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Link fights for police and firefighter pension consolidation

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019 12:47 PM

police fire 032019SPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan measure to consolidate most police and firefighter pension funds throughout the state passed the Illinois Senate Thursday with support from State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek).

“This proposal retains benefits while also making our system more productive and efficient,” Link said. “The pension crisis is one of the biggest issues we’ve been dealing with in this state for years, and the legislation we passed today marks a major step toward solving that problem.”

Senate Bill 1300 would consolidate all of the state’s nearly 650 police and firefighter pension funds outside of Chicago into two individual and separate funds over a 30-month transition period.

Consolidation of these pension funds is expected to provide them with a greater return on investments and save taxpayers an estimated $160 million each year, while not affecting individual pension amounts.

The legislation also allows local pension fund boards to retain authority to rule on benefits.

“We wanted to ensure that we preserved local authority over pension benefits while also providing enhanced investment opportunities and saving taxpayer dollars,” Link said. “This measure makes financial sense for pension recipients, the pension funds themselves and Illinois taxpayers.”

The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 42-12. It will now be sent to the governor’s desk for approval.

Crowe champions initiative keeping aviation repair industry in Illinois

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019 12:28 PM

crowe jet 111419SPRINGFIELD – Legislation showing vast support to the aviation repair industry in Illinois is one step closer to becoming law under the firm leadership of State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon).

“I am delighted the majority of the Senate agreed this exemption is necessary in support of the economic contributions jet repair companies provide to the entire state of Illinois,” Crowe said. “But this fight is not over.”

The measure reinstates Illinois’ sales tax exemption for aircraft materials, which expired Dec. 31, 2014.

Morrison supports cap on out-of-pocket insulin costs

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019 12:15 PM

insulin 053019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) voted in support of a measure that will cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply.

“No one should have to choose between getting the medication they need to survive and putting food on their family’s table,” Senator Morrison said. “I applaud the efforts of my colleagues to pass this life-saving measure.” 

Senate Bill 667 caps co-payments for insulin at $100 per month for all patients, regardless of the supply they require. The cap, however, only applies to commercial insurance plans regulated by the state.

About 1.3 million adults in Illinois have diabetes – 12.5% of the state’s population – according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. On average, people with diabetes pay $475 a month on insulin, the Health Care Cost Institute reports. The high cost drives many patients to ration their insulin supply, which can result in blindness, kidney failure or death.

“Insulin is not an option for more than one million Illinois residents,” Morrison said. “It is time Illinois leads by example to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for choosing to maximize profits at the expense of consumers’ health.”  

If the bill becomes law, Illinois will become the second state in the country to cap out-of-pocket prices.

The legislation now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker, who previously pledged his support of the measure.

Senate approves Manar resolution urging President Trump, Congress to ensure WWII heroes lie in state

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019 12:13 PM

manar 111219SPRINGFIELD – Throughout American history, only 32 individuals have lain in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, an honor reserved for the most esteemed American military heroes and statesmen. A resolution approved unanimously today by the Illinois Senate seeks to extend that privilege to the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II as a tribute to all 16 million Americans, often referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” who served in our Armed Forces from 1939 to 1945.

Senate Joint Resolution 50, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), would urge President Trump and the United States Congress to take all necessary measures to ensure the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II be offered a state funeral, including, but not limited to, the option to lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

“An understanding of the Greatest Generation’s immeasurable sacrifice is something that all Americans share, and it’s something that has the power to unify Americans in a way that transcends our current divisions,” Manar said. “It would block out the political noise of the day and bring us together in reverence of the intrepid Americans who fought and died to ensure that the United States remains a beacon of hope and a blueprint for democracy across the globe.”

The President of the United States has the sole authority to designate a state funeral, while Congress reserves the authority to allow an individual to have their remains lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

Of the 353 Americans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of heroism during World War II, only two are alive today: Charles H. Coolidge of Tennessee and Woodrow Williams of West Virginia.

The Medal of Honor, presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress, is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is conferred upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through acts of heroism at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged against an enemy of the United States.

SJR 50 will now move to the Illinois House for consideration.

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