State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, D-Chicago, last week advanced significant protections for families, workers and voters during a special session of the Illinois General Assembly to address issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Restoring and reopening Illinois cannot happen without making sure our most vulnerable communities have the resources and support they need during this pandemic,” Lilly said. “COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to all of our lives and I am committed to ensuring that recovery from this pandemic is accessible and equitable for all Illinoisans, particularly the essential workers and first responders who have put themselves at risk to keep us all safe during this crisis.”
Lilly supported a balanced budget that prioritizes critical services for families and local communities, including increased funding for Medicaid as well as full funding for unemployed workers. Lilly fought to include $719 million in new funding for public health services and $416 million in funding to ensure adequate and equitable access to COVID-19 testing. Furthermore, Lilly worked to ensure that funding was protected for domestic violence survivors, homelessness prevention and senior care.
“More than ever, the pandemic has shown the need for supporting workers and their families and ensuring access to safe workplaces,” Lilly said. “That’s why I supported a critical worker protection package for essential employees and first responders. They’ve taken serious risk to ensure we have access to grocery stores, pharmacies and emergency services during this crisis and we owe them laws that recognize their contributions.”
Lilly supported Senate Bill 471, a worker protection package that eases the process of receiving workers’ compensation benefits for essential workers and first responders, including EMTs, fire fighters and police officers. The worker protection bill supported by Lilly also allows laid off and furloughed workers to recoup a greater percentage of their previous income through unemployment insurance.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated the fact that health care is a necessity because if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much else,” Lilly said. “It is paramount that as we recover from this pandemic, we ensure that all people have access to quality and affordable health care services.”
Lilly fought for critical expansions of access to mental health care and tele-health services in Senate Bill 1864. This measure also directs state health officials to develop a plan for legislators on steps necessary to make health care more affordable for all people in Illinois.
Lilly co-sponsored Senate Bill 1863 to help ensure that Illinoisans can access the ballot and exercise their right to vote safely and securely during the pandemic. Lilly’s voter protection measure expands the ability of Illinois voters to vote-by-mail and allows for the creation of curbside voting opportunities and special voting hours for older people.
The budget backed by Lilly also provides relief for small businesses, relief for renters and homeowners and the preservation of capital infrastructure development. Nearly $300 million in relief is included for renters and homeowners with mortgages. Using federal funds, hundreds of millions of dollars for small business relief is contained in the budget through a grant program, included for businesses owned by minorities and women. Additionally, Lilly fought to protect capital infrastructure spending for jobs and economic development in underserved communities.
“During this extraordinary time in our state, the legislature took important steps to pass a balanced budget that protects critical services for families in our neighborhoods, offers protections for essential workers and first responders and protects voters,” Lilly said. “As we move forward towards safely reopening our state, it is imperative that we continue to take affirmative steps to provide support and relief for families in need and ensure health care access for all.”