October 2023 Newsletter

I hope you’re enjoying the fall season and all of the activities that come along with it!

At the end of this month, I’ll be heading back to Springfield for veto session. Each fall, the General Assembly reconvenes after regular session to reassess legislation that has been vetoed by the Governor and to pass or amend existing legislation. During this upcoming veto session, we plan to address the recently introduced Legislative Employee Labor Relations Act, the vetoed nuclear plant moratorium bill, and a vetoed provision in an omnibus energy bill that would have granted incumbent utility providers the right of first refusal over new transmission projects. Many of you have reached out about the status of the Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program. My office has not received confirmation on whether the sunset extension will be voted on this upcoming veto session.

As I continue to engage in conversations with my colleagues, I am always looking for input from constituents to ensure your voice is being heard. If you have any questions or concerns on legislation, please feel free to reach out to my office.

Legislative Updates

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few legislative updates with you. In preparation for the 2024 legislative session, I have filed the following bills:

  • HB4120, which would prohibit businesses from selling whipped cream chargers (commonly referred to as “whippets”) to any individual under the age of 21. Whipped cream chargers contain nitrous oxide, an inhalant drug, which if used for non-medical purposes can cause health complications and lead to a dependance.
  • HB4112 will expand private insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments to remove the four round limitation. Currently in Illinois, private insurers are mandated to cover no more than four rounds of IVF, with an additional two rounds if a live birth results. However, recent studies have shown that rates of live births increase drastically when women undergo at least six rounds of IVF treatment, which is why I’ll be pursuing this legislation.
  • Students deserve policies around cyberbullying that are a reflection of the reality we live in today, regardless of the school they attend. That is why I also introduced HB4133 as an extension to HB3425, the statute I introduced and passed during spring session that expanded and strengthened Illinois’ existing cyberbullying statute. This legislation would require bullying prevention in nonpublic, sectarian schools. To check out a video recap on HB3425 click here.

Public Safety

The uptick in crime throughout the 12th district and neighboring communities continues to be a top concern of mine. As your State Representative, it is my responsibility to support legislation that will address crime and invest in both short-term and long-term public safety solutions.

In May of this year, the General Assembly passed the FY24 budget, which includes significant investments in crime reduction/prevention and law enforcement like funding for forensic analysis capabilities and safe gun storage initiatives. Police need appropriate funding to keep our communities safe, which is why we allocated over $100 million in training and resources for our first responders – including new funding for in-car cameras, non-lethal weapons, and two new State Police cadet classes. We also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in community-based violence prevention and community organizations that provide after-school programs, youth summer jobs, and more.

Over the course of the summer, I’ve participated in numerous conversations with local law enforcement and alderpeople. We all share the concerns that many of you have expressed and are working together to find ways to best support our shared community. Recently, I wrote a letter to Mayor Brandon Johnson reiterating 43rd Ward Alderman Timmy Knudsen’s request for adequate police staffing on all beats. I will continue to work alongside my colleagues in the General Assembly, members of the City Council, and local law enforcement to find solutions towards creating safer neighborhoods.

Third Annual Pumpkin Giveaway/Canned Food Drive Event

My office is hosting our third annual Pumpkin Giveaway/Canned Food Drive! We’re partnering up with Lincoln Central Association’s Howler at Bauler event on Saturday, October 28th from 3-5 pm at Bauler Park. Bring a canned good for Nourishing Hope food pantry and get a free pumpkin! The family-friendly event includes a costume parade, face paint, a bouncy house, and plenty of treats for local children and families. I hope to see you there!

Flu & Covid Vaccine

With the weather getting colder and flu season approaching, I encourage everyone to take a few quick and easy steps to protect both yourself and your loved ones.

The COVID-19 booster shot is being offered at clinics and pharmacies across the Chicago area for those who are eligible. Find more information regarding vaccine and booster options here.

It’s also the time of year to schedule your flu shot. Stay healthy during the flu season and schedule your appointment at your local pharmacy or doctor’s office.

The Secretary of State’s Office Announces Senior Only DMV Centers

The Secretary of State’s Office recently announced they have launched two “Senior Only’ walk-in centers at the Evanston Civic Center, 2100 N. Ridge Road in Evanston and Seat Geek Stadium, 7000 S. Harlem Ave. in Bridgeview. Seniors at these locations will not need appointments, as these walk-in centers are specifically designed to meet their needs. Seniors still have the option to make a standard appointment at these specific locations or any other DMV.  Please visit ilsos.gov for more information.

Support for New Arrivals

The 18th and 19th District Police Stations are continuing to shelter and house newly arrived migrants until space becomes available at local shelters. The biggest need is meal donations and deliveries. Please consider signing up through the provided link below to deliver lunch or dinner on a given day/time if you can.

18th District

19th District

My office is hosting a donation drive to help support our new arrivals. We will be collecting recreational items including board games, coloring books, and children’s books, preferably in Spanish. Please drop off donations at 3223 N Sheffield Ave., Suite A. If you can’t stop-in to the office to make an in-person donation, no worries! We are also accepting donations via Amazon deliveries. Visit the Amazon Wishlist below.

