Manar

  • General Assembly approves Manar measure to cover cancer clinical trials for Medicaid beneficiaries

    cancertrial 052720SPRINGFIELD – With Gov. Pritzker’s signature, Illinois Medicaid recipients would be eligible for life-saving clinical trials to treat cancer and other serious diseases.

    During the abbreviated session last week, the Illinois General Assembly approved a plan by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) that would require Medicaid to cover routine care costs incurred for an approved clinical trial involving the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer or any other life-threatening disease, as long as Medicaid would normally cover those same routine care costs for a non-clinical procedure.

    “This is a major stride toward health care equity that will save lives. Access to the latest, most advanced cancer treatments can mean the difference between life and death for patients, treatments that they are unable to access today,” Manar said. “The type of insurance you have shouldn’t disqualify you from accessing treatment that could save your life.”

    More than 20% of Illinoisans are covered by Medicaid, making it the second largest type of insurance behind Medicare.

    Medicare and private insurance carriers are already required to provide coverage for routine care costs in clinical trial participation. Medicaid is not. This legislation would align Medicaid coverage for clinical trials with coverage under those insurance plans.

    Because routine costs would be paid for by Medicaid if the patient were not on a clinical trial, there is minimal cost difference for Medicaid to cover these costs within a clinical trial.

    This legislation was an initiative of the American Cancer Society.

    “We thank the legislature for taking this step and look forward to working with them to continue to reduce Illinois’ cancer burden in the near future,” said Shana Crews, Government Relations Director at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

  • Comptroller Mendoza sets record straight on pay raise rumors

    manar 052420Political ambition and integrity are at odds for some Illinois lawmakers

    BUNKER HILL – Some Illinois lawmakers took to social media this week to disingenuously spread misinformation regarding pay increases for legislators in the state budget approved early Sunday morning, prompting Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza to step in and issue a statement dispelling the falsehood. Now, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) says some of his colleagues willfully deceived the public for political gain.

    “There is not a single member of the Illinois House or Senate who will receive a pay raise. My colleagues in the Senate are aware of this now and were aware of this when we voted,” Manar said. “At a time when our constituents are all feeling economic hardship and angst, for lawmakers to knowingly suggest otherwise is cheap, disingenuous, and indicative of the worst of our politics. The people we represent deserve better and are owed the truth.”

    Despite some confusion among House members, Manar says members of the Senate fully understood both the budget measure’s intent and impact, which was covered in detail on the Senate floor prior to the vote.

    “Republicans are arguing today that we should have just ceded our legislative authority to a yet to be named judge in a presumed lawsuit that hasn’t even been file,” said Manar. “Instead, we chose to make the pay raise worth nothing and we stopped it.”

    Due to a past court decision challenging how the General Assembly blocks its own pay increases, the legislature took a  proactive route to ensure a pay freeze for legislators. Senate Bill 264 appropriates $0 to fund legislative cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, meaning the Illinois Comptroller has no authority to process pay increases.

    “The General Assembly appropriated no money for legislative COLAs, so lawmakers will be paid the same amount as last year,” Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said.

    Moments before the Senate voted on the spending plan early Sunday morning, Manar made clear to his colleagues on the Senate floor that no pay increase was included in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal under consideration.

    “There is no pay raise paid for in this budget. I need to say that on the record. This budget appropriates the same amount of money as the current fiscal year,” Manar said in his closing remarks. ”It does not pay for a pay raise for the legislature. One more time, it does not provide an increased appropriation to raise the pay of legislators. That was a choice we made for obvious reasons.”

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  • COVID-19 response package for education heads to governor’s desk

    manar floor 052120SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly today approved legislation to help rank-and-file teachers and school districts address the unique challenges to Illinois’ education system created by COVID-19.

     

    Senate Bill 1569 makes a number of changes that help schools adjust to remote learning, including the following:

     

     

    • Allows for the creation of remote learning days and remote learning plans
    • Allows for a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction
    • Suspends clock hour requirements when a disaster is declared
    • Affirms graduation modifications granted to Spring 2020 graduates
    • Allows mandated exams to be completed remotely

    “This package provides school districts more flexibility and creativity to work around the limitations posed by COVID-19,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “This will help them deliver the best possible learning experience for their students as the circumstances evolve over the next year.”

    Because teacher evaluations for the 20-21 school year have been paused due to COVID-19, SB 1569 extends teacher license renewals by one year.

    The legislation also extends a law allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom as substitutes for up to 120 paid days or 600 paid hours without impairing their retirement status. Originally passed by Senator Manar in 2017, the program has helped address the severe teacher shortage facing downstate school districts.

