SB456

  • Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — A new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) will overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

    Martinez passed the legislation out of the Senate this year as a bipartisan effort to address the issue of educator misconduct in classrooms across the state.

    “The importance of protecting our children is an issue we can all agree on, no matter our political party,” Martinez said. “The report released last year was shocking, and I am thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to work on a solution. Students should be able to feel safe at school.”

  • martinez 053019SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) today passed legislation out of the Senate to overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

    The measure is a bipartisan effort to address the issue of educator misconduct in classrooms across the state.

    “The importance of protecting our children is an issue we can all agree on, no matter our political party,” Martinez said. “The report released last year was shocking, and I am thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to work on a solution. Students should be able to feel safe at school.”

    Lawmakers began working on a solution after a Chicago Tribune article published late last year detailed a series of stories regarding children being harassed or abused during their time as students at Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

    The measure addresses a multitude of issues such as: changing how a student is interviewed after making a complaint, increasing the frequency with which school districts must check statewide databases, lessening the re-traumatization of a student victim and creating a taskforce to continue to review these policy changes.

    Among other provisions, the legislation also:

    • Requires school districts to review their existing policies and procedures concerning sexual abuse investigations every two years.
    • Requires the school district as a condition of employment to consider the status of a person who has been issued a finding of child abuse or neglect.
    • Provides for alternative hearing procedures if a student is under the age of 18.

    Senate Bill 456 passed both the House and Senate without opposition and will now head to the governor’s desk.

  • babies 081518SPRINGFIELD – Illinois newborns will now be tested for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) under a proposal passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that was signed into law on Tuesday.   

    “Medical advancements have made all the difference in treating this horrific disease that affects our youngest children,” Morrison said. “Including testing for SMA in regular newborn screenings will ensure treatment can begin immediately to prevent the disease from progressing and causing life-time harm or even death.”

    Morrison’s new law, passed under Senate Bill 456, requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to test for SMA during the newborn screening test. The department is required by the new law to begin testing by 2020 at the latest.

    SMA is the most common genetic disorder linked to infant death worldwide and affects between 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 10,000 U.S. births. It is a terminal, degenerative disease that causes severe symptoms that eventually prohibit a child from walking, standing, eating, swallowing and even breathing. Most children with the genetic disorder will not live past 18 months.

    Fortunately, advances in medical treatment led the FDA to approve the first treatment for SMA in December 2016. The drug is only effective, however, if given early before symptoms fully develop, making testing of paramount importance.

    “I am proud Illinois is taking a lead in ensuring all children are tested for a painful disease that can now be both tested for and treated,” Morrison said.

    Senate Bill 456 was signed into law on Tuesday and takes effect immediately.