June 2024 Newsletter

Happy Pride Month, District 12! May this month be one of celebration, community, and solidarity in the continued fight to protect and advance the rights of our LGBTQIA+ neighbors. At a time when the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community have been under attack across the country, I am proud of the work that we have done to ensure that Illinois is a safe and welcoming place for everyone, and I promise to always continue that fight. Below are a few ways you can celebrate Pride Month in Chicago: 

Chicago Pride Fest- June 22nd-23rd

The 24th annual Chicago Pride Fest is a celebration of LGBTQ+ life, culture and community in Chicago’s historic Northalsted neighborhood. Located on Halsted from Addison to Grace, this festival features live music on three stages, a Youth Pride Space for teens, a best of Chicago drag performance, and more. A $15 suggested donation for entry helps pay performers and festival workers and supports local non-profits & community programs. For more information on Chicago Pride Fest, please visit the website here

Chicago Pride Parade- June 30th

A tradition for more than 50 years, the iconic Chicago Pride Parade will take place on June 30th at 11AM. The parade route has been adjusted this year, beginning at W. Sheridan and Broadway, then continuing south along Broadway, then Halsted, east along Belmont to Broadway, then south to Diversey. To see a map of the parade route and for more information, please visit PRIDEChicago’s website here.

Legislative Recap 

The 103rd General Assembly adjourned the Spring 2024 session last week. We passed 469 bills that are now up to the Governor’s discretion, and I’m proud to share that I was the chief sponsor for six of those bills(see previous newsletters on my website for more details). 

My legislation to eliminate ghost networks (HB5313) passed the Senate as part of the Healthcare Protection Act (HB5395). This bill is intended to eliminate “ghost networks,” which are healthcare who are included in directories but are not actually in-network or may not exist at all. Those seeking mental health care often refer to their insurance directory to find a provider, and then sometimes end up having to pay out-of-pocket or delay seeking treatment due to these ghost networks. This bill ensures those seeking care are able to access an accurate network of providers and get the treatment they need.

The General Assembly also passed a budget that aims to cut debt, save for the future, and improve Illinois’ credit. The budget makes smart investments in our state by keeping communities safe and building a strong future. The budget also cuts costs for families by creating a $50 million child tax credit and eliminating the state grocery tax, while also providing historic support for our local government by giving them tools for property tax relief. 

We also passed a revenue omnibus package that includes tax credit incentives for a variety of industries. I am proud to have spearheaded two of these initiatives, the Illinois Gives Tax Credit and the Housing Opportunity Area Tax Abatement Program. These initiatives will bring forth positive change, create job opportunities, and bring millions in direct spending into our state. See below for some more information about these initiatives:

  • The Live Theater Production Tax Credit incentivizes investments in pre-Broadway shows and shows produced by community theaters by increasing authorization for the Live Theater Credit to $6 million, with specific allocations for pre-Broadway productions ($2 million) and community theaters ($2 million).
  • The Illinois Gives Tax Credit supports investment in Illinois community foundations. This tax credit will increase resources available to make grants to nonprofit organizations at a higher rate dollar-for-dollar than through state grant-making.
  • The Housing Opportunity Area Tax Abatement Program was set to expire at the end of 2024, and was extended an additional 10 years. This program provides that owners of property located in Housing Opportunity Areas who have a housing voice voucher may apply for a property tax abatement. Access to affordable housing is an issue that I hear often from constituents, and this program incentivizes affordable housing opportunities in areas that traditionally don’t have them.

I also wanted to provide an update on HB0303, my legislation to extend a moratorium on CPS school closures and prevent major changes until a fully elected school board is in place. 

I was deeply disappointed that President Harmon decided not to call this bill, and just 24 hours after the Senate adjourned, significant cuts to selective enrollment and magnet schools were announced. Most of us in both chambers voted in favor of an elected school board, and we should have ensured that Chicago voters maintain their right to have their elected school board make these decisions. I hope the Mayor holds true to his letter and does not make any changes to these schools before a fully elected school board is in place in 2027.

Advocacy Day Visits








It was a pleasure to meet with members of Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) and YMCA Metropolitan Chicago (right) and The Nature Conservancy in Illinois (left) in Springfield. I always appreciate receiving input directly from my constituents and advocacy groups about legislation important to them. Thank you for stopping by my office!

Constituent Services Highlight

Is there a recent graduate in your life who needs to obtain licensure through the state in order to start their first job out of college? We can help! My office is here and happy to assist constituents with any questions or concerns related to state programs, including the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

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. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (773) 348-8974 or via email at info@repcroke.com


Grant Opportunities

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is looking to assist Illinois-based businesses and organizations seeking federal grants through their Federal Grant Support Program! The state-funded grant will help Illinois compete for additional federal funding to strengthen our businesses and communities that align with the State’s economic development objectives. Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to have part of their match covered by state dollars. Applicants can apply for this program while they are preparing an application for a federal grant. More information can be found here.

The Governor, in partnership with DCEO, is providing direct relief to families across Illinois through the State’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The energy bill assistance program assists eligible families with natural gas, propane, and electricity bills. Applications will be taken on a first come first serve basis through August 15, 2024, or until funds are exhausted. To learn more about this program, please visit here.

