January 2022 Newsletter

It hasn’t been necessarily easy to embrace the start of 2022 when we’re trudging through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and are hunkered down indoors because of the negative windchill and snow.

If you’re also feeling a little blue right now, you’re not alone. The winter months can be a hard time for many Chicagoans, so I wanted to pass on some ideas that can help get us through.

First thing is first: My office is always here to help, and we are happy to connect you to the many resources out there for those in need. For example, The City of Chicago has a multitude of warming centers throughout the city, Alderman Tom Tunney’s office has a snow shoveling assistance program, and different organizations like Sarah’s Circle have resources for those experiencing homelessness. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you or a loved one needs assistance.

Here are some tips and tricks to help get through this Chicago Winter:

Practice hygge: The Danes coined the phrase/lifestyle of hygge which effectively means ‘the art of being cozy’ — they channel many of the things that make the holiday season so special and enjoy them all winter long (think: warm drinks, candles, baked goods, fuzzy socks, twinkle lights).

Block Club Chicago made a list of Chicago destinations that can help fight the winter blues. Suggestions include: The Harold Washington Library Winter Garden, 3 Arts Club Cafe, Chicago Cultural Center, and others.

Stop by The Lincoln Park Conservatory – warm weather, awesome plants, and located in 12th district = a win all around.

I know this doesn’t change the weather but I hope one of these suggestions can help carry you through these next few chilly weeks!

Legislative Updates

In my first year as a legislator, I had the opportunity to co-sponsor multiple bills that went into effect with the new year. Here are just a few of the new bills that my colleagues and I introduced that are now in effect (as of January 1, 2022).

HB0012 The Family Leave Eligibility Act – Ensures employees of public schools, public universities, and public community colleges are eligible for family and medical leave under the same terms and conditions provided to employees under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

HB 135 Birth Control Availability – Requires pharmacists to make birth control readily available over the counter without a prescription from a doctor’s office! This is one less barrier for reproductive health.

HB0155 – Establishes that SNAP benefits can be used to purchase menstrual hygiene products. Anyone who has SNAP benefits can now use them to buy menstrual hygiene products, which are now considered essential products.

HB0376 TEEACH Act – Requires all public elementary and high schools to include Asian American history within their curriculum.

In the News

A piece of legislation that I chief sponsored in my first term also went into effect on January 1st, 2022. HB3709 changed the definition of fertility by insurance companies to provide coverage to all Illinoisans including same-sex couples, women over 35, and single women.

Check out the recent interview I did with WGN Chicago to learn more about the new legislation.

We are in the second year of the 102nd General Assembly. Due to COVID-19, we have not been in Springfield the last few weeks, but remote committee hearings have continued.

My committee assignments include:

  • Appropriations-General Service
  • Financial Institutions, Vice Chair
  • Child Care Accessibility & Early Childhood Education
  • Fair Lending and Community Reinvestment Subcommittee
  • Property Tax Subcommittee
  • Revenue & Finance
  • Roadways, Rail & Aviation Subcommittee
  • Transportation: Regulation, Roads & Bridges

I’ll have more updates to share when we return to Springfield!

Small Business Shoutout

Every month we highlight one small business from our district. For February, we are thrilled to feature Play2Day!

“Play2Day is an hourly childcare play space that creates a safe, nurturing environment for parents to drop off their children on a convenient and flexible schedule.”

Flexible childcare services like Play2Day are crucial for parents, especially in a post-pandemic world. The ability to drop off your children for a small increment of time allows for working parents, especially working moms, to rejoin the workforce.

If you have a favorite store, restaurant, or other business in the district, let us know at info@repcroke.com and you might see it in a future Small Business Shoutout!

Please continue to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns.

Stay healthy, safe, and warm.