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Silverstein ice missiles measure shot down

silverstein iceSPRINGFIELD– It sounds like a weapon used in a James Bond film: ice missiles. But they are real, deadly and the target of a legislative proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) to prevent them and to penalize those who cause them. In spite of the statistics on the dangers ice missiles present to motorists, the Senate Transportation Committee did not approve the proposal.

An ice missile is a large chunk of ice or snow that flies off a large truck on the highway. Many Illinois drivers have seen this occur and may have wondered what could happen if the split-second fall of ice were to hit another vehicle.

Sen. Silverstein’s proposal in Senate Bill 634 would require a person operating a vehicle weighing more than 8,000 pounds to remove ice and snow that poses a safety threat to other vehicles and drivers. Nearly 100 deaths and thousands of accidents happen each year.

“Each year in Illinois, we are almost guaranteed several days of winter weather that create these hazardous conditions, enough to warrant a change to the state vehicle code to protect drivers from this risk,” Silverstein said. “I believe it is reasonable to ask truck drivers who use Illinois roads for commerce to make an effort to protect motorists by clearing ice and snow from their trucks. With this bill failing in committee, I fear this kind of accident may happen again.

The legislation met with strong opposition from the Illinois Trucking Association, Midwest Truckers, National Waste and Recycling Association and Illinois Coal Association.

Pete Morano joined Sen. Silverstein in Springfield to tell his story to the Senate Transportation Committee. His injuries from an ice missile incident in 2010 left him without vision in his left eye after three surgeries to rebuild his face. Pete wants to prevent other families from the losses his family and the Stutson family have suffered.

“I understand their concerns and appreciate their willingness to tell their stories and advocate for change to prevent future ice missile accidents,” Silverstein said. “I know of manufacturers and motor carriers that offer a variety of snow-removal systems, and I do not believe this would be a burden on the trucking industry.”

Silverstein measure would allow suspension or expulsion from colleges for sexual assault

silverstein campussexassaultSPRINGFIELD– Combatting the high rate of campus sexual assault requires a range of actions on the part of colleges, students and the criminal justice system. A proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) would reinforce the capacity of higher education institutions to protect students from sexual violence on campus.

Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change would clarify that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

“California lawmakers passed legislation like this last year to give colleges and universities broader authority to protect students and staff and to discipline those whose behavior puts others at risk,” Sen. Silverstein said. “Offenders have no place on our campuses and this measure adds another means for Illinois institutions to act for greater safety.”

The Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, effective August 21, 2015, required all Illinois institutions of higher education to set plans, processes and comprehensive policy for survivors, adjudicate allegations, and train and communicate to students and employees on campus sexual violence.

Senate Bill 2839 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. It now goes to the full Senate for further consideration.

Silverstein wants Latino Treatment Center to stay open

Silverstein wants Latino Treatment Center to stay openSPRINGFIELD – The next tragedy of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 10-month budget impasse could be the closure of the Latino Treatment Center.

“The governor is completely out-of-touch with the needs of Latinos,” said State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago). “His inability to govern and failure to get a budget done means that a vital organization providing substance abuse treatment services to Latinos is about to go under. It’s too bad the governor doesn’t care that his budget impasse is destroying Illinois’ social service network.”

The Latino Treatment Center has bilingual staff and evaluates and serves those in the Hispanic community by conducting evaluations for alcohol and drugs in either Spanish or English. Its staff specializes in outpatient treatment for substance abuse, treatment for families, individual and group counseling and adolescent treatment.

Silverstein’s powdered alcohol ban to take effect

silverstein sjr iranSPRINGFIELD – On Jan. 1, Illinois will join two dozen other states that have banned dangerous powdered alcohol and set fines for its sale and purchase. Legislation to ban it is under consideration in another 10-15 states.

State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) sponsored the ban in Illinois, Senate Bill 67 (now Public Act 99-0051), which was signed into law by the governor in July.

Powdered alcohol is a relatively new product already proving to be dangerous. Any crystal substance of powder containing alcohol is considered “powdered alcohol.” The powder may be dissolved in liquid such as mixers or juice or it could be sprinkled on food. It can be eaten or snorted without mixing and could be sold in small packets or capsules.

A violation of this law would be a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense in Illinois and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

“Powdered alcohol is not yet for sale in the U.S. and given its potential dangers, I believe it should never enter the market,” Silverstein said. “Knowing how accessible traditional alcohol already is to those susceptible to abuse – including minors – the risk of alcohol poisoning and its easily concealable form are just two reasons sales of this type of alcohol must be prevented.”

The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association provides research, analytics and alcohol regulatory information regarding policy. NABCA published a paper in November on powdered alcohol’s history, risks and legal status in the states addressing the product.


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.