New Mulroe law increases safety measures on e-cigarettes

Published: Monday, August 18, 2014 11:32 AM

mulroe-ecigA new public safety measure was signed into law yesterday that seeks to further protect children from the harmful effects of nicotine.  

The law, sponsored in the Senate by John G. Mulroe (D-10), requires that electronic cigarettes must be sold behind the counter of convenience stores or in sealed display cases to keep them out of the curious hands of underage children.

“E-cigarettes contain nicotine, just like regular cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco,” said Mulroe. “These other products must be contained behind a counter or in a sealed case, so it stands to reason that electronic cigarettes should be contained in the same fashion.”

As Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee, Senator Mulroe has been keeping a close eye on the electronic cigarette trend. In 2013, he sponsored and passed a law that prohibited the sale of these alternative nicotine products to those under the age of 18. The law signed yesterday requires electronic cigarettes to be displayed securely and in the same manner as cigarettes and other nicotine products.

“Nicotine has been proven to be a harmful and addictive substance,” Sen. Mulroe said. “We have banned children from purchasing it in all of its forms. This law just helps restrict their access to it.”

The new law will go into effect January 1, 2015.

Hunter's new youth-focused laws reform DCFS

Published: Monday, August 18, 2014 12:00 AM

Hunter-dcfsIllinois youth will now have greater say in their quality of care under DCFS and better opportunities to attend college with new scholarships thanks to State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

House Bill 4773 is the latest Hunter-supported measure aimed at reforming DCFS. The law requires the agency director to listen to youth advisory board recommendations.

“The measure creates a system of accountability and transparency. By giving youth a voice in DCFS reforms, we are empowering them, protecting them and providing a voice that has gone unheard for too long,” said Hunter, Chair of the Illinois Senate Human Services Committee.

The Statewide Youth Advisory Board (SYAB) started in 1994 with a contract from DCFS. Under the proposed plan, six regional youth boards will represent children across the state.

Hunter also sponsored House Bill 4652, a new law that expands the number of DCFS scholarship recipients from a maximum of 48 to a minimum of 53.

“This law provides a financial boost for teens under the care of DCFS who otherwise could not afford college,” Hunter said. “Getting a higher degree is no longer an option but a prerequisite for becoming competitive in today’s job market. Our young students shouldn’t have to worry about the financial strain of furthering their education.”

The measure also extends scholarship support from only four consecutive years to at least five.

“We’re extending scholarship support to at least five years because it is taking students longer to finish degree programs,” Hunter said. “These competitive scholarships will accommodate the new reality facing college students.”

Senator Bertino-Tarrant’s universal 9-1-1 proposal signed into law

Published: Friday, August 15, 2014 04:43 PM

SB3313 Signing 1A measure to ensure that 9-1-1 can be dialed from any phone line was signed into law on Monday.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), who sponsored the legislation in the Senate, feels that the universal number that we teach children to use in case of emergencies should always work.

“The three digit emergency number that we learn should work from anywhere,” Bertino-Tarrant said.  “This is a common sense approach to better safety.”
The new law requires newly installed business phone systems to allow users to dial "9-1-1" without needing to pre-dial a code, such as "9."

The law stems from a tragedy that occurred in Texas last January. The universal number that we teach our children to dial in emergencies did not work when a 9 year-old girl attempted to dial it from a Texas hotel room, as her mother was being stabbed to death.

The hotel, like many hotels and business complexes nationwide, was on a closed business circuit and the young girl didn’t realize that she needed to dial a 9 to reach an outside line.

 “Children and adults must be able to easily reach emergency operators in a time of crisis,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This law will help ensure that senseless tragedies are prevented.”

The new law will go into effect July 1, 2015.

Students, families get supplies, health screenings courtesy of Senator Martinez

Published: Friday, August 15, 2014 04:31 PM

MartinezHealth2014Hundreds of local children and families turned out for health screenings and back-to-school supplies this past week at a community event sponsored by state Senator Iris Y. Martinez.

"What Senator Martinez does for the community by putting this fair together is great," said volunteer Alicia Olbera. "People are able to get services to prepare their children to go back to school that may not be able to afford otherwise." Martinez’s event served as one-stop shopping for families preparing for the start of the school year. Students could get physicals, immunizations, apply for health insurance and receive school supplies.

There were a variety of services for parents and other adults as well, including blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes screenings.

"Being that we have 94% poverty rate, this is awesome for our students and their parents. It's a wonderful resource in one building." said Evelyn Roman, principal at Avondale-Logandale Elementary School. The Family Wellness/Back to School Fair was hosted at the Avondale-Logandale School at the corner of Kedzie and George. Senator Martinez sponsors the annual event in an effort to get students and their families ready for school.

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