Need help navigating DCEO’s grant process? Grantees may contact the Grant Help Desk by e-mail at CEO.GrantHelp@illinois.gov or submit a question using this form.

The Cook County Bureau of Economic Development has launched a new program to help further equity within the cannabis industry – the Cook County Cannabis Development Grant. The County will be awarding $3.6M in grants of up to $150,000 to social equity cannabis license holders based on license type. The grants are intended to help with start-up costs and operational activities. Applications are open now through June 14th – learn more here.


The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is pleased to announce the release of the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY25) General Operating Support (GOS) and Youth Employment in the Arts (YEA) Grant Application. As part of IAC’s Bold New Changes grant funding revamp, these applications are combined and simplified to provide general operating support and youth employment support to eligible Illinois non-profit organizations. Additional changes to these grant programs include initiating a 3-year cycle for General Operating Support grantees, expanding the eligible ages and grant period for youth employment, and shifting to a regional model for application review. Potential applicants can review the GOS & YEA webpage for eligibility requirements and the Application Guidelines which provide complete instructions. The FY25 GOS & YEA application deadline is Friday, July 19, 2024, at 11:59pm in IAC’s online Salesforce grant portal.
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.

Community Updates:

Governor’s Hometown Awards (GHTA) Program

The Governor’s Hometown Awards (GHTA) program gives formal recognition to those who contributed to projects that improved their community’s quality of life from the period of January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023. We encourage you to apply for this important recognition! The due date for applications is June 14 at 5pm CST. For more information, including who is eligible for the award and how to apply, please visit the 2024 Governor’s Hometown Awards (illinois.gov) page.

Free Chicago White Sox Tickets for Veterans

The Cook County Clerk’s Office and the Chicago White Sox are teaming up to provide free tickets to Veterans for games throughout the season! Complimentary game tickets for Veterans, Active Duty Military, National Guard and Reserves members are available for Monday-Thursday games (please see exemptions on the flier above) and can be claimed with a Cook County Military and Veterans Discount Card

For more information on how to apply for a Cook County Military and Veterans Discount Card, please visit: www.cookcountyclerk.com/veterans.  

Lincoln Park Health & Wellness Weekend

Looking for an opportunity to get active outdoors? Join the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce for their annual Lincoln Park Health & Wellness Weekend on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9. This two-day event will offer free classes and a Health & Wellness Showcase featuring a variety of local businesses specializing in health and wellness products and services. For more information, please visit their website here

44th Ward Bike Parade 

Please joinCongressman Quigley, Senator Feigenholtz, and Representative Williams for Alderman Lawson’s 2nd Annual 44th Ward Kids Bike Parade on Saturday, June 8th at 9 AM! Families will meet at Belmont and Broadway at 8:45 AM for line-up. Helmets are required and decorated bikes are greatly encouraged.

Wells Street Art Festival 

Art enthusiasts are guaranteed to find plenty of inspiration when the early summer showcase that is the Wells Street Art Festival celebrates its 49th year. Held on the strip of Wells Street between North Avenue and Division in the historic Old Town neighborhood, the festival is a treasure trove of creativity and more. The Wells Street Art Festival will take place on Saturday, June 8th, from 10AM to 10PM and Sunday, June 9th, from 10AM to 9PM. For more information, please visit their website here.

Old Town Art Fair

Did you know the Old Town Art Fair has been voted America’s #1 Art Fair for the fourth year in a row?! This is the year to visit if you haven’t had the opportunity!

The Old Town Art Fair will take place on Saturday, June 8th and Sunday, June 9th in the heart of the charming Old Town Triangle Historic District. The Fair draws over 30,000 art lovers and features over 200 nationally acclaimed artists selected by an independent jury of art professionals from the Chicago area. The family-friendly event will also feature a garden walk, live music, a food court and a children’s corner. To learn more about the fair, please visit their website here.

Cook County Sheriff’s Office Tracked Vehicle Partnership

The Cook County Sheriff’s office recently introduced a 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.

Small Business Shoutout

This month’s small business shoutout is Brown Elephant- Northalsted!

Our Small Business Shoutout for June is Brown Elephant’s Northalsted location! Brown Elephant recently decided to move their operations from Lincoln Avenue back towards Halsted St. to occupy a larger space. All proceeds at this second hand store go directly toward patient care at Howard Brown Health Clinics.

One of three locations, the Northalsted shop is further involved in the community through its partnership with Broadway Youth Center, which allows young LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness to shop at the store with free vouchers. Be sure to visit Brown Elephant at 812 W Belmont Ave and support other LGBTQIA+ businesses this month and every month! 

If you have a favorite store, restaurant, or other business in the district for future Small Business Shoutouts, let us know!

PAWS Shoutout

We have a new PAWS Chicago pal to introduce for June: Meet Garbanzo!

Garbanzo is a 3-year-old, moderately energetic pup who is both adventurous and loving. He is looking for a home that can dedicate time to developing his social skills. With patience and care, Garbanzo will truly shine and grow alongside you. Although he is quite independent and can manage well on his own while you’re away, he will light up with joy when you’re around. Garbanzo is happiest simply being wherever you are.

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


As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Wishing you a safe and memorable summer, and I hope to see you around the District!