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New law by Crowe requires insurance coverage for donated breast milk

Published: Tuesday, September 03, 2019 10:37 AM

mother babySPRINGFIELD – Mothers needing donated breast milk for their sick infants will benefit under a new law championed by State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon).

The initiative requires certain insurance plans to cover costs of pasteurized donated human breast milk for mothers with infants deemed medically necessary in Illinois.

“As a mother, I am humbled to carry this initiative through the Senate that takes a burden off of women with sick newborns and no other options to get breast milk,” Crowe said. “Breast milk contains all the nutrients an infant needs for proper growth and development and we have to make sure those who need it have access.”

Under the measure for coverage, the milk must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional and come from a milk bank licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health or a source that meets guidelines set by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. The mother must be unable to produce milk to meet the infant’s needs, and the infant must also be critically ill.

State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) was the chief sponsor on this measure in the House.

"The medical community advises new mothers that 'breast is best' when it comes to nutrition for newborns,” Stuart said. “This new law will ensure that income won't hold women and families back from following the best medical advice for their critically ill infants that need access to breast milk to improve their health."

House Bill 3509 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Martinez law provides flexibility for awarding State Seal of Biliteracy

Published: Friday, August 30, 2019 10:26 AM

biliteracy 083019SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is making it easier for graduating high schoolers to receive the State Seal of Biliteracy.

Her new law requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to accept other testing methods for students to demonstrate English language proficiency for eligibility for the seal.

“Learning to read, write and speak in two different languages is an impressive skill for anyone, particularly young people,” Martinez said. “This law gives ISBE more flexibility to recognize that achievement.”

The State Seal of Biliteracy is a recognition given to graduating high school students who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in English and in reading, writing, listening and speaking in another language.

House Bill 3237 is effective immediately.

Bush: Enterprise Zone designation will give Zion crucial economic boost

Published: Friday, August 30, 2019 09:31 AM

bush 013019GRAYSLAKE – Zion Benton received approval to be an Enterprise Zone, thanks to efforts by State Senator Melinda Bush.

“It’s been decades since the Zion Nuclear Power Station shut down and the community is still reeling from loss of jobs and tax revenue ,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “An Enterprise Zone in Zion is crucial to create jobs, recruit new businesses and boost the local economy.”

The Illinois Enterprise Zone granted Zion Benton designation to help encourage job growth and investment in the area. Enterprise Zones are a locally driven tool that provide financial incentives for companies and organizations seeking to develop or create new jobs in the Enterprise Zone. This can include property tax reductions, sales tax exemptions on qualifying building materials, investment tax credits and utility tax exemptions, among other local incentives. 

In 2018, Bush sponsored House Bill 156 to add inactive nuclear powered electrical generation sites as one of the possible three criteria that an area must meet to be certified as an Enterprise Zone, which would allow Zion to qualify for tax exemptions.

“At its core, this certification is about giving Zion more opportunities for prosperity and growth,” Bush said. “I was happy to be a part of this effort. Our local mayor, economic officials, and village and county officials did a terrific job helping put this proposal together.”

The Enterprise Zone goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020. Once designated, an Enterprise Zone maintains its designation for 15 years. The Enterprise Zone Board will review the Zone after 13 years to determine a possible 10-year extension of the designation.

Castro extremely disappointed by closure of mental health units

Published: Friday, August 30, 2019 09:29 AM

castro 083019ELGIN – After Amita Health announced plans earlier this week to close behavioral health units at two hospitals, including St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement:

“I am extremely disappointed by Amita’s decision to close the behavior health unit at St. Joseph’s without any community input. Amita made an investment in the community, and many residents of the community rely on that investment. By pulling out, they are damaging lives.

“There is a substantial population of homeless people who use the services provided by the behavioral health unit to receive the treatment they need. That unit is also important for the well-being of minorities throughout the community. Since there are no other mental health wards nearby, closing this unit leaves these people with no options for treatment. This is shameful.

“Amita has left the community with no local access to much needed services. A few years ago, when former Gov. Bruce Rauner lowered the number of beds at the Elgin Mental Health Center, this put the community under a huge strain. Now, Amita is closing the acute mental health ward. This is detrimental to the community, especially during a time where we should be expanding access to mental health services.

“This closure leaves Elgin with so many unanswered questions. Amita didn’t notify anyone in the community or surrounding communities. For them to have made this decision without consulting or even notifying the public, myself, Rep. Anna Moeller, or any other elected officials is beyond shocking. I call on Amita to rethink the decision and allow the public to offer input on how closing this ward will impact their lives.”

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