Illinois House of Representatives District 15

4200 Lawrence Ave. Chicago, IL 60630

773-736-0218

Category: All Announcements

Kelly Promotes Traffic Safety with Law Banning Video Chat While Driving

CHICAGO – Drivers in Illinois will be prohibited from using videoconferencing or video chat applications such as Zoom or Google Meet while operating a vehicle under a new law passed by state Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago.  

“As new technologies emerge, lawmakers need to be vigilant to ensure that the laws are updated to take them into account,” Kelly said. “That’s why, when I learned that existing laws around distracted driving didn’t explicitly cover videoconferencing, I knew it was important to close this hazardous loophole.” 

Prior to Kelly’s House Bill 2431, drivers were technically permitted to be in a video meeting while at the wheel so long as the device being used was hands-free and the call could be both initiated and terminated using a single button-press. 

Kelly and other advocates were concerned that video calls were inherently more distracting than voice-only calls because drivers would look at the faces on the screen out of habit. The bill does not prohibit hands-free voice-only phone calls which were permissible under pre-existing law.

The bill was passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate and has been signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

“You might think that something like this would be obvious, but making assumptions is where gaps in policy come from,” Kelly said. “Promoting public safety requires vigilance alongside very intentional action. You can’t just leave it up to ‘common sense’.”

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Kelly Invites Community Members to Shred Event

CHICAGO – State Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago, is helping residents to protect their identities by shredding unneeded documents containing sensitive information at a community shred event to be held Saturday, June 17 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at St. Edward Church, 4350 W. Sunnyside in Chicago.   

“Everyone should practice good information security, and that means not keeping documents with personally-identifiable information when not necessary,” Kelly said. “That’s why I’m partnering with community organizations to offer this free service to the community. Come out and help push back against identity theft.”

The event has a limit of two boxes of papers per household, and is limited to residential papers only—no business documents will be accepted. All staples and paperclips must be removed from the paper, and participants are reminded that no boxes or other materials beyond the shredded documents can be left at the event site.

The event will also offer free disposal of unneeded prescription drugs—though no needles will be accepted—and free electronics recycling while space remains available on the recycling truck. In addition, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) will provide free milkweed and tree saplings, as well as raffling off a rain barrel.

Kelly is hosting the event in partnership with Alderperson Samantha Nugent, the St. Ed’s Green Team, Sheriff Tom Dart and MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos.

WHOState Rep. Michael J. Kelly, Alderperson Samantha Nugent
WHATCommunity Shred/Disposal Event
WHENSaturday, June 17, 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. 
WHERESt. Edward Church
4350 W. Sunnyside Ave.
Chicago 

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Legislative Update

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Kelly Secures Property Tax Reduction for Surviving Spouses of Fallen Officers, Rescue Workers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Language inserted into an omnibus bill passed on Thursday by state Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago, means property tax relief is on the way for surviving spouses of police officers and rescue workers killed in the line of duty. 

“Families of fallen first responders have given society enough,” Kelly said. “We can’t give these families their loved ones back, but what we can do is ease the financial burden with regard to taxes and being able to stay in their homes.” 

Kelly introduced House Bill 2950 to provide a 50% reduction in property taxes to the surviving spouses of fallen first responders, as long as they remained in the same home and did not remarry. That bill did not advance out of committee before the deadline. 

But Kelly, a Chicago firefighter who joined the General Assembly in 2021, kept fighting and was able to insert key language from the bill into Article 10 of House Bill 2507, the Property Tax Omnibus bill, which passed unopposed through both the House and Senate this month. 

The bill cleared the General Assembly on Thursday and now moves to the governor’s desk for final approval. When it becomes law, it will take effect in 2024.

“First responders who put their lives on the line do so while trusting that, should the worst happen, the rest of us will step up and ensure their loved ones will be taken care of,” Kelly said. “That’s why this measure is so important. We’re helping take care of the families whose fallen heroes can no longer take care of them themselves.” 

Kelly’s office is reachable at 773-736-0218 or district@repkelly.com.

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Kelly Hails Passage of Fire Department Promotion Reform Bill 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago, is hailing the recent passage of a bill that promises to overhaul the outdated and sluggish promotion system long in place within the Chicago Fire Department.

“This bill is a win for Chicago’s brave first responders because it fixes, at long last, a system which has been broken for decades,” Kelly said. “For far too long, Chicago firefighters have asked for solutions and have instead been given excuses, rationalizations and spin. A broken system of promotions is a broken system of incentive and reward, and leads to low morale, skill and brain drain as well as losses of efficiency and effectiveness when the best people languish in roles for which they are overqualified, rather than advancing into positions from which they can lead.”

Kelly supported Senate Bill 1707, which removes exemptions which prevented the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) from being subject to the same mandated promotion processes as fire departments throughout the rest of the state. It now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature.

