Holmes

  • Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) expanding insurance coverage for diagnostic mammograms has been signed into law by the governor.

    Currently, insurance covers an initial screening mammogram without any co-pay or cost sharing. If dense breast tissue or an abnormality is detected, a doctor will want a second look with a more comprehensive ultrasound (diagnostic) mammogram, and a co-pay is applied. In Illinois, those co-pays can run from $600 to $700, which could discourage women from getting that screening.

    “A diagnostic mammogram should be covered in the same manner as a routine screening mammogram,” Holmes said. “About 10 percent of initial mammogram results require a subsequent diagnostic mammogram, which can arguably be the most important test in the screening process. This new law can save lives.”

  • holmes 053119SPRINGFIELD –After an October report from ProPublica revealed allegations of abuse and neglect of children at the Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, concerns were heightened about coordination between the Department of Children and Family Services and other state agencies.

    State Senator Linda Holmes’ (D-Aurora) House Bill 831 requires better reporting to rectify those cases by requiring DCFS to notify the Director of Public Health and the Director of Healthcare and Family Services when they occur. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law today.

    “After DCFS found neglect and sexual abuse by staff, as well as failure to provide a safe environment and monitor these children’s care and medication at this psychiatric hospital, it became obvious more oversight is needed to prevent this from happening,” Holmes said. “Federal and state investigations have revealed these tragedies and we must do everything we can to stop it.”

    The Department of Public Health inspects and licenses hospitals, including psychiatric hospitals where children in need of that care reside. DPH has the authority to revoke, deny or suspend a hospital’s license. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for providing healthcare coverage for adults and children who qualify for Medicaid, which covers many children in these hospitals’ care.

    “These agencies must be engaged to help investigate and correct the conditions that lead to cases of abuse and neglect,” Holmes said. “Whenever DCFS receive a report by any means, at any facility, they should notify the directors of DPH and HFS so they can take action. The numerous charges against DCFS in safely caring for children under their supervision are disturbing and this is just one of many legislative actions underway to reform child welfare.”

    Among the cases investigated were children who had been cleared for discharge weeks or months before, but they were languishing in the hospitals because DCFS had failed to find other places for them.

    The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

  • State Senator Linda Holmes joined Gov. JB Pritzker and local officials in Aurora Thursday to launch the 605 Innovation District

    Aurora, Ill. – State Senator Linda Holmes joined Gov. JB Pritzker and local officials in Aurora Thursday to launch the 605 Innovation District and bring greater business and technology development to the city. Holmes released the following statement to recognize the investment in technology and jobs for Aurora:

    “Gov. Pritzker is such a champion of innovation and I welcome him to Aurora to recognize the great opportunity that Bureau Gravity is bringing here. This has been Jimi Allen’s dream for years, we spoke of it often when we were office neighbors. I’m honored to be here to celebrate his awesome achievement.

  • holmes 051619SPRINGFIELD –After an October report from ProPublica revealed allegations of abuse and neglect of children at the Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, concerns were heightened about coordination between the Department of Children and Family Services and other state agencies.

    State Senator Linda Holmes’ (D-Aurora) House Bill 831 requires better reporting to rectify those cases by require DCFS to notify the Director of Public Health and the Director of Healthcare and Family Services when they occur.

    “After DCFS found neglect and sexual abuse by staff, as well as failure to provide a safe environment and to monitor these children’s care and medication at this psychiatric hospital, it became obvious more oversight is needed to prevent this from happening,” Holmes said. “Federal and state investigations have revealed these tragedies and we must do everything we can to stop it.”

  • 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.

  • holmes 041719SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation in the Senate to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs.

    Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees and fines under the Department of Agriculture for the first time since 1971. It also changes rules regarding adopted dogs and cats and the facilities that provide foster homes and transport pets for adoption.

    “This group of animal welfare measures brings several rescue and shelter issues up to date for Illinois,” Holmes said. “So many pets find their forever homes through these facilities and fostering arrangements. This legislation can serve to increase the potential for that to happen while providing the Department of Agriculture with more resources to oversee these programs and facilities.”

