Morrison

  • morrison 022720SPRINGFIELD —While people are staying home to keep safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a population —survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence — who are living in more vulnerable situations. 

    State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) applauds Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services for expanding services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

    “Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are living in constant fear,” Morrison said. “Right now, they have nowhere to go and no one to watch out for them. I can’t imagine how scared some of these people are in an already worrisome time.”

  • Vote-by-mail applicationSPRINGFIELD — As Illinois’ date to choose the nominees for a new U.S. president at the ballot box was on the horizon, the worry of low voter turnout due to the coronavirus pandemic loomed in the background.

    “Illinoisans had to choose between keeping themselves healthy or casting their vote,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said.

    That worry turned into a reality Tuesday, after some counties throughout the state saw turnouts 20% lower than during previous presidential primaries. In Sangamon County, the turnout was 22.2% — before counting mail-in ballots — compared to the 43.4% turnout in 2016.

  • Sen. Julie A. MorrisonDEERFIELD — During this trying time, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is encouraging people willing and able to donate to local food pantries.

    “People throughout the state have lost work due to the coronavirus outbreak, either temporarily or permanently,” Morrison said. “Their feet were pulled out from underneath them, and now they don’t know how they’re going to feed their families.”

    Morrison is asking people who have the means to donate to local food pantries in the northern suburbs.

  • morrison 030420SPRINGFIELD –The price of EpiPens has greatly increased over the years, causing people with certain allergies to forgo purchasing the life-saving medication. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) strives to offset the burdensome cost by requiring insurers to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors.

    “With increases in food allergies and other serious allergic conditions, people are relying on EpiPens more than ever,” Morrison said. “Nobody with a serious allergy should go without an epinephrine injector simply because they cannot afford one.”

    Senate Bill 2457 – sponsored by Morrison – requires insurers to cover medically necessary EpiPens for all people – regardless of age.

  • morrison030320SPRINGFIELD –Since the demand for behavioral health services has grown and the behavioral health workforce is still experiencing shortages, a task force was created to study the crisis. Findings from the study were shared with State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday.

    “This has been a major concern in Illinois for years, but as a demand for service grows and the workforce diminishes, it has gained an even greater sense of urgency,” Morrison said.

    Among the recommendations outlined by the task force was a plan for creating the Illinois Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center to lead a cross-agency, cross-sectorial strategy to improve access to a qualified, diverse workforce.

    The center would be structured as a hub-and-spoke model, linking academic institutions that serve rural and small urban areas and at least one academic institution serving the densely urban Chicago-area.

    A central location in an academic institution would be tasked with convening and coordinating role for workforce research and planning, including monitoring progress toward goals for the center.

    “I am happy to hear the group come forward with a comprehensive analysis of the issues facing the behavioral health workforce,” Morrison said. “I am hopeful stakeholders will continue to work diligently to fill the void.” 

  • morrison 022720SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) took a moment to rise on the Senate floor Thursday to honor and recognize the victims of Wednesday’s shooting at the Molson Coors plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Morrison asked the body to take a moment of silence to honor the victims of the tragedy.

    Below are the senator’s floor remarks:

    “Yesterday, five people tragically lost their lives in Milwaukee after a man opened fire on the Molson Coors plant before turning the gun on himself.

    “Such violence is senseless. Six families went to bed last night mourning the loss of a loved one. Those families, and all the families who have lost someone to gun violence, need us right now.

    “We can all recognize these tragic events are happening far too regularly. No one should have to fear for their safety when they go to school, the grocery store or even work. When will we have enough?

    “I ask that you please stand silently for a moment of reflection and respect. Words do not adequately express the tremendous grief I feel as I have to make this speech once again.”

  • morrison 021820SPRINGFIELD –Dental hygiene is directly linked to a person’s overall health, but many Illinoisans aren’t receiving the proper care they need due to the high cost of treatment or because the lack of coverage for anesthesia. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) hopes to curb the price of dental care by requiring Medicaid to extend its coverage.

    Two bills attempting to address dental care services that are either not covered or under-reimbursed by Medicaid were part of a subject matter hearing in the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday.

    Senate Bill 2484 expands coverage of dental care and anesthesia for those with autism or a developmental disability to make those individuals more comfortable when visiting the dentist.

    “Going to the dentist can be uncomfortable for anyone, but the stress is amplified for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities,” Morrison said. “Some patients with developmental disabilities are unable to endure regular dental exams or cleanings without general anesthesia. This measure will help more people be able to afford the treatment they need.”

    According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, because it is difficult for them to get treatment, people with developmental disorders suffer “a high burden of dental disease.” More than 30% of the patients studied suffered from untreated cavities and 80% from serious gum infections.

    Additionally, the measure requires Medicaid to cover dental care, including anesthesia, that is provided in a hospital or surgical treatment center for any individual with a medical condition that requires hospitalization or general anesthesia.

    “Keeping a healthy set of teeth is more important than people think,” Morrison said. “Many diseases and conditions have a direct correlation to dental health. Making sure teeth get the attention they need is an important part of an individual’s overall well-being.”

