Telehealth; Unemployment Fraud; Deer Season; Blood Donations Needed

2021 Deer Hunting

Avid hunters of the 116th District will be gearing up soon for the 2021 deer hunting cycle. An important aspect of this is limited public access to deer hunting opportunities on private land through the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP). Hunters can access and apply for the limited number of slots through IRAP’s webpage here.

The IRAP program has leased access to 323 public access deer hunting sites in 39 counties across Illinois. These sites stand on 13,365 acres of privately-owned deer habitat, leased to IRAP for this program. IARAP applicants must be submitted online no later than the close of business on Friday, August 13, 2021.

Telehealth Bill Signed Into Law

This week, Governor Pritzker signed into law HB3308, a bipartisan measure that increased telehealth service access across the state until 2027. The use of telehealth increased during COVID-19 and remains a viable option for those who either have difficulties traveling to an in-person practitioner or prefer to remain at home. The legislation stops insurance plans from requiring a patient to attend an in-person visit before a telehealth service. It also expands the early intervention services that can be provided through telehealth. The bill further prevents insurers from requiring patients to provide a reason for choosing a telehealth visit over an in-person consult. I was proud to vote yes on this legislation.

Unemployment Fraud

This past year of lockdowns and mitigations have been hard on both employers and employees. Over that time, hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans filed for unemployment insurance benefits through the Department of Employment Security (IDES). Along with this large influx of applications were an unknown number of fraudulent claims. In some cases, claims were filed in bad faith by people who had not lost their jobs. Other applications were filed by fraudsters who had stolen the identities of real people and committed identity theft.

Recently, IDES has admitted losses from such fraud totals at least $14.8 million and is likely much higher. These losses must be made up for by employers, cuts to future unemployed, and everyday employees. Over the past year, there have been calls for IDES to answer for these troubling numbers. Many lawmakers urged IDES to reopen their offices, improve contact with constituents, and work to be more transparent about the causes and casualties they face. Instead, calls have largely gone ignored and legislation to audit IDES has failed. Our administrative officials must do better and I will continue to call for the answers you deserve. In the meantime, please contact my office with any IDES concerns you may have.

Blood Donations Needed

Illinois is currently facing a shortage of donated blood and the Red Cross is asking Illinoisans to consider donating. If you are so inclined, please visit to learn more about how you can donate and help save lives.