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State education leaders confirm Rauner plan bad for public schools, local taxpayers

isbe approp 022718SPRINGFIELD – The governor’s plan to dump the state’s share of teacher pension costs on local school districts would have devastating effects on classrooms and learning throughout Illinois, state education officials said Tuesday.
The testimony of State Superintendent of Schools Tony Smith and other education officials during a Senate budget hearing confirms what Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been saying since Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled his budget plan Feb. 14.
“The governor is playing the game of trickling expenses down to local districts. My school leaders are already facing high levels of unpredictability and uncertainty. They’re unable to carry a half-billion dollars in new spending that the governor is putting on them,” said State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, a Democrat from Plainfield and a member of the Senate Appropriations II Committee.

Sen. Holmes introduces measure to expand HPV prevention efforts

holmes 022718SPRINGFIELD – To improve access to information about human papillomavirus (HPV) for young people in Illinois, state Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, introduced legislation in a Senate committee meeting.

“This legislation ensures that all sixth-grade students in Illinois receive information about the HPV vaccine and its importance in preventing dangerous illnesses later in life,” Holmes said. “Since 2007, only girls have received information about the vaccine. If we want to decrease cases of HPV and associated conditions like cervical cancer, we need to do a better job of educating younger generations.”

Silverstein calls for extra security measure in concealed carry licensure process

silverstein 022718SPRINGFIELD- Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) believes Illinois’ concealed carry licensing process can be strengthened by including an additional step: an extra measure of security gained through requiring local law enforcement review.

“At a time when we are talking about preventing weapons from getting into the hands of someone who may be a risk to public safety, himself or others, I believe it is reasonable to close this loophole in the licensing process,” Silverstein said. “If local law enforcement knows of no reason to deny the license, the applicant will be approved and the process completed.”

Senate Bill 3298 would mean a local law enforcement agency or sheriff’s department, depending on the applicant’s residence, would have 30 days to review the application. If it is determined the applicant is unsuitable for a concealed carry license, the Illinois State Police will be notified. If the State Police receives no notification of objection, it will approve and issue the application. An applicant denied approval may petition the circuit court in his or her county for a hearing.

Because local law enforcement would be the most likely agency to have to respond to a shooting perpetrated by a CCL holder, Silverstein believes they should be part of the review process in advance of a license being issued. This can be one way to lessen the likelihood a potentially violent person can get and carry a weapon that could result in more incidents like the Parkland, Las Vegas or Newtown shootings.

“Aside from an arrest record, local law enforcement may know something about an applicant or be aware of behavior such as domestic violence calls without charges or affiliation with a gang which the State Police might have knowledge of,” Silverstein said. “I believe it is fair to apply this practice statewide for an extra safeguard and to protect our communities all across Illinois.”

Senate Bill 3298 awaits assignment to a Senate committee for further action.

Koehler: Medicaid program shouldn’t be used to pad corporate profits

koehler 022718SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that would help small business owners who supply durable medical equipment to Medicaid patients passed the Senate Human Services Committee last week. Durable medical equipment includes equipment such as portable oxygen, feeding tubes and ventilators.

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is the sponsor of SB 2262, which would require that the suppliers of the equipment are reimbursed the same amount as the Medicaid Fee for Service fee schedule.

“While some believe the state should have no role in assisting businesses, it’s different when we are talking about life saving equipment for young children,” Koehler said. “I don’t think we should allow this dog-eat-dog environment to put the safety and well-being of Medicaid patients and their families at risk.“

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