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Holmes stands up for first responders

holmes 051018SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) advanced a series of proposals through a key Senate committee yesterday to extend the same rights granted to firefighters to paramedics that are also employed by units of local government.

“Just like firefighters, paramedics face life-threatening circumstances to save lives and serve our communities,” Holmes said. “We owe it to paramedics and their families to give them the same rights as firefighters for the dangerous sacrifices they are willing to make.”

Holmes’ proposals include:

  • House Bill 126, which includes paramedics in the same collective bargaining unit as firefighters
  • House Bill 127, which extends health coverage and educational benefits to paramedics and EMTs if they suffer a catastrophic injury or are killed in the line of duty
  • House Bill 5221, which allows paramedics to continue to receive the same rate of pay if they are injured in the line of duty and are unable to continue working

The legislation will only affect the approximately sixty paramedics employed by units of local government, which includes those in Masouctah, Menard County, Morton, Highland, Troy and Union County.

Each of Holmes’ proposals passed the Illinois Senate Labor Committee yesterday. They will now be heard by the full Illinois Senate.

Munoz: We must properly vet FOID card applicants

munoz 051018SPRINGFIELD- Assistant Majority Leader Antonio “Tony” Munoz (D-Chicago) advanced legislation Wednesday giving the Illinois State Police tools to better evaluate Firearm Owners Identification Card applications.

“We want to make sure we’re not handing out FOID cards to individuals who are a potential threat to public safety,” Munoz said. “And we want to make sure the Illinois State Police have the proper information to evaluate these applications.”

Currently, individuals who have been a patient of a mental health facility within the past five years are ineligible to receive a FOID card. House Bill 4855 expands the definition of patient to include those who are placed in a mental health facility against their will, but ultimately not court ordered.

The legislation also:

  • Changes the Illinois State Police’s requirement to approve or deny FOID card renewals within a 30-day period to a 60-day period.
  • Allows for the suspension of an individual's FOID card if the card is subject to revocation for a reason that is not grounds for permanent revocation

The proposal now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

 

Hutchinson proposal would allow victims of human trafficking to seal court records

hutchinson 051018SPRINGFIELD – Victims of human trafficking would have the ability to seal their criminal records under a proposal advanced this week by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

"We know most victims of trafficking are being forced to commit crimes by their trafficker,” Hutchinson said. “Allowing the sealing of criminal records gives survivors more ability to move past their abuse and exploitation and towards recovery and a chance at a normal life.”

House Bill 5494 would create a petition process that would allow trafficking victims to petition for the immediate sealing of criminal records upon completion of their sentence. Currently, only charges that result in an acquittal or dismissal are eligible for immediate sealing. 

In the first six months of 2015, 215 victims of human trafficking in Illinois were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. While Chicagoland accounts for a majority of these cases, trafficking occurs in small towns and suburban communities across the state.

“When someone is exploited sexually or physically, hope and aspirations vanish and are replaced with fear and pain,” Hutchinson said. “These are survivors who have endured situations we can’t even fathom. Ensuring these victims have the tools available to rebuild their lives is the very least we can offer.”

House Bill 5494 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee yesterday without opposition and will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.

Aquino passes resolution establishing Cancer Screen Week

aquino 031518SPRINGFIELD - As part of a public health initiative to increase awareness of the benefits of early cancer detection, the Illinois Senate adopted a resolution by State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) declaring the first week of December 2018 as Cancer Screen Week.

“Early screenings and detection are the best defense we have against cancer. Many preventable types of cancer occur with no signs or symptoms,” Aquino said. “This is about encouraging people to start a discussion with their healthcare providers about which screenings are right for them based on individual risk factors.”

As many as 210,000 cancer deaths could have been prevented with early cancer screenings and treatment, according to the National Cancer Institute. Due to advancements in early detection and treatment, the cancer death rate declined by 26 percent between 1991 and 2014.

Illinoisans are encouraged to visit cancerscreenweek.org for cancer screening resources. The legislation is Senate Resolution 1595.

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