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Belt helps veterans’ families honor their lost loved ones

Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Veteran families will receive an additional $25 for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

Currently, families only receive $100 to pay for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker.

“We must always recognize and respect the service of those who keep us safe,” Belt said. “Veterans went out and fought for our country, and some lost their lives in the line of duty, so giving the families additional assistance is the least we can do. As costs for services and memorials go up, we should periodically make sure our assistance does as well.”

Senate Bill 1244 passed the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee this afternoon and is scheduled to head to the Senate for further debate.

Cullerton pushes for practices to make medical visits easier for individuals with disabilities

Pediatric NurseSPRINGFIELD – Having blood drawn can be a very anxious thing for a child with autism. Thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), medical professionals may soon have access to training to help ensure individuals and developmental disabilities are as comfortable as possible.

Cullerton advanced Senate Bill 1214 on Tuesday, which requires the Department of Public Health to ensure that those who draw blood have the most current method of drawing blood from individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities available.

“Health care professionals strive to provide the best possible care to all patients,” Cullerton said. “This measure ensures that they receive training on the best practices to draw blood from patients that are living with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Autism and Down’s syndrome have a good medical experience.”

The Department of Public Health will be required to compile current methods of drawing blood from children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Senate Bill 1214 was an initiative of Michael Baker, a parent advocate of a young adult son with a developmental disability.

“Medical visits can be stressful for all of us, but especially for individuals who can often face extra challenges,” Cullerton said. “We need to ensure that communication and sensory issues are taken into account when medical professionals perform procedures such as blood draws.”

Senate Bill 1214 passed the Senate’s Committee on Public Health with bipartisan support and will move to the full Senate for consideration.

Peters promotes bicyclist and pedestrian safety

Student DriverSPRINGFIELD – A new bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) would help improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

Senate Bill 1642 requires drivers’ education courses to include instruction on bicycle and pedestrian safety beginning in the 2020-21 school year. The curriculum would include instructions on how to safely pass bicyclists and pedestrians while driving, how to safely exit a vehicle without endangering bicyclists and pedestrians and how to navigate through intersections shared with bicyclists and pedestrians.

“I represent areas of Jackson Park and of Downtown Chicago, which have a higher than average number of accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists, have just as much of a right to the road as drivers do,” Peters said. “However, many drivers’ education courses only prepare drivers for how to safely be around other drivers.

“This poses a huge threat to pedestrians and bicyclists,” Peters said. “By including these new safety instructions in drivers’ education courses, we can reduce the risk of injury that bicyclists and pedestrians face on a daily basis.”

The measure passed through the Senate Education Committee unanimously and moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Peters supports citizenship for adoptees

Senator PetersSPRINGFIELD – A resolution sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) urges the United States Congress to guarantee automatic citizenship for children adopted by a U.S. citizen.

“I know from first-hand experience that the life of an adopted child is difficult enough without the possibility of being stateless,” Peters said. “The protection of the U.S. government should not be denied to children because of things that happened before they were born. Granting them citizenship is the right thing to do.”

House Joint Resolution 24 states that both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly regard the granting of citizenship to all qualifying children adopted by a U.S. citizen as a civil right regardless of the date the adoption occurred, and that they condemn the deportation of individuals who were adopted into American homes and therefore have expectations of citizenship. The resolution also urges the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation codifying the tenets of the resolution.

The resolution passed through both chambers of the General Assembly with unanimous bipartisan support, and is therefore officially enacted.

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