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  • tcullerton 031319SPRINGFIELD – State Senators Tom Cullerton and Suzy Glowiak, joined DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and representatives of the Transform Illinois coalition on Wednesday to highlight and support proposed legislation limiting the size, scope and cost of local government.

    “Government consolidation is one powerful tool we can use to find efficiencies,” Cullerton said. “Transform Illinois continues to be vital in helping lawmakers reduce the government’s footprint without sacrificing services for local residents. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure government evolves with the needs of the people of Illinois.”

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  • hastings 031319Legislation would improve accessibility of mental health treatment

    SPRINGFIELD – A package of legislation to improve accessibility to mental health treatment was announced this morning at a news conference with Illinois lawmakers.

    State Senator Michael E. Hastings is a supporter of the initiative.

    “It’s no secret that we have a societal problem on our hands with the accessibility of mental health treatment,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “We must make sure those who need help are able to receive it as quickly and safely as possible. This package is a necessary step as we in the Illinois Senate look to make mental health treatments more accessible to those in need.”

  • Sen. Bennett congratulates Schlarman Academy Basketball Team on state championshipSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) welcomed the players and coaching staff of the Schlarman Academy girls’ basketball team to the Illinois Capitol today to recognize their second consecutive state title.

    Bennett was joined on the Senate floor by the players and Head Coach Keith Peoples as he presented the team with a special tribute honoring their accomplishment.

    “Two consecutive championships is an outstanding achievement,” Bennett said. “I am honored to recognize these incredible young women who have put in a tremendous amount of hard work this season on and off the court. They have not only played hard, but they have represented Danville and Vermilion County with dignity and respect, and have raised the bar for future teams.”

  • pow mia flag 030719SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ lost heroes may soon be recognized at local airports, thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1127 on Thursday to require the Division of Aeronautics under the Department of Transportation fly the Veteran Missing in Action flag at all of the airports in their jurisdiction.

    “Our lost heroes should never be forgotten,” Cullerton said. “This small gesture helps keep our missing heroes from all wars in our hearts and minds.”

  • castro 030719SPRINGFIELD – A measure to protect undocumented immigrant tenants from landlord harassment passed the Senate today thanks to Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

    Senate Bill 1290 creates the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, which prohibits landlords from questioning a tenant’s immigration status as a means of harassment or to force an eviction.

    “We have to put a protection in place to ensure that landlords are not holding their tenants’ immigration status over their head to pressure higher rent or eviction,” said Castro.

    Castro’s measure would allow tenants to report criminal activity or habitability issues without being targeted based on their immigration status.

    Currently, the Illinois Human Rights Act does not protect individuals based on immigration status, nor does it place any limitations on when a landlord may request or share that information. 

    “Tenants should feel free to come forward and report these important habitability issues no matter their status,” said Castro. “It is important, not only for the tenant’s safety, but the safety of the municipality.”

    Senate Bill 1290 passed the Senate today and now moves to the House for consideration.

  • pow mia flag 030719SPRINGFIELD – The POW/MIA flag will be flown at all Illinois public airports under legislation that passed the Illinois Senate today.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1127, was joined by members of the Peoria American Legion Post #2 today for the bill’s passage.

    “This legislation sends a clear message to our veterans that they and their comrades are not forgotten,” Koehler said. “I am proud to have been able to work with the Peoria American Legion post, Gary Hall and others to get this done.”

    The idea was brought to Springfield by Peoria-area veteran Gary Hall, who wanted the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport to fly the POW/MIA flag under the American flag. Airport officials said their hands were tied legally and would be unable to fly the flag.

    The measure now goes to the House of Representatives. 

  • steans 030619SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) spoke at a press conference today with leaders from the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) about her legislation that would develop a new state suicide prevention strategy.

    Steans’ measure creates the Office of Suicide Prevention within the Department of Public Health in order to address suicide in Illinois, which caused more deaths in 2016 than homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension and HIV.

    “Each suicide death caused loved ones left behind to wonder if they could have done anything differently,” Steans said. “The state has lagged behind in this area.”

  • Sen. AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino’s (D-Chicago) bill exempting certain health products from the state sales tax passed the Senate Revenue Committee today.

    Senate Bill 1858 exempts male and female condoms, incontinence products, diapers and baby wipes from the state’s sales tax. Under the current law, these items are taxed at the same rate as luxury goods.

    “People who need these health products shouldn’t be subject to an additional financial burden,” said Aquino. “In most cases the people who are purchasing these health products young families who are just starting out. They have enough financial hardship as it is, and we need to remove the added cost on these items.”

