SPRINGFIELD – Future Farmers of America chapters across Illinois will soon see more financial assistance thanks to grants that would be paid out through the Future Farmers of America Fund created through legislation championed by State Senator Patrick Joyce.
“As lifetime FFA member myself, I am proud to champion legislation that has full support across the board,” said Joyce (D-Essex). “FFA taught me so many valuable lessons that I still hold and apply to my life as a farmer and state senator – and I want to provide those same opportunities for other students across our state.”
House Bill 5400 also allows the Illinois Secretary of State to issue FFA universal specialty license plates. The funds collected from the distribution of the decals will then go into the Future Farmers of America Fund. Anyone can apply for and be issued one of the plates for an additional $25 to their standard vehicle registration fee. For the original issuance, $10 will go to the FFA Fund, and for renewals $23 will go to the fund.

Read more: FFA Chapters get a boost thanks to Senator Joyce

Category: Press Releases

JoyceKANKAKEE – Over 125 businesses in Kankakee, Will and southern Cook counties were awarded nearly $4 million in funding from the Back to Business program thanks to advocacy and support from State Senator Patrick Joyce.

“This is good for our small business community and will help boost our local economy,” said Joyce (D-Essex). “I will continue to advocate for investment in our area.”

A total of $3,925,000 was awarded to 128 businesses in the 40th Senate 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 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.

With strong leadership from Joyce, Illinois earned two-notch bond upgrades from two major credit rating agencies this month – and received the upgrade by all three major credit rating agencies in less than a year. This marks the sixth credit upgrade the state has received in the last year, 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.

Small businesses can 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..

Category: Press Releases

Joyce HastingsNEW LENOX – State Senators Michael Hastings and Patrick Joyce announced on Thursday that the Village of New Lenox is set to receive more than $1 million in water infrastructure funding.

“My commitment to upgrading our aging infrastructure includes accessible clean drinking water,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “These funds will go a long way in preventing leaky pipes, which in turn will lower the price of water delivery.” 

The funds come from the Illinois EPA's State Revolving Fund Program, which includes the Water Pollution Control Loan Program and the Public Water Supply Loan Program. These programs provide low-interest loans to fund wastewater, stormwater and drinking water projects. 

The Village of New Lenox will use the funds to replace 1,700 feet of 6-inch watermain with 8-inch watermain. The existing watermain is more than 40 years old and is prone to breaks.

“Through these projects, our community will make significant strides to provide access to clean drinking water for residents,” said Joyce (D-Essex). “I’m pleased to see this program at work for New Lenox.” 

Projects are funded throughout the state through the Rebuild Illinois program, and recipients will receive an interest rate of 1.11% for both wastewater and drinking water loans. Find more information about Illinois EPA’s SRF program here.

Category: Press Releases

JoyceSPRINGFIELD – A comprehensive proposal by State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) aimed at eliminating Illinois’ teacher shortage was signed into law Friday.

“This new law offers additional strategies to address the ongoing teacher shortage,” Joyce said. “I have supported a host of measures throughout the last three years that have led to the teacher workforce in Illinois to continue to grow year-over-year.”

Joyce’s initiative will increase the amount of days substitute teachers can stay in the classroom from 90 days to 120. This law helps keep long-term substitute teachers in the same classroom, instead of having to teach lessons they are less familiar with after 90 days. This also prevents subs from having to move around to a different school district after 90 days, and allows for comfortability and familiarity with students.

This Joyce initiative combined with other strategies passed in previous years, which include raising the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 per year and increasing funding for teacher preparation programs, aim to alleviate the teacher shortage felt across the nation.

“In order to address the teacher shortage, we need to keep student’s needs in mind,” Joyce said. “This law will allows substitutes to stay in the same classroom for longer, giving students more consistency.”

The legislation – Senate Bill 3893 – was signed into law Friday and takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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