Illinois passes important solar legislation

By Becca Stone, Summer Internship Communications Team

This past spring legislative session, Illinois passed climate action bill HB2192, allowing park districts to enter leases, contracts, or other agreements that relate to the “acquisition of solar energy.” This
bill was necessary to increase the agency of park districts seeking to enact stronger climate
policy by enabling and easing park districts’ ability to enter into contractual agreements related
to solar energy. As a truly renewable and clean energy source, solar energy plays an important
role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming, thereby mitigating
climate change. It can also improve air quality and reduce water use associated with energy production.

After passing both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly in early June 2023, Governor
Pritzker signed the bill into law on Jun 30, 2023, and it went into effect immediately.

Note: the “acquisition of solar energy” refers to the installation, maintenance, and service of
solar panels, equipment, or similar technology related to solar energy.

Blood Drive in Buffalo Grove on September 14

The Blood Drive is run by the American Red Cross. For an appointment, call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit

When: Thursday, September 14, 2023 from 9am-2pm
Where: Community Service Building – Conference Room, 2900 N. Main St., Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

View the flier for more information.

The General Assembly Passes Fertility Fraud Bill

By Aditee Sakhare, Summer Internship Communications Team

Rep. Didech is proud to have been the Chief House Sponsor of SB0380 which will outlaw
“fertility fraud,” defined as when a health care provider has used their own reproductive cells
during a treatment without the patient’s informed consent. The bill will make “fertility fraud” a
civil offense, allowing victims to file civil lawsuits against health providers who commit fertility

Should the plaintiff prevail, the plaintiff is entitled to the costs of the fertility treatment and can also recover reasonable attorney’s fees as well as: compensatory or punitive damages; or
liquidated damages of $50,000. The bill will also allow the child born under fertility fraud to
access the personal medical records and health history of the health care provider who committed
the fraud.

The bill passed both the Illinois Senate and the Illinois House during the 2023 spring legislative
session. At the time of publishing, the bill is awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature. If Governor Pritzker approves of the proposal, Illinois will join 11 other states, including Indiana, Texas, and California, in protecting against fertility fraud.

SNAP Emergency Benefits Ended Mar. 1

Important updates to federal nutrition benefits

We’re posting to share some recent updates about federal changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

SNAP benefits help over two million Illinois residents access nutritious food for themselves and their families. In 2020, nearly 67,000 residents of Lake County alone relied on SNAP benefits, with the number of people receiving benefits believed to have increased since then due to ongoing instability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Federal Government increased benefits for SNAP recipients across the country. Unfortunately, these increased federal benefits expired on March 1, 2023. You can read more about this change here.

This means that starting March 2023, SNAP recipients in Illinois will see their benefits return to pre-pandemic levels. For many that means their benefits will be reduced anywhere from $95 to $250 per person per month. (Note: SNAP recipients can always check on the status of their benefits here.)

This is a significant reduction in benefits, and we understand that this change will put a strain on Illinois families who are already facing high costs of living. While this change is due to federal policy decisions and not policy decisions made at the state level, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Springfield to find ways that our state can step-up and help offer more relief to families who rely on SNAP to get food on their table.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is food insecure, our team has worked to identify a few resources here in our community. You can explore food assistance programs at this link, including food pantries, around our district to help meet your family’s nutritional needs.

If you are looking for ways to help your neighbors in need, consider donating funds or eligible items to these providers and/or volunteering your time. Call your local pantry or food assistance program at the link above for more information about volunteer opportunities, making monetary donations, or donating eligible items.

Critical legislation passed in the January 2023 Lame Duck Session

By Tisha and Vageesh, Spring Internship Communications Team

The General Assembly wasted no time passing important legislation when they returned to Springfield for January’s lame duck session. These laws will save lives, and Rep. Didech was proud to co-sponsor both of these important initiatives.

Gun safety measures: During the lame duck session, the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker passed the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” to help reduce gun violence deaths in our state. The law bans the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and switches in Illinois — effective immediately. It also empowers the Illinois State Police to work with federal agencies to crack down on interstate gun traffickers. The features of the bill proved to be a hugely popular bill across the state, with significant numbers of District 59 residents calling and writing to our office to voice their support.

