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Silverstein's cyberbullying prevention becomes law

laptop-keyboardCHICAGO – Schools officials will soon gain the ability to discipline students who use non-school computers to bully their classmates under a newly signed law that was sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago).

“A safe, supportive environment is vital for students’ learning and growth. This law gives educators more tools to discipline and prevent out-of-school cyberbullying when it hurts others’ ability to learn at school,” Silverstein said.

Silverstein’s proposal, House Bill 4207, prohibits out-of-school cyberbullying or bullying using a non school-owned electronic device. Schools would be able to discipline the bullies if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school.

School districts are required to have a process to determine if the bullying is within their jurisdiction and inform bullied students about anti-bullying services.

The new law, signed Friday by the governor, takes effect Jan. 1.

Forby makes outdoors affordable for seniors with reduced license fees

senior-fishingOn Friday afternoon at Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County, a new law was signed decreasing hunting and fishing license fees for Illinois seniors 75 and older.

The new law sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby cuts fees for hunting and fishing licensure down to $1 or, in some cases, completely eliminates them.

“After a lifetime of buying licenses and stamps, we are making it easier for seniors to afford hunting and fishing. Every senior should be able to enjoy the outdoors even if they’re on a fixed income,” Forby said.

Stadelman's HoopStars heads for downtown Rockford

Senator expands free 3-on-3 youth basketball tourney outdoors

hoopstarsROCKFORD – Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman is taking his free 3-on-3 youth basketball tournament outdoors and moving the competition to Labor Day in hopes of beginning its transformation to a large, Gus Macker-style event.

Boys and girls in third through eighth grades will compete on courts at Davis Park, with the first games tipping off immediately after the Labor Day parade, Stadelman announced at a news conference today. The outdoor location and switch from Saturday of Labor Day weekend to the Monday holiday allows Senator Stadelman's HoopStars to grow in its second year; more than 125 players took part in 2013 on indoor courts at Patriot's Gateway Center.

"We're taking HoopStars to the streets in 2014 – not literally, but in the spirit of Gus Macker," said Stadelman, referring to the popular adult 3-on-3 tournament that took place in the streets of downtown Rockford for many years.

"The tournament's goal," he said, "remains the same -- to provide a positive, no-cost activity for our youth, particularly those from low-income families and inner-city neighborhoods. Senator Stadelman's HoopStars is about the love of the game and kids having a ball."

Stadelman said the downtown expansion is made possible by new partnerships with the Rockford Park District and Rockford United Labor, which organizes an annual picnic for union members at Davis Park following the Labor Day parade. Families attending the basketball tournament can enjoy live music and kids' rides at no charge as guests of the labor group. ComEd and Comcast are returning as financial sponsors, and both will operate interactive educational booths during the tournament.

All players will receive free commemorative T-shirts; trophies or medals also will be awarded. Teams of four can register online at: 1) www.senatorstadelmanhoopstars.eventbrite.com; 2) Stadelman's office in the Zeke Giorgi Center, 200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301, Rockford; or 3) participating community centers.

Manar’s initiative to expand access to life-saving epi-pens in schools becomes law

EpiPenRSPRINGFIELD – A new law designed to make Illinois’ schools safer for students and staff was signed by the governor today. The most important part of the law, an initiative of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, State Sen. Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) and Rep. Michelle Mussman (D–Schaumburg), is expanded access to life-saving epinephrine auto-injectors or epi-pens. Epi-pens are used to treat a person in anaphylactic shock due to an allergic reaction.

“More and more children are being diagnosed with food allergies, with peanuts, eggs, milk, soy, and wheat as the most common triggers,” Manar said. “Ensuring timely access to this life-saving medication can mean the difference between life and death for a child.”

The law allows trained school employees and volunteers to administer an epi-pen to anyone at the school. The law sets training requirements for school personnel, and with parental consent allows a student to carry and administer their own epi-pen as well as their asthma medication.