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Silverstein’s powdered alcohol ban to take effect

silverstein sjr iranSPRINGFIELD – On Jan. 1, Illinois will join two dozen other states that have banned dangerous powdered alcohol and set fines for its sale and purchase. Legislation to ban it is under consideration in another 10-15 states.

State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) sponsored the ban in Illinois, Senate Bill 67 (now Public Act 99-0051), which was signed into law by the governor in July.

Powdered alcohol is a relatively new product already proving to be dangerous. Any crystal substance of powder containing alcohol is considered “powdered alcohol.” The powder may be dissolved in liquid such as mixers or juice or it could be sprinkled on food. It can be eaten or snorted without mixing and could be sold in small packets or capsules.

A violation of this law would be a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense in Illinois and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

“Powdered alcohol is not yet for sale in the U.S. and given its potential dangers, I believe it should never enter the market,” Silverstein said. “Knowing how accessible traditional alcohol already is to those susceptible to abuse – including minors – the risk of alcohol poisoning and its easily concealable form are just two reasons sales of this type of alcohol must be prevented.”

The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association provides research, analytics and alcohol regulatory information regarding policy. NABCA published a paper in November on powdered alcohol’s history, risks and legal status in the states addressing the product.

http://www.nabca.org/assets/Docs/Research/PowderedAlcoholPaper.pdf

Student-Teacher Background Checks go into effect January 1

cunningham bkgrd chksCHICAGO — On Jan. 1, prospective student-teachers in Illinois will be required to go through the same background check process as a regular teacher. Senate Bill 706, passed during the last session of the 99th General Assembly, improved the process of how to properly screen student-teacher candidates.

The legislation is the result of a multi-year discussion between Senator Bill Cunningham (D-18), the Illinois State Board of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Currently in Illinois, student-teachers are required to get separate background checks for each school they teach at, which can create confusion for the student-teacher and the districts where they are placed to teach.

“Our first priority should be protecting our children while they are at school,” Cunningham said. “This law is a sustainable way to allow student teachers to get the on the job training they need while protecting our students.”

The legislation requires that student-teachers submit to a series of background checks, including a fingerprint-based criminal history check, a Statewide Sex Offender Database check along with a check of the Statewide Murderer and Violent Offender Databases. The Illinois State Police and FBI are also required to furnish any conviction records of prospective student teachers.

“This is about protecting our students from predators. If we want to keep excellent teachers in the classroom, we need a plan to both protect our future leaders and ensure our instructors are the best and safest,” Cunningham said.

The legislation passed both the Senate and the House and was signed by Gov. Rauner.

For other laws going into effect on Jan. 1, please visit the Illinois Senate Democrats’ website.

Caffeine powder ban set to become effective

caffeine powderPLAINFIELD— It will soon be illegal for toxic caffeine powder to be sold to anyone under age 18 in Illinois.

The new law was sponsored by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) in response to the death of 18-year-old Logan Stiner of Ohio from a caffeine powder overdose.

According to local reports, Stiner was found by his brother, collapsed on the floor of his home. The same day his brother found him, his mother discovered several bags of caffeine powder in their house. Sadly, Stiner, a popular student-athlete, was one week away from graduating from high school.

The county coroner’s report said that Stiner suffered cardiac arrhythmia and a seizure as a result of ingesting toxic amounts of caffeine. One teaspoon of the powder is equal to drinking approximately 25 cups of coffee.

In order to prevent a death like Stiner’s from occurring in Illinois, Bertino-Tarrant championed the new law making it illegal for toxic caffeine powder to be sold to anyone under age 18.

“Logan Stiner’s death was a tragedy, and I wanted to be proactive about preventing minors in Illinois from being able to use a substance that, by simple mistake, could be deadly,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Powdered caffeine is nearly 100 percent pure caffeine and difficult to measure with common kitchen tools.

Senate Bill 9 is effective Jan. 1, 2016.

New school carbon monoxide law takes effect

COdetectorSPRINGFIELD – A new law aims to protect students and staff in Illinois public schools from the dangers of carbon monoxide leaks.

More than a year ago, a faulty exhaust pipe at North Mac Intermediate School in Girard sent 150 students and staff to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Since last September, the school has installed carbon monoxide detectors, but at the time there were none.

Legislation requiring schools to install carbon monoxide detectors was signed into law this summer and it goes into effect Jan. 1. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal.

“What happened in Girard could happen at any school. If it weren’t for smart, quick actions from staff, that incident could have been a tragedy. Schools have a solemn obligation to protect their students and we need to ensure their safety by preventing anything like this happening again,” Manar said.

In a similar incident this month, 104 teachers and students were hospitalized after a carbon monoxide leak at Horace Mann Elementary School in Chicago. The school had detectors which allowed staff to evacuate the school before any students were injured, and all the hospitalizations were precautionary.

Chicago Public Schools had just finished installing detectors after a similar incident in October last year at Harper High School in Chicago.

The law will require schools to install detectors within 20 feet of equipment that produces carbon monoxide. School buildings without carbon monoxide sources would be exempt.

The legislation, House Bill 152 was negotiated with the Illinois Association of School Boards and the Illinois School Management Alliance, which represent the interests of school administrators in Springfield.

California, Connecticut and Maryland have similar requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in school buildings.

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