Fine

  • pub safety 020620CHICAGO – Several Democratic members of the newly formed Senate Special Committee on Public Safety met in Chicago today to unveil their public safety priorities for this year’s legislative session.

    State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who will chair the committee, spoke of his past legislative accomplishments and how they motivate him to continue that fight.

    “I’ve dedicated my adult life toward the fight to reimagine and to win real safety and justice, and last year I passed several laws with this goal in mind, including one to abolish private detention centers,” Peters said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to personally head up the Special Committee on Public Safety, and I am confident that the committee will lead to a society that is fair, equitable, just and, most importantly, safe.”

  • fine 110619SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans with diabetes will pay less for their prescription insulin, thanks to a new law co-sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) that seeks to address soaring prescription drug costs.

    “The cost of insulin has tripled in the past decade, and wages haven’t followed suit. Prescription drug companies shouldn’t be able to burden families with these sky-high costs,” said Fine, who was the measure’s chief co-sponsor in the Senate. “I’m thrilled to help provide some relief to Illinoisans with diabetes.”

    For patients on state-regulated insurance plans, Public Act 101-625 caps the out-of-pocket cost of prescription insulin at $100 for a 30-day supply.

    More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 7.4 million Americans require prescription insulin every day to survive, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, the price of insulin has risen sharply in recent years, driving many patients to sacrifice other daily needs to pay for insulin or to ration their supply.

    The legislation makes Illinois the second state to cap prescription insulin co-payments.

    “People with diabetes used to have to choose between paying their bills and paying for insulin,” said Fine. “We’re giving them a little more wiggle room and relieving some of that burden. Hopefully this helps people get their prescription without having to sacrifice other needs.”

    Public Act 101-625 was signed into law on Friday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

  • Sen. Laura FineSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department on Aging has adjusted its annual income eligibility limits for the Benefit Access Program, allowing more seniors to qualify to receive transportation assistance in 2020.

    “This is the first income limit increase since 2010, despite the rising cost of living,” said State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview). “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m glad to see that our most vulnerable seniors will now be able to get help with their transportation needs.”

    The Benefit Access Program includes the Secretary of State License Plate Discount, the Seniors Ride Free Transit Benefit and the Persons with Disabilities Free Transit Ride. The services aim to help older adults live independently by improving their transportation options.

    For applications submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2020, the new annual income limit for a two-person household is $44,533. This is an increase of nearly $8,000 from the previous income limit.

  • Sen. Laura FineGLENVIEW – The statute of limitations on civil actions related to certain financial crimes will be changed from 5 years to 10 years under legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) that was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker.

    “Some seniors may not realize they are victims of financial crimes until after the statute of limitations has expired,” Fine said. “This legislation will give seniors and other victims of these types of crimes ample time to seek justice.”

    Under House Bill 2287, the following crimes will have the statute of limitations raised to 10 years:

     

    • Theft of property exceeding $100,000 in value;
    • Identity theft;
    • Aggravated identity theft;
    • Financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability

    The legislation takes effect immediately.

  • fine 032819SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) will provide support for people who are facing homelessness.

    “Many individuals and families may be one paycheck away from homelessness, and we want to do as much as we can to prevent this traumatic experience,” Fine said. “This bill gives families who are struggling a little bit of breathing room.”

    House Bill 3331 gives homeless organizations the flexibility to use the funding they already receive to better address issues. It adds the payment of rent or mortgage as a type of assistance available through the Homelessness Prevention Services Program. This will allow these organizations to help families stay in their homes so they do not find themselves in a stressful, traumatic situation.

    The bill passed the Senate Human Services Committee, and will be up for consideration by the full Senate.

  • skin screening 050919SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) would require insurance providers to include coverage for at least one yearly screening for skin cancer.

    “Certain types of skin cancer can be extremely deadly, but many insurance plans don’t cover screenings,” Fine said. “That could leave people who may be at risk of skin cancer with a tough decision: pay for the expensive screening out of pocket, or forego it entirely.”

  • Senator FineSPRINGFIELD – Graduate and research assistants would have the same labor rights as other educational employees under a bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D – Glenview). The bill was approved today by a Senate committee.

