Cunningham presents legislationSPRINGFIELD – During the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law offering additional workers’ compensation protections to first responders and essential workers. Today, State Senator Bill Cunningham led the Illinois Senate in passing a measure to extend those protections by six months.

The law allows essential workers and first responders to file for workers’ compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 during the course of their employment – providing them with additional economic support while they recover from the illness. Employers have an opportunity to rebut workers’ claims by demonstrating they followed all applicable public health guidelines.

“This law was a fair compromise that protects workers without unduly burdening businesses,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “It encourages businesses to protect their employees to the best of their ability and gives workers who aren’t protected more resources to help them recover.”

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Category: Press Releases

Cunningham urges more to apply


small business grants FBCHICAGO – As local small businesses and not-for-profit groups take in more than half a million dollars in financial assistance in the form of Business Interruption Grants, State Senator Bill Cunningham is urging more to apply.

“This pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it’s been especially painful for small businesses and not-for-profit groups,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “These grants can help keep businesses – and their employees – afloat while we try to get the spread of COVID-19 back under control.”

Nineteen businesses and not-for-profits in the 18th Senate District received a combined $555,000 from the government assistance program. The grants varied between $5,000 and $150,000, based on need, and were used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week as part of the second round of the BIG program. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

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Category: News

adult driverCHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham is encouraging Illinois residents age 75 and older to take advantage of Secretary of State Jesse White’s decision to automatically renew their driver’s licenses if they expire this year.

“Older adults are at especially high risk of complications if they contract COVID-19,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “If you’re over 75 years old and your license expires this year, take advantage of this program and avoid the health risk of visiting a Secretary of State facility.”

Eligible drivers should soon receive a letter from the secretary of state as proof that they qualify. They are encouraged to keep the letter with their license to prove they license is valid, though police have also been informed of the extension.

This automatic extension follows several other efforts the secretary of state has taken to protect the safety of Illinois residents. Secretary of State White has also extended all licenses, ID cards, and vehicle registration that expired between the start of the pandemic and Sept. 30 until Nov. 1.

To protect the safety of both customers and staff, all driver services facilities have been set up with plexiglass barriers and markings to ensure proper social distancing. All customers are asked to wear face coverings.

Because of limited space, anyone visiting a driver services facility should be prepared to wait outside for an extended time. Many services, including vehicle sticker renewals can be accomplished online at All residents are encouraged to make use of these online services as much as possible.

Contact information of the nearest driver services facility can be found at Customers are encouraged to call first to determine wait times if they can’t safely wait outside.

Category: Latest

Open for businessCHICAGO – Businesses in Chicago and the southwest suburbs that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19-related closures and operating changes are set to receive $680,000 in special relief grants, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced today.

“This Business Interruption Grant program is so important for small businesses that have done everything right by putting the health and safety of their customers and employees first during this pandemic,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “I’m hopeful this first round of grants will help the businesses that make our communities unique.”

The grants are the first round of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program. The state program will award these grants to a variety of businesses, with top priority to those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants are distributed in awards of $10,000 or $20,000 and can be used to help businesses with expenses like payroll costs, rent, utilities, equipment and other possible unexpected costs to relieve the effects of the pandemic, such as PPE, training, and new technology.

“This pandemic has hit small retailers, independently-owned gyms, and hospitality businesses like bars and restaurants especially hard,” Cunningham said. “That’s why the program is ensuring that these businesses are the priority when grants are being awarded.”

Category: Latest


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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 18th District
329B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5145
(217) 782-2115 FAX
District Offices:
10400 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 445-8128
(773) 672-5143 FAX

16033 S. 94th Avenue
Orland Hills, IL 60477
(708) 233-9703