Monthly Downstate Update

Tova Kaplan, News Editor


After years of fierce advocacy  by environmental groups, the  Climate and Equitable Jobs  Act (CEJA) passed through the  State Congress, and was signed  into law by Governor Pritzker  on September 15th. Last year,  dozens of Whitney Young students went to Springfield to help  advocate for the law, and now  their efforts have succeeded.  The legislation puts Illinois on  a path to a 100% clean energy  future by the year 2050, closes  coal and fossil gas plants, invests  in renewable energy, invests $80  million annually for job creation  in Black and Brown communities, and grants $40 million to  address the economic impacts of  closing coal plants.

In other news, Governor JB  Pritzker announced $327 mil lion in additional funding to assist low-income families during  the pandemic. This program,  known as Help Illinois Families,  expands services to help low-in come families with household  expenses. Families, regardless  of immigration status, that  are within 200% of the federal  poverty level may be eligible to  receive funds. If you think your  family could qualify, you can fill  out this application, call 1-833- 711-0374. 

Finally, in response to the  infamous Texas abortion law  that prohibits abortions after  six weeks, Governor Pritzker  and other congressional officials  reaffirmed Illinois’ commitment to protecting the right to  choose. He touted the Illinois  Reproductive Health Act, which  Pritzker signed into law in 2019,  that placed protections around  abortion and birth control ac cess in Illinois, required insurers  to cover abortions, and removed  references to abortions from the  criminal code. Pritzker said that  he wants to make Illinois the  most progressive state on abortion, and he even sent out letters  urging Texas businesses to move  to Illinois. State legislators are  now turning their sights to re pealing Illinois’ Parental Notice  of Abortion Act, which forces  doctors to notify the family of  a person seeking an abortion if  they are under 18. So, we’ll see  in the coming months if legislators use the momentum against  the Texas law to enhance protections here in Illinois.