March 2024 Newsletter

Happy International Women’s Day! This day gives us the opportunity to recognize the remarkable achievements and invaluable contributions women have made throughout our history. While recognizing past triumphs for women, it’s also important that we celebrate those who continue to fight to break glass ceilings and forge new paths. As a member of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus, I am honored to be surrounded by trailblazers who have introduced monumental legislation, including nation-leading gun safety legislation and leading the effort to rebuild Illinois’ fiscal health.

This month I encourage you to stop in at one of the many women-owned businesses in the district. A few of my favorites include:

  • Soul Prime, an elevated soul food experience located in the heart of Lincoln Park. The restaurant has become a staple since Shonya Williams, better known as “Chef Royce” opened the restaurant’s doors in May 2023.
  • Bottles Up! was opened in 2009 by founder, Melissa Zeman, who had a mission to bring a comfortable wine-buying experience to the community. The shop includes an array of wines from distributors all across the nation – many of whom are female importers or owners.
  • Cocoa + Co. is a chocolate cafe that celebrates gourmet chocolate in all forms. Founder Kim Hack opened the cafe in 2015 to be a gathering place where chocolate lovers could enjoy a curated menu of delicious hand-crafted beverages, fresh pastries, and confections.

Legislative Update

In recent weeks, we’ve seen states across the country create barriers for families seeking to start or grow a family with the help of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments. This is both upsetting and terrifying, and shows why it is more important than ever before that we continue to ensure Illinois remains a safe haven for those looking to access all types of reproductive healthcare.

Since taking office, I’ve championed various pieces of legislation to do just that. In 2021, I passed HB3709 to expand insurance coverage for fertility treatment to include same-sex couples, women over 35, single women, and women who cannot get pregnant naturally due to a medical issue, ensuring all Illinoisans have equal opportunity to grow their family.

In this session, I introduced HB4112, which ensures private insurance companies provide coverage for additional rounds of IVF. I’m happy to report that HB4112 passed out of the House Insurance Committee with bipartisan support this week, and now heads to the House floor for debate. Currently, private insurance companies are required to cover only four rounds of IVF. Based on recent studies, those who receive up to four rounds of IVF have a 30% chance of a successful pregnancy and birth, however that number jumps up to almost 70% for those who receive two additional rounds of IVF. This legislation will ensure families receive the support they need when making the decision to undergo fertility treatments in order to grow their families.

I recently talked about this important legislation and how it could impact families on WGN. Watch here:

IVF Protections

If you have any questions on this piece of legislation or any of my legislative efforts, please reach out to my office.

The Governor’s State of the State Address

Governor JB Pritzker attended a joint session of the General Assembly to deliver his State of the State and Budget Address at the State Capitol. Collectively over the years, the General Assembly and the Governor have worked together to ensure we follow through on our commitment to pass fiscally responsible budgets while also prioritizing working families.

I’m optimistic that the Governor’s budget prioritizes our education system at all levels and supports working families by eliminating the grocery tax and making additional investments to the SmartStart program, which invests in our youngest learners and educators. I was especially thrilled to hear about the Governor’s intention to eliminate “ghost networks” to help ensure those seeking mental health treatment can rely on accurate provider directories from their healthcare provider. In early February, I introduced HB5313 to address this issue. To learn more about this piece of legislation, please visit here.

The Governor’s address initiates the budget negotiating process between legislators, agencies, and the Governor’s Office. I look forward to the work ahead and representing our district in those conversations. To read more about the budget and my response, click here.

Diaper and Baby Wipes Donation Drive


My office, in partnership with the Old Town Triangle Association, has decided to extend our Diaper and Wipes Donation Drive due to the continued shortage of supplies for migrants and those in need. In a recent article, the Chicago Tribune shed light on what the shortage of essential goods truly looks like for migrant families staying at Chicago’s shelters and how many families are being forced to reuse soiled diapers.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Please consider making a donation through our Amazon Wish List or in-person at one of the drop-off locations. Donations will be accepted until further notice.

NOTE: Please select the Old Town Triangle Association’s Gift Registry Shipping Address during check out.

Constituent Services Highlight

My office is happy to assist constituents with any questions or concerns. When Pattie reached out to us seeking clarification about Medicaid coverage, we were able to ensure that she received the information she and her business needed.

If you or your family ever need help with navigating a state agency or program, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at or via telephone at (773) 348-8974.

