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Hastings lauds mental health care reform for first responders

police fire 032019SPRINGFIELD – Legislation supported by Senator Michael E. Hastings which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues among first responders was signed into law on Friday.

“We need to make sure that those in the first responder community who are struggling have properly trained help readily available to them,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “This ensures that these men and women receive the best possible treatment and are unafraid to seek it.”

House Bill 2766 ensures individuals tasked with providing peer support counseling to law enforcement and firefighters are properly trained and that those who seek out mental health treatment will be protected under the law without fear of termination or discrimination.

Additionally, the new law will create a task force to study recommendations to help reduce the risk of suicide among first responders.

A 2017 study by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that more police officers and firefighters died due to suicide than all line-of-duty deaths combined. The study also highlighted the vast underreporting of suicides, with concerns that the problem is much more complex than experts had anticipated.

“The lifestyle of a first responder is a unique experience, and that means we need to provide them with a different sort of care. I am thrilled that we are on the path to helping them find it with this legislation,” Hastings said.

House Bill 2766 goes into effect immediately.

Hastings applauds new law increasing teacher minimum wage

hastings 051719SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to raise the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 per year over the next five years was signed into law today.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings was a cosponsor on this initiative as it made its way through the Senate.

“Teachers deserve to earn a living wage regardless of where they live across our state. I personally know teachers that take money out of their own pockets to decorate classrooms and purchase supplies,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “I’m proud to be able to say that we’re acting on behalf of the selfless men and women who we are entrusting with our children’s wellbeing."

Under House Bill 2078, the state will update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually over four years, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. The wage will be raised incrementally to:

  • $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year;
  • $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year; and
  • $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

    “With this legislation, we’re sending a message to prospective teachers in and around our state that Illinois is ready to offer a stable living situation for these dedicated individuals,” Hastings said. "It’s long past the time to pay teachers what they are worth, and this legislation is a tremendous first step toward that goal."

Hastings commends effort to expand EpiPen coverage for children

hastings 013119TINLEY PARK – Insurers will be required to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors for minors under legislation supported by State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) that was signed into law on Friday.

“It’s unfortunate that we cannot always pinpoint what will give our children an allergic reaction with the rise of so many different food allergies,” Hastings said. “What we can do is provide children with the necessary care they need when an unforeseen emergency strikes, and I’m proud to have supported legislation that will do that going forward.”

Epinephrine injectors deliver epinephrine to individuals experiencing a severe allergic reaction, curbing the negative effects of the allergen. Epinephrine works by narrowing blood vessels and opening lung airways, reversing the symptoms of a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

“The passage of this legislation is an effort on the behalf of the legislature and the governor to ensure that our kids are taken care of properly,” Hastings said. “No parent should be put in a situation where they cannot provide necessary medical assistance because it’s not affordable.”

This new law requires certain private insurance policies to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors for those under 18 years of age.

House Bill 3435 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. 

Hastings champions landmark infrastructure revitalization plan

hastings 070119SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings released the following statement after the signing of legislation that would modernize Illinois’ infrastructure and provide the South Suburbs with new jobs.

“The South Suburbs will see some long-needed infrastructure repair under this capital bill. Our roads, bridges, schools will be renewed and local governments entities will see an extraordinary amount financial support to build new infrastructure for the 21st Century. From Markham and Matteson to Lockport and Joliet, our communities will undeniably benefit from this bill.

I want to thank Governor J.B. Pritzker for working with the South Suburban delegation and listening to the wants and needs of our communities. I look forward to seeing Illinois rebuilt.”

The $45 billion plan includes funding for highways and bridges as well as local projects. A few examples include:

  • $6 million for local government infrastructure improvements
  • $848 million to improve I-80 in Will County and rebuild structurally deficient bridges over the Des Plaines River.
  • $32 million in funding for improvements at Governors State University
  • $43 million in funding improvements at Moraine Valley Community College
  • $1,000,000 in grants to local non-for-profit developmentally disabled and mental health treatment organizations.

Sen. Michael E. Hastings

hastings 150
19th Legislative District

Years served: 2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive (Chairperson); Insurance; Judiciary; Subcommittee on Election Law; Subcommittee on Gaming.

Biography: Born October 6th, 1980, in Orland Hills; B.S. in Leadership and Management, Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, M.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; former US Army Captain; Bronze Star recipient; former trustee and vice president for High School District 230.

Associated Representatives:
Margo McDermed
Debbie Meyers-Martin