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  • 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.

  • morrison belt 032019SPRINGFIELD – A tax credit introduced by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) that would incentivize businesses which offer paid leave of absences to their employees for donating an organ or bone marrow passed the Senate Revenue Committee this afternoon.

    “Last year, 3,402 Illinois residents were candidates for a kidney transplant. By the end of the year, however, only 798 people actually received a transplant. That represents less than a quarter of patients who are on the organ donation waiting list,” Morrison said.

  • Sen. Ram VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Efforts to modernize the state’s water infrastructure present an opportunity for job growth under a plan State Senator Ram Villivalam introduced this morning alongside environmental, faith and labor advocates.

    “The ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan is a prime example of what can happen to communities when their water infrastructure is neglected by their government for long periods of time,” VIllivalam (D-Chicago) said. “By creating this program, we will provide the training necessary to help Illinois communities avoid a similar fate.”

    SB 2146 would require the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create a Clean Water Workforce Pipeline Program that would provide grants and other financial assistance to prepare people for careers in water infrastructure.

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  • Sen. Ram Villivalam

    SPRINGFIELD - Legislation to assist Alzheimer’s patients seeking care passed the Senate Human Services Committee this afternoon.

    State Senator Ram Villivalam is the chief sponsor of the initiative.

    “People with early onset Alzheimer's and dementia and their caregivers often don't know where to start when looking for helpful resources,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “This bill will make it clear which services are available and how to access them.”

    SB 187 would require the Illinois Department on Aging to develop educational materials, including a website, that indicate the services that are available to all diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder as defined under the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Act, regardless of age.

  • Manar TvilleFFA 03192019SPRINGFIELD – The Taylorville FFA students who are Scotland-bound after acing a national competition this winter are a shining example of what comes from investing in agriculture education in Illinois schools, State Senator Andy Manar said Tuesday.

    The five students who comprise the Taylorville FFA Livestock Judging Team won the National Western Roundup in Denver in January. Their victory earned them a trip to Scotland for the international livestock tour this summer, during which they will have a chance to compete again and judge breeds that are less familiar to them.

  • bush 031419SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) passed a resolution in the Illinois Senate Environment and Conservation Committee today calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct ambient air monitoring and testing in and around the two Lake County facilities that emit ethylene oxide.

    “While I’m pleased the U.S. EPA is conducting testing around Sterigenics, it’s well past time they do the same in Lake County,” Bush said. “Residents need to know if the air they’re breathing is safe. They deserve to know if they’re at a higher risk for cancer, but right now they’re being left in the dark.”

  • Sen. Andy ManarLegislation targets middle men who drive up costs to taxpayers, customers, pharmacies

    SPRINGFIELD – Pharmacy middle men are driving up the costs of prescription drugs for customers and squeezing out rural pharmacies, all while putting taxpayers on the hook for greater costs, State Senator Andy Manar said.

    The Bunker Hill Democrat is renewing his effort to impose state oversight on pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, that negotiate drug prices and benefits on behalf of insurance plans. This week he introduced Senate Bill 652. House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago) has introduced similar legislation, House Bill 465, in the House.

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  • tcullerton 031319SPRINGFIELD – State Senators Tom Cullerton and Suzy Glowiak, joined DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and representatives of the Transform Illinois coalition on Wednesday to highlight and support proposed legislation limiting the size, scope and cost of local government.

    “Government consolidation is one powerful tool we can use to find efficiencies,” Cullerton said. “Transform Illinois continues to be vital in helping lawmakers reduce the government’s footprint without sacrificing services for local residents. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure government evolves with the needs of the people of Illinois.”

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  • hastings 031319Legislation would improve accessibility of mental health treatment

    SPRINGFIELD – A package of legislation to improve accessibility to mental health treatment was announced this morning at a news conference with Illinois lawmakers.

    State Senator Michael E. Hastings is a supporter of the initiative.

    “It’s no secret that we have a societal problem on our hands with the accessibility of mental health treatment,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “We must make sure those who need help are able to receive it as quickly and safely as possible. This package is a necessary step as we in the Illinois Senate look to make mental health treatments more accessible to those in need.”

  • Sen. Bennett congratulates Schlarman Academy Basketball Team on state championshipSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) welcomed the players and coaching staff of the Schlarman Academy girls’ basketball team to the Illinois Capitol today to recognize their second consecutive state title.

    Bennett was joined on the Senate floor by the players and Head Coach Keith Peoples as he presented the team with a special tribute honoring their accomplishment.

    “Two consecutive championships is an outstanding achievement,” Bennett said. “I am honored to recognize these incredible young women who have put in a tremendous amount of hard work this season on and off the court. They have not only played hard, but they have represented Danville and Vermilion County with dignity and respect, and have raised the bar for future teams.”

  • pow mia flag 030719SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ lost heroes may soon be recognized at local airports, thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1127 on Thursday to require the Division of Aeronautics under the Department of Transportation fly the Veteran Missing in Action flag at all of the airports in their jurisdiction.

    “Our lost heroes should never be forgotten,” Cullerton said. “This small gesture helps keep our missing heroes from all wars in our hearts and minds.”

  • castro 030719SPRINGFIELD – A measure to protect undocumented immigrant tenants from landlord harassment passed the Senate today thanks to Elgin Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro.

    Senate Bill 1290 creates the Immigrant Tenant Protection Act, which prohibits landlords from questioning a tenant’s immigration status as a means of harassment or to force an eviction.

    “We have to put a protection in place to ensure that landlords are not holding their tenants’ immigration status over their head to pressure higher rent or eviction,” said Castro.

    Castro’s measure would allow tenants to report criminal activity or habitability issues without being targeted based on their immigration status.

    Currently, the Illinois Human Rights Act does not protect individuals based on immigration status, nor does it place any limitations on when a landlord may request or share that information. 

    “Tenants should feel free to come forward and report these important habitability issues no matter their status,” said Castro. “It is important, not only for the tenant’s safety, but the safety of the municipality.”

    Senate Bill 1290 passed the Senate today and now moves to the House for consideration.

  • pow mia flag 030719SPRINGFIELD – The POW/MIA flag will be flown at all Illinois public airports under legislation that passed the Illinois Senate today.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1127, was joined by members of the Peoria American Legion Post #2 today for the bill’s passage.

    “This legislation sends a clear message to our veterans that they and their comrades are not forgotten,” Koehler said. “I am proud to have been able to work with the Peoria American Legion post, Gary Hall and others to get this done.”

    The idea was brought to Springfield by Peoria-area veteran Gary Hall, who wanted the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport to fly the POW/MIA flag under the American flag. Airport officials said their hands were tied legally and would be unable to fly the flag.

    The measure now goes to the House of Representatives. 

  • steans 030619SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) spoke at a press conference today with leaders from the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) about her legislation that would develop a new state suicide prevention strategy.

    Steans’ measure creates the Office of Suicide Prevention within the Department of Public Health in order to address suicide in Illinois, which caused more deaths in 2016 than homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension and HIV.

    “Each suicide death caused loved ones left behind to wonder if they could have done anything differently,” Steans said. “The state has lagged behind in this area.”

  • Sen. AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino’s (D-Chicago) bill exempting certain health products from the state sales tax passed the Senate Revenue Committee today.

    Senate Bill 1858 exempts male and female condoms, incontinence products, diapers and baby wipes from the state’s sales tax. Under the current law, these items are taxed at the same rate as luxury goods.

    “People who need these health products shouldn’t be subject to an additional financial burden,” said Aquino. “In most cases the people who are purchasing these health products young families who are just starting out. They have enough financial hardship as it is, and we need to remove the added cost on these items.”