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FRANKFORT – More than 100 businesses in the 19th District were awarded over $4 million in funding from the Back to Business program thanks to State Senator Michael E. Hastings.

Hastings (D-Frankfort) worked tirelessly to advocate and support local businesses in the South Suburbs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our local businesses have fought through extremely difficult times to keep their doors open and support our communities,” Hastings said. “These vital dollars will help provide businesses with financial assistance to help them keep their lights on.”

A total of $4.03 million was awarded to more than 100 businesses in the 19th District. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

DCEO has provided $250 million in B2B grants – thanks to strong support from Hastings – to small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on hard hit sectors, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, and disproportionately impacted areas.

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Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Illinois now has new laws on the books to help battle the substitute teacher shortage, thanks to Senator Michael E. Hastings.

Hastings (D-Frankfort) supported measures that were signed into law Wednesday that makes it easier for qualified individuals to serve as substitute teachers.

“Our educators offer guidance and dedicate their lives to our children,” Hastings said. “These new laws help our substitute teachers serve as a lifeline when their usual teacher is absent. Putting an end to this shortage, will not only help our students but help lighten the workload for fellow educators who may have to step in when a substitute teacher cannot be found.”

The following measures were signed into law:

  • House Bill 4798: Allows currently enrolled students in educator preparation programs in Illinois who have earned 90 credits can be qualified for a substitute teaching license.
  • Senate Bill 3907:  Increases the number days a Short-Term Substitute Teacher may teach consecutively for any one licensed teacher under contract in a school district from five to 15 days.
  • Senate Bill 3988: Allows 18 year olds to become paraprofessional so long as they meet all the other requirements for such a license, and they will be using the license for exclusively elementary education. The current age requirement is 19 years old.

A survey released by EdWeek Research Center last fall reported that more than 75% of school principals and administrators are reported to have said that they are having trouble finding enough substitutes to cover teacher absences in 2021.

Some school districts have had to close for a day due to the staffing shortages. Schools often are forced to resort to asking other teachers to fill in during their prep periods or combining classes. Hastings believes both of these options negatively impact educators and students.

“We need to work together to ensure our substitute teachers and educators are given the resources to be successful,” Hastings said. “These new laws will help move Illinois one step closer toward ending this crisis. It is essential that we work together and give our children an opportunity to receive an excellent educational experience.”

Hastings also supported the budget approved by the General Assembly this month that invests an additional $350 million into Illinois students’ success through the evidence-based funding model for K-12 education. He also sponsored Senate Bill 157 which increases the educator’s tax credit to up to $500 for out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies.

House Bill 4798 and Senate Bill 3988 go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023 while Senate Bill 3907 will go into effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Illinois retailers will soon have a law on the books to help curb organized retail crime and hold ringleaders accountable, thanks to State Senator Michael E. Hastings.

Hastings (D-Frankfort), serves as a chief-cosponsor of House Bill 1091, which cracks down on smash and grabs and targets the organizers of retail crime to help promote economic growth and give Illinois businesses the tools to hold perpetrators responsible.

“These criminal networks deprive our state of vital taxpayer dollars, risk the safety of employees and wreak havoc on businesses across the state,” Hastings said. “This measure gives our state the opportunity to hold people responsible by enacting one of the most comprehensive crime-curbing efforts in the nation.”

In partnership with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the office of the attorney general, this initiative defines organized retail crime as a criminal charge and gives prosecutors additional resources to charge crime ringleaders. Specifically, the measure codifies ORC as the theft of retail merchandise with the intent to sell.

Under House Bill 1091, prosecutors would have new opportunities to bring charges against offenders regardless of where the crimes takes place. For example, if the conspiracy, theft and selling occurred in different jurisdictions, each jurisdiction would have the ability to prosecute the entire crime. The Illinois attorney general would also have the ability to prosecute via a statewide grand jury.

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Category: Press Releases

New Lenox NICU

NEW LENOX – The residents of the South Suburbs will soon see a new, state of the art neonatal intensive care unit at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, thanks to the support of State Senator Michael E. Hastings.

Hastings (D-Frankfort) secured $600,000 in funding to build and operate a single-family, 24 private room NICU facility to serve area residents.

“Welcoming a newborn child that is either born prematurely or with a serious health condition can be an extremely stressful and difficult experience,” Hastings said. “This new NICU will give loved ones the option to stay close to home during this critical stage.”

Most babies admitted to the NICU are preterm, which means they were born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, have low birth weight that is less than 5.5 pounds, or have a health condition that needs special care. Twins, triplets, and other multiples often are also admitted to the NICU. Babies with health conditions such as breathing trouble, heart problems, infections, or birth defects are also cared for in the NICU. 

Moreover, 58% of patients in Silver Cross’ total service area receive high-risk neonatal care elsewhere. According to the 2020 March of Dimes Report Card, 11.1%of babies in Will County are born premature, which is high compared with the rest of the nation.

“These vital taxpayer dollars will help Silver Cross serve and give special care for our tiniest patients,” Hastings said. “For years, these young infants have had to travel to an NICU elsewhere. We can only imagine the stress and fear this creates for parents during an already trying time.”

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Category: Press Releases

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CONTACT SENATOR HASTINGS

Welcome to the official website of Senator Michael E. Hastings. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Hastings directly or you may call any of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

Springfield Office:
111 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9595

East Office:
813 School Ave
Matteson, IL 60443

District Office:
20855 South LaGrange Road
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-5431

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