SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House Speaker Michael J. Madigan released the following statement:
“The COVID crisis has changed our state in profound ways. It has claimed the lives of family members, veterans, our most vulnerable residents, and in particular it has brought tragedy in communities of color. The people of Illinois are grappling with significant challenges to their daily lives and historic levels of unemployment, especially those least able to afford it. Nurses, doctors, first responders, and frontline workers across Illinois continue to battle COVID-19 and face risks to keep us safe.
“This special session, House Democrats stood with all of them, passing legislation ensuring essential services continue uninterrupted, and providing resources for the many people whose lives have been affected by this pandemic.
“That begins with making difficult decisions to pass a state budget that provides much-needed funds for testing, access to health care, rental assistance, unemployment benefits for those facing layoffs and furloughs, resources to help small business owners rebuild their life’s work, and job training for people whose careers have been disrupted. This budget package provides needed flexibility to keep services running during the crisis, while also increasing legislative oversight of state spending to aid in a strong, fair recovery.
“Working across the aisle, we worked with business and labor groups to pass a package of protections for first responders, health care workers and other essential employees who have been exposed to the virus while on the job.
“We provided immediate relief for property taxpayers by suspending late payments and tax sales, and took steps to ensure seniors, veterans and people living with disabilities will be able to keep their tax exemptions without having to reapply.
“We worked to help students and teachers succeed – whether instruction occurs in the classroom or online. We also expanded Medicaid, increased access to tele-health and mental health resources, and secured additional support for hospitals battling the virus in rural and low-income communities.
“We recognize that many more important decisions for our state are yet ahead, and our work will continue to help the people of Illinois during these challenging times.”