Weekly Update | August 1, 2020
Ensuring Access to Quality, Affordable Child Care During the Pandemic
Many families I represent can only return to work if they have access to affordable child care. The unfortunate reality is that state and local government mandates geared towards mitigating the spread of COVID-19 have decimated child care providers. That’s why we need to do everything we can to make sure child care providers can stay afloat and parents have the resources to afford child care, otherwise our economy will be permanently held back and families can’t return to work. That’s why I joined a majority of House lawmakers in supporting this child care relief legislation. As negotiations over additional COVID-19 relief legislation continue, it’s imperative that significant relief for providers and parents who rely on child care be included in the package.

The Child Care is Essential Act,  H.R. 7027 , creates a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund to provide grant funding to child care providers. The legislation also requires providers to continue employing and paying their employees at pre-COVID 19 levels.
 
The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act,  H.R. 7327 , provides improved tax benefits for families and working caregivers. The legislation enhances the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC), expands the dependent care flexible spending accounts (DCFSA), and creates a new tax credit to help employees access quality, affordable child care. The legislation also includes a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers and incentivizes employers to keep child care workers on payroll, by expanding the employee retention tax credit (ERTC).

Learn more about this issue here .
Gov. J.B. Pritzker Cancels Most Fall Youth Sports
There should not be one-size-fits-all regulations for youth sports statewide. As Governor Pritzker’s rules currently stand, competitive play for sports like football and basketball is cancelled statewide for as long as the Governor wants. That’s the wrong approach. As a former youth football and baseball coach, I believe local schools, in consultation with parents, athletes, coaches, and their conferences, should get the final say. The Governor’s Office has no business determining who can and cannot play youth sports. This is yet another overreach from Governor Pritzker.

Governor Pritzker’s   new restrictions  “pertains to all youth and adult recreational sports, including, but not limited to, school-based sports (IHSA & IESA), travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs.”
 
Governor Pritzker’s restrictions on youth sports can be found  here . You can find a copy of the 2020-2021 IHSA season schedule  here .

Learn more about this issue here .
C onstituent Service Spotlight
Helping Constituents Cut Through Red Tape
“The issue has been resolved-- my student visa was approved. Linda [in your office] was exceptionally helpful and understanding.”

-Asiya, Urbana, IL
More Important Updates
Maintenance on the Illinois Waterway Must Speed Up Before Fall Harvest
The Illinois Waterway is a critical artery for the Illinois agricultural economy and the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture globally. It allows for a navigable connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Farmers all across Illinois rely on the Waterway to get their grain to market.

That's why I led a bipartisan group of Illinois members of Congress in writing the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to speed up maintenance of the LaGrange Lock & Dam on the Illinois Waterway.

Our letter states:
 
“We write today regarding the Illinois Waterway 2020 Maintenance Closure and the importance of its timely completion. At the closure’s outset, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) informed stakeholders LaGrange’s expected reopening would be September 30th, 2020. In light of recent updates, the Corps now expects completion later than scheduled and into October. Additionally, new discoveries at the Lockport Lock may necessitate future closures.
 
“While we appreciate that unforeseen issues arise during maintenance closures, delays in completion threaten the agricultural economies of our congressional districts and require your utmost attention to avoid. Estimates for this Fall’s harvest indicate large crop yields. As the local farmers in our districts rely upon the Illinois Waterway to ship crops to market, any further delay in completion of the maintenance could impact the marketing of a farmer’s crop as well as reduce U.S. agriculture’s competitiveness in foreign markets.
 
“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever the government should do all it can to promote certainty and economic growth. We ask that you prioritize completion of the maintenance to meet the original expected reopening and to avoid the need to induce future closures.

You can read our letter here .
New Rideshare Protections for Users Passes House Through Sami's Law
Sami’s Law is named in memory of Samantha “Sami” Josephson of Robbinsville Township, New Jersey. Sami was tragically murdered by a rideshare driver impersonator in Columbia, South Carolina in 2019. She was 21 years old at the time of her death.

The tragic murder of Sami was a wake up call that more needed to be done to protect users of rideshare companies. Sami’s Law requires rideshare drivers to display a front and rear license plate, use a scannable quick response or similar code on the windows for riders to verify they are entering in the correct vehicle, use illuminated signage, and undergo periodic vehicle safety inspections. The legislation also prohibits the sale of ridesharing decals or signage to any person who isn’t a ridesharing driver.

The use of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft is quite prevalent in central and southwestern Illinois, particularly in our college and university towns. Sami’s law will make use of rideshare services in our communities safer and more secure. I was proud to honor the life of Sami by supporting these safety protections so we can prevent another tragedy. I look forward to the Senate passing this legislation and the president signing it into law.
Open Office Hours Will Be Held In These Towns Next Week
Our office will have more opportunities to connect throughout central and southwestern Illinois during the next two weeks as well, so stay tuned for more information.