SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As the Illinois legislature’s emergency session concluded, state Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, supported a balanced budget that protects essential services and provides resources for communities weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can all agree that there are still so many important matters before the legislature that need to be addressed,” Andrade said. “However, the global pandemic forced us to reevaluate our legislative priorities for this session. I am satisfied in knowing that we managed to pass a balanced budget that reflect our current needs, puts solid protections in place for essential workers and ensures that critical services can continue uninterrupted.”
Andrade voted to pass a balanced budget that provides necessary funding to allow essential services, such as Medicaid and unemployment insurance, to continue without interruption during the current public health emergency. The budget includes $719 million in new funding for public health, including $416 million for COVID-19 testing and other services being performed by local health providers. While the full extent of the virus’ impact on state finances remains to be seen, the budget provides the executive branch with flexibility to manage critical services but increases legislative oversight of state spending.
“This balanced budget did not come easily, we had to make some serious decisions to keep our state on sound financial footing. It is vital that we don’t spend more than we have in revenue,” Andrade continued. “I am pleased that we managed to fully fund our most vital services in the wake of the added challenges COVID-19 has placed on the General Assembly.”
Additionally, Andrade supported measures to aid essential workers and first responders, including expanded unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits for those sickened on the job. He voted for Senate Bill 471, which helps tens of thousands of Illinois workers struggling with the economic impact of the virus by allowing laid off and furloughed workers to recoup a large percentage of their previous income through unemployment insurance.
Andrade also supported legislation to ensure voters can cast their ballots in November safely. He backed Senate Bill 1863, which expands vote by mail options, and creates the opportunity for local election officers to help people vote through additional curbside voting options, as well as special voting hours for seniors.
“All of the tough decisions we had to make were guided by a shared commitment to Illinois and our residents’ safety,” said Andrade. “I applaud my colleagues for putting Illinois first, now more than ever, and funding resources for the people in our communities so our state can move forward in a responsible way.”
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