SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Sonya M. Harper, D-Chicago, is taking steps to combat food insecurity, eliminate food deserts, and expand access to critical services in historically disinvested communities with a series of bills now awaiting final approval by the governor.
“Effectively addressing systemic inequality requires a focus on the underlying factors that cause it,” Harper said. “Lack of access to healthy food, insufficient food supplies and lack of industry representation and opportunity—among many other factors—all combine to undermine minority and economically disadvantaged communities. It’s up to policymakers to step up and shine a light on the situation, and make the necessary changes.”
Harper passed a number of bills during the spring session which are calculated to address these issues, all of which now await the signature of Gov. J.B. Pritzker. These include:
- House Bill 2214—which creates a data collection program to enable lawmakers to more closely study the rampant problem of food stamp (SNAP) theft, with an eye toward devising solutions.
- House Bill 2879—which addressed inadequacies in the Illinois food delivery system by promoting the delivery of fresh agricultural produce directly to Illinois food banks.
- House Bill 3892—which protects the ability of urban residents to grow food for noncommercial use on their own property.
Harper also was instrumental in pushing for several progressive initiatives which made it into the recently signed state budget. Harper supported new funding for combating food deserts, and critical funding for other programs that build safe, strong communities including community-based violence prevention, safe gun storage, critical funding for safety-net healthcare providers, heightened commitments to behavioral health and addiction treatment, restoring and increasing funding for education at all levels, after-school programs, summer jobs and targeted opportunities for underinvested communities.
“We have a budget that is balanced in every sense which attempts to balance compassion and justice with fiscal responsibility,” Harper said. “We’re prioritizing investments that strengthen communities across the state and our economy. With proper implementation, this means more opportunity for everyone and a brighter future for every community in Illinois.”
Visit Rep Harper’s website
274-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
4926 South Ashland
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 925-6584 FAX