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Silverstein: Ban alcohol powder

SilversteinheadSPRINGFIELD – A recently introduced proposal is aimed at banning powdered alcohol, a new product that last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved but then reversed its approval days later.

State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) introduced the proposed ban.

“When the FDA reneges on an approval, it’s a huge warning sign. Alcohol powder could lead to more cases of alcohol poisoning, abuse by minors and its potential use in date rape is alarming,” Silverstein said.

While the FDA’s reversed approval dealt with a specific product, Palcohol – powdered alcohol under the proposed ban refers to any powder or crystal substance containing alcohol. It is designed to be dissolved into liquid, but it can be eaten or snorted without mixing.

The proposal, Senate Bill 67, would prohibit the sale of alcohol powder or any product containing it.

Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont already have bans on powdered alcohol, and other states have started debate on legislation similar to Silverstein’s. Last year U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) introduced a federal ban.

Senate Bill 67 awaits debate in the Illinois Senate.

Silverstein: Ban chokeholds in Illinois

handcuffsSPRINGFIELD – The choking death of 43-year-old Eric Garner by NYPD officers has led police departments, cities and states to review how and why police use force. State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) recently introduced a proposal to restrict police from using chokeholds.

“Every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way maintaining order and protecting our families. This plan helps guarantee that police have clear guidelines for when and how they use force,” Silverstein said.

In addition to restricting chokeholds, the proposal limits how police use other tactics that restrict a person’s breathing. Officers would be restricted from positioning suspects so their breathing is reduced unless necessary to overcome resistance and obtain control of a person or to protect themselves or others from injury.

Police would also need to monitor an arrestee and seek medical attention if needed.

The proposed law does allow officers to perform chokeholds in cases where deadly force is justified.

Chicago aldermen introduced a similar proposal last month.

The plan, Senate Bill 65, now awaits debate in the Senate.

Silverstein supports comptroller special election

silverstein-biopic-14The Illinois Senate approved a plan Thursday creating a special election that would let voters select a comptroller to finish the term Judy Baar Topinka would have held until 2019.

State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) voted for the special election.

“Voters deserve to have a say in long-term vacancies. This is the most reasonable and democratic way to fill a 4 year term,” Silverstein said.

After Topinka’s death, Governor Pat Quinn appointed Jerry Stermer to fill the vacancy until Topinka’s current term expires Jan. 12. Earlier this week, Governor-elect Bruce Rauner announced he will appoint former Unilever executive Leslie Munger once Rauner takes office.

Under the legislation, if the position of comptroller, attorney general, secretary of state or treasurer becomes vacant with more than 28 months remaining in the term, the governor can appoint a successor to serve through the first half of the four-year term.

The special election would coincide with the next regularly scheduled general election, in this case Nov. 8, 2016. During that election, voters can choose who will serve the remaining two years of the term.

This process is similar to the way Senate vacancies are filled.

The legislation, HB 4576, was approved by a 37-15 vote; it now goes to the House for approval.

Silverstein's cyberbullying prevention becomes law

laptop-keyboardCHICAGO – Schools officials will soon gain the ability to discipline students who use non-school computers to bully their classmates under a newly signed law that was sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago).

“A safe, supportive environment is vital for students’ learning and growth. This law gives educators more tools to discipline and prevent out-of-school cyberbullying when it hurts others’ ability to learn at school,” Silverstein said.

Silverstein’s proposal, House Bill 4207, prohibits out-of-school cyberbullying or bullying using a non school-owned electronic device. Schools would be able to discipline the bullies if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school.

School districts are required to have a process to determine if the bullying is within their jurisdiction and inform bullied students about anti-bullying services.

The new law, signed Friday by the governor, takes effect Jan. 1.

Senator Ira I. Silverstein

Majority Caucus Chair Ira I. Silverstein

8th District
Majority Caucus Chair

Years served:
1999 - Present

Committee assignments: Executive (Vice Chairperson); Executive Appointments; Financial Institutions; Gaming; Judiciary; Revenue.

Biography: Attorney; Degrees from Loyola University in 1982 and John Marshall Law School in 1985; past President of the Northtown Community Council; board member of the Korean Senior Center; member of the Greek Pan-Hellenic Laconian organization; Director of the Bernard Horwich JCC; married (wife, Debra), has four children.