The CFD will now join all other Illinois fire departments in being required to create promotion lists based on transparent metrics like test scores, seniority and professional examinations. Advocates, including Kelly, say this will help solve long standing problems that have led to firefighters seeing their promotions unduly delayed due to bureaucratic inertia and meddling.

“We owe it to the firefighters who keep our families safe every single day to tell city bureaucrats and lobbyists ‘Enough Is Enough,’” Kelly said. “It’s one thing if a problem takes time to solve, or a goal takes time to implement, but the City and the Fire Department have been playing the same broken record for a generation, and nothing has changed. They’ve failed to fix it themselves, so we are taking over and we are fixing it. First responders deserve a functioning advancement system, which is why today’s action is long overdue.”

Kelly’s office is reachable at 773-736-0218 or district@repkelly.com.

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Kelly Commemorates Fallen Illinois Officers at Memorial

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago, honored fallen Illinois police officers following a memorial ceremony at the state Capitol Thursday.

“The brave and selfless individuals who risk their health and safety each and every day to protect our communities and our families all too often pay the ultimate price for their courage,” Kelly said. “Those who we honor here today have proven that courage beyond any question and, because they cannot, it falls to those of us who remain to take up the torch and continue to live lives full of the values of service and character that they showed us.”

Kelly is a Chicago firefighter who was appointed to the General Assembly in 2021 before being elected to a full term in 2022. During his time in office, he has been a tireless advocate for first responders and other public servants.

“Families across Illinois sleep safely because the families of these heroes have painful holes where their loved ones used to be,” Kelly said. “We must never forget, or neglect to honor, the sacrifices of our first responders.”

NameOrganizationEnd of Watch
Officer Nicholas KozakForest Park Police Dept.11-27-2021
Officer James R. SvecChicago Police Dept.12-08-2021
CBP Canine Officer Jeffrey P. Dela CruzU.S. Customs and Border Protection12-23-2021
Officer Jose M. HuertaChicago Police Dept.12-23-2021
Detective Joseph A. TripoliChicago Police Dept.1-3-2022
Deputy Sheriff Michael J. QueeneyWill County Sheriff’s Office1-8-2022
Officer Brian Romel ShieldsAurora Police Dept.1-11-2022
Deputy Sheriff Joseph R. TinocoCook County Sheriff’s Office1-13-2022
Sergeant Kenneth J. Thurman Sr.Aurora Police Dept.1-19-2022
Deputy Sheriff Brian J. NortonFord County Sheriff’s Office2-5-2022
Officer Brian L. SemberOttawa Police Dept.4-3-2022
Deputy Sheriff Nicholas D. WestKnox County Sheriff’s Office4-29-2022

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Kelly Calls Attention to Elected School Board Meetings

CHICAGO – State Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago, is raising awareness of the upcoming change to an elected school board in the City of Chicago as well as of the meetings that city residents may attend if they wish to give input.

“The future of Chicago’s public education system will be affected by the implementation of this new type of school board,” Kelly said. “I encourage anyone who is interested in learning about the changes or who wishes to give input to attend and make their voice heard.”

There will be 21 school board members, representing 20 districts citywide. One member will be at-large. In the election of 2024, voters will elect 10 board members, while the other 11 will be appointed by the mayor. In the election of 2026, the other 11 seats will also be elected, so the entire 21-member board will then be made up of elected board members from that point onward.

Some meetings which had already been announced have already occurred, most recently on May 1. Future meetings are slated for May 5 at 1 p.m. and May 6 at 10 a.m. The May 5 meeting will be fully virtual while the one on May 6 will be in-person only and will be held in the auditorium at Curie High School, 4959 S. Archer Ave. in Chicago.

Those who would like more information or who wish to testify during a meeting are asked to email RedistrictingCommittee@hds.ilga.gov. Those wishing to submit written testimony may also do so using that email address. By law school board districts must be drawn by July 1.

Kelly’s office is reachable at 773-736-0218 or district@repkelly.com.

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B2B Arts Application

Through the B2B Arts Grant program, The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute a historic $50 million in grant money to assist businesses, nonprofit organizations, and sole proprietors in the creative sector that have suffered losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications are being accepted by DCEO until May 10 at 11:59pm. Arts Alliance Illinois is here to make sure you have the support and tools needed for a successful grant application. Our help desk is your go-to hub for application support, and we will be hosting regular webinars during the grant application period.

Click below for more information.

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House Panel to Seek Public Input on CPS Elected Board Districts at Hearings

I’m working to make local voices heard as we transition to Chicago’s new elected, representative school board. The House is holding in-person and virtual hearings across the city where you can share your thoughts and help create the districts that will elect the new board. Find more information about the hearings and how you can participate at https://bit.ly/41MK4UZ, email written testimony to RedistrictingCommittee@hds.ilga.gov, or contact my constituent service office at 773.736.0218 or district@repkelly.com. Click below for more information.

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