill 2200 provides downstate Ameren energy households with about $170 in credits on their power bills through a total of $200 million in energy rebates.
Upcoming events in the 24th District
Thank you to everyone who has attended a traveling office hours event in recent weeks, and to those who participated in my drug take-back event last weekend.
Mark your calendars now for these upcoming May outreach events in the 24th District:
Wednesday, May 17: Traveling Office Hours with Representative Sanalitro: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Elk Grove Village Public Library, 1001 Wellington Ave
Thursday, May 18: Blood Drive with Representative Sanalitro, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Itasca Park District, 350 Irving Park Rd, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Saturday, May 20: Unclaimed Property Day with Representative Grant: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Wheaton Park District, 102 E. Wesley St
Additional items are scheduled for the remainder of the summer and fall, including additional traveling office hours (June 7, June 15), another Unclaimed Property Day (June 20), a Kids Fair (June 23), a Mobile Secretary of State Driver Services Event (July 14), a Utility Clinic (July 27) and a Senior Fair (Sept. 13). Check my website, SenatorLewis.com for details as events approach.