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Expansion of medical cannabis program signed into law

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 09:03 AM

fine 032819SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) expanding the state’s medical cannabis program to include more conditions and a veteran opioid alternative program was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

"The medical cannabis program in Illinois has a proven track record of helping alleviate pain for many patients in our state," Senator Fine said. "By making the program permanent, expanding the number of qualifying conditions, and allowing veterans to enroll in the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program, we will vastly improve the quality of life for many people."

Senate Bill 2023 expands access to the medical cannabis program. It gives nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants the authority to certify a patient’s eligibility for medical cannabis. Currently, only doctors have this authority. The bill also adds 12 additional conditions for eligibility, bringing the total number of conditions to 54.

The legislation takes effect immediately, while the legalization of recreational cannabis takes effect on January 1, 2020.  Unlike recreational cannabis, medicinal cannabis is specifically formulated to alleviate the discomforts associated with the qualifying conditions listed in the medical cannabis program. 

Peters ends “pay to stay” with new law

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 09:01 AM

prison 081219SPRINGFIELD – The Department of Corrections will no longer be able to sue former inmates for the cost of their incarceration under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“‘Pay to stay’ is indentured servitude,” Peters said. “These folks served their time and were released from prison, so their punishment should be over. There’s no reason to continue punishing them and risk sabotaging their return to society by imposing a financial burden.”

House Bill 900 prevents the Department of Corrections from suing formerly incarcerated people for costs associated with their incarceration. The bill extends a restriction which already exists in certain jurisdictions to apply statewide.

Peters also noted the structural disadvantages that the “pay to stay” system reinforces.

“This practice affects people and communities of color at a wildly disproportionate rate,” Peters said. “It is a regressive, harmful, and predatory action that places additional undue hardships on folks who, at no fault of their own, are already at a disadvantage at birth due to the unjust systemic racial biases that exist. ‘Pay to stay’ has no place in a just society, and I’m proud to have led the charge in the Senate to end it. I commend the governor for taking the necessary actions to abolish it once and for all.”

The law, which is effective immediately, was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

Police to receive more training on raids under new law by Collins

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 08:57 AM

police raid 052919SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement as Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law House Bill 51, the Peter Mendez Act:

“Peter Mendez was nine years old in 2017 when Chicago police, acting on inaccurate warrant information, raided his family’s home in error and pointed weapons at him. His harrowing story and others brought to light by CBS News reporter Dave Savini this past year spurred me to sponsor this law,” Collins said.

The law directs police training schools to include instruction on ensuring the physical safety and well-being of a child of an arrested parent or immediate family member while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the arrest and safety of officers, suspects, and other involved individuals. Instruction must also cover de-escalation tactics and procedures for inquiring whether a child will require supervision and care arrangements.

“This is about what we accept when we give police the authority to use force,” Collins said. “These incidents are not merely careless or erroneous, they are civil rights violations. We cannot tolerate the careless use of force.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Steans law will update state’s suicide prevention strategy

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 08:54 AM

steans 041119SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) that updates Illinois’ suicide prevention strategy was signed by the governor today.

Steans’ measure requires the Department of Public Health to strengthen efforts to prevent suicide in Illinois. In 2016, suicide caused more deaths than homicide, motor vehicle accidents, and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension, and HIV.

“When suicide takes a loved one from us, we’re left wondering ‘What could I have done?’” Steans said. “By partnering with advocates and devoting state resources in support of all our knowledge about how to prevent suicide, we’re doing what we can do right now.”

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