102523CM1056 rSPRINGFIELD – In an attempt to ensure small contractors and firms have access to bid opportunities with the state, an amended version of State Senator Ram Villivalam’s bill, Senate Bill 157, that reforms the bond process and paves the way for more diversity in state contracting was included in a legislative package.

“Leveling the playing field so smaller bidders can do business with the state is an important part of the commerce process,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “This legislation is a significant step toward diversifying the field so the public works bid process is more equitable for smaller contractors in Illinois.”

House Bill 2878 raises the surety bond threshold for the next five years so bidders on projects under $150,000 have an easier time gaining contracts. The measure gives local governments the ability to contract on the smaller projects without a surety bond, but it also gives them the tools to require a bond for a project under $150,000 if it is passed by ordinance or resolution.

House Bill 2878 passed both chambers of the General Assembly on Wednesday.


Category: Press Releases

kelly sikkema QlYMPCOwvcs unsplash1SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam passed a measure Wednesday supporting water safety instruction incorporated into school curriculum from preschool through sixth-grade following a recent tragedy that occurred in the 8th District.

“With water safety instruction, more of our youth and families will be equipped with the tools to protect themselves and others,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “This legislation is an important step toward saving lives and ensuring better water safety education across the state.”

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children age 5-14 after car accidents, and at age 15, drowning rates triple. For every fatal child drowning, another eight children receive emergency care for non-fatal drowning injuries. Villivalam’s measure seeks to prevent as many of these deaths as possible by beginning water safety instruction in preschool.

“Drowning is the number one reason a child will die before kindergarten and the number two killer for all of childhood,” said Halle Quezada, a teacher and mother who lives in the district Villivalam represents. “When my four-year-old had fire safety in school, she was eager to make sure our whole family knew how to survive a fire. With this bill, we hope Illinois families will have water safety plans too and we can finally reverse these terrifying statistics.”

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Category: Press Releases

102523KP3961 Villivalam copyCHICAGO – Three months after Governor JB Pritzker vetoed a bill that would provide halal and kosher food options to students upon request in Illinois public schools in addition to those options being available at state facilities and the University of Illinois Hospital, State Senator Ram Villivalam passed a measure that was agreed upon by stakeholders and the governor.

“I am proud of our collaborative work to make the technical changes requested by the governor to ensure the successful implementation of this legislation,” said Villivalam (D-Chicago). “We are recognizing the cultural needs of our community and this is a big step for families who eat kosher or halal. Everyone deserves to have an option that fits their needs and feel included.”

Villivalam worked alongside the governor to pass an agreed-upon bill that will provide culturally appropriate lunches to those who request.

“This bill will allow students to have halal and kosher lunch options regardless of where they reside in the state of Illinois,” said State Representative Kevin Olickal (D-Skokie). “This is yet another example of Illinois' commitment to being a welcoming and accepting state.”

Specifically in public schools, the legislation would require the Illinois State Board of Education to enter into statewide master contracts from vendors across the state and give school districts access to the contract so they can more efficiently provide meals to students.

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Category: Press Releases

Entering Year Five of Rebuild Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced multiple projects in the northern Cook County area are planned or underway, highlighting an ongoing commitment made possible by Gov. JB Pritzker’s historic, bipartisan capital program. Eight major projects represent a total investment of more than $40 million, improving safety, mobility and quality of life while sustaining and creating good-paying jobs throughout the region.

“Rebuild Illinois is revitalizing communities and neighborhoods by investing in projects and people in the northern Cook County area and throughout the state,” said Gov. Pritzker. “Through the largest capital program in state history, IDOT will be delivering improvements to build a more resilient, accessible and equitable system of transportation for generations to come, while creating jobs and enhancing local quality of life.”

The eight projects are all scheduled to be completed between through 2025:

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Category: Press Releases

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