Seth Lewis


Seth Lewis


Senator Lewis’ Legislative Update

Senator Seth Lewis Appointed to Senate Republicans’ Budget Negotiation Team

blankI am thrilled to announce that I have been appointed to serve on the Senate Republicans’ Budget Negotiation Team.

It is a privilege to be appointed and I look forward to having a seat at the table as we discuss spending priorities for the next fiscal year. I know there is much on which we can agree if we respect one another’s’ opinions, truly listen to each other, and keep an eye on moving Illinois forward on a path that benefits all who live and work here. I also serve as the Minority Spokesperson for the Senate Appropriations- Public Safety & Infrastructure Committee, and on the Senate Appropriations- Health & Human Services Committees.

Pandemic relief funds have expired, and revenues are down, so there are some difficult decisions that will need to be made as the FY 2025 budget takes shape. I appreciate the opportunity to ensure fiscal responsibility is included in budget talks.


Illinois One Step Closer to Having an official State Mushroom

blankWith students from the Prairie School of DuPage in the committee room with me to help lobby for a bill they helped write, I recently received unanimous recommended approval from the Senate’s State Government Committee on Wednesday for legislation that designates the Calvatia Gigantea as the official state mushroom.

As the bill was presented, committee members learned that 174 witness slips in favor of the bill had been properly filed by students, parents, and others in support of Senate Bill 3514.

I visited with these students at their school in Wheaton in February, and they told me they wanted Illinois to adopt a new symbol. They engaged in a great deal of research and asked me to file a bill to make the Calvatia Gigantea, or “Gigantic Puffball” the official state mushroom. I filed Senate Bill 3514 on their behalf on February 9.

Upper Elementary Teacher Erin Hemmer testified before the committee and explained that students compiled research and held a “primary” election that brought the list of mushroom choices down to two, and then the students made campaign signs for their favored choice prior to a “general” election to determine the winner. Upper Elementary student Charlotte DiGangi also testified on the bill and said the idea for a state mushroom came from a question she asked during a classroom discussion on state symbols.


Senator Lewis Pushes Back Against Another Gerrymandered Map

blankI recently joined several of my legislative colleagues in standing up against the unfair process of gerrymandering by unanimously voting against legislation to enact a gerrymandered Chicago School Board map favored by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and his special interest allies.

As the legislation made its way through the legislative process, we heard from concerned parents and Chicago community activists who testified against a map that they said empowered special interests instead of Chicago students, especially those from minority communities. The witnesses raised concerns about a lack of transparency in the map process that they believe will disenfranchise voters in their community.

During the Senate floor debate, I voiced a particular concern about the level of influence the Mayor of Chicago would have if he was given the majority of appointments to the board. As you may or may not know, Mayor Johnson is on record as wanting to dissolve selective enrollment schools in Chicago. Some of these private schools are the very best in our state and in the nation. If he is given the ability to appoint 11 of the 21 members on the new hybrid Chicago Board of Education, there is great potential for him to do a lot of damage to the system of education many Chicagoans rely on.

Click here to watch and listen to my remarks. Unfortunately, the bill passed.


Legislation to Stop Property Tax Penalties Charged to Deceased

The last thing a grieving family should have to worry about after the loss of a loved one is the government charging interest and penalties on bills they may not even know exist, yet in Illinois, even after someone has passed away, governments may still be charging them interest and penalties on property taxes. New legislation I am co-sponsoring aims to provide relief, ensuring grieving families aren’t on the hook for penalties incurred after their loved one has passed.

Senate Bill 2832 would allow for the estate of a deceased individual to apply for a waiver with the county treasurer to prevent interest and penalties from being charged on delinquent property taxes for the deceased individual. The waiver would apply from the date of the decedent’s death until either the estate is closed, or the property is sold, transferred, or conveyed.


Attorney General Lists Top 10 Most Frequent Scams Illinoisans Fell Victim to in 2023

The Illinois Attorney General’s office has released a list of some of the most common scams that plagued Illinois residents in 2023. Construction/home improvement repairs, identity theft, and consumer debt were the top three categories of scams that Illinois residents faced last year. This is the third straight year that the top spot was taken by home repairs.

The largest complaint in the home improvement category involved contractors failing to show up and complete the job once a down payment was made. According to the Illinois Attorney General’s office, a primary key for protecting yourself from identity theft is to frequently change passwords and not share personal information online. Unsolicited calls and texts are another way scammers attempt to retrieve your personal information, and leaving those calls unanswered is the best way to avoid being scammed.

