Advocacy Alerts: February 28, 2023


February 28, 2023 | by Amber Smock

Two Action Alerts for Illinois Bills + Info for Chicago Voters

Access Living friends and allies,

Today, we have a BIG advocacy triple header for you! We need your help on two Illinois bill action alerts, plus we have info for Chicago disability voters about today’s city election. Read on to take action!

Illinoisans, Act Now to Restore Your Rights Under Section 504:

Last year, in the case of Cummings v. Keller Premier Rehab P.L.L.C., the U.S. Supreme Court made the rights that people with disabilities have under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 largely unenforceable. Cummings eliminated the most common type of damages for civil rights violations which, although minimal in amount, allow enforcement of the law. Cummings also affects gender, age and racial discrimination. 

Access Living and our colleagues in Illinois are taking action by leading HB 2248, which will be heard in the Illinois House Immigration and Human Rights Committee tomorrow. HB 2248 would spell out that any Illinoisan injured by a violation of these statutes is entitled to compensation for their injury. HB 2248 would also restore the right of disabled people to bring claims for discrimination by federally funded entities. For those outside Illinois, please note that advocacy is continuing to restore our rights under Section 504 at the national level.

We need your help with TWO actions for HB 2248.

The first is to file a witness slip in SUPPORT of HB 2248 before tomorrow’s hearing at 2 pm Central. Here is the link to file a witness slip; be sure to mark that you are a “proponent” and that you are filing a “record of appearance only.” If you do not represent a group, you can type in “self” for who you represent.  Second, if you live in Illinois, please use the Access Living HB 2248 action link to send a letter supporting HB 2248 to your state representative. Let’s restore our civil rights, Illinois!

Act Now to Support Illinois Nursing Home Residents and Survivors:

Each year, Access Living supports bills led by coalitions of which we are a member. One of those coalitions is the Institutional Rescue and Recovery Coalition (IRRC), which is led by and for nursing home residents and survivors. This is a small but mighty group that needs YOUR help at to ask our Illinois legislators to support HB 3629, HB 3716 and SB 2262. This set of bills would do the following:

  1. Triple the monthly ‘personal needs allowance’ (PNA). Illinois is one of only four states that still only provides the federal minimum of $30/mo for clothing and other personal needs
  2. Add enforcement tools to bans on retaliation by facility managers, against residents and workers that blow the whistle on neglect, abuse, safety violations, or other problems
  3. Expand emergency personal attendant/medical support programs, which will reduce the ‘hospital-to-nursing-home pipeline’ and help people with disabilities and elders stay in their own homes when they don’t need a 24/7 facility
  4. Begin a stakeholder task force that would develop a five-year plan for coordinating and developing home and community based service program capacity, including programs such as a transition housing voucher, and proposing needed models and policies to support nursing home transition

Vote in Chicago TODAY!

If you live in the City of Chicago, don’t forget to vote today! If you have already voted, thank you for exercising your civil right to vote. If you need support preparing to go vote, you can check out Access Living’s webpage on the city elections. Plus, Equip for Equality is running their Voters with Disabilities Helpline. They will have advocates available by phone, text or email to answer questions about any voting problem you may experience.

Here are the key details:

  • Voice Telephone: 1.800.537.2632
  • TTY for D/deaf or HOH: 312-826-0049*
  • E-mail:
  • Available from 6 am to 7 pm

*Please note that this text phone number is ONLY available on February 28, 2023

Please share this advocacy alert with fellow disability community members. Thank you for your advocacy!