The Majority Report 03/18/19 - Tobacco 21 passes the Senate


Tobacco 21 passes Senate, heads to governor's desk

Tobacco 21 passes Senate

Illinois is one step closer to joining a growing list of states that have raised the age to legally purchase tobacco to 21 under a plan sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison that passed the Senate.

“Limiting the availability of tobacco products has a direct effect on smoking rates among young teenagers, especially those who are 14, 15, 16 or 17 years old,” Morrison (D-Deerfield) said. “The more we limit the availability of tobacco for teens, the lower the chance they have of developing a lifetime addiction that disproportionally affects the adolescent brain and costs state government billions of dollars annually.”

Morrison’s proposal, contained in House Bill 345, would make Illinois the eighth state to pass Tobacco 21 legislation. More than 400 localities across the nation have already raised the age, including 34 jurisdictions in Illinois. Chicago, Highland Park, Buffalo Grove, Evanston and Peoria are a few of the cities in Illinois, both small and large, to raise the age.

A key benefit to raising the age is documented decreases in the number of high schoolers who smoke. In Chicago, authorities recorded a drop from 13.6 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2017. Raising the age was cited as a key component of the decrease. Continue reading.

Video: Morrison discusses the importance of Tobacco 21


Hutchinson, Castro join advocates to combat maternal mortality

Sens. Cristina Castro and Toi Hutchinson

While rates of maternal mortality are declining in other developed countries, the United States is experiencing a spike in deaths among pregnant and recently pregnant women and a wide and growing disparity among women based on their race and ethnicity.

State Senators Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Cristina Castro joined with advocates in Springfield to discuss a comprehensive package of proposals to address the public health concern.

“Just because the pregnancy goes smoothly doesn’t mean the mother won’t have complications afterward,” Castro (D-Elgin) said. “We are careful to examine newborns and their progress after birth, so why shouldn’t we do the same for mothers?”

Castro has introduced a plan that would address the lack of services experienced by many new mothers. Hutchinson’s proposal, contained in Senate Bill 132, would require the state to add continuing education requirements for doctors and nurses training on implicit bias.

“We spend a lot of political capital and time in our reproductive discussion talking about babies. We spend precious little time on the unique needs of mothers, both before, during and after childbirth,” Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) said. Continue reading.


Lawmakers learn about technical education

Sen. Bill Cunningham with students at the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education’s Showcase Day

Members of the Illinois State Senate met with students from around the state to have conversations about technical education and professional development in Illinois.

Illinois students came to Springfield for the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education’s Showcase Day, on which students from around the state demonstrate their skills and respond to education and workforce issues in Illinois.

“It’s inspiring to see so many students taking an interest in technical education and being engaged in the related issues that come before the Illinois State Senate,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs.

The Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education seeks to promote career and technical education throughout the state and produce educational opportunities that allow Illinois students to thrive. Lawmakers said that although steps have been toward making career and technical education accessible to all Illinois students, there is still more work to be done.

“Over the past few years, we have made some good strides toward increasing the availability of these opportunities for our students. But there’s still more work to do, and we need to buckle down and continue to make this issue a priority,” State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) said. Continue reading.


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