SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, issued the following statement after the conclusion of scheduled session Sunday:
“As we face an unprecedented health and economic crisis together, I want to thank the nurses, doctors, first responders, grocery store employees, delivery workers and every other individual who has made sacrifices to protect the safety and wellbeing of others during this trying time.
“I worked to pass a budget plan (Senate Bill 264) that focuses on essential services and providing needed resources for those most impacted. This balanced spending plan prioritizes increased investment in Medicaid, unemployment and public health. Over $400 million in new funding is dedicated to COVID-19 testing and other services from local health providers.
“Additional new investments are dedicated to senior care, homeless prevention, domestic violence shelters and other communities that have been directly and indirectly impacted by this pandemic. It also preserves funding for our education system, from early childhood to college while meeting our state’s pension obligation.
“The governor and state agencies will have increased flexibility in their spending authority to ensure they can meet both known and unknown challenges that may lie ahead, but additional legislative oversight will ensure they stay on track with the goals reflected in this budget.
“In addition to the spending plan, I pushed for passage of homeowner property tax relief (Senate Bill 685) that will immediately suspend late payment penalties and defer tax exemption reapplications by seniors, veterans and individuals with disabilities. I also backed increased protections for workers (Senate Bill 471) that streamlines the workers’ compensation benefit process and increases unemployment benefits for essential workers, while expanding the ability for residents to safely and securely vote (Senate Bill 1863) this year by mail or through ‘curbside’ options.
“Our state will continue to be challenged in the months ahead, and I remain focused on working with stakeholders, lawmakers and members of the community to address our urgent priorities.”