ParkSPRINGFIELD – Local park districts now have more time to complete projects funded through the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant program, thanks to a law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

“When it comes to infrastructure projects, planning is best left in the hands of local governments,” said Murphy. “Especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we allow park districts to set practical timelines for themselves.”

Previously, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which administers the OSLAD grant program, provided an advance payment of 50% of the grant up front. State law requires grantees to complete projects within two years of receiving grant funds, meaning that park districts had just two years after this advance payment to complete projects.

This new law allows park districts to opt out of advance payments on OSLAD grants, delaying the start of the two-year grant timeline and giving them more authority over when to begin projects.

In addition to allowing park districts more freedom on future projects, Murphy’s initiative also provides more flexibility on active grant projects by directing IDNR to consider recipients’ requests to extend deadlines.

“The COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on a number of local development plans, but I’m excited to see our park districts take on more projects as they bounce back,” Murphy said. “This new law gives our communities the flexibility they need to grow at their own pace.”

The law, originally House Bill 1760, goes into effect immediately.

CondoSPRINGFIELD – Condominium boards will be allowed to require a majority of board members to live on site under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

“When a condominium board is made up of off-site board members, residents’ needs may not be accurately represented,” Murphy said. “This legislation gives condominium associations the chance to ensure decisions are being made by the people who live there.”

The legislation allows a condominium’s bylaws to include a provision requiring the majority of the condominium board to be made up of members who occupy a unit as their primary residence.

A constituent approached Murphy with the idea for the legislation, citing concerns that board members who do not reside on the property may not be positioned to make decisions affecting other unit owners.

“Nonresidents may not have the same motivations and interests as those who live on the condominium property,” Murphy said. “Important decisions should be made by those who call the community home.”

Senate Bill 636 was signed into law Monday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

TrainSPRINGFIELD – To promote domestic manufacturing and put U.S. workers first, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) sponsored a new law that will ensure Illinois prioritizes American contractors in the development of mass transit systems in the state.

“When we contract with foreign-based companies, we lose control over the business practices and standards involved in our transportation projects,” Murphy said. “As our economy recovers from the pandemic, it’s even more important that we support American manufacturers first.”

The new law prohibits Illinois from contracting for the development of any mass transit facility with a vendor that receives support from certain countries in which the government allocates goods and resources and determines prices.

In recent years, numerous major American cities have contracted with companies backed by non-market economy foreign governments, only to discover the companies have a history of questionable labor practices, including intellectual property theft and the use of child labor.

The law will strengthen the domestic rail supply industry and protect the economic and national security of U.S. rail infrastructure against foreign government interests.

“Buying American is the best way we can protect our transportation industry and support the nation’s long-term economic success,” Murphy said.

Senate Bill 640 was signed into law Monday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

MedicareSPRINGFIELD – Older Illinoisans can shop for new Medicare supplemental plans without worrying about their health status or preexisting conditions under a law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

“Especially for those on fixed incomes, even a small rate change can cause significant financial stress,” Murphy said. “This law ensures our older neighbors have the flexibility they need to shop for a plan that fits their medical needs and their budget.”

The measure establishes an annual open enrollment period for each Medicare supplement policyholder between 65 and 75 years of age that begins on the policyholder’s birthday and lasts 45 days.

During this period, the policyholder can switch to a new supplemental policy with equal or lesser benefits under their same insurance provider. Insurance providers can’t deny, underwrite or charge new policyholders based on health status.

Murphy’s initiative is modeled after a law in California known as the Medigap “Birthday Rule,” which allows those with Medicare supplemental plans 60 days to switch to a plan of equal or lesser benefits at the time of their birthday. Other states designate guaranteed-issue periods during certain months or around the anniversary of the policyholder’s original policy issue date.

“A policyholder’s health status shouldn’t keep them from finding a more reasonably priced plan,” Murphy said. “Now, our older neighbors can depend on a dedicated window every year to make the switch.”

Senate Bill 147 takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

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Office Info

Springfield Office:
307 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3875

District Office:
1645 South River Road, Suite 7

Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
(847) 718-1110