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The Majority Report 03/29/15 - Priorities, pups and PANDAS


Budget fix garners support, critics

Budget fix garners support, criticsA state law, the first signed by Governor Rauner, closes the $1.6 billion budget gap that endangered the child care assistance program. Funding for prison guards and court reporters was also running low, which could have endangered public safety and slowed the progress of the justice system.

Though the measure passed with bipartisan support, it was not without its critics. Some senators voted against the plan because it reduces funding to schools and diverts money intended for road and bridge repair.

"Where are our priorities with trying to balance this current year's budget?" said Senator John Sullivan, who represents western Illinois. "When you start taking money away from local school districts this late in the year, that's going to have a negative impact on them. To take $350 million out of the Road Fund when the current conditions of our roads around the state are not good and deteriorating is very short-sighted."

Law passed after negotiation >


Bennett brings comfort canines to courtrooms

Bennett brings comfort canines to courtroomsIt is a traumatic experience for a 7-year-old girl to have to explain experiences of sexual abuse to a courtroom full of strangers and her attacker. To relieve some of this stress and anxiety, Senator Scott Bennett (Champaign) advanced Senate Bill 1389 to permit courts to allow comfort canines in courtrooms.

"During my time as a prosecutor, we had to deal with the difficult task of putting children on the stand to testify and go through the emotional struggle of explaining a traumatic experience," said Bennett. "Our goal is to alleviate some of their anxiety and stress by providing some comfort through the use of therapy dogs."

SB 1389 would allow courts to authorize the use of "comfort canines" when children or others with a severe developmental or intellectual disability have to testify in court on sexual assault cases.

Canines bring comfort >



Tom Cullerton raises PANDAS awareness

Tom Cullerton raises PANDAS awarenessCharlie was just like any other 9 year old. He was an active gymnast who loved going to school. And then his mother says her little boy changed.  She started noticing Charlie didn't enjoy school like he did before and had a hard time balancing in gymnastics class.

Charlie's mother researched her son's symptoms on her own to find that Charlie's symptoms were similar to Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS). PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection.

"As a father of three young boys, I understand the importance of educating medical professionals and the general public on the symptoms caused by PANDAS," said Senator Tom Cullerton (Villa Park). "We need to find ways for early diagnosis to prevent families like Charlie's from living months without answers. The earlier we detect these signs of PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment."

Symptoms after strep >


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