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Peters moves to expand civics education to juvenile justice centers

Published: Thursday, March 12, 2020 01:32 PM

peters 021919SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) advanced legislation that would expand peer-led civics education to juvenile detention centers.

“When young people are released from incarceration, we need to let them know about their restored voting rights and that we value their civic participation,” Peters said. “Our justice system needs to be rehabilitative and teach people how to be responsible citizens, and that includes how to exercise their voices in our democracy.”

Senator Peters passed the Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act last year, which requires the Department of Corrections to provide peer-led civics education courses to incarcerated people who will be released within 12 months. His new bill will expand those courses to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

“Whether a child is in our juvenile justice system or our public school system, they deserve to learn about their civic rights and duties,” Peters said.

This measure also clarifies that the civics courses must include 270 minutes of instruction taught by two co-facilitators. The co-facilitators must be trained by nonpartisan civil organizations.

Senate Bill 3241 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee and awaits consideration before the full Senate.

Murphy wants to cut bureaucracy, break down care barriers for physician assistants

Published: Thursday, March 12, 2020 12:38 PM

murphy PA 031220SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is facing a shortage of health care workers, but State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) hopes to fill in the gaps by removing unnecessary and outdated practice barriers for physician assistants (PAs).

“Physician assistants are highly skilled and highly educated, and it would be best for both them and their patients to let them do their jobs,” said Murphy. “Illinois is losing health care workers at an alarming rate. It’s time to remove barriers to care and make them want to stay.”

Murphy’s proposed legislation would simplify partnerships between physicians and PAs by removing burdensome red tape, like written agreements and practice notifications. These bureaucratic barriers restrict health care access for patients, according to a 2018 study by the Brookings Institution, and eliminating them could significantly improve productivity in the health care industry.

The measure would also give PAs representation by establishing a PA regulatory board. Physicians and PAs would be able to work together to decide what care services the PA can provide to patients, based on his or her education, training and experience.

“There are more than 3,000 PAs in Illinois. Everyone has a friend or loved one who has been cared for by a PA,” said Murphy. “They deserve a helping hand, too.”

Senate Bill 2758 has been assigned to the Senate Licensed Activities Committee.

Bertino-Tarrant announces Rebuild Illinois grants for local government projects

Published: Thursday, March 12, 2020 12:31 PM

jbt 041118 2SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to modernize infrastructure and boost economic development, economic development groups, not-for-profits and others in Will County and surrounding areas will be able to apply to receive a portion of nearly $80 million in state grants through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“These grants offer communities the opportunity to repair infrastructure while creating jobs,” Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said. “This support allows local governments and organizations to invest in themselves and their residents.”

Bertino-Tarrant announced Thursday $50 million was allocated by DCEO for public infrastructure investments – which includes repairing roads and bridges. These grants are available to local governments. An additional $16.5 million will go toward regional economic development projects and $13 million to shovel-ready construction projects.

Funding for the grants is part of the Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan approved by the General Assembly last year.

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30. However, the other grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Prospective applicants must submit a grant proposal explaining the projects positive affect on the community. 

Additional information about how to apply can be found on DCEO’s website. Additional questions can be sent to the agency at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or answered by calling 217-785-6174.

Holmes responds to latest Illinois coronavirus updates

Published: Thursday, March 12, 2020 12:01 PM

holmes 031220Aurora, Ill. – Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared that coronavirus is now a pandemic. With the number of cases rising in Illinois, and now three cases outside of Cook County – including one in Kane County – Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) wants to encourage caution and calm for area residents regarding coronavirus.

“I am monitoring the situation daily through the governor, the Illinois Department of Public Health and local and county health officials to get updates,” Holmes said. “I urge people in Kane County and across Illinois to stay informed and keep following the steps IDPH says will help us and everyone around us to stay safe and well.”

“The young and healthy among us may believe they have nothing to worry about, but I urge them to remember that they could unknowingly transmit the virus to an older relative or friend with a compromised immune system,” Holmes said. “This is why it is vital that everyone takes the actions recommended by IDPH every day.”

“The General Assembly has announced it is canceling legislative session next week, which demonstrates that we are doing our part as a safeguard against more transmission,” Holmes said.

IDPH recommends everyone:

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Don’t shake hands, and avoid large gatherings and air travel.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people who have respiratory symptoms.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately throw it away.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your local health department or visit http://dph.illinois.gov/.

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