Examples of state-related programs and common constituent inquiries include:

If you are not sure who to contact regarding an issue pertaining to government affairs, my team is always happy to connect you with the appropriate resource.

Grant & Scholarship Opportunities

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is still accepting applications for its Tourism Incentive Grant Program! The program will provide grant funding for the establishment of an incentive grant program used by eligible entities to attract new out-of-state events to Illinois when competing with other states’ destinations. It may also be used to retain existing business when documentation is provided that the entity is competing against other states’ destinations to retain the business in Illinois. Eligible applicants include local governments, not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, etc. For more information please visit here.

Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) announced the release of $1 million in funding for the “Made in Illinois” Grant Program! The grant program will provide funding ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 in matching grants to small and mid-size Illinois manufacturers to help boost capacity, accelerate production speed, and enhance quality standards. The application window closes on March 31st, 2024. To learn more about this program, please visit:

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. Check out the link below to sign-up for an upcoming session.

Register Here

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

The Chicago Area Laborer’s Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET) is awarding twenty, $2,000 scholarships to graduating seniors! 10 individuals will be selected in a random drawing selection and 10 will be awarded. In order to qualify for this scholarship, you must be a senior expected to graduate high school in Spring 2024 and a dependent of union laborers. For more information, including how to apply, visit here. The scholarship application window closes on March 31st, 2024.

Community Updates

2nd Annual Old Town & Lincoln Park Earth Day Event

In honor of Earth Day weekend, please join the Old Town and Lincoln Park community for a clean-up and beautification of our parks and neighborhoods. The event will take place on Saturday, April 20th and there will be a morning shift from 9–11am and an afternoon shift from 11am-1pm. All are welcome and supplies and refreshments will be provided. To register for a shift, please visit here.

Cook County Sheriff’s Office Tracked Vehicle Partnership

The Cook County Sheriff’s office recently introduced a new program which allows the public to give consent to law enforcement to access their vehicle tracking information through the manufacturer in the event their vehicle is stolen. Access to this information will help local law enforcement immediately track and recover a stolen vehicle. If you’re interested in registering your vehicle for this program, please fill out the vehicle consent form.

REAL ID Information

A REAL ID from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office or a valid U.S. Passport will be required for Illinois residents who fly domestically beginning May 7th, 2025. For information on other types of identification accepted by TSA, please visit the TSA website. To view which documents you need to apply for a REAL ID, visit the REAL ID Interactive Checklist.

REAL ID applicants have the option to make an appointment at one of the 30 appointment facilities, or they can visit a walk-in facility. To determine which facilities require an appointment, or to make an appointment, please visit Secretary of State Facility Appointments.

Apply to Vote by Mail

Interested in voting by mail in the upcoming election? Vote by Mail applications are now open for the primary election on Tuesday, March 19th. All requests must be submitted by Thursday, March 14th at 5pm. To request a vote by mail ballot, please visit here.

Looking to vote in-person? Early in-person voting has begun in all 50 wards. To view your polling place, verify your voter registration status, and to view your sample ballot, visit the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners website.

Illinois State Treasurer’s ICash Program

Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs ICash Program allows residents to access unclaimed money from forgotten bank accounts, uncashed payments, or deceased family members’ life insurance. Roughly 1 in 4 people learn they have unclaimed property when they visit the ICash website. To see if you have property to claim, please visit this link:

In the Community

Thresholds 10th Anniversary Celebration


Thank you to Thresholds for inviting 44th Ward Alderman Bennett Lawson, former 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, and me to be part of the 10th Anniversary of the Fred and Pamela Buffett Place! Thresholds provides recovery services to individuals with mental illness disorders and substance abuse all throughout Illinois. I’m grateful for the work this organization does for the members in our community and beyond.

PAWS Chicago Partnership

We have a new PAWS Chicago pal to introduce for March: Meet Snickers!

Snickers is a four-year-old lovable girl who will soak up all your affection and give it right back to you. She would do best in homes with older children, and would prefer to be the only pet in your home. If you’re looking for a companion who just wants your love, attention, and lots of playtime in between, Snickers is your girl!

If you’re interested in adopting Snickers or another furry friend, visit PAWS Chicago for more information! Her fosters also made her an Instagram account @snickers_the_seal.

As we slowly turn towards warmer weather, please remember that my office serves as a resource to you. Always feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns!