Lightford's new law makes needs of developmentally disabled a priority

lightford PUNS signedSPRINGFIELD – Students with developmental disabilities will soon find it easier to get the help they and their families need. Sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood), a new law requires the Dept. of Human Services (DHS) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to train public school case workers to register students with the PUNS (Prioritization or Urgency of Need for Services) database.

Experts argued that due to a lack of awareness, PUNS is under-utilized, and therefore, people with developmental disabilities across the state are not getting the services they need. The law will ensure students in Illinois public schools and parents have the information they need to register with PUNS if they so choose.

Read more: Lightford's new law makes needs of developmentally disabled a priority


Delgado meets with seniors to discuss impact of budget impasse

Delgado meets with seniors to discuss impact of budget impasseAs the state continues into its fourth week without a spending plan in place, individuals and families who receive services from the state have been left to wonder when, and if, the funding for their programs will be restored. Today, State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) visited with residents of the Victory Centre of Galewood, a supportive senior living facility, to discuss their concerns over their state funding and the looming cuts that the governor has proposed.  

“For every day that we continue without a budget, the worry and the concern of those individuals who rely on state programs grows,” said Delgado. “It’s terrible that the fight in Springfield is impacting the ability of some of my senior communities to live comfortably and worry free. I know that my colleagues, the Senate President and myself are working each and every day to find a solution to this and give our constituents peace of mind.”        

Read more: Delgado meets with seniors to discuss impact of budget impasse


Bertino-Tarrant, Silverstein drug bans signed into law

jbt-iraTwo emerging drug products are joining the long list of substances threatening public health, particularly that of young people: powdered caffeine and powdered alcohol. Two senators' measures have been signed by the governor this week to ban the sale of both. One has already caused deaths, the other is expected to.

Read more: Bertino-Tarrant, Silverstein drug bans signed into law


Senate Democrats take a stand against cuts to child care program (VIDEO)

Senate Democrats take a stand against cuts to child care programMore than 160,000 Illinois children had access to child care services last year thanks to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which helps working families pay for the ever increasing cost of daycare services. Drastic cuts instituted by the governor on July 1 have greatly reduced the number of new applicants this year to just 30,000. Families still utilizing the program will also be affected by the cuts in the form of higher co-pays for already financially stretched families.

A host of Senate Democrats took a stand today against these cuts, drawing attention to the human face of those on CCAP.

“These families are doing everything right," Senator Linda Holmes (D - Aurora) said. "We’ve already seen what cutting this program would do. During the budget shortfall earlier this year, the Aurora Child Development Center, which is in the district I represent, had to close its doors because parents couldn’t afford to keep their children enrolled. This is a cut that sends working mothers and fathers the message that they should just stay home.”

Read more: Senate Democrats take a stand against cuts to child care program (VIDEO)


Tens of thousands forced from their homes, left without care

Tens of thousands forced from their homes, left without careSubstantial and detrimental changes to state-provided in-home or long-term care may be on the way under a new plan proposed by the governor. If it is enacted, nearly 40,000 seniors enrolled in the Community Care Program alone will be forced out of their homes and into nursing home facilities.

To decide whether or not a person is eligible to receive services, such as a home health aide or admission to a nursing home, state agencies use a Determination of Need (DON) score. It’s a tool designed to assess the level and type of need in order to provide the best and most efficient care to older adults and persons with disabilities.

The governor has proposed raising the threshold citizens would need in order to receive care from state programs. With these changes in place, the minimum score to qualify for assistance would increase to 37 from 29. Many people who rely on these services to live and provide for their families are fearing for the future and the future of their families.

Read more: Tens of thousands forced from their homes, left without care


Common-sense FOID updates become law

Common-sense FOID updates become lawA series of  updates to FOID card and concealed carry rules sponsored by State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) were signed into law Friday.

The new law allows people with mild disabilities to appeal state police decisions to revoke or deny a FOID. The legislation stemmed from the case of Brent Nicholson, a Quincy native and lifelong hunter whose FOID card was revoked by the state after 13 years because of rules in the 2013 concealed carry law.

"These are all common-sense rules that balance safety and our second amendment rights. I'm glad we can give people a fair chance to prove they can safely use a firearm, and I appreciate Governor Rauner signing this legislation," Sullivan said.

Read more: Common-sense FOID updates become law


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