    “Graduate and research assistants are not considered employees despite performing a very important duty that benefits their university and society as a whole,” Fine said. “Allowing graduate and research assistants to collectively bargain will afford them the same dignity and respect already secured by their colleagues.”

    Currently, those classified as “students” are excluded from the definition of educational employee. House Bill 253 removes graduate assistants whose primary duties are research or pre-professional from the “student” classification, therefore allowing them to be counted as employees. This in turn entitles them to the same rights and incentives as other educational employees in the state, including the right to collectively bargain for things such as better working conditions and fairer pay.

    “Having a say over one’s own labor is a right that should be guaranteed to everyone,” Fine said. “I’m proud to be fighting to ensure graduate and research assistants can continue to do their important work with dignity.”

    The bill passed through the Senate Labor Committee and will now receive consideration from the full Senate.

  • fine 050219SPRINGFIELD – Today the Illinois Senate commemorated Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, in honor of those who lost their lives and those whose lives were forever altered by the horror of the Holocaust. 

    Members of the Illinois Senate released the following statements to reassert their commitment to human rights:

    “Now more than ever, the world needs to remember and reflect on the atrocities that occurred and the sentiments that led to them so that we, for the sake of basic human decency, can ensure they never again happen,” Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) said.

  • sneakers 050119Wednesday, May 1 was Suits and Sneakers Day at the Capitol. We wear sneakers to help raise awareness and encourage people to educate themselves about cancer prevention, screening and early detection.

    Suits and Sneakers Day originated as a campaign of Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society, when basketball coaches nationwide wear sneakers with their suits to raise funds, awareness, and help save lives from cancer.

    Learn more about this effort here.

  • Senator FineSPRINGFIELD – Patients will have improved access to mental health care under a bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

    “In Illinois, 2.5 million people have a mental health condition,” Fine said. “Unfortunately, only about a third of these patients receive treatment. This legislation will improve care for people who otherwise may not have access to a psychiatrist.”

    Senate Bill 2085, mandates insurance providers include a Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) in their coverage. A CoCM creates a team approach consisting of a primary care doctor, a care manager such as a nurse or social worker, and a psychiatric consultant. This approach treats common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety that often require frequent and systematic follow-ups.

    The bill was approved by the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support and now heads to the House of Representatives.

  • fine 041019SPRINGFIELD – Certain state employees would be required to live within the state of Illinois according to a bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

    “Since the salaries of state workers are paid by the taxpayers of Illinois, the workers should be subject to those same taxes,” Fine said. “This also ensures that every state employee has the state’s best interests in mind, since any decisions made will affect them as well.”

    Senate Bill 1639 establishes a state residency requirement for state workers hired after Dec. 31, 2019. If a new hire is not a resident of the state, they will have a three month grace period to establish residency. In addition, the bill gives the Director of Central Management Services the discretion to waive the residency requirement if the employee can prove that their non-residency has a just and reasonable cause.

    The bill would not affect third-party contractor employees or any employee hired before Jan. 1, 2020. It was approved by the Senate with 53 votes and will be sent to the House of Representatives.

  • fine 040419SPRINGFIELD – A possible loophole affecting abused minors in DCFS care would be closed under a bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

    Senate Bill 1116 fixes gaps in the language of a current statute that leaves open the potential for abuse to go unpunished if the survivor reaches their 18th birthday before the scheduled court date.

    “This is an unfortunate example of an unforeseen circumstance creating an issue, and I’m glad to help fix it,” Fine said. “Abusers shouldn’t get off scot-free just because of the date on the calendar.”

    This has happened in the past in rare circumstances. SB1116 closes the loophole to allow the cases to be brought to trial, regardless of when the minor comes of age. The measure passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support, and will move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

  • Senator FineSPRINGFIELD – To honor women in public office, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) passed a resolution declaring March 28, 2019, as Celebrating Women in Public Office Day in Illinois.

    “Elected women in our state have spearheaded some of the most groundbreaking legislation in Illinois,” Fine said. “I think it’s important that we recognize the hard work and achievements of women in public office everywhere.”

    Senate Resolution 271 supports the success of women in public office and encourages the people of Illinois to support women in public office. There are currently 64 women in the Illinois General Assembly, which is 36 percent of the body’s membership. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, this puts Illinois 11th in the US in terms of women officeholders in the state legislature.

