SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, issued the following statement after conclusion of a special legislative session to provide critical services and resources for families facing the COVID-19 pandemic:
“As our state faces an unprecedented crisis, I would like to thank all of the first responders, medical professionals and other essential workers who have been risking their lives to keep our families and communities safe during the pandemic.
“The challenges that our state and community are facing due to COVID-19 are truly unprecedented. During this special legislative session my priority was to ensure that working families have access to vital services that they depend on and to give communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, like seniors and immigrant families, the resources they need.
“We had to make tough decisions to reach a balanced budget, making cuts where possible to preserve critical services. Our budget increases funding for health care services and Medicaid. It’s essential that our frontline health providers have the resources they need as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19. Our budget provides over $400 million dollars for COVID-19 testing and related measures for local health providers to help keep our community safe. We also increased funding for in-home care for seniors to protect those who are most at-risk of the virus.
“Our budget protects funding for our schools, for student financial aid, and for job training for those who have lost jobs due to the economic downturn. And we passed additional legislation to help schools adopt and implement more remote learning.
“The economic repercussions that the pandemic has caused have hit working families hardest. That’s why I fought to ensure that unemployment benefits are fully funded and passed reforms to help thousands of Illinois workers struggling to make ends meet increasing monthly benefits for laid off and furloughed workers.
“As the pandemic continues to change the way we live our everyday lives, it was essential that we adopted reforms to help ensure that everyone in Illinois can vote safely during the upcoming general election in November. We passed legislation that expands vote by mail options and gives local election authorities the ability to implement additional policies like “curbside voting” to help residents socially distance as they vote.
“While we made significant progress to help our communities deal with this unprecedented public health crisis, there is no doubt that we will continue to face new challenges posed by the pandemic moving forward. I will continue to fight to ensure that working families receive the healthcare, critical services, and economic help they deserve.”