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Silverstein bill to protect volunteer medical professionals receives governor’s signature

silverstein-samaritan-mapSPRINGFIELD – In March, State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) proposed Senate Bill 1498, which would include members of the Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps, a federal organization, into the Good Samaritan Act. Tuesday, Governor Rauner signed the bill into law.

“These individuals are willing to administer medical services free of any charges or fees; they should not have to worry about civil liabilities in response to the care they give,” Silverstein said. “We can’t punish these folks who are offering their time purely for the benefit of others.”

The Good Samaritan Act provides that medical or health care professionals who administer treatment, diagnosis, advice or services as part of a free medical clinic will be not be liable for civil damages as a result of their treatment.

Under Silverstein’s measure, volunteers with the Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps will be included into the definition of health professionals who would be exempt from civil charges. The Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of local groups of over 200,000 volunteers that focuses on helping their local communities remain healthy and prepared for responding to emergencies.

Silverstein bill outlaws smoking in cars with minors

ira-smok-carsSPRINGFIELD – Legislation creating a penalty for adults who smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 18 was approved in the Senate Public Health Committee today. State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) is the sponsor.

“If adults choose to smoke in their homes or vehicles, they choose for themselves alone. However exposing children to smoke in a confined setting where they cannot protect themselves is dangerous and causes life-long health problems,” Silverstein said. “As with child restraint seats and seat belts, we are obligated to protect children from known risks.”

The plan, Senate Bill 729, creates an up-to $100 fine for any motorist who smokes tobacco, marijuana or any other combustible substance in a car with a person under the age of 18. Smoking in cars with children is banned in seven states, Puerto Rico, and numerous nations around the world.

“Children have a higher risk from second-hand smoke for respiratory diseases, asthma, bronchitis and cardiovascular disease,” Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association told the committee. “Toxic levels of smoke in cars can be far greater than in a home.”

Several states have already enacted smoke-free car laws: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah and Vermont.

The proposal will now be considered on the Senate floor.

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.

Senator Ira I. Silverstein

Majority Caucus Chair Ira I. Silverstein

8th District

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.