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  • Sen. Daniel BissSPRINGFIELD – Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement today regarding his vote in support of House Bill 40, legislation that ensures women in Illinois continue to have access to important reproductive health care:

    “Consider what we know about how President Trump sees America. We know he has objectionable views on women’s autonomy, and we know his administration has been surprisingly eager to scale back laws supporting groups of people who fought hard to earn basic civil rights in the first place.

  • Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate voted Wednesday to ensure women in Illinois will continue to safely and legally exercise their right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

    House Bill 40 removes the "trigger" provision from a 1975 Illinois law that would reinstate a previous state policy banning abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, the legislation would allow abortion coverage for individuals on Medicaid or covered by State Employee Health Insurance plans.

    State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), a chief co-sponsor of the measure, stated Wednesday that it is absolutely necessary to ensure Illinois women continue to have the right to choose to move forward with a pregnancy.

    “These types of decisions should be between a woman and her doctor,” Castro said. “We need to make sure women have a safe place to legally exercise this right. Illinois should be a state that continues to move forward and helps to preserve the rights of women. Should the federal courts overturn Roe V. Wade, it would mean overturning 40 years of progress for civil rights. Today I voted to safeguard those rights. I urge the governor to sign this legislation into law.”

    House Bill 40 passed the Senate Wednesday and will be sent to the governor for approval.

  • Sen. William R. HaineSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) co-sponsored and spoke adamantly in support of a measure passed by the Illinois Senate that will allow patients who have waited more than 45 days to determine their Medicaid status to become provisionally eligible.

    Haine co-sponsored the legislation after hearing dozens of complaints from frustrated constituents who experienced significant delays in getting their Medicaid status approved.

    Federal law requires the state to make this determination in less than 45 days, but in Illinois many patients have been callously forced to wait several months, and in some cases even up to a year.

  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today regarding his vote in support of House Bill 40, legislation that would ensure women in Illinois continue to have access to important reproductive health care:

    “It’s 2017. Women make up just over half of the population in Illinois, and 70 percent of them are in the labor force,” Harmon said.

    “But today, rather than paving the way to lift women out of poverty, close the gender wage gap, make child care more affordable or enable all parents to take time off to care for sick kids, the Illinois Senate had to debate whether it’s appropriate to reassure the women who live and work in our communities that they are legally entitled to access the medical care of their choosing without government interference.

    “How 1960s of us.

  • heroinSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) issued the statement below in response to Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto of House Bill 1. The legislation, passed earlier in the year by Kotowski, creates a multi-faceted approach to stopping heroin and opioid abuse by:

    • Requiring doctors and pharmacies to document when narcotics have been prescribed
    • Requiring the State Board of Education to create a heroin and opioid drug prevention program for schools
    • Creating a statewide medication take-back program
    • Allowing a pharmacist to dispense lifesaving Narcan to prevent heroin overdoses

    The governor's amendatory veto removes funding for treatment programs targeting low-income individuals.

    "Investing in programs to help individuals struggling with drug addiction – regardless of socio-economic status – gives those people an opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and remain productive members of society. Failing to fund these programs now will cost taxpayers substantially more in the long run.

    "Signing this landmark legislation, which passed both the House and Senate with large bipartisan majorities, would have saved lives and had an immediate impact in the fight to curb the exploding heroin epidemic taking over our communities and schools.

    "While I am encouraged that Governor Rauner acknowledges the growing heroin and opioid problem in our state, we owe it to the victims, families and youth of our communities to take action now."

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  • Sen. Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) voted today for a measure that would protect legal abortion in Illinois, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

    HB 40, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), removes the trigger language from a previous Illinois law that would outlaw abortion in the state if the landmark case were overturned. It also allows Medicaid and state employee health plans to cover legal abortions.

    “A woman’s right to choose is under attack at a federal level and in many states,” Martinez said. “I am proud that we in Illinois are committed to keeping the government out of a decision that should be solely up to the woman. I hope Governor Rauner lives up to his promise and signs this legislation.”

    HB 40 passed the House 62-55 in last month. It passed the Senate 33-22 today and will move to the governor’s desk. Governor Rauner said in 2014 that he would sign the bill if it passed, then went back on that statement earlier this year, saying he would veto it.

  • murphy 041118SPRINGFIELD — Today State Senator Laura Murphy pushed back against the Rauner administration by advancing a Medicaid managed care transparency measure he previously vetoed.

    “The governor made a mistake when he rejected this proposal and attempted to put a multibillion dollar industry before taxpayers and Medicaid recipients,” Murphy (D-Des Plaines) said. “I couldn’t stand for that. I will continue to fight for transparency in Medicaid managed care programs.”

    Senate Bill 2447 requires the auditor general to conduct a performance audit of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Medicaid managed care program by Jan. 1, 2019.

    The audit would probe whether DHFS has developed and applied standardized quality performance measures to Medicaid Managed Care Entities. It would also examine if the department has implemented measures to automatically assign Medicaid patients into managed care entities.

    Performance audits can only be conducted at the request of the General Assembly or the Audit Commission, Murphy noted.

    “The governor thought that this type of audit could be conducted as part of an existing investigation, but that’s not how it works,” she said. “I want to ensure the Medicaid managed care program operated by the Rauner administration is effectively using taxpayer dollars. This is one of the state’s largest contracts. It deserves a closer look.”

    This transparency measure was formerly Senate Bill 321, which Murphy proposed last year. The governor vetoed it Sept. 22, 2017.

  • Sen. Omar AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, released the following statement after the passage of House Bill 40, which would preserve access to abortion for Illinois women:

    “Given what is happening at the federal level, it is extremely important that we protect a woman’s right to choose in Illinois. It falls on us in state government to act responsibly in times like these, as women in general and low-income women in particular have serious concerns about their healthcare due to the disastrous agendas of the Trump and Rauner administrations.”

  • Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Saying the governor needs time to reconsider his pledge to veto House Bill 40, legislation that protects women’s reproductive rights in Illinois, Senator Don Harmon Wednesday night slowed the bill’s trek to the governor’s desk.

    “This measure is too important to immediately put it in the hands of a governor whose public opinions about women’s access to safe, affordable reproductive health care have been inconsistent at best,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate.

    Harmon is the chief co-sponsor of House Bill 40. Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, is the lead sponsor. Gov. Bruce Rauner has threatened to veto the measure, even though he pledged to support it when he was a candidate for governor.

    “Wednesday night, in consultation with Senator Steans and the advocates, I filed a motion to reconsider the Senate’s vote to pass House Bill 40, which means we will temporarily hold the bill in the Senate,” Harmon said. “This motion merely allows the Senate to protect the bill from Gov. Rauner’s threatened veto until he comes to his senses. It does not jeopardize the bill’s ability to become law.”

  • steans 040716To protect patients and reduce spending on unnecessary medications, the 2012 SMART Act allowed Medicaid clients to fill only four prescriptions per month without special authorization from a doctor. The provision encourages patients on medical assistance to visit a primary care physician who can coordinate their care and keep an eye out for overmedication and dangerous drug interactions.

    But nursing home residents typically don’t have that problem.

  • Sen. Heather Steans

    SPRINGFIELD – Recent rollbacks to women’s rights led State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) to sponsor House Bill 40 to ensure that Illinois will remain a state where women can safely and legally exercise their right to choose.

    “I think it is paramount that we protect a woman’s right to choose and ensure that Illinois will be a state where women can safely and legally exercise this right, regardless of what happens at the federal level,” Steans said. “Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for more than 40 years. Due to a trigger in Illinois law, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, Illinois would return to a state where abortion was illegal. I believe we should uphold the intention of the justices that ruled in favor of a woman’s right to choose and cement this freedom to choose in Illinois law.”

    House Bill 40 removes the "trigger" provision from a 1975 Illinois law that would reinstate previous state policy banning abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally the legislation will allow abortion coverage for individuals on Medicaid or covered by State Employee Health Insurance plans.

    “Women should have access to safe abortion services regardless of their income or employer,” Steans said. “This is a decision between a woman and her doctor. Illinois has antiquated laws on the books that impose religious principles on individuals that may not ascribe to those beliefs. This legislation updates those laws and protects access to safe and legal abortion services.”

    Abortion rates have been falling over the past 40 years and are lower now than when Roe v. Wade was ruled.

    “I hope that Gov. Rauner will stick to his word and sign HB 40,” Steans said.

    State Senator Linda Holmes (D - Aurora):

     State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D - Chicago Heights):

  • steans 022818 3SPRINGFIELD – Hospitals that serve Medicaid patients would continue to benefit from federal funding under a measure sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) which passed the Senate today.

    “I have worked with my colleagues in both chambers for several months to develop a new Medicaid Hospital Assessment Program that is fair to patients and hospitals,” said Steans. “This new program supports hospitals that serve a vital role in communities while distributing funding in a more accurate manner.”

  • steans 031218CHICAGO – Hospitals that serve Medicaid patients are one step closer to benefiting from federal funding under a measure sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) which was signed into law today.

    “The new Medicaid Hospital Assessment Program will ensure that hospitals across the state can continue to receive federal funding to treat Medicaid patients,” Steans said. “Without this legislation, many hospitals would not be able to finance helping some of Illinois’ neediest residents. This new assessment program is fair to patients and hospitals.”

  • heroinVILLA PARK - DuPage County’s Narcan program has trained more than 2,200 police officers to administer naloxone, saving over 66 individuals from overdosing on heroin.

    As the growing heroin epidemic spreads throughout the state and nation, we are still waiting for the governor to sign State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative, House Bill 1, to spread the success with battling the drug in DuPage County to communities across Illinois.

    “We have the tools to save lives,” Cullerton said. “Every day, the governor waits, we are risking the chance another young person becomes addicted to heroin or worse yet, overdoses because they cannot afford treatment.”

    House Bill 1 is a comprehensive package designed to address heroin and opioid abuse and addiction in Illinois. The legislation addresses heroin abuse on a variety of different levels. Three major points of the initiative include the following:

    The legislation, which is modeled off of DuPage County’s efforts, creates a program for state and local police officers, fire protection personnel, firefighters and school nurses, to be trained in administering Narcan.

    Narcan reverses the effects of an overdose for heroin, cocaine, Vicodin, OxyContin and Morphine. The drug can be administered either by injection or nasal spray.

    Secondly, the initiative requires Medicaid to cover costs for addiction treatments and prescriptions. Currently, the second most common reason for Illinoisans to seek treatment is heroin, yet the state has the lowest rate of state-funded treatment compared to other Midwestern states, such as Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

    Expanding the scope of Medicaid to include some of these expenses will make treatment more readily available and bring Illinois up to speed with neighboring states.

    Thirdly, requires the Illinois Department of Human Services and State Board of Education to develop a three-year heroin and opioid drug prevention program to address the heroin stronghold in Illinois. School districts will be given the option to adopt the program and DHS will work with the school districts to reimburse the costs.

    Cullerton asserts the legislation was worked on with legislators from both sides of the aisle because everyone recognizes drug overdoses and addiction can happen to people regardless of their age, socioeconomic background or ethnicity.

    “This measure is a great example of legislators working together in a bipartisan effort to address this problem and work to save lives,” Cullerton said.  “I hope the governor will work with us and move quickly to address this growing epidemic.”

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