    In addition to increasing license fees and administrative fines, Senate Bill 61 as amended does the following:

    • Changes definitions of terms related to animal shelters, rescue and transport groups and their functions;
    • Addresses licensed animal groups’ Trap, Neuter, Release/Return (TNR) programs for sterilized and microchipped feral cats;
    • Clarifies the limits of two litters of animals under eight weeks old in foster homes;
    • Removes a permit fee of $25 for foster homes.

    Senate Bill 61 includes input from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Best Friends Animal Society, Illinois Humane Society and the Illinois Animal Control Association.

    With bipartisan approval in the Senate, Senate Bill 61 now moves to the House for consideration.

  • holmes 041119 3SPRINGFIELD – Right now, a state agency can overturn a local school board’s decision to deny a charter school application in their school district. Under a proposal from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), that decision would remain in local hands.

    Senate Bill 1226 would change the charter school application process to abolish the State Charter School Commission and ensure locally elected school boards and parents would decide if a charter school is good for their community. The plan puts all existing charter schools authorized by the commission under the authority of the Illinois State Board of Education beginning June of 2020.

    “This proposal is about local control and accountability for charter schools as they exist for public schools,” Holmes said. “The existing commission has overturned local school boards and I believe those decisions belong in the community, not at the state level.”

    A local appeal process for charter schools already exists, eliminating the need for a state commission. Local voters also have the option of considering a charter school on the ballot of an upcoming election.

    With bipartisan approval in the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for consideration.

  • holmes 032519SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation in the Senate Agriculture Committee to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs.

    Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees under the Department of Agriculture for the first time since 1971. It also changes rules regarding adopted dogs and cats and the facilities that provide foster homes and transport pets for adoption.

    “This group of animal welfare measures brings several rescue and shelter issues up to date for Illinois,” Holmes said. “So many pets find their forever homes through these facilities and fostering arrangements. This legislation can serve to increase the potential for that to happen while providing the Department of Agriculture with more resources to oversee these programs and facilities.”

    In addition to increasing license fees and administrative fines, Senate Bill 61 does the following:

    • Changes definitions of terms related to animal shelters, rescue and transport groups and their functions;
    • Changes sterilization and microchip exemptions for adopted pets based on their age;
    • Addresses programs for sterilized, vaccinated feral cats in barn cat and college campus settings, often used for pest control;
    • Clarifies the limits of four foster pets or two litters in foster homes.

    Senate Bill 61 includes input from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Best Friends Animal Society, Illinois Humane Society and the Illinois Animal Control Association.

    With a unanimous vote in the Agriculture Committee, Senate Bill 61 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • beagle 032119SPRINGFIELD –A measure regarding animal welfare sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed the Illinois Senate.

    Senate Bill 241 amends the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to prohibit importation or sale of cosmetic products or ingredients that use animal testing after January 1, 2020. Modern testing alternatives are less expensive, faster and more predictive of human reactions than past practices of painful tests on animals to assess the safety of chemicals used in cosmetics.

  • holmes 032119SPRINGFIELD –A measure to require the election of trustees for the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District has been passed by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). Senate Bill 100 requires the trustees be elected rather than appointed. The bill was vetoed in August 2018 and came back to and was approved in the Senate Wednesday.

    “This public body should be elected rather than appointed to best represent the citizens of our communities,” Holmes said. “Trustee candidates would go on the ballot during consolidated elections if this bill becomes law. It represents government reform that will better serve water quality needs in the future for people in the Fox River Valley.”

    The Water Reclamation District was created in the late 1920s and today serves nearly 300,000 residents in Aurora, North Aurora, Boulder Hill, Montgomery, Oswego, Sugar Grove and portions of Yorkville and Batavia, according to the Board’s website.

    Senate Bill 100 provides that trustees will be elected at consolidated elections, rather than appointed by members of the General Assembly, beginning with the 2021 consolidated election. Trustees will be elected to staggered 4-year terms. The Board will continue to have 5 total members. Current members of the Board can continue to serve until their terms expire, at which time an elected trustee will take their place on the Board.

    Approved by the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for consideration.

  • lipsticks 031419SPRINGFIELD –A measure regarding animal welfare was introduced today by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    Senate Bill 241 amends the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to prohibit importation or sale of cosmetic products or ingredients that use animal testing after January 1, 2020. Modern testing alternatives are less expensive, faster and more predictive of human reactions than past practices of painful tests on animals to assess the safety of chemicals used in cosmetics. This ban does not include cosmetic products or ingredients that have been tested on animals but are currently being sold before the implementation date.