For more information on how to defend yourself from these scams and to report fraud, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at


Senate Republicans Push to Reform Prisoner Review Board

In response to recent action by Governor JB Pritzker’s Prisoner Review Board (PRB) that led to a parolee allegedly killing an 11-year-old boy and critically wounded the boy’s pregnant mother, Senate Republicans are finalizing a package of fundamental reforms that address long-standing problems with the Board.

Crosetti Brand, recently paroled by the PRB, is accused of stabbing a former girlfriend, Laterria Smith, and killing her son Jayden as the boy attempted to defend his pregnant mother from Brand’s brutal attack. The murder occurred just a day after Brand was released by the PRB. In February, while on parole, Brand sent Smith messages threatening to kill her, and tried to break into her home. This violation of his parole landed him back in the State’s custody while the PRB could reconsider his parole. Despite the threats, the boy’s mother seeking an order of protection, and Brand’s history of domestic abuse that included orders of protection from four different women, the Pritzker-appointed PRB voted to release him.

The Senate Republican package would do the following:

Put Victims First

  • Requires the Prisoner Review Board to immediately inform a victim of the early release of a prisoner from State custody or of the prisoner’s pardon, commutation, furlough, granting of sentence credit, or following a final revocation hearing when an individual has violated the conditions of their mandatory supervised release if the victim has previously requested notification of that information. If they have not, the board is to make every possible effort, which must be documented, to contact the victim.
  • Requires members of the board to complete yearly mandatory training on domestic violence and sexual assault so they may better understand these crimes impact the women and children who often become victims.


Put Experience Ahead of Politics

  • Requires that appointees to the Prisoner Review Board must have at least 20 years of cumulative experience in the criminal justice system.
  • Experience in the criminal justice system is defined as time spent as either a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, judge, probation officer, or public defender.


Increase Transparency and Hold PRB Accountable

  • Requires the PRB to make written notice public within 24 hours of a decision to release in cases following a final revocation hearing when an individual has violated the conditions of their mandatory supervised release.
  • Provides that notification must include votes from the members of the board and any relevant notes about information presented in the case, as well as notes about the board’s deliberations on the case.


Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

  • Increases the penalties for violating an order of protection.
  • Provides that for a first-time violation, the penalty increases from a misdemeanor to a class 4 felony; and from a previous conviction, it increases from a class 4 to a class 3 felony.



EPA Funding Opportunities for Watershed Management Projects to Address Pollution

When rain or snowmelt carries human-made pollutants into bodies of water, it leads to what is called nonpoint source pollution, which is a major pollution concern nationwide. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is working to reduce this type of pollution through two new grant programs. The programs have a total of $4.75 million in funding available for watershed-based planning and implementation project proposals.

According to the IEPA, projects need to be aimed at reducing, preventing, and eliminating Illinois surface and groundwater quality impairments. IEPA is targeting the grants at local governments, with the goal of protecting water quality in their municipalities. This program will accept applications from March 13 to May 1. Applications can be found at


Legislation Proposed to Keep At-Risk Veteran Homes Affordable

One of my colleagues recently introduced legislation to put an end to expensive charging station mandates that have made it significantly more expensive to provide housing options for homeless veterans. I am a proud co-sponsor of this bill.

The 2023 Electric Vehicle Charging Act requires all new affordable housing developments to include EV-capable parking spaces. Organizations working to build affordable housing units for homeless veterans have said that this requirement will make their efforts drastically more expensive.

Senate Bill 2597, removes this costly burden and stipulates that the provision under the Act would not apply to tiny homes designated for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, provided these homes were funded and constructed by qualified non-profit organizations.

Senate Bill 2597 unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and now awaits a vote in the full Senate.


DuPage County Adds Texting to 211 Information and Referral Service

In addition to dialing or browsing for help, DuPage County residents seeking health and human services can now find assistance by texting the County’s free 211 information and referral line.

Residents can text their ZIP code to 898211 to connect with a County operator, who can provide referrals to assistance available near them. Texting service will be available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition to the texting option, residents seeking help can still dial 2-1-1 or visit to find services near them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Immediate referrals are available any time of day for services including clothing or personal items, disaster services, education, food, health and wellness, income support, legal aid, transportation, and more. DuPage County has compiled a database of more than 600 service providers offering thousands of services for DuPage County residents. Anyone interested in being included in the list can visit for more information and to apply for inclusion.

211 is a confidential, information and referral service that connects residents to local health and social service resources. It is different from 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which provides free and confidential support for people in a mental health, suicidal or emotional crisis.

DuPage County launched 211 in November 2022, and to date, has connected more than 8,000 people to County social services.


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