Senate Week in Review: April 22-26, 2024

Combat Food Insecurity Throughout Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Senate Republicans are working to combat food insecurity throughout Illinois by passing legislation to increase access to food in underserved areas.

Senate Bill 3265 creates a program within the Illinois Department of Agriculture tasked with developing strategies to ensure fresh, nutritious food is available in food deserts while also providing education on food preparation and nutrition.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food deserts are areas where people have limited access to a variety of healthy and affordable food. The legislation emphasizes a comprehensive approach to increase food access, to strengthen local food systems, and to understand the root causes of food insecurity.

State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says lawmakers are optimistic about the bill’s potential to improve food access and education statewide.

Senate Bill 3265 received unanimous support in the Senate on April 12 and now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Flexible Daycare Scheduling Options

As families throughout the state struggle to make ends meet due to high inflation and other economic pressures, Senate Republicans have advanced legislation that would support working parents by providing greater flexibility in scheduling childcare.

Most daycare centers operate from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., presenting a significant problem for shift workers who often work overnight or early morning hours. Senate Bill 3207 would create a more flexible childcare system to meet the different needs of working parents.

Sponsored by Sen. Tracy, the legislation authorizes daycare centers to operate for 24 hours and provide childcare for up to 12 hours for parents employed in a position requiring regularly scheduled shifts. A 10-hour period must elapse between daycare visits.

Passed with unanimous support in the Senate on April 12, Senate Bill 3207 now advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Stability for Children in DCFS Custody

Senate Republicans have advanced legislation to ensure that children taken into Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) custody don’t have to change schools.

Currently, when a child is taken into DCFS custody, they often end up in a new home outside of their school district. Senate Bill 2824 ensures that all children who have been removed from their homes by DCFS can stay in the same school if the agency determines it to be in the best interest of the child. This includes situations where a student is moving from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school within a school district.

Sen. Tracy says that allowing children to remain in their current schools provides a measure of stability and familiarity for children who desperately need it.

Senate Bill 2824 passed the Senate and now awaits action in the House of Representatives.

Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations for People with Disabilities

Legislation calling for greater accessibility to ease the challenges faced by people with disabilities when charging their electric vehicles (EVs) has advanced in the Senate.

Sponsored by State Sen. Dan McConchie (pictured at right), Senate Bill 3323 mandates that all EV charging stations are readily accessible, spaced adequately for accessibility needs, equipped with longer charging cords, and meet technical standards to ensure accessibility for all.

While gas stations in America are accessible for most people with disabilities, current laws overlook EV chargers. The legislation would ensure all charging stations are designed to be independently usable by individuals with disabilities. This includes those who might have trouble using their hands, people with limb differences, or individuals reliant on special driving controls.

Senate Bill 3323 received unanimous support in the Senate and now advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Illinois State Police Welcomes New Troopers from Cadet Class 146

The Illinois State Police (ISP) recently welcomed nine new troopers from Cadet Class 146 into the ISP family. The graduation ceremony took place April 12 at the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield.

Cadet Class 146 underwent a demanding 28-week program that covered various aspects of law enforcement, including cultural diversity, procedural justice, domestic violence, and firearms training. They also underwent a 14-week field training component with one-on-one mentoring.

Since 2019, the ISP has grown its numbers by adding 512 new troopers to its ranks. The fresh recruits will be assigned to the following Troops across the state:

• Troop 3 Chicago: seven troopers
• Troop 4 Peoria: one trooper
• Troop 7 Champaign: one trooper

To encourage more individuals to join the force, the ISP has extended the application deadline for the next round of recruits to May 1. Aspiring candidates interested in joining the Illinois State

Police are encouraged to visit the Illinois State Police Merit Board website at  for further application details.

Jil Tracy

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