    Morrison is also spearheading Senate Bill 2493, which specifies Medicaid reimbursement rates for anesthesia-related services. For example, under the measure, moderate sedation would be at a reimbursement rate of $181 and deep sedation would be at a rate of $214. This might incentivize more dentists to accept Medicaid.

  • Sen. Julie A. MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) released the following statement after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was commuted by President Donald Trump Tuesday:

    “The commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence by President Trump is yet another reason ethics reform must be passed at both the state and federal level. We must pass ethics reform during this legislative session to ensure we never have another case like Blagojevich’s. We must also hold elected officials to the highest standards and work to end political corruption.”

  • morrison 020420State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) led a conversation Tuesday about the oversight of Medicaid managed care and the transition of DCFS children into the program.

    “The state is responsible for these children and must make sure they have access to health care,” Morrison said. “I wouldn’t want my own child to be enrolled in this poorly managed program.”

    The hearing comes just days after nearly 19,000 adopted children and former foster children transitioned to Medicaid managed care. Of those 19,000 people, at least 2,500 were affected by a glitch that has left them without insurance since Saturday.

    A representative from the Cook County Public Guardian’s office said during the committee hearing that the office was flooded with calls about the broken system over the weekend. Complaints ranged from a 14-year old girl who needed seizure medication and the pharmacy would not supply it, to children who were sick and couldn’t find a doctor who would take their insurance card.

    More than 17,000 current foster children are set to transition to the same program April 1, and advocates are worried it still won’t be running smoothly by then.

    “Why would anyone think this program was adequate for kids formerly in care but not kids currently in the system?” Morrison asked. “It’s a double standard, and we shouldn’t force this vulnerable population to enter this dysfunctional program.”

    Members of the Senate called on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to focus on fixing the program before the second round of roll outs. 

  • Senator MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – Following a wave of corruption and indictments among state officials, Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) is calling on lawmakers to pass a comprehensive ethics package, including restrictions on revolving door lobbying, updates to the statement of economic interest forms and new provisions regarding conflict of interest.

    “People should not be allowed to be a lawmaker one day and a lobbyist the next,” Morrison said. “Stopping lawmakers from auditioning for jobs with special interests while still in office will help end the glaring corruption taking place in Springfield.”

    Since joining the Illinois Senate in 2013, Morrison has introduced bills each session to block the lawmaker-to-lobbyist revolving door. Those measures would prohibit lawmakers who resign from their post from taking jobs as Illinois lobbyists for a certain amount of time after they retire. However, they never made it through the legislature.

    “I have tried to pass comprehensive revolving door policies for years, but it wasn’t seen as a high priority by all members of the General Assembly, despite the corruption happening around them,” Morrison said. “I am pleased Gov. JB Pritzker called on legislators to pass a revolving door provision during his State of the State address Wednesday.”

    Morrison is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2463, which prohibits statewide elective officials, members of the General Assembly and administrative heads of state agencies from lobbying within two years of termination of service.

    “A majority of states already have an anti-revolving door policy, and it’s time for Illinois to get with the times,” Morrison said. “There must be a fine line between who is a government official and who works for a special interest group.”

    Illinois is just one of 13 states that does not have a revolving door policy.

    During the legislative session, Morrison is lead sponsor of two other ethics-related bills – Senate Bill 2506 and Senate Bill 1827.

    Senate Bill 1827 would create changes to the statement of economic interest form that must be completed by a number of state employees, candidates running for office and public officials to ensure they do not have financial ties to subjects they are working on.

    Additionally, SB 2506 requires members of the General Assembly to disclose if they have conflicts of interest on measures they are taking official action on – which includes voting for a bill.

  • EpiPenSPRINGFIELD – The price of EpiPens has greatly increased over the years, causing people with certain allergies to forgo purchasing the life-saving medication. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) strives to offset the burdensome cost by requiring insurers to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors.

    “With increases in food allergies and other serious allergic conditions, people are relying on EpiPens more than ever,” Morrison said. “Nobody with a serious allergy should go without an epinephrine injector simply because they cannot afford one.”
    Senate Bill 2457 – sponsored by Morrison – requires insurers to cover medically necessary EpiPens for all people – regardless of their age.

  • morrison 012120SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) commends Medline Industries for taking steps to decrease ethylene oxide emissions from its Waukegan plant.

    “Ethylene oxide causes cancer,” Morrison said. “We took action last year to ensure the emission of this harmful substance is no longer the cause of numerous deaths across the north suburbs.”

    Medline Industries temporarily closed its Waukegan-based medical device sterilization operation to install nearly $10 million in upgrades to make the plant compliant with state laws regulating ethylene oxide, the company announced Tuesday.

    Two measures co-sponsored by Sen. Morrison, both which passed in 2019, prohibit the renewal of any permits for facilities that violate federal or state standards for ethylene oxide emissions. The other puts emission limits on non-sterilization facilities that emit ethylene oxide and requires them to obtain a permit from the IEPA. That permit must include a site-specific cap on the business’ ethylene oxide emissions.

    Medline said Tuesday that it has been working “around the clock” to finish the upgrade to install the emissions abatement equipment, but must close down for a few weeks to complete the final stages of testing. Late last year, Vantage Specialty Chemicals Facility in Gurnee also completed improvements necessary to bring the plant up to the state’s guidelines.

