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  • 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.”

  • hunter 030619SPRINGFIELD –Continuing her fight to increase wages for home care aides who provide in-home services for nearly 1,000,000 seniors, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) joined home care workers, legislators and advocates today to sound the alarm about Illinois senior home care.

    For eight years, funding for programs under the Illinois Department on Aging’s Community Care Program have gone unchanged, which leaves care providers unable to raise workers’ wages and has left Illinois unprepared to deal with workforce shortages.

  • Sen. Cristina CastroSPRINGFIELD – The State of Illinois currently does not have a limit on how many patients are assigned to registered nurses at one time, creating an unrealistic workload, but State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is working to change that.

    Castro’s measure would create the Safe Patient Limits Act, setting a cap on how many patients can be assigned to a registered nurse in specified situations. This would allow Rn’s a lighter workload, which would give them more time with their assigned patients.

    “This doesn’t just relieve the workload for RNs,” Castro said. “It’s also safer for the patients and allows the RNs to give them the quality care they deserve.”

  • collins 030619SPRINGFIELD– Following an investigation by Chicago Tribune/Kaiser Health News revealing wide dissatisfaction in nursing home care and illuminating the burden it places on the families of elders, State Senator Jacqueline Collins introduced legislation today designed to enhance nursing home residents’ quality of care.

    “It has been both heartbreaking and motivating to me, through my work, to see how devastating it can be for an entire family when a loved one receives inadequate care in a nursing home,” said Collins (D-Chicago) in announcing Senate Bill 1510 at the state capitol to reporters today.

  • lightford 030519SPRINGFIELD – Fed up with delayed and denied state payments that are compromising quality health care for the most vulnerable, state legislators joined safety-net hospitals today to call for landmark reform of managed care companies under Illinois’ Medicaid program.

    Senate Bill 1807 and House Bill 2814, also known as the Safety Net Hospital MCO Reform Act, provide a path to rein in repeated abuses by managed care organizations (MCOs) in their oversight of hundreds of millions of dollars of care each year provided by hospitals who treat Medicaid low-income patients. Advocates and lawmakers called for immediate reform Tuesday at a Statehouse news conference.

  • mcguire 022119SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker summarized his budget proposal before the General Assembly today:

    “For the first time in four years, we have seen a budget which makes a full and explicit commitment to our institutions of higher education, which have suffered immeasurably and needlessly during the last administration. Undoing the damage to them will take us many years, but in providing key support to MAP Grants and increased funding for our state schools, this sends a message that Illinois wants a sure and stable higher education system.

    “This is a beginning of negotiations. I argue that we must also prioritize construction funding. The I-80 bridge over the Des Plaines River is rated a 6 out of a possible score of 100. That can’t stand when a failing grade endangers lives. I urge all my colleagues to push for a robust capital plan in Illinois.”

     

  • hutchinson 022019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) released the following statement this afternoon after attending Gov. Pritzker’s budget address in Springfield:

    “What we just heard was the most honest and frank assessment of the clear consequences of a 736-day budget crisis that exacerbated every known problem the State of Illinois already had.

    “Our ridiculous habit of careening from crisis to crisis has landed us where we are today and that means the time is now for all of us to come together to figure out how to turn the great State of Illinois around.

    “It has to be done and it must be done. Because the people of the great State of Illinois are worth fighting for.”

     

     

  • lightford 022019SPRINGFIELD – Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first Budget Address on Wednesday with the following statement:

    “The governor presented a plan that delivers on his commitment to education, restorative justice and social services. I am especially excited about the increase in education funding that prioritizes investment in some of our neediest districts across the state including additional funding for early childhood education and grants for low income college students.

    “While we do have some work ahead of us, this is a good place to start. I look forward to exploring the governor’s proposal further and finding ways to making a lot of these promises a reality.”   

     

     

  • martinez 022019SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his first budget address Wednesday:

    “Gov. Pritzker has proposed a balanced budget that takes seriously our commitment to restoring stability to Illinois after years of uncertainty.

    “I was glad to see the governor prioritize education by exceeding the minimum amount of required by our new school funding formula and by investing in early childhood and higher education.

    “Even though he did not mention it in his budget address, I know Gov. Pritzker has made a commitment to immigrants in our state and I look forward to talking with him more about providing and protecting vital immigrant services.”

     

  • steans 022019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first budget address: 

    “Having the governor propose a balanced budget is a positive step toward restoring stability to our state and ensuring long-term functionality within our government.  Illinois continues to face structural budget challenges and I am encouraged that Governor Pritzker is addressing them head on.

    “I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in the Senate over the next few months to develop a budget that significantly moves Illinois toward a solution that achieves financial certainty and builds trust that Illinois is back on the right track.” 

  • Illinois Legislative Black Caucus SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) responded to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first budget address on Wednesday.

    Leaders of the Black Caucus discussed some of the main issues facing black communities, ranging from criminal justice reform to higher education.

    State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, Chairman of the ILBC:

    “The governor’s budget plan is a great start to tackle some of the key challenges we are facing including ensuring a living wage for working families and that students around the state receive a quality education.

    “His speech was very realistic about the hole that we are in and how we can climb out of it over time, while continuing to support crucial services like mental health support and violence prevention programs.

    “We look forward to working with our colleagues and the governor’s administration to guarantee that the issues facing the black community are prioritized in the next state budget.”

  • bush sex har 021919

  • Sen. Heather A. SteansSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) introduced legislation yesterday that will crack down on corporations shifting their profits to offshore tax havens.

    Her measure would convert Illinois’ corporate tax system from mandatory “water’s edge” combined reporting that includes only companies with more than 20 percent of their business activity in the United States to a default worldwide combined reporting requirement.

    Steans said at a press conference today that her legislation will provide much-needed revenue for Illinois.

    “We want a fair income tax. That’s going to take time, but we need revenue for our state now,” Steans said. “This is one part of a solution, but it’s a critical one.”

  • State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) joins with her colleagues and health advocates at a press conference in Springfield this afternoon in support of Tobacco 21. The measure passed the Senate Public Health Committee and will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) joined her colleagues and health advocates at a press conference in the Capitol this afternoon to announce a renewed effort to combat teen smoking by raising the age to legally purchase tobacco products in Illinois to 21.

    Today’s press conference comes after a recent study by the American Lung Association that highlights Illinois’ failure to do enough to cut down on tobacco and e-cigarette use.

    “Illinois has a real opportunity to make a major impact to bring down smoking rates among teenagers,” Morrison said. “Tobacco 21 will reduce access in our young populations, bring down overall smoking rates over time and save the state millions in health care costs.”

    Morrison sponsored an identical proposal last year that was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner despite passing on a bipartisan vote in both the Senate and the House.

    Meanwhile, municipalities and local governments across the state have stepped up and enacted their own Tobacco 21 laws. Suburban Arlington Heights became the latest municipality to institute Tobacco 21 on Jan. 7. Thirty-four Illinois communities and six states have already raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21.

    “With the rise of easily concealable and fruit and candy flavored tobacco products, Tobacco 21 is important now more than ever,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association.

    Morrison’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 21, was introduced on Jan. 9 and passed the Senate Public Health Committee this afternoon on a 8-4 vote. The measure now heads to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • peters 010919SPRINGFIELD —State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) joined colleagues on Wednesday to be sworn in to the Illinois State Senate, replacing former Senator Kwame Raoul.

    Peters is a former community organizer who was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side. He overcame immense personal hurdles in his early life, having been born deaf and with a speech impediment, and credits his community for never letting him down.

    “I hope my appointment to the Senate shows other young people that it doesn’t take bootstraps to succeed – it takes community,” Peters said. “As senator, I will give back to those who gave me a chance by focusing on issues important to my district, like a balanced budget, criminal justice reform, clean energy jobs and quality public education.”

    Peters has also been named secretary for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. He will represent the 13th Senate District, which stretches along Lake Michigan from downtown Chicago through the South Side.

    For more information on Senator Peters and to contact him, visit his website at www.senatorrobertpeters.com.

  • bush harmon 120618State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) discussed the state’s progress toward gender equity at a panel in Springfield on Wednesday.

    The panel, hosted by the Better Government Association and Gatehouse Media, asked participants to examine the progress made since the start of the #MeToo movement and what else needs to be done. Senator Jil Tracy and Rep. Carol Ammons also spoke.

    Bush said she struggled during her first four years in Springfield, feeling like her thoughts and opinions did not carry as much value as her male colleagues. But, she said, the cultural shift of the past few years has affirmed her value, and she hopes it has for all women.

  • bicentennial IntroGraphic

    On December 3, 1818, Illinois became the nation’s 21st state. As we celebrate our state’s 200th birthday, we asked senators to talk about people or places in their districts that represent the best of Illinois’ rich past and how that is shown in local history, tourism, culture or community impact.

    Here are three compilation videos of our senators at sites in their districts that they believe exemplifies the best of Illinois' past, present and future. Click here to see each individual video, and for more Bicentennial information, visit http://ilikeillinois.com/.

     

     

  • link 040618SPRINGFIELD – A longtime champion of stricter tobacco legislation, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) moved today to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.

    “For the first time in years, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise,” Link said. “Raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 will cut down on access for teenagers and curb the next generation of adult smokers.”

    It has been more than 10 years since Link’s Smoke Free Illinois legislation banning smoking in most public places went in to effect. Since Smoke Free Illinois, there has been a 20 percent decrease in hospitalization of various smoking-related diseases. But with the advent of e-cigarettes, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise for the first time in years.

    “Smoke Free Illinois was a major step forward in improving the health of our residents and making Illinois a better place to live,” Link said. “Tobacco 21 builds on those efforts and moves us one step closer to a healthier, smoke-free Illinois.”

    Limiting access to cigarettes has proven effective in reducing the rate of tobacco use among teens. In October 2014, Evanston became the first Illinois community to adopt Tobacco 21. Since then, tobacco use among high schoolers has dropped by 37.5 percent.