Senator MurphySPRINGFIELD – To help guide local governments through the COVID-19 recovery process, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) has sponsored a package of legislation to give municipalities the means to address pandemic-related challenges.

“Especially now, local governments are keeping our communities afloat by managing our regional health departments and providing financial, housing and meal assistance to struggling Illinoisans,” said Murphy. “I hope this legislation can help them continue to provide much-needed services as we look to recover from this pandemic.”

House Bill 2096 is an omnibus bill, which:

  • Grants townships the option to postpone their annual meetings during a disaster declaration enacted by the governor;
  • Clarifies that townships should not count federal stimulus payments toward earned income in determining individuals’ eligibility for General Assistance programs;
  • Exempts low-income students from non-resident library card fees to give all students access to library resources, including e-books and online periodicals;
  • Allows school construction bids to be communicated, opened and accepted electronically to enable bid discussions to continue during the COVID-19 emergency; and
  • Authorizes the Housing Authority of Cook County to enter business arrangements with developers to provide safe and stable housing for low- and middle-income suburban families.

Murphy worked with a bipartisan group of Illinois senators to find solutions to the problems facing local governments as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with input from the Township Officials of Illinois, the Illinois Municipal League and other stakeholders.

“For weeks, I’ve been meeting virtually with my colleagues in the Senate—of both parties—to discuss how we can best assist our local governments during and after the COVID-19 crisis,” said Murphy. “Together, we were able to come up with these measures to help our communities recover.”

House Bill 2096 passed the Senate Thursday with bipartisan support.