Springfield update from Rep. Robyn Gabel
Gov. Pritzker announced new COVID-19 safety guidelines including mask requirements for all students and employees in schools from pre-K through grade 12, as well as everyone living in and working in long-term care facilities. All state employees working in long-term care facilities, veteran homes, and correctional facilities are required to get vaccinated by Oct. 4.
These new precautions are aimed at protecting our most vulnerable populations, including children who are still not eligible to receive the vaccination, from the particularly contagious and dangerous COVID-19 Delta variant. In the past month, we've seen a surge in infections leading to hospitalizations and doubling ICU occupancy.
The Governor's administration considered all the most recent scientific and public health information, including last week's news from the CDC recommending that all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC is also recommending that both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission (Cook County is considered substantial).
Do you still need to get vaccinated? Please visit vaccines.gov or call (800) 232-0233 to find a vaccine near you. If you need assistance with transportation to your vaccine appointment, you may call (833) 308-1988 to schedule a ride. If you think you may have been exposed, visit dph.illinois.gov/testing to find a testing location.
I encourage you to get vaccinated to not only protect yourself but also our community as a whole against this virus.
Expanding gun safety
The governor signed HB562 into law, expanding background checks on all gun sales in Illinois starting in 2024. It creates important safety updates to the FOID system and provides more support to address the current FOID card application backlog. The goal is to make communities safer by investing in and enhancing background checks and enforcement, effectively keeping firearms away from people who are or could be dangerous. It also modernizes and digitizes licenses, making it easier for owners to access their registration information.
Increasing access to menstrual products
The governor signed HB155, HB310 and HB641 into law this week, making menstrual products more affordable and accessible. Going forward, homeless shelters and public college campus bathrooms will provide essential hygiene products such as pads and tampons for free. The new initiative also pushes for a federal waiver to allow for SNAP or WIC recipients to begin receiving diapers and menstrual hygiene products.
Assisting with critical utility bills
This week, the governor signed SB265 into law, refocusing the state's Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to prioritize families with children under 6, and expanding LIHEAP access to undocumented families.
IDOC point of contact
Sen. Laura Fine and I recently sponsored and unanimously passed SB1976, which creates a statewide "Point of Contact" for the Illinois Department Of Corrections tasked with receiving complaints, suggestions, and requests from visitors.
We spoke with Restore Justice this week, alongside advocates and supporters of the bill, including families who will be affected by this new legislation. They hope it will improve their experiences while visiting their loved ones who are incarcerated.
ACA Marketplace enrollment
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the next ACA enrollment deadline has been extended. Illinoisans who received unemployment benefits in 2021 could be eligible for financial help to purchase health insurance plans on the ACA Marketplace. Visit GetCoveredIllinois.gov by Aug. 15 for free enrollment assistance.
To contact state Rep. Robyn Gabel, call (847) 424-5401 or email email@example.com.