    “Over the past few months, aspiring, current, and retired teachers have stepped up to serve their communities in ways many of them have never imagined they would,” Manar. “They’ve gone above and beyond to be there for their students, despite a host of administrative and financial challenges. I’m pleased that we were able to remove some of those hurdles and sources of uncertainty.”

    Finally, the legislation also makes it easier for college students who receive financial assistance through the Aspirational Institutional Match Illinois Grow Higher Education Grant Pilot Program, also known as AIM HIGH, to retain their aid for the duration of their four years of undergraduate studies.

    AIM HIGH provides financial assistance to eligible low-income students who attend one of the state’s 12 public universities. Under the measure, the income of a student when entering the program will be the income of the student for the life of the program.

  • Manar: Springfield DMV to reopen for drive-thru vehicle registration sticker sales

    sosfacility3 051820SPRINGFIELD - Marking the first step of its reopening plan, the Illinois secretary of state’s office will reopen seven driver services facilities, including Springfield-Dirksen, to provide drive-thru services for vehicle registration sticker transactions beginning Tuesday, May 19.

    “This has been a source of major concern for some of the people I represent,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “I appreciate the thoughtful planning by the secretary of state’s office to ensure that Illinoisans can access these vital services in a safe way that doesn’t compromise the health of staff or customers.”

    Located at 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, the facility will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. All employees will wear face masks, and customers are encouraged to do the same.

    Since Gov. JB Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order took effect, more than 600,000 people have renewed their stickers online, an increase of approximately 65%.

    Customers are still encouraged to renew their vehicle registration stickers online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. Driver’s licenses can also be renewed online.

  • Manar distributes face shields to local health departments

    faceshield 051420BUNKER HILL – To support local efforts to battle COVID-19, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) partnered with John Deere, the United Auto Workers, and the Illinois Manufacturers Association today to deliver 300 face shields to local agencies in Macoupin, Montgomery, and Christian Counties.

    Face shields are a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by medical personnel that protect the wearer's entire face from hazards such as flying objects, chemical splashes, or potentially infectious materials.

    Manar distributed the face shields to the Macoupin County Public Health Department Maple Street Clinic and the Montgomery-Christian Emergency Management Agency.

    “Both of these agencies are pillars of the Central Illinois region’s COVID-19 response and reopening plan. Their leadership and staff have gone above and beyond to provide high-quality care and services to local families,” Manar said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to support their efforts and help make sure they have the supplies they need to stay safe. Thank you to John Deere, the United Auto Workers, and the Illinois Manufacturers Association for their partnership.”

    As the only drive-thru testing center within a 40-minute drive, the Macoupin County Public Health Department in Gillespie has emerged as the center of the COVID-19 response for communities between Springfield and the Metro East.

    Manar said he is continuing to search for private sector partners to help local efforts in the 48th District.

  • Manar announces reopening of certain CDL testing and licensing facilities

    cdl 051220BUNKER HILL – Following pressure from members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Illinois Secretary of State has opened three Commercial Drivers License (CDL) facilities to meet the increasing demand being placed on commercial and agricultural enterprises engaged in delivering and producing essential goods.

    “The trucking industry plays an extraordinary role in the health and safety of Illinois residents during this difficult time. A shortage of drivers could restrict our food supply, pandemic response efforts, and economic recovery,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee. “We must make sure that testing and licensing services are available and that facilities can meet the high volume of new drivers with permits who are ready to test.”

    The Secretary of State’s Office will be taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and applicants.

    The locations and hours of the facilities open include:

    • Springfield Dirksen, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
    • Marion, 1905 W. Rendelman St., Tuesday 8 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., Wednesday-Friday 8 a.m. -5 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.-noon 
    • West Chicago, 120 Powis Rd., Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

    CDL driving tests will be conducted by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling 217-785-3013. All other CDL transactions will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The Secretary of State’s Office will be taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and applicants.

    For more information, please visit cyberdriveillinois.com.

  • Manar highlights state’s new Wi-Fi hotspot map for remote learning

    wifi hotspots 050820BUNKER HILL– As remote learning becomes the norm for the foreseeable future, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is encouraging remote learners and educators to use the state’s new drive-up Wi-Fi hotspot map to find free wireless internet locations.

    “A high-quality remote learning experience demands reliable internet access for every student,” Manar said. “While teachers statewide conduct full digital lessons, there are students who have yet to begin e-learning since their schools closed because they don’t have internet access. This map will help support those families while we work toward permanent solutions to this and other digital inequities brought to light by COVID-19.”

    Designed to assist students at every level who don’t have consistent internet access in their homes, the interactive map provides drive-up Wi-Fi locations throughout the state and specific log-in instructions for visitors. Students and their parents or guardians should continue to practice social distancing by remaining in their cars while using the hotspots.

    As of May 8, the Wi-Fi map has 380 hotspots students can use to complete coursework.

    