SPRINGFIELD – After months of negotiations, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. passed a measure to enhance oversight over the pawnbroker industry. 

“Working with consumer advocates and other interested stakeholders, we passed a comprehensive plan to ensure transparency and ethical practices within the pawnbroker industry,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “The Predatory Loan Prevention Act stopped many forms of predatory lending in Illinois, and we are working to continue down that path.” 

Sims’ measure creates the Pawnbrokers Regulation Act of 2023, regulating how a pawnbroker can operate and conduct its operations to ensure they are being fair, transparent, and equitable. It gives the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation authority to oversee and regulate the industry. Further, it establishes a complaint and penalty system, which could result in the termination or suspension of a pawnbroker’s license. 

As part of the Black Caucus’ Four Pillar Agenda in 2021, Sims was instrumental in passing the Predatory Loan Prevention Act. The PLPA was aimed at reining in the high-interest, short-term loan industry. The bill passed today by the Illinois Senate creates a robust, consumer-focused regulatory process aimed at building on the work started with the passage of the PLPA. 

Sims worked alongside IDFPR, various consumer advocates, and the Illinois Pawnbrokers Association to put forth House Bill 779 to ensure the pawnbroker industry is safe and well-regulated. 

“Today’s bipartisan action helps to protect people who are struggling and need to use the services of a pawnbroker,” said Sims. “We must stop predatory practices in any lending industry by giving consumers the peace of mind that they will be dealt fairly and equitably.” 

House Bill 779 passed the Senate Wednesday. 

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – For the ninth time in just over two years, Illinois has seen another improved bond rating. Fitch Ratings – one of the nation’s major credit rating agencies – announced upgrades Tuesday thanks to the fiscally-responsible decisions made by Illinois Democrats.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) – who serves as the Senate’s Appropriations Leader and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee – released the following statement in response:

“When I look at the budgets we have passed in recent years, I see the work and years of fiscal responsibility paying off. We were able to pay down our bills and put money back in the pockets of the state’s hardworking families. Illinois is a stand-out state when it comes to putting the needs of our residents first – and we do so in a responsible, equitable way.

“The nine upgrades Illinois has seen in recent years shows our fiscally responsible budgeting approach is working and is independent proof that our state is headed in the right direction. Our future looks bright and I look forward to continued collaborative efforts with my colleagues to keep Illinois on this upward economic trajectory.”

Category: Press Releases


CHICAGO – State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. announced that a combined total of $1.6 million is coming to local communities to support revitalization efforts.

“Investing in affordable housing uplifts our community and boosts our local economy,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “We are taking strong strides toward revitalization and attracting investments in the communities that need it most. All Illinoisans deserve sustainable, livable housing options.”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority recently approved $19 million to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts across Illinois. Awarded under the Strong Communities Program, the initiative will provide funding to 68 units of local governments and land bank authorities for the acquisition, maintenance, rehabilitation and demolition of abandoned residential properties in their communities. The program is designed to support local revitalization efforts and attract further investment in communities that may lack the resources needed to tackle vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties.

The second round of Strong Communities Program awardees include:

  • Cook County Land Bank Authority: $562,000
  • South Suburban Land Bank and Development: $562,000
  • Village of Hopkins Park: $195,000
  • Sauk Village: $337,000

“Vacant and abandoned properties continue to be a strain on local budgets and resources in communities throughout Illinois, which is why IHDA created the Strong Communities Program to assist local governments with their neighborhood revitalization efforts,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “Through the Strong Communities Program, IHDA seeks to help communities transform these properties back into positive, revenue-generating assets for neighborhoods.”

The grants are funded by the Rebuild Illinois capital plan and will leverage IHDA’s existing funding to increase property values, create jobs, help reduce crime, generate additional tax revenue and attract further community investment in underserved communities around the state. A total of $30 million in grant funding has been awarded through two application rounds.

To learn more about the Stronger Communities Program, click here.

Category: Press Releases



CHICAGO – With support from State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr., the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity recently announced the latest round of Back to Business grants awarded to businesses in the restaurant industry.

“The Back to Business program and other relief efforts helped thousands of small businesses across Chicago and Illinois bounce back from the pandemic,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “Because Illinois has been responsible in our budgeting, we are able to provide funds for entrepreneurs and businesses that need it most.”

The Back to Business grant program provides recovery grants for small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on businesses in the hardest hit industries. Through the Back to Business and Business Interruption Grant programs, DCEO has provided more than $535 million to more than 15,000 businesses since the start of the pandemic.

Seven restaurants in Sims’ district will receive a combined total of $220,000 through this round of Back to Business grants.

"It has remained a top priority of mine to help all small businesses build back better," said Sims. "This program serves as a support system for those who've struggled in receiving funding assistance in the past.”

For more information about B2B grants visit DCEO’s website.

Category: Press Releases

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