Recommendations for Illinois State Legislative Actions in Response to COVID-19

These recommendations for state legislative actions concentrate on critical measures to protect low-income families and communities throughout the state.

In response to COVID-19, the Shriver Center on Poverty Law has revised our 2020 legislative agenda. These recommendations for state legislative actions concentrate on critical measures to protect low-income families and communities throughout the state.

As the Illinois General Assembly reconvenes this week, actions must be taken immediately to ensure the well-being of our most vulnerable and at-risk populations. 

We’re advocating for laws and policies that will support working familiesprovide affordable healthcare for our most vulnerable, and ensure equitable housing practices.

Among our full list of recommendations, we urge the General Assembly to include these measures in the budget and/or emergency omnibus bill to protect communities likely to experience the harshest health, housing, court, justice system, and economic impacts from the COVID-19 crisis in Illinois:

Supporting Working Families 

  • Currently, there are 1.5 million, mostly low-wage, workers in Illinois with no access to even a single paid sick day. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for Illinois to enact the Healthy Workplace Act (SB 471), legislation that would ensure that Illinois workers have access to at least 40 hours of sick leave. Emergency paid sick leave is an immediate response to COVID-19 for all workers, including gig economy workers, temporary workers, domestic workers and undocumented workers to have a least 20 days of leave. 
  • Transportation is critical for employment and opportunity, and when licenses are taken away, we all lose – job seekers, workers, employers and the taxpayers paying to enforce counterproductive policies. SB 3376 (Sen. Villanueva) Ending Driver’s License Suspension for Unpaid Red-Light Camera Tickets eliminates driver’s license suspensions for failure to pay red light camera tickets and restores licenses previously suspended due to these debts.
  • HB 5669 / SB 3429 (Rep. Welch, Sen. Steans) Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to include 18-24-year-old childless adults and all immigrants who file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The bill helps over-taxed low-income workers get a cost of living refund.

Affordable Healthcare for Our Most Vulnerable 

  • COVID-19 shines a spotlight on what happens when an entire low-income population—namely low-income adult immigrants—has been excluded by design from Medicaid. Healthy Illinois (HB 4891 / SB 3703) creates a pathway to health coverage for all low-income Illinoisans regardless of their immigration status and is critical to keeping all communities healthy in the face of COVID-19. 

Protect Renters and Homeowners

  • No one should fear losing their home during the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 Emergency Economic Recovery Renter and Homeowner Protection Act (HB 5574, HA 1) would provide temporary relief and protections to renters, homeowners, and persons in need of housing during and in the aftermath of the pandemic. The bill extends the moratorium on residential and small business commercial evictions, provides relief to landlords who have tenants struggling to pay rent due to a COVID-19 hardship, gives homeowners relief by deferring mortgage payments and eliminating fees, and provides tenants with protections in this time of crisis to alleviate the uncertainty and fear of losing their home. 

Read our full list of recommendations.

Read about crisis advocacy the Shriver Center is undertaking on other fronts in the face of COVID-19/Coronavirus.

Take action on our legislative priorities!

More Information

Healthcare is a human right. The high cost of care means millions of families have no access to the critical care all human beings deserve.

Shelter is not only a basic human need, it is also critical to people’s ability to pursue and attain economic stability.

Everyone should be paid decently and have basic workplace protections.

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