    The resolution passed the Senate unanimously and is therefore officially adopted.

  • fine 032719SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is fighting for the dignity of workers with intellectual or development disabilities with a new bill meant to assist with job searches and wage negotiation.

    “Individuals with disabilities have an unemployment rate that is almost three times higher than the statewide average, and many are paid well below the minimum wage,” Fine said. “I think we have a duty as a society to find a person’s individual talents and skills so that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to their community. I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation that protects the best interests of our state’s workers with disabilities.”

    Senate Bill 2087 establishes the Customized Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Act. The act creates a five-year pilot program designed to provide individuals with disabilities who are looking for employment with assistance in their job search and to help these workers negotiate fair wages with their employers.

    The bill was approved by the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support and now moves to the House of Representatives.

  • Senator FineSPRINGFIELD – To ensure dignity for all in the workplace, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is pushing for workers with intellectual or development disabilities to have help seeking employment and negotiating fair compensation.

    “The unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities is nearly three times higher than the statewide unemployment rate,” Fine said. “On top of that, a large portion of these employees make less than the minimum wage. It’s time we help workers receive the respect and dignity they deserve on the job.”

    Senate Bill 2087 creates the Customized Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Act, which would establish a five-year pilot program with two main functions: To assist individuals with disabilities who are seeking work in finding employment, and to help workers with disabilities negotiate with employers to ensure they receive fair compensation.

    The bill is an initiative of The Arc of Illinois, an organization that provides assistance to individuals with disabilities throughout the state. It passed the Senate Committee on Human Services with a unanimous vote and is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate.

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  • Senator FineSPRINGFIELD – Under a new bill sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), health insurance companies would be required to provide more comprehensive mental healthcare coverage.

    A Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) is a specific type of group care to treat common mental health issues that require frequent and systematic follow-ups, such as depression and anxiety. Fine’s legislation, Senate Bill 2085, mandates insurance providers to include a CoCM in their coverage.

    “Collaborative care models can often be more effective in treating patients with common mental health issues, and can save money for both patients and providers,” Fine said. “By requiring insurance companies to cover this type of integrated care, we allow patients in Illinois to have more freedom to seek out the care that is best for them.”

    The bill passed through the Senate Committee on Insurance by a vote of 18 – 0 and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • fine 030619SPRINGFIELD – State workers would be required to live within the state of Illinois under a new proposal by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

    “State workers’ salaries are paid by Illinois taxpayers,” Fine said. “It just makes sense that if you’re going to be paid by income, sales, and property taxes that Illinois residents pay, then you should be subject to those same taxes.”

    Senate Bill 1639 establishes a requirement that to work for any state agency within Illinois, a person must live in the state. The measure would not affect employees who work for a contractor that has a contract with the state, and allows for a three-month grace period.

    The bill passed the Senate Committee on State Government and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • Senator Fine

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker’s 2019 Budget Address:

    “It was refreshing to hear a budget address from a governor who is willing to work with the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget. After four years of budget addresses that seemed hostile to cooperation and functioning government, this return to stability is a nice change.

    “I’m encouraged by Gov. Pritzker’s pledge to search for new revenue sources. Any way that we can increase the state’s revenue stream without having to increase taxes on working families is step in the right direction.

    “I was also pleased to hear the governor lay out his legislative and budgetary priorities for this General Assembly. It’s much easier to work with a governor who makes their intentions clear. That allows us in the legislature to set our own agenda in a way that is complementary to the executive so that we can coexist in the way we ought to: as separate but equal branches.

    “Overall, I was pleased with the address, and I look forward to working with the governor along with my Senate colleagues to ensure that the budgets we pass in the future are all fair, balanced and beneficial to everyone in Illinois.”

  • Senator Fine

    SPRINGFIELD – A potential gap in the protection of abused minors would be closed under a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) which passed out of a Senate committee today.

    “This adjusts an existing statute that, under specific circumstances, has left abuse survivors with no options for justice in the past,” Fine said. “This problem arises from situations when a survivor of abuse turns 18 between the incident and the court date. It’s an accident of timing that has let predators walk away clean and it’s unacceptable. I’m happy to help close a loophole that harms a minor who is a survivor of abuse.”