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New Holmes law overhauls child abuse reporting from psychiatric hospitals

holmes 053119SPRINGFIELD – After an October report from ProPublica revealed allegations of abuse and neglect of children at the Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, concerns were heightened about coordination between the Department of Children and Family Services and other state agencies.

State Senator Linda Holmes’ (D-Aurora) House Bill 831 requires better reporting to rectify those cases by requiring DCFS to notify the Director of Public Health and the Director of Healthcare and Family Services when they occur. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law today.

“After DCFS found neglect and sexual abuse by staff, as well as failure to provide a safe environment and monitor these children’s care and medication at this psychiatric hospital, it became obvious more oversight is needed to prevent this from happening,” Holmes said. “Federal and state investigations have revealed these tragedies and we must do everything we can to stop it.”

The Department of Public Health inspects and licenses hospitals, including psychiatric hospitals where children in need of that care reside. DPH has the authority to revoke, deny or suspend a hospital’s license. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for providing healthcare coverage for adults and children who qualify for Medicaid, which covers many children in these hospitals’ care.

“These agencies must be engaged to help investigate and correct the conditions that lead to cases of abuse and neglect,” Holmes said. “Whenever DCFS receive a report by any means, at any facility, they should notify the directors of DPH and HFS so they can take action. The numerous charges against DCFS in safely caring for children under their supervision are disturbing and this is just one of many legislative actions underway to reform child welfare.”

Among the cases investigated were children who had been cleared for discharge weeks or months before, but they were languishing in the hospitals because DCFS had failed to find other places for them.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Holmes: Transit, municipalities and schools benefit in new capital construction plan signed by governor

holmes 032119Aurora, Ill. – State Senator Linda Holmes looks forward to infrastructure improvements locally and statewide after Gov. JB Pritzker signed the $45 billion “Rebuild Illinois” capital funding plan into law today.

“We will finally be able to upgrade our roads, bridges, freight and passenger rail, transit, airports and waterways – which creates good jobs in our communities,” Holmes said. “Having dedicated resources for horizontal and vertical infrastructure projects means this is not just a one or two year plan, but a means for continual modernization.” 

The list of appropriations set for the 42nd District includes $100 million for the Regional Transportation Authority to extend Metra train service beyond Aurora into Kendall County, bringing public transit to the fastest growing region in Illinois.

“I’ve met so many people who drive in to the Aurora Metra station because there’s no alternative, and I’m so pleased this project will be able to provide better access and reduce highway congestion for commuters,” Holmes said.

Projects included in the capital plan include infrastructure and building improvements for the municipalities of Montgomery, North Aurora, Oswego and Aurora; Fox Valley Park District; and School Districts 129 and 131. It also provides funds to area human service facilities that provide substance abuse treatment and support, homeless services, domestic and sexual violence healing and shelter, and support for Spanish-speaking families.

“These are long-overdue projects our communities have needed for years,” Holmes said. “I told our local officials I would advocate for this funding to fix and build for our growing region’s needs, and I’m pleased to be able to deliver.”

From the higher education system’s appropriations budget is $6.68 million to the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora for renovation of residence halls and other capital improvements. IMSA continues to draw more students from throughout the nation and the world for its science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.

Locally and statewide, some projects will begin as soon as design and engineering phases are complete; other projects will be funded over the next few years. New funding approaches mean projects will continue to be funded as needed each year going forward.

Holmes pleased as adult-use cannabis legislation signed into law

marij disp 062519SPRINGFIELD – A measure to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois, co-sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), was signed into law today by Gov. JB Pritzker. Holmes released the following statement on the law that allow cannabis sales to adults to begin Jan. 1, 2020:

“I believe legalizing adult-use cannabis is the right move for Illinois. The legislation is comprehensive in covering my concerns about prohibiting access to young people, enforcing driving under the influence laws, addressing criminal justice and restoring communities that have endured high crime due to the illegal distribution of cannabis.

“It is obvious the associated revenue will support our general funding, pay for community reinvestment, mental health and substance abuse programs, law enforcement, and help the state pay our bills. I appreciate the governor recognizing these opportunities and making Illinois the 11th state with legal adult-use cannabis.”

Holmes praises Reproductive Health Act becoming law

holmes 013119SPRINGFIELD – A measure to modernize reproductive health law, co-sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), was signed into law by the governor today. Holmes released the following statement:

“I am pleased the legal rights of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions has been codified into law today. While other states are stripping women’s reproductive rights and treating us like criminals, our new law reaffirms that these are legal medical procedures. Just as decisions on an individual’s choice of cancer treatment or heart surgery are their own to make, reproductive care must not be singled out and controlled by lawmakers. Women are fully capable of making all decisions related to their health care.”

Sen. Linda Holmes

holmes-15

42nd District

Years served:
2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Executive; Labor; Local Government (Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.

Associated Representatives:
Linda Chapa LaVia
Stephanie A. Kifowit