    “Alternative testing methods make sense: they are good for business, safe for consumers, and certainly move us forward to a humane approach by eliminating the cruel practices of the last 50 years,” Holmes said. “Consumers are increasingly looking for ‘not tested on animals’ labels on cosmetics packaging and that reflects greater awareness and concern.”

    Thirty countries have adopted cruelty-free cosmetics testing and in September 2018, California passed a law prohibiting the importation and sale of new cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Major cosmetics producers are listening to consumers: In 2018, the world’s second-largest personal-care producer, Unilever, announced they will stop animal testing. Their popular beauty brands include Dove, Degree, and TRESemmé.

    Senate Bill 241 passed today with unanimous support in the Agriculture Committee and await further action in the Senate.

  • holmes 050218SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) passed a measure to address the election of trustees for the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District on Wednesday. Senate Bill 100 requires the trustees be elected rather than appointed. The bill had been vetoed by the governor in August 2018 and has been brought back to and approved in the Senate Local Government Committee.

    “I believe it is important that those who represent the citizens of our communities should be elected and not appointed,” Holmes said. “This bill provides for trustee candidates to go on the ballot during consolidated elections. It represents government reform that will better serve water quality needs in the future for people in the Fox River Valley.”

    The Water Reclamation District was created in the late 1920s and today serves nearly 300,000 residents in Aurora, North Aurora, Boulder Hill, Montgomery, Oswego, Sugar Grove and portions of Yorkville and Batavia, according to the Board’s website.

    Senate Bill 100 provides that trustees will be elected at consolidated elections, rather than appointed by members of the General Assembly, beginning with the 2021 consolidated election. Current members of the Board can continue to serve until their terms expire, at which time an elected trustee will take their place on the Board. Trustees will be elected to staggered 4-year terms. The Board will continue to have five total members. 

    Approved by the Senate Local Government Committee, the measure now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • holmes 022718SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) ensured a series of proposals will take effect to extend the same rights granted to firefighters to paramedics who are also employed by units of local government. The measures had been vetoed by the governor, but today Holmes successfully overrode those vetoes.

    “Just like firefighters, paramedics face life-threatening circumstances to save lives and serve our communities,” Holmes said. “We owe it to paramedics and their families to give them the same rights as firefighters for the dangerous sacrifices they are willing to make.”

  • holmes 111418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) this week overrode a veto of a measure to address the election of trustees for the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District. Senate Bill 2830 requires the trustees be elected rather than appointed. The bill had been vetoed by the governor in August and Holmes successfully overrode that veto today in the Senate.

    “I believe it is important that those who represent the citizens of our communities should be elected and not appointed,” Holmes said. “This bill provides for trustee candidates to go on the ballot during consolidated elections. It represents government reform that will better serve water quality needs in the future for people in the Fox River Valley.”

    The Water Reclamation District was created in the late 1920s and today serves nearly 300,000 residents in Aurora, North Aurora, Boulder Hill, Montgomery, Oswego, Sugar Grove and portions of Yorkville and Batavia, according to the Board’s website.

    Senate Bill 2830 provides that trustees will be elected at consolidated elections, rather than appointed by members of the General Assembly, beginning with the 2019 consolidated election. Current members of the Board can continue to serve until their terms expire, at which time an elected trustee will take their place on the Board. Trustees will be elected to staggered 4-year terms. The Board will continue to have 5 total members. 

    Approved on a vote of 50-5 by the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for concurrence.

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  • holmes 052518SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) passed legislation through the Illinois Senate requiring that sex education classes in grades 6 through 12 include information on what constitutes sexual consent and what may be considered sexual harassment or assault. The course would have an emphasis on the workplace and life on a college campus.

    “Nearly every week there are new reports of sexual assault or misconduct on college campuses and in work places,” Holmes said. “The first step in stopping these egregious actions is to make sure students are educated on the differences on what is right and wrong.”

    The proposal came from State Representative Stephanie Kifowit’s Student Advisory Council. Kifowit previously passed the bill through the Illinois House.

