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Lawmakers still waiting for Rauner’s plan to address Quincy problem as “crisis” continues

Published: Sunday, March 04, 2018 07:33 PM

tcullerton 022018

CHICAGO -- State lawmakers, veterans and their families are still waiting for action nearly two months after Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration was asked to come up with a construction plan to remedy a public health crisis at a state-run veterans home in Quincy.

In the meantime, Legionnaires’ disease infections have continued and media reports have raised numerous questions regarding the Rauner administration’s priorities and focus.

Manar resolution acknowledges Illinois’ 20,000 social workers

Published: Friday, March 02, 2018 03:35 PM

manar 030218Declares March 2018 Social Work Month in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois grapples with how to address such pressing challenges as violence, addiction, poverty and equal rights, an army of social workers is there to offer help and guidance.

In fact, more than 20,000 licensed social workers are employed throughout Illinois to help people in times of crisis. They work in school districts, colleges and universities, state and local government, social service agencies, the military, health care and mental health organizations and private practices.

Senate Resolution 1371, sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), declares March 2018 Social Work Month in Illinois. It was adopted by the Senate Thursday.

“This resolution recognizes the accomplishments of social workers who are in our school districts, in our government buildings and working in private employment every day,” Manar said.

“They are there to help children and adults on their worst days – to cope with grief and uncertainty, to overcome abuse and addiction, to recover from a disaster when all seems lost, and to gather the courage to face down discrimination and bullying.”

This year’s Social Work Month theme is “Social Workers” Leaders. Advocates. Champions.” According to the National Association of Social Workers, the profession is expected to grow faster than average during the next seven years, with more than 649,000 people employed as social workers by 2024.

Social workers are the largest group of providers of mental health services in Illinois, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the largest employers of social workers holding advanced degrees.

Mary Garrison, professor of social work at Millikin University in Decatur, said NASW is honored to have Manar sponsor a resolution for Social Work Month 2018.

“This year's theme supports the efforts of Illinois’s 20,000 licensed social workers and Senator Manar to work actively to meet the needs of those facing barriers of injustice and impacted by abuse, neglect, poverty, addiction and mental illness,” she said. “Illinois social workers thank Senator Manar for recognizing our professional efforts to ensure rights for all through engagement, intervention and advocacy.”

Murphy, Moylan support bump stock ban

Published: Friday, March 02, 2018 09:19 AM

murphy 021617SPRINGFIELD – Following passage in the House, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) will serve as the chief co-sponsor of legislation to ban bump stocks in Illinois.

“I do not believe that there is any reason anyone should be able to modify a gun to make it an automatic weapon,” Murphy said. “Sensible gun legislation is a start to preventing mass shootings and preventing access to this tool is a good start.”

House Bill 1467 bans the sale, manufacture, purchase, possession or carrying of a bump stock or trigger crank. A bump stock attaches to a rifle to make the weapon fire more quickly. House Bill 1467 is currently in the Senate Assignments Committee.

Raoul measure promotes stricter enforcement of employment laws

Published: Thursday, March 01, 2018 02:04 PM

raoul 030118 2SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) passed legislation in the Senate today that gives the Illinois attorney general greater ability to enforce employment laws.

Currently, the attorney general can file suit under the state’s employment laws with a referral from the Illinois Department of Labor. This legislation removes that requirement and empowers the attorney general to bring suits related to violations of such laws as the Prevailing Wage Act, the Minimum Wage Act and the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act.

“We know there are workers who are getting their hard-earned wages taken from them by employers and having their rights violated in other ways,” Raoul said. “Valid claims should not get lost in bureaucratic red tape. It makes no sense to have laws on the book to protect workers if we don’t enforce them.

Raoul worked closely with Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville), who sponsored the measure in the House.

“Corporate interests that take advantage of their employees must be held accountable,” Hoffman said. “This measure will give the attorney general’s office more tools to ensure Illinois workers have the right to a safe work environment and that they receive their rightfully owed wages.”

Senate Bill 193 also creates a task force to promote cooperation between the attorney general and state’s attorneys in enforcing criminal violations of employment laws. It passed the Senate 35-16 and heads to the governor’s desk.

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