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PARK FOREST – The Indigo Nation Homeschool Association in Park Forest has been selected to receive a grant to help students go on field trips to learn more about biodiversity in Illinois, and State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) extends his congratulations. 

“This grant program is a tremendous opportunity for kids to get excited about science,” Joyce said. “We have great natural resources in this state and I’m glad to see the Indigo Nation Homeschool Association will be receiving a grant.”

This year, the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program awarded 37 field trip grants totaling $34,000 across the state. This program allows Illinois teachers to apply for funds to take students on a field trip to study Illinois’ natural resources. As a result of the program, more than 2,000 students will visit state parks, museums and other natural resource locations in the coming school year to gain hands-on experience with nature and conservation in Illinois.

The program began in 2001 and has awarded over $1.3 million to nearly 120,000 students. More information about the grant program is available from the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources Division of Education at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-524-4126. A full list of this year’s grant recipients can be found on IDNR’s website.

Category: News

pexels photo 1370704BRADLEY – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded grants to 13 Illinois communities to invest in housing improvement projects, and State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is pleased to see the Village of Bradley selected to receive $550,000.

“Through the Housing Rehabilitation Grants program, Illinois is working to provide assistance to residents here in the Village of Bradley and to the most vulnerable homeowners across our state,” said Joyce. “This program prioritizes projects that have fallen into a state of disrepair and provides an opportunity to restore properties to their maximum potential. Seeing that these projects are completed doesn’t just benefit the homeowner, but the entire community.”

Housing rehabilitation grants are designed to assist low- to moderate-income homeowners with improvements to ensure safe and sanitary living conditions. The funds can be used for a range of projects, including structural work, electrical, plumbing, new appliances, flooring, ADA and accessibility accommodations, and more. Homeowners work through their local unit of government to apply for the grant, and up to $50,000 may be spent on each home.

“DCEO is committed to addressing the most urgent economic development needs facing our communities – including helping low-income Illinois residents have and maintain a safe place to live,” said DCEO Acting Director Sylvia Garcia. “Through the Housing Rehabilitation program, we are leveraging federal dollars to fund projects that will not only bring homes up to code but will stabilize neighborhoods and improve quality of life for communities across the state.”
Joyce reminds communities that are interested in taking advantage of the program to apply in the next round of funding. Find more information on the program here.

Category: News


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) advanced a measure through the Senate Tourism and Hospitality Committee Thursday to prevent children’s lemonade stands from being shut down for not having a permit.

“This bill is inspired by 12-year-old Hayli Martinez, whose lemonade stand in Kankakee was flagged by local officials and shut down,” Joyce said. “I introduced this legislation last year after hearing Hayli’s story from a concerned constituent. Unfortunately, the bill lost momentum due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are on track to pass Hayli’s Law this spring.” 

Under this bill, the Illinois Department of Public Health, a local health department or public health district may not regulate the sale of lemonade or non-alcoholic drinks or mixed beverages by a person under the age of 16 years. This bill would also prevent authorities from requiring a permit for children to sell lemonade on private properties or in a public park.

Senate Bill 119 cleared committee 7-0. 

Category: Press Releases

istockphoto 1133834174 612x612February 21-27 is Grain Bin Safety Week

KANKAKEE – Senate Agriculture Chairman Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is joining the Illinois Department of Agriculture in reminding farmers and farm workers to be cautious when working in and around grain bins.

“This week is dedicated to raising awareness of hazards and safe work practices to reduce the number of accidents associated with grain handling and storage,” Joyce said. “I urge farmers to slow down and be safe to prevent a tragedy.”

Joyce says moving grain acts like quicksand and a worker standing on moving grain can be trapped within just five seconds and completely covered in grain in less than half a minute.

Three of the most common scenarios leading to grain entrapment include:

  • A worker stands on moving or flowing grain, typically caused by an auger running or grain being moved out of the bin by gravity.
  • A worker stands on or below a grain bridging situation. Bridging happens when damp grain clumps together, creating an empty space beneath the grain as it is unloaded. A worker above or below this bridge of grain is at risk should the bridge collapse.
  • A worker stands next to an accumulated pile of grain on the side of the bin and attempts to dislodge it. It can collapse onto the worker.

While workers should avoid entering grain bins if possible, safety measures can greatly diminish the risk if they must enter. Workers entering a grain bin wear a body harness attached to a lifeline, and an observer should be stationed outside the bin to track the worker and call for help if something goes wrong.

Joyce suggests farm workers attend regular safety trainings as a reminder to utilize best practices while working in and around grain bins. Online training resources are also available from the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, the Grain and Safety Council, and the University of Illinois Extension.

Category: Press Releases

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