    “It’s inspiring to work with the members of my Youth Advisory Council to spearhead an initiative to raise awareness to prevent sexual harassment and assault, especially on college campuses and in the work place,” stated Kifowit.  “These students saw a problem, got involved and changed the law to benefit future students.  These young leaders should be commended for their activism.”

    The legislation, House Bill 5148, passed through the Illinois Senate with a vote of 50-0. It will now head to the governor’s desk. 

  • holmes 052418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) advanced legislation to ban sales on ivory through the Illinois Senate earlier today.

    “This is a meaningful step that will help stop the brutal, illegal poaching of elephants abroad,” Holmes said. “It’s our responsibility to protect these magnificent animals before it’s too late.”

  • holmes 022718SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) passed a proposal through the Illinois Senate to create the Broadband Advisory Council to study expanding broadband access in Illinois.

    “Just like electricity and running water, having access to broadband is a critical tool for creating growth in communities and businesses,” Holmes said. “As a state, we need to ensure we are exploring all opportunities available to extend this critical resource to every corner of our state.”

    To ensure the needs of a wide variety of citizens are heard, the council will have representatives from electric cooperatives, municipalities, public housing authorizes, the Community College Board, the Board of Higher Education, the Department of Aging, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services , AARP and several other organizations that represent a wide scope of interests.

    The council is charged with several tasks, including:

    • Exploring ways to expand access to broadband
    • Identifying and eliminating barriers to broadband
    • Determining  if broadband companies are discriminating against low-income areas
    • Exploring the potential for increased use of broadband for the purposes of education and career readiness
    • Determining the potential benefits from increased broadband service that would allow seniors to live in their own homes longer

    “Broadband is a vital resource our entire lives, from our children who are preparing for the workforce to our senior citizens who are trying to maintain comfortable lives in their own homes,” Holmes said. “I look forward to utilizing the findings of this council to best serve the citizens of our state.”

    Holmes’ proposal, House Bill 5752, passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 57-0. It has now passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.

  • ivory 051018SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) advanced legislation to ban sales on ivory through a key Senate committee earlier today. 

    “By stopping the sale of ivory here in Illinois, we can help prevent the brutal, illegal poaching of rhinos and elephants abroad,” Holmes said. “It’s our responsibility to do what we can in Illinois to protect these remarkable animals.”

    According to the World Wildlife Foundation, tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks. In the 1980s, it is estimated nearly 100,000 elephants were killed each year and up to 80 percent of herds were lost in some areas. Holmes’ proposal, House Bill 4843, charges individuals caught selling ivory with a Class A misdemeanor and fine of up to $1000.

    “Decades of senseless poaching have totally decimated the populations of these animals across the world. Only with time and commonsense measures like this will we ever see their numbers recover,” Holmes said.

    Guns and knives that are older than 100 years and less than 20 percent ivory are exempt from the ban. Musical instruments older than 1975 and made from less than 20 percent ivory are also exempt from the ban. If signed into law, Illinois will join California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington in banning the sale of ivory.

    Holmes’ proposal passed the Illinois Senate Environment and Conservation Committee with a vote of 5-0. It will now head to the Senate floor for a vote.

  • holmes 051018SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) advanced a series of proposals through a key Senate committee yesterday to extend the same rights granted to firefighters to paramedics that are also employed by units of local government.

    “Just like firefighters, paramedics face life-threatening circumstances to save lives and serve our communities,” Holmes said. “We owe it to paramedics and their families to give them the same rights as firefighters for the dangerous sacrifices they are willing to make.”

    Holmes’ proposals include:

    • House Bill 126, which includes paramedics in the same collective bargaining unit as firefighters
    • House Bill 127, which extends health coverage and educational benefits to paramedics and EMTs if they suffer a catastrophic injury or are killed in the line of duty
    • House Bill 5221, which allows paramedics to continue to receive the same rate of pay if they are injured in the line of duty and are unable to continue working

    The legislation will only affect the approximately sixty paramedics employed by units of local government, which includes those in Masouctah, Menard County, Morton, Highland, Troy and Union County.

    Each of Holmes’ proposals passed the Illinois Senate Labor Committee yesterday. They will now be heard by the full Illinois Senate.