HIGHWOOD – The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the health inequities facing communities throughout Illinois. Three organizations in Lake County have been awarded funding to implement health equity strategies, State Senator Julie Morrison announced Wednesday.


“Prioritizing accessibility and inclusivity in our health care realm became even more vital during the pandemic,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “As chair of the Senate Health Committee, I have seen firsthand the need to close health equity gaps in Illinois. The ARISE program is a great step toward improving the health and well-being in our communities that have long suffered care inequities.”

Activating Relationships in Illinois for Systemic Equity (ARISE) is a joint initiative of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Center for Minority Health Services and The Center for Rural Health, in collaboration with Well-Being and Equity (WE) in the World.

Lake County’s Black and Brown Coalition for Health Equity, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, and Islamic Alliance to Advance Health Equity in Lake County are three of the 18 organizations across Illinois awarded funding to address systemic health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ARISE intends to support socio-economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities outside of Cook County that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Further, organizations will be able to address enduring health inequities in their communities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The selected ARISE Community Equity Zone communities will engage in a rigorous “learning-and-doing” capacity building program to advance health equity in the short, medium and long term. The community coalitions will address inequities in mental, physical and social well-being in communities that are experiencing the brunt of these disparities by connecting people to vaccinations, food, and other well-being needs. They will also address underlying community needs such as humane housing, reliable transportation, and the root causes of these inequities, including racism and poverty.

“This initiative implements a strategy that will combat preexisting health inequities made worse by the pandemic,” said Morrison. “Through collaborative community efforts, we can put the state on a path toward greater post-pandemic healing.”

To learn more about the ARISE initiative, people can visit www.weintheworld.org/arise-project.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) championed a recently signed law to ensure people store their guns in a safe and secure manner.040722HAO00587

“Recognizing that unsecured guns pose a public health risk is an important step in preventing accidental injuries and deaths,” Morrison said. “These programs will serve as a reminder of the lethal power of firearms and that proper storage can help prevent tragic accidents.”

Morrison sponsored a law signed Friday that directs the Illinois Department of Public Health to develop a two-year, multi-phase statewide firearm storage and safety campaign that would include distribution of gun locks and safes, buyback programs in partnership with law enforcement and an evaluation piece to measure the impact of the program.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, an unsecured gun in the home can be extremely dangerous, especially for children. Every year, nearly 1,300 children die from accidental shootings and many more are seriously injured.

“Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago commends Senator Morrison for her outstanding leadership in enacting legislation that will help address gun violence, a public health crisis with tremendous negative and lasting consequences for children, families, and communities in Illinois,” said Dr. Tom Shanley, president & CEO at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.  "With suicide and homicide continuing to rank in the top 3 leading causes of death for children and young adults, ages 10-24, this legislation is critical to help safeguard Illinois children and families.“

House Bill 4729 was signed into law Friday.   

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SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) led a law signed Friday that includes community service as a possible punishment if a person speeds in a school zone or illegally passes a stopped school bus with its stop arm extended.


“Children taking the bus to school should be worried about their schoolwork, not worried about reckless drivers,” Morrison said. “This measure will further deter folks from speeding or passing school buses and really reflect on how their actions could harm members of their community.”

Currently, people who speed in school zones or pass stopped school busses must pay fines ranging from $150 to $1,000, depending on the frequency of their violations. Under Morrison’s law, community service would be added to the penalties. Morrison believes this initiative will further deter people from violating these regulations.  

Morrison has long been advocate of transportation safety. She previously added community service as a possible punishment for violations of Scott’s Law, which requires that drivers reduce speeds and change lanes for emergency vehicles.

Senate Bill 3793 was signed Friday.  

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CHICAGO – Nearly 100 businesses in the district State Senator Julie Morrison represents were awarded nearly $4.3 million in funding from the Back to Business program thanks to her advocacy and support.


“Small business owners in Lake and Cook County and throughout the state experienced unforeseen financial difficulties that will be challenging to bounce back from without help,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

A total of $4.295 million was awarded to 90 businesses in the 29th District. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

DCEO has provided $250 million in B2B grants – thanks to strong support from Morrison – to small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on hard hit sectors, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, and disproportionately impacted areas.

“Alleviating the financial burdens many small businesses face helps not only their companies, but also their employees and families,” Morrison said. “I am pleased we had the ability to provide this much-needed relief.”

With strong leadership from Morrison, the state has seen five Illinois’ General Obligation bond rating upgrades in the last year from all three of the nation’s primary credit rating agencies. The latest two-notch upgrade comes from Fitch Ratings, as a result of the state paying down its bill backlog from over $16 billion to less than $3 billion in a course of just a few years.

Due to fiscal responsibility, the state saw an increase in funds available to assist small businesses.

Morrison urges small businesses to visit the DCEO website for additional resources or contact DCEO’s First Stop Business Information Center Services at 800-252-2923 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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