Citizens may lawfully keep the now banned firearms if they register them with the government and if they hold a FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card. The bill also changed the eligibility age of holding a FOID card to 21 years of age. Any magazines owned prior to the ban may be kept but used and possessed only under certain conditions, such as on shooting ranges or private property. Owners of magazines must notify the state police to transfer them to any heirs, out-of-state individuals, or licensed firearm dealers.

Reproductive Healthcare: Legislators also passed the “Patient and Provider Protection Act” in January, putting in new protections for women and healthcare workers. Its passage will help ensure that all individuals can make their own healthcare decisions and access the care they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

To remove long-standing barriers to accessing abortion care: Under the new law, Illinois residents are guaranteed the right to access abortion care without interference from the government. This means that the state can no longer impose restrictions that pose barriers for individuals to access the care they need, such as waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, or restrictions on insurance coverage. The package also expanded Medicaid coverage for reproductive healthcare, requiring Medicaid to cover the full range of contraceptive methods and abortion care without cost-sharing. It also expands the Reproductive Health Care Act to include protections for assisted reproduction, such as IVF.

To expand and strengthen provider capacity in Illinois: the law provides protection for healthcare workers from disciplinary action in Illinois if they are punished for performing abortions in other states, and it creates a temporary license for out-of-state healthcare workers. It also allows advanced practice nurses to perform abortions that don’t require general anesthesia.

It also protects patients, providers, and witnesses from litigation and prosecution because of lawful healthcare that takes place in Illinois. The law includes measures to protect the privacy and confidentiality of individuals seeking reproductive healthcare services. With this law, employers & insurance companies are prohibited from interfering with an individual’s decision to use contraception or obtain an abortion. It also prohibits the sharing of an individual’s medical information without their consent.

As Governor Pritzker noted upon signing the bill into law, “Every individual deserves the right to make their own decisions about their body, their family, and their future.” With this legislation, Illinois is taking a critical step forward in protecting and promoting reproductive healthcare for all.

Historic Budget Relief Gets Passed in the 2022 Spring Session

By Josh Weiner, Summer Internship Communications Team

Many members of the Illinois General Assembly know that the pandemic and inflation have been burdening Illinois families and passed a historic relief package this past session, which also promises to increase the fiscal stability of Illinois. 

To help combat inflation, the Illinois budget includes over $1.8 billion dollars in aid to families. Some of the highlights of the budget relief bill include:

  • Suspending the state’s grocery tax for a year, which will save consumers an estimated $400M
  • Freezing the gas tax for six months, saving consumers $70M
  • Doubling the property tax rebate, to save up to $300 per household
  • Giving eligible tax filers additional one-time direct checks for $50 per adult filer and $100 for each of their children

The budget also calls for additional funding to public safety. Approximately $1 billion dollars will go towards violence prevention, and $124 million dollars will go towards supporting local police and reducing violent crime which also includes funding for mental health screening for local police departments. 

Other key aspects of the budget include:

  • $180M to be reinvested in the Healthcare Workforce Initiative to help grow the Illinois healthcare workforce
  • $122M increase in Monetary Award Program funding to help strengthen financial aid for low-income students who want to attend college
  • Special Education funding to receive a $96M funding increase
  • $54.4M towards early childhood programs
  • Pathways To Success Program – which focuses on creating plans for children with complex problems – fully funded at $150M

This is only a small sample of the total budget that was recently passed by both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker. The budget also funds key initiatives around equity, business attraction and community development, and so much more. If you have any questions about the budget that recently passed, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.

Bills that passed the Illinois House in the 2022 Spring Session

By Aniketh Bhaskar, Summer Internship Communications Team

The Illinois General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session adjourned on April 9th, 2022, and State Representative Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, and his colleagues in the Illinois House have been hard at work voting on numerous bills that may improve the lives of his constituents.

Bills that Rep. Didech voted yes on and have been signed into law include:

  • HB4338: Requires that physician-recommended prenatal vitamins are covered by individual and group accident and health insurance policies. This goes into effect in 2023.
  • HB5334: Requires individual, group accident, and health insurance policies to cover the cost of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer.
  • HB1780: Establishes a single, uniform, statewide system of regulation for safe and secure collection and disposal of medicine through a uniform drug take-back program that is operated and funded by pharmaceutical manufacturers. This bill is otherwise known as the “Drug Take-Back Act”.
  • HB4343: Cuts down on red tape that makes Medicaid difficult to navigate and increases the wait time for medical attention to make it easier for seniors and the disabled to maintain their Medicaid eligibility and receive affordable long-term care.

