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Vaccine bill designed to fight the flu epidemic passes General Assembly

cunningham 030118SPRINGFIELD – A legislative effort by State Senator Bill Cunningham to help stop the spread of influenza in hospitals and other health facilities passed the Illinois Senate today.

The measure, House Bill 2984, allows certified local health departments and any facility licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health to implement more stringent flu vaccination policies aimed at protecting patients from exposure to the flu and improving vaccination rates.

“Given the concrete science behind the effectiveness of flu vaccines, we have a responsibility to protect patients from being exposed to the flu virus by the public employees charged with caring for them,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs.

Under current law, employees of hospitals can refuse a flu vaccination for any reason as long as they declare a “philosophical objection.” Public health experts have testified that this loophole leaves patients vulnerable to the spread of influenza while they are hospitalized. If HB 2984 becomes law, only hospital employees with religious objections and certain medical conditions will be able to refuse the offer of a vaccination.

HB 2984 now moves to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Murphy promotes ‘local first’ measure

murphy 051018SPRINGFIELD — A measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) to support local products made in Illinois advanced out of the Senate today.

“Illinois businesses have produced many incredibly products that should be promoted,” Murphy said. “We need to make sure Illinoisans know about the services and products available to them right in their backyards.”

House Bill 1023 extends the sunset of the Support Your Neighbor Commission within the Department of Central Management until Jan. 31, 2019. This commission works to increase the sale of Illinois and American-made products.

The commission is composed of representatives from labor organizations, business groups and affected industries. It has 12 members and is housed within Central Management Services. Commissioners would do work pro bono.

House Bill 1023 now moves to the governor’s desk.

“I hope the governor will quickly sign this legislation so that the commission can get to work on promoting Illinois-made products,” Murphy said.

Illinois Senate sends message: Religious registries “fundamentally un-American”

jjc 051018SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate overwhelmingly voted to oppose the government creating a database to track people by their religion, sending a message to the White House and Washington that the Land of Lincoln won’t be part of such narrow-minded politics.

“With this, Illinois sends a message. The government forcing people to register their religion is fundamentally un-American. It conjures up ugly imagery of the past that should never be repeated,” said Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, the lead sponsor of the legislation opposing religious registries.

Bush urges Wisconsin to reconsider Foxconn deal, asks Illinois agencies to protect against loss of water, flooding

bush 051018SPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush is urging Wisconsin leaders to consider the serious environmental and public health concerns that may threaten Illinoisans as a result of the planned Foxconn Technology Company plant in Racine.

“The decisions from Wisconsin leaders and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to allow Foxconn to skirt environmental protections are irresponsible and short-sighted,” said Bush (D-Grayslake). “The environmental impacts don’t stop at the Wisconsin border. Lake County residents will be affected, but because Foxconn is exempt from environmental regulations, we don’t know the full impact.”

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