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 Senator Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) 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.

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 by 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.

Senator Syverson 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.

Dave Syverson

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