Some bills that Rep. Didech has voted yes on have passed in the House but have not yet passed in the Senate. These include:

  • HB1587: Provides financial assistance to people with disabilities to make home improvements that help support independent living.
  • HB4093: Creates new requirements for issuing permits to own and operate a source of pollution and requires the IEPA to consider environmental justice communities during the environmental permitting process.
  • HB4784: Seeks to redevelop vacant and abandoned properties as affordable housing in communities with concentrated poverty to make housing more accessible and revitalize communities with increased employment and economic growth.
  • HB4850: Expands Title IX to make employers liable for gender-related violence committed in the work environment to discourage workplace discrimination and abuse. 

HB160 and HB169 pass in the House & the Senate

By Sammie Reinstein, Summer Internship Communications Team

These bills make it easier on students to participate in religious traditions.

During this past legislative session, Representative Didech was the chief sponsor of two bills – HB160 and HB169 – that amend the School Code to better enable students to participate in their religions by relieving administrative barriers. Both of these bills were passed by the Illinois General Assembly on May 27, 2021. Currently awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature, upon passing, these bills shall take effect immediately.

HB160 allows students to be excused from physical activity components of physical education classes during a religious fast, if the student’s guardian notifies the school principal in writing. This bill will help ensure student safety while respecting the many diverse cultures that make up our state. This bill was initially proposed by the Northern Illinois American Muslim Alliance with support from the Jewish Federation, the ACLU, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

HB169 excuses a child’s absence from public school due to religious reasons, like observance of a religious holiday or participation in religious instruction. This bill allows the district superintendent to create and distribute specific procedures for religious absences to schools, as opposed to allowing school boards to determine rules pertaining to religious absences. This bill was initially proposed by the Northern Illinois American Muslim Alliance with support from the Jewish Federation, Chicago Teachers Union, National Association of Social Workers – Illinois, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

These two pieces of legislation make it less difficult for students to more fully participate in their religions, reducing some of the administrative burdens and other stresses that may come with missing school classes.

Didech Celebrates Wins from this Legislative Session

By Catherine Cabrera, Summer Internship Communications Team

The spring 2021 legislative session wrapped in June, and many of the bills sponsored by State Representative Daniel Didech, D-Buffalo Grove, passed in both houses of the General Assembly. These are currently awaiting Governor Pritzker’s signature to officially make them law.

Bills sponsored by Didech that recently passed in the General Assembly include:

● HB 55: Improves the process by which an intellectual disability and the need for guardianship is evaluated, by granting licensed clinical psychologists evaluation authority, changing the definition for “developmental disability” and adding definitions for “intellectual disability” and “related conditions” to reflect the definitions of the Disabilities Services Act of 2003.
● HB 56: Promotes transparency of public institutions by making the total compensation of county elected officials easily accessible by the public. Current state law had complicated gaining easy access to county information regarding what the county provides directly to elected officials, which often neglected to mention additional state stipends.
● HB 58: Permits and enables filing a restrictive covenant modification to any unlawful restrictive covenant that is void under section 3-105 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, specifically for restrictive covenants based on “race, color, religion, or national origin.” This bill was initially proposed by a constituent in Mundelein whose deed contained unlawful restrictive covenants she wanted removed but was held back due to a lack of streamlined modification procedures.
● HB 122: Advances consumer protections in the state by banning early termination and cancellation fees imposed by service providers – telephone, cellular telephone, television, Internet, energy, medical alert system, and water services – if the contract holder dies before the end of the contract.
● HB 160: Excuses students participating in religious fasts from participating in physical activity components of a physical education course, as long as the student’s guardian notifies the school principal in writing in advance.
● HB 168: Advances animal welfare by prohibiting future ownership of a person or person dwelling in the same household from owning, harboring or having custody or control over any animal if the person has been convicted of two or more of the following offenses: (1) a violation of aggravated cruelty; (2) a violation of animals for entertainment; or (3) a violation of dog fighting.
● HB 169: Streamlines the process for excusing a student’s absence from public school due to religious reasons, such as observance of a religious holiday or participation in religious instruction.
● HB 644: Eliminates barriers that unnecessarily restrict the ability of homeowners to install solar energy systems on their property by expediting approvals for solar energy system installations, clarifying the ability of community associations to regulate solar energy systems within their jurisdiction, and amending the scope of the Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act (HEPSA).