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Villivalam works to protect children of detainees harmed by Trump administration

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019 03:38 PM

villivalam 051619SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to streamline the process of appointing a guardian for those children whose parents have been taken into federal immigration custody under an initiative by State Senator Ram Villivalam that passed the Senate today.

"Now more than ever, it is our duty at the state level to support immigrant families devastated by the White House's xenophobic immigration policies," Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. "We need to do whatever is in our power to give parents and guardians at risk of detention or deportation peace of mind. They should have the power to choose who will care for their children should they be forcibly separated, ensuring their children are being taken care of in a safe, nurturing environment. It's the least we can do.”

HB 836 would allow a court to proceed on an appointment of a guardian of a minor if the parents are unable to give consent to the appointment. The appointee would be allowed to extend their guardianship for 365 days, if the administrative separation is ongoing. The petition for the appointment must include information about the case including the time of separation and the known location of the parents.

This legislation awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Crowe fights to deny inheritance to those who abuse elderly family members

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019 03:34 PM

crowe 051619SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to further protect senior citizens, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) has moved to deny inheritance to those convicted of assaulting their elderly family members.

Under the current Elder Abuse and Neglect Act, a person convicted of financial exploitation, abuse or neglect of an elderly person is prohibited from benefitting from the victim’s estate. Crowe’s measure expands the law to include assault, aggravated assault, battery and aggravated battery against people over 60 years old.

Holmes works to overhaul child abuse reporting from psychiatric hospitals

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019 03:07 PM

holmes 051619SPRINGFIELD – After an October report from ProPublica revealed allegations of abuse and neglect of children at the Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, concerns were heightened about coordination between the Department of Children and Family Services and other state agencies.

State Senator Linda Holmes’ (D-Aurora) House Bill 831 requires better reporting to rectify those cases by require DCFS to notify the Director of Public Health and the Director of Healthcare and Family Services when they occur.

“After DCFS found neglect and sexual abuse by staff, as well as failure to provide a safe environment and to monitor these children’s care and medication at this psychiatric hospital, it became obvious more oversight is needed to prevent this from happening,” Holmes said. “Federal and state investigations have revealed these tragedies and we must do everything we can to stop it.”

Report shows need to invest in Illinois’ transportation network

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019 02:16 PM

­pothole 051619SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) joined the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, TRIP research group and state lawmakers from across the aisle for a press conference Wednesday to discuss findings from a report released by TRIP that shows major deficiencies in Illinois’ transportation network.

“This report has confirmed what we already knew about our transportation system in Illinois – it’s in dire condition and we need to address the problem before it poses even greater safety risks those who use it,” Sandoval said.

The Trip report, “Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” found that more than 40 percent of roads maintained by state and local government in Illinois are in poor or mediocre condition and that eight percent of state and locally maintained bridges are rated poor or structurally deficient.

The report further found that the poor condition of Illinois’ roads is costing motorists a total of $18.3 billion per year in extra costs to operate and maintain their vehicle.

“This report highlights how expensive it can be for Illinois drivers when the state does not maintain its basic infrastructure,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “A stronger transportation system is vital to stronger business and a stronger Illinois. We must act now to improve our economy and quality of life in Illinois through infrastructure investment.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation projects that, under current funding levels, the percentage of state-maintained roads and bridges in need of repairs will increase significantly in the next five years.

“We can either find new revenue to fix this problem now or wait for our roads and bridges to deteriorate further, which will cost taxpayers more later,” Sandoval said. “The choice is easy. We need to make an investment now to improve public safety and protect taxpayers from even higher costs in the future.”

“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the federal, state and local levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Illinois’ transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”

Traffic crashes in Illinois claimed the lives of over 5,000 people between 2013 and 2017.

“Poor road and bridge conditions are claiming lives in Illinois,” Sandoval said. “This is a safety issue and, as lawmakers, we have the responsibility to make sure it gets fixed.”

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