Amazon Wishlist

Grant Opportunities

The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) is pleased to announce the release of the Fiscal Year 2024 Rebuild Illinois Cultural Capital Planning Grants. The purpose of the Rebuild Illinois Cultural Capital Planning Grants is to help organizations that provide arts programming get the objective information and analysis they need before they commit their organization’s energies and financial resources to a facilities project. Rebuild Illinois Cultural Capital Planning Grants will support project-related activity from January 1st, 2024 – December 31st, 2024. For more information, including how to apply, please visit IACA’s website. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, October 25th, 2023 at 11:59 pm.

Governor JB Pritzker recently announced the Federal Grant Support Program to help Illinois compete for additional federal funding to strengthen our businesses and communities. Illinois-based businesses and organizations seeking federal grants that align with the State’s economic development objectives are encouraged to apply through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to have part of their match covered by state dollars. More information can be found here.

DCEO Grant Training Information Sessions

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is conducting information sessions and office hours designed to help entities seeking grants. The training session topics will detail the pre-qualification process, as well as other critical information. To view and register for an upcoming session, please visit the Grant Management Training Invitation List webpage.

Do you want to stay up-to-date on active state grant opportunities? Subscribe to Illinois NOFO Notifications to receive a weekly digest of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) offered by state agencies.

To subscribe, send a blank email (subject and body) to subscribe-omb-gata-grants@lists.illinois.gov.

In the Community

44th Ward Annual Senior Picnic

My office partnered with U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz, and State Representative Ann Williams for Alderman Bennett Lawson’s annual 44th Ward Senior Picnic. Thank you to all the seniors who were able to attend. I hope you enjoyed the food, music, and raffle prizes!

Lincoln Central Association’s Evening in the Garden

I had the pleasure of attending Lincoln Central Association’s Evening in the Garden to celebrate the achievements of volunteers, retired police officers, and neighborhood residents. I enjoyed speaking with members of the Lincoln Central Association and all the residents while trying out the various food and beverages from the restaurants in the neighborhood.

1st Annual 44th Ward Bike Parade

My office joined U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz, and State Representative Ann Williams for Alderman Bennett Lawson’s first annual 44th Ward Kids Bike Parade. A special thanks to all the families who were able to participate in this bike event. It was wonderful seeing all the kiddos, and I hope to see everyone back next year!

Upcoming Events

018th District CAPS Office Shred Event

The 018th District CAPS Office is hosting a Paper Shredding and Electronic and Prescription Drop Off on Wednesday, October 11th between 1-5 pm. The event will take place in the 018th District Chicago Police Department parking lot. This complimentary service is provided to 018th District residents only. For any questions, please contact the 018th District CAPS office at (312) 742-5778.

GCNA “Pitch In for The Parks” Clean-up and Mulch-athon

The Chicago Parks Foundation and the Gold Coast Neighbors Association are teaming up to hosting a park clean up event on Saturday, Oct 7th between 9-10 am and a Mulch-athon event Saturday, Oct 28th between 9-12 pm. These events will take place on N Dearborn Pkwy & W North Blvd. For any questions, please contact Sonia Horvath for more information at shorvath@chicagoparksfoundation.org or by calling (773) 505-9737.

018th District Candy and Costume Collection

Help to make a difference this Halloween! The 018th District CAPS office will be collecting candy and Halloween costumes for children and families residing in domestic violence shelters. Please consider donating family-friendly, new costumes or bags of individually wrapped candies (no nuts). Collection bins will be available in my office at 3223 N. Sheffield Ave and in the lobby of the 18th District at 1160 N. Larrabee St. If you have any questions, please contact Officer Brenda Garcia at 312- 742-5778, or email at caps018district@chicagopolice.org.

October Small Business Shoutout

October is National Book Month, so we’d like to highlight one of the 12th District’s literary gems, The Gallery Bookstore!

“Established in 1927, the Gallery Bookstore Ltd. is a General Category used book, magazine and ephemera store-front operation. Inside you will find a comfortable atmosphere, partly Old World tradition and partly New World innovation and attitude.

In one, sizable section of the store, readers of Mystery, Science Fiction and Horror will find Chicago’s oldest and, at this writing, last such genre shop. Referred to as the Florence Hanley Memorial Wing of the Gallery Bookstore, it remains an obsessively organized mix of 19th, 20th and 21st century (as well as all the pre-19th century material possible to locate) works by writers of the mysterious, the abominate and the fantastic.”

If you have a favorite small business or non-profit in the district for future Shoutouts, let us know by reaching out to info@repcroke.com.

PAWS Chicago Partnership

We have a new PAWS Chicago pal to introduce for October: Meet Floria!

Say hello to Floria, a delightful two-year-old canine companion who is eager to bring boundless love into your life. With her friendly disposition, Floria adores people and is a friend to all, but is also happy hanging solo. She enjoys moderate activity levels and loves daily walks, playtime, and porch hangs.

If you’re interested in adopting Floria or another furry friend, visit PAWS Chicago for more information!

Wishing you a safe and healthy fall! Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. We’re always happy to be a resource for you.