    “Facilities that use the cancer-causing chemicals should be held to the highest standards,” Morrison said. “They cannot put money over people. Medline has done the right thing by temporarily shutting down its plant in order to better protect the people of Illinois.”

    The improvements from both companies come a year after a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found higher levels of ethylene oxide in the blood of people who live near the plants. Ethylene oxide was placed on a national list of carcinogens in 1985. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment linking ethylene oxide to breast and blood cancer. The EPA, World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program all declared the gas cancer-causing.

  • morrison 032719SPRINGFIELD –In response to a disturbing report that a former lobbyist attempted to cover-up sexual assault to leverage a friend’s upcoming disciplinary hearing, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) released the following statement:

    “These actions by government officials are disheartening and cannot continue to happen. The facts of the WBEZ investigation once again prove the serious issue of sexual harassment and assault in Illinois politics. When public officials do wrong, they should not be shielded from authoritative action.”

    Senator Morrison’s statement comes after a WBEZ article showed officials within former-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration sent an email in 2012 referencing someone keeping “the rape in Champaign” quiet.

  • morrison 111219SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to provide more transparency among elected officials, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) filed a measure that would require lawmakers to state if they have a conflict of interest on a bill.

    “This is simply about honesty and transparency,” Senator Morrison said. “The people of Illinois deserve to know lawmakers are best serving voters and the community — not themselves.” 

    Senate Bill 2299, which will be read into the record Tuesday, would require a member of the General Assembly to disclose if they have a conflict of interest on a measure they are taking official action on – which includes voting for a bill. If the legislator does have a conflict of interest, they would be responsible for filing a written statement declaring the conflict or stating their conflict during floor debate.

  • Sen. Julie A. MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – Two youths, ages 15 and 17, were handcuffed and shackled at their feet while being driven from a youth shelter to another living arrangement, according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

    The teens were both restrained for nearly 30 miles in early October while being moved by a company hired by DCFS from Chicago to Palatine. The incident is now being investigated.

    State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) released the following statement:

    “When we dishonor one person’s rights, we dishonor everyone’s rights,” Senator Morrison said. “DCFS’s failure to provide oversight and accountability on their contractors has caused another violation. This situation underscores my commitment to reform this troubled agency.”

  • vaping 090419SPRINGFIELD – A third person died in Illinois from a vaping-related illness this week, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) released the following statement about the tragic outcome vaping has had on Illinoisans:

    “I am heartbroken to learn another person in our state has died from the harmful substances found in vapes,” Senator Morrison said. “Vaping and e-cigarette-related illnesses and deaths have become a nationwide outbreak that must come to an end before more lives our lost. I hope the Illinois General Assembly can come to an agreement on a bill that will keep these products out of the hands of children.”

    Senator Morrison filed Senate Bill 2275 last month, which would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

  • Sen. Julie MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – Two proposals passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) expanding the availability of anesthesia use in dental procedures for individuals with disabilities were signed into law recently by Gov. Pritzker.

    “For individuals with a disability, routine dental procedures can be especially distressing,” Morrison said. “We want to ensure important dental work is being performed, however, as long-term serious health consequences can develop if left untreated.”

    Morrison’s first proposal, contained in Senate Bill 111, increases the age of eligibility to receive anesthesia coverage for dental treatment for individuals with autism or a developmental disability. Under the new law, the age will increase from 19 to 26.

  • Sen. Julie MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – A package of proposals by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) aimed at increasing state employment of individuals with disabilities has been signed into law by Gov. Pritzker.

    “Having a job means having dignity, independence and purpose, regardless of whether or not an individual has a disability,” Morrison said. “The State of Illinois should be a leader in showing that individuals with disabilities are just as capable in the workplace and have a valued role in contributing to our state and our economy.”

    Morrison – who is chair of the Senate Human Services Committee and founder of the Special Needs Caucus – passed the series of measures to help break down the barriers to employment individuals with disabilities face.

  • Sen. Julie MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – Living organ donors in Illinois would have increased protections under the law under a proposal passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that was signed into law today by Gov. Pritzker.

    “Across Illinois, thousands of residents are awaiting a kidney transplant. Sadly, less than a quarter of patients who were on the organ donation waiting list last year actually received an organ transplant,” Morrison said. “We must do more to incentivize individuals willing to give so much of themselves for the health of another.”

    Morrison’s new law – contained in House Bill 2847 – would prohibit insurance companies from refusing to insure or limiting the kind of coverage available needed for care solely because an individual was a living organ donor.

  • morrison 032719SPRINGFIELD – News that Land of Lincoln Goodwill in Springfield is laying off dozens of workers with disabilities without a valid explanation is drawing concern from State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield).

    “It is disheartening that Goodwill would use false excuses to terminate the employment of reliable, hardworking staff with disabilities in Illinois,” Morrison said.

    Morrison – who is chair of the Senate Human Services Committee and founder of the Special Needs Caucus – passed a series of measures this year aimed at increasing state employment of individuals with disabilities, all aimed at breaking down the barriers to employment.