  • hunter 030619SPRINGFIELD –Continuing her fight to increase wages for home care aides who provide in-home services for nearly 1,000,000 seniors, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) joined home care workers, legislators and advocates today to sound the alarm about Illinois senior home care.

    For eight years, funding for programs under the Illinois Department on Aging’s Community Care Program have gone unchanged, which leaves care providers unable to raise workers’ wages and has left Illinois unprepared to deal with workforce shortages.

  • Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD – The State of Illinois currently does not have a limit on how many patients are assigned to registered nurses at one time, creating an unrealistic workload, but State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is working to change that.

    Castro’s measure would create the Safe Patient Limits Act, setting a cap on how many patients can be assigned to a registered nurse in specified situations. This would allow Rn’s a lighter workload, which would give them more time with their assigned patients.

    “This doesn’t just relieve the workload for RNs,” Castro said. “It’s also safer for the patients and allows the RNs to give them the quality care they deserve.”

  • collins 030619SPRINGFIELD– Following an investigation by Chicago Tribune/Kaiser Health News revealing wide dissatisfaction in nursing home care and illuminating the burden it places on the families of elders, State Senator Jacqueline Collins introduced legislation today designed to enhance nursing home residents’ quality of care.

    “It has been both heartbreaking and motivating to me, through my work, to see how devastating it can be for an entire family when a loved one receives inadequate care in a nursing home,” said Collins (D-Chicago) in announcing Senate Bill 1510 at the state capitol to reporters today.

  • lightford 030519SPRINGFIELD – Fed up with delayed and denied state payments that are compromising quality health care for the most vulnerable, state legislators joined safety-net hospitals today to call for landmark reform of managed care companies under Illinois’ Medicaid program.

    Senate Bill 1807 and House Bill 2814, also known as the Safety Net Hospital MCO Reform Act, provide a path to rein in repeated abuses by managed care organizations (MCOs) in their oversight of hundreds of millions of dollars of care each year provided by hospitals who treat Medicaid low-income patients. Advocates and lawmakers called for immediate reform Tuesday at a Statehouse news conference.

  • mcguire 022119SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker summarized his budget proposal before the General Assembly today:

    “For the first time in four years, we have seen a budget which makes a full and explicit commitment to our institutions of higher education, which have suffered immeasurably and needlessly during the last administration. Undoing the damage to them will take us many years, but in providing key support to MAP Grants and increased funding for our state schools, this sends a message that Illinois wants a sure and stable higher education system.

    “This is a beginning of negotiations. I argue that we must also prioritize construction funding. The I-80 bridge over the Des Plaines River is rated a 6 out of a possible score of 100. That can’t stand when a failing grade endangers lives. I urge all my colleagues to push for a robust capital plan in Illinois.”

     

  • hutchinson 022019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) released the following statement this afternoon after attending Gov. Pritzker’s budget address in Springfield:

    “What we just heard was the most honest and frank assessment of the clear consequences of a 736-day budget crisis that exacerbated every known problem the State of Illinois already had.

    “Our ridiculous habit of careening from crisis to crisis has landed us where we are today and that means the time is now for all of us to come together to figure out how to turn the great State of Illinois around.

    “It has to be done and it must be done. Because the people of the great State of Illinois are worth fighting for.”

     

     

  • lightford 022019SPRINGFIELD – Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first Budget Address on Wednesday with the following statement:

    “The governor presented a plan that delivers on his commitment to education, restorative justice and social services. I am especially excited about the increase in education funding that prioritizes investment in some of our neediest districts across the state including additional funding for early childhood education and grants for low income college students.

    “While we do have some work ahead of us, this is a good place to start. I look forward to exploring the governor’s proposal further and finding ways to making a lot of these promises a reality.”   

     

     

  • martinez 022019SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his first budget address Wednesday:

    “Gov. Pritzker has proposed a balanced budget that takes seriously our commitment to restoring stability to Illinois after years of uncertainty.

    “I was glad to see the governor prioritize education by exceeding the minimum amount of required by our new school funding formula and by investing in early childhood and higher education.

    “Even though he did not mention it in his budget address, I know Gov. Pritzker has made a commitment to immigrants in our state and I look forward to talking with him more about providing and protecting vital immigrant services.”

     

  • steans 022019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first budget address: 

    “Having the governor propose a balanced budget is a positive step toward restoring stability to our state and ensuring long-term functionality within our government.  Illinois continues to face structural budget challenges and I am encouraged that Governor Pritzker is addressing them head on.

    “I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in the Senate over the next few months to develop a budget that significantly moves Illinois toward a solution that achieves financial certainty and builds trust that Illinois is back on the right track.”