On Monday, the Illinois House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass House Bill 4011 which establishes a $25 million security grant-making program in the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. The program would award grants to at-risk nonprofit agencies and institutions based on¬†detailed threat assessments. The legislation is one of two bills sponsored by House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) following the wave of¬†anti-Semitic incidents including¬†bomb threats against Jewish institutions, vandalism to synagogues, and desecration of Jewish cemeteries. Agudath Israel lauds the response of¬†Representative Lang and thanks the 72 members who voted to pass the bill. On Tuesday, the bill headed to the Senate where it was sponsored by Senator Ira Silverstein (D-8), and after its first reading was referred to the Assignments Committee.

House Bill 4011 creates the grant program and  House Bill 4012 appropriates the funds. Should both parts of the legislation become law, $25 million would be made available to institutions to prevent or respond to attacks. Funds could potentially be used for security guards, target-hardening capital projects, and other security measures.

“While Illinois remains without a budget due to the political impasse, a security risk is not something that can wait to be addressed,” said Rabbi Shlomo Soroka,¬†Agudath¬†Israel of Illinois’ director of government affairs. “This is a very positive development and we hope that it will be brought to fruition.”