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Morrison urges House to act on Human Service funding plan

morrison 050516SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ colleges and universities have begun receiving funding from the state for the first time since June thanks to a plan supported by Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) and signed by the governor. A similar plan to provide nearly $450 million to struggling human service providers, however, has yet to receive a vote in the House.

“Every day that goes by, another provider is that much closer to announcing staff layoffs, service interruptions or even closure,” Morrison said. “I urge the House to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and pass funding for our human service providers immediately.”

The Senate sent Senate Bill 2047, which passed without opposition, to the House on April 22. The proposal provides nearly $450 million in funding to a host of human service providers, including funding for autism services, sexual assault programs and mental health supportive housing.

“We came together to keep our colleges and universities open. Our human service providers deserve the same action,” Morrison said. “Funding for this plan is available – the money is sitting in an account in a dedicated fund. The state never stopped collecting taxes when the budget impasse began. Distributing these funds to the many agencies providing vital services to Illinoisans must be a top priority.”

Senate Bill 2047 is currently in the House Rules Committee awaiting action.

Senate passes Morrison plan closing public safety loophole

morrison ethics 030116Plan ensures mentally ill do not have access to firearms

SPRINGFIELD – A plan by State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) ensuring individuals with mental illness do not have access to firearms passed out of the Senate late last week.

“Individuals struggling with mental illness should in no way have access to firearms,” Morrison said. “Guarding against guns getting in the wrong hands is as important for the safety of the general public as it is for the safety of the individual with mental illness.”

Currently, Illinois law requires circuit court clerks to relay information to the Illinois State Police when a person passes through the court system and is deemed to have a mental disability or is involuntarily committed to a mental institution. The information is used to ensure FOID cards, which are required to legally own a firearm in Illinois, are not administered.

Morrison’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 2213, would ensure the state police are receiving information from every Illinois county by requiring circuit court clerks to report bi-annually if no person has been adjudicated as a person with a mental disability or if no person has been involuntarily admitted.

“While Illinois’ mental health reporting laws are strong, we must ensure the process is actually working to protect the public’s safety,” Morrison said.

Senate Bill 2213 passed the Senate without opposition on Friday and heads to the Illinois House for further debate.

Township consolidation proposal passes Senate

morrison 042116SPRINGFIELD – A plan by State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) that would empower townships and local residents to dissolve or consolidate certain services passed the Illinois Senate yesterday.

“Illinois law currently prevents many proposals that would make local government more efficient and have the potential of saving taxpayers’ money,” Morrison said. “My proposal, while entirely permissive, would empower townships and local residents to make decisions that are in the best interests of local residents.”

Morrison’s plan, contained in Senate Bill 389, would remove the state cap on the size of townships, currently set at 126 square miles, giving townships that want to merge the ability to do so. The plan also allows townships to absorb a road district with less than 15 miles of road. In many areas of the state, especially in the suburbs, municipalities have annexed and grown to include many areas once maintained by townships.

Morrison’s plan would also allow county boards in Will, Lake and Kane Counties to absorb the responsibilities of drainage districts. There are 19 drainage districts located in the three counties.

Senate Bill 389 passed the Illinois Senate yesterday on a 36-9 vote and heads to the Illinois House for further debate.

Morrison proposal acknowledges consolidation efforts by Village of Deerfield

morrison deerfieldSPRINGFIELD – Efforts to consolidate emergency dispatch services in Illinois led to the passage of a state law last year requiring dispatch agencies serve at least 25,000 residents. The new law was meant to ensure all communities have access to responsive emergency services while providing efficiencies for taxpayers.

For the Village of Deerfield, which already operated a consolidated emergency dispatch service with neighboring Bannockburn and Riverwoods before the state law, the minimum population requirement would require additional consolidation and cost to the community.

State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) passed a proposal out of a Senate committee this week that would allow the Village of Deerfield more time to comply with the new state law.

“The intent of the consolidation effort last year was to ensure agencies were providing responsive services in an efficient way,” Morrison said. “The Village of Deerfield was ahead of the curve when consolidating their 911 call center with Bannockburn and Riverwoods.”

Currently, the consolidated emergency dispatch agency serving the three communities serves 23,619 residents. The population figures are based on 2010 census information, however, and don’t take into effect increases in construction and daytime population for the area.

“Our service area includes a large number of major corporations that bring in an estimated 12,000 workers each day,” Deerfield Police Chief John Sliozis said. “We are not objecting to consolidation, as our history has proven.”

Senate Bill 461 passed the Energy and Public Utilities Committee on Thursday and now heads to the Senate floor for further debate.

Photo: Senator Morrison (middle) with Deerfield Police Chief John Sliozis (left) speaking in support of Senate Bill 461 in the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee

Sen. Julie Morrison

morrison 150

29th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Environment and Conservation; Human Services (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Committee of the Whole; Commerce and Economic Development; Transportation.

Biography: Born in Beardstown; received a bachelor's degree from Knox College; served as supervisor of West Deerfield Township, married to husband Joe with three grown children.

Associated Representative(s): Elaine Nekritz, Scott Drury