Originally published on Law360, January 5, 2021.

Illinois would provide income tax credits to businesses for each employee hired who had previously been unemployed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, under three separate but related bills introduced in the state Senate.

S.B. 4006, S.B. 4010 and S.B 4020, which were introduced Monday and sponsored or co-sponsored by Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, would allow credits for businesses that hire employees who are unemployed as a result of the pandemic immediately prior to their hiring.

S.B. 4010 and S.B. 4020 would both provide credits to employers that hire a qualified resident to a new full-time job for taxable years between Jan. 1, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2025. The bills would provide $2,500 per hire for businesses with 100 to 500 employees and $5,000 for businesses with up to 100 employees. S.B. 4010 would also establish a $1,500 credit for businesses with over 500 employees.

Both bills would also increase credit amounts by $500 per hire if the employee resided in designated areas meeting a threshold poverty rate, unemployment rate or participation rate in free child lunch or nutrition assistance programs.

S.B. 4006 provides credits similar to S.B. 4020's but would not limit them to employees that are hired to a new full-time job and does not offer additional amounts for hires from designated areas.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Assignments Committee for review.

Category: In The News

Originally published in Chicago Tribune, December 15, 2020.

Residents seeking COVID-19 tests have a new free option from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Appointments must be made online, and the tests are given indoors at the Bernard Horwich JCC, 3003 W. Touhy Ave., Chicago, which is close to Lincolnwood and Skokie. The site has a free parking lot.

On a recent Wednesday in the 11 a.m. time slot, only about seven people arrived for the tests, though the room can hold many more. Most people were in and out within 30 minutes. Chairs are set up in a socially-distanced fashion, and test-takers check in at a desk, then wait to be called to the testing area, where a medical worker inserts a swab part way into their nostrils in a PCR test.

State Sen. Ram Villivalam, a Democrat from the 8th district, said his office worked with others to set up three previous testing sites before this one. At an outdoor, drive-up testing site in Lincolnwood in November, wait times grew to more than two hours, and one day of testing had to be cancelled due to bad weather.

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Category: In The News

Originally published in Chicago Tribune, December 8, 2020.

Several Illinois state senators are calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to introduce a new moratorium on utility disconnections, as Illinois enters the often sub-zero winter months and the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic impact continue.

The group of seven state lawmakers, who represent north and northwest suburbs, sent a letter dated Nov. 30 to Pritker acknowledging the current voluntary stay on shutoffs that some utility companies are adhering to, but they want the governor to make it less discretionary.

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented health and economic crisis – with small business owners and employees especially hard hit by layoffs and loss of income. During this pandemic and its associated economic downturn, no one should have to face the threat of a winter without heat or lights. That only increases the risk of illness, injury, and fires,” read a portion of the letter signed by state senators Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, Laura Fine, D-Glenview, Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, Robert Peters, D-Chicago, Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights, Julie A. Morrison, D-Deerfield, and Adriane Johnson, D-Buffalo Grove.

“We appreciate that the governor has continued his moratorium on evictions, but in Illinois, a home without heat is not a safe home in the winter,” Fine said in a news release announcing the senators’ request to the governor.

The elected leaders said in the letter that Illinois needs to ensure that everyone continues to have a safe place to live until the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, crisis has passed.

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Category: In The News

Originally published in Journal & Topics, December 4, 2020. 

Niles Chamber of Commerce officials will host a legislative roundtable with federal, state, county, and local leaders next week bringing together local political representatives and businesses struggling with COVID-19 related shutdowns and restrictions.

The event, scheduled via Zoom at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, will feature U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) and Brad Schneider (D-10th), State Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-8th), Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri (R-9th) and Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo. 

Niles Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alicia Bermes said, after short introductions, the meeting would be broken up into virtual breakout rooms, with each elected official rotating through for between 15 and 20 minutes each.

Depending on turnout, Bermes said breakout rooms could be divided by industry, allowing more industry-specific one-on-one time for questions and answers with elected leaders.

Illinois is in what is called Tier 3 of COVID-19 mitigation measures restricting the size of gatherings and restricting restaurants to outdoor dining only, which may be in tents. Those restrictions have hampered or even closed some businesses. Last weekend, Omega Restaurant on Golf Road in Niles temporarily shut down for three months because of restrictions and the pandemic.

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Category: In The News

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