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Bertino-Tarrant advocates for Jan. 1 measures that will keep first responders, children and construction workers safe

drivesafelyPLAINFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) urges Illinoisans to educate themselves on new driving laws that go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

In light of the increase in accidents and deaths of Illinois State Police troopers, Bertino-Tarrant backed Senate Bill 1862, which tightens up Scott’s Law in Illinois. The law clarifies drivers need to slow down, change lanes and proceed with caution when emergency vehicles are stopped on the side of the highway.

“Every day, our officers and first responders put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to work to ensure it is second nature for drivers to slow down and move over when any vehicle is stalled on the side of the road. This simple step will help keep our police and first responders safe.”

Fines will also double for illegally approaching, overtaking or passing stopped school buses under House Bill 1873.

Every year, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services conducts a one-day count of illegal school bus passing incidents across the nation. In 2018, school bus drivers in 38 states participated and recorded 83,944 incidents during that one-day count. NASPDTS concluded as many as 15 million vehicles could be illegally passing school buses and their students each 180-day school year.

“Our children should be safe as they get on and off their school buses,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to discourage, prevent and punish careless driving. Our children’s lives on the line.”

Bertino-Tarrant said keeping people safe is also the goal in construction zones, as construction season returns in Illinois. Senate Bill 1496 increases the maximum penalty for hitting a construction worker to $25,000 from the current $10,000 fine.

“Driving recklessly through construction zones to shave off a few minutes of your travel time can end up being the difference between life and death for our construction workers,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We will increase these penalties in the earnest hope the higher fine makes drivers think twice as they enter a construction zone.”

Bertino-Tarrant urges drivers to research these new driving rules that will go into effect at the start of the year. If residents have any questions or concerns, she encourages them to reach out to her office at 815-254-4211.

“Safe driving saves lives,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We all must work together to be better drivers and keep our streets safe.”

Bertino-Tarrant announces Joliet Fire Department to receive $200,000 for new equipment

fire gear 110719JOLIET – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is excited to announce the Joliet Fire Department is receiving $200,000 from the state loan program for new equipment.

“Our fire departments work tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The state has a responsibility to help our fire departments obtain vital equipment to keep residents and emergency service personnel as safe as possible.”

The Ambulance Revolving Loan is designed to assist departments or cities in purchasing emergency equipment they may not be able to otherwise afford. It is administered by the Illinois State Fire Marshal and Illinois Finance Authority.

Under the ARLP program, units of local government like municipalities, townships, fire departments, fire protection districts and certain categories of not-for-profit organizations can apply for no-interest or low-interest loans of up to $200,000 to spend on equipment. These loans must be repaid in 10 years.

Illinois now has tougher penalties on financial abuse of elders, disabled

elderlywoman 052119PLAINFIELD –There will now be higher criminal penalties for felonious scams that target the elderly and disabled, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed Senate Bill 69, which would institute tougher penalties on Class 2 felony offenses against an elderly person or a person with a disability. It was signed into law last week. 

“There are scammers preying on our seniors,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “To discourage this awful epidemic, we must put regulations in place to protect the financial well-being of Illinois’ seniors and people with disabilities.”

This new law expands the Class 2 felony offense of theft by deception over $5,000 to include offenses committed against a person with a disability.

It also clarifies that consent cannot be used as a defense in a case of financial exploitation of an elderly person or person with a disability if the accused knew or should have known that the victim lacked the ability to consent.

Nearly 5 million older Americans are financially exploited. While scammers are often to blame, more than half of cases involve exploitation by a family member. A 2014 study by Mark Lachs, co-chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital found that almost 60 percent of cases involve a perpetrator who is a family member.

Lachs also reported that elder abuse victims—including those who suffer financial exploitation—die at a rate three times faster than those who haven’t been abused.

“This new law will give our law enforcement the additional means to act against those attempting to exploit the elderly in Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “These restrictions will help make scammers think twice before attempting to manipulate seniors and people with disabilities.”

Senate Bill 69 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. 

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure to cover hearing aid costs for seniors now law

hearingaids 081919PLAINFIELD – Illinois seniors may soon be better able to cover the cost of hearing aids, due to a new law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, House Bill 3503, requires insurance companies to offer optional coverage for hearing instruments and any related services for all individuals when they are prescribed by a hearing care professional. It was signed into law on Friday.

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education (Chairperson); Insurance; Labor; Licensed Activities (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.

Associated Representatives:
Mark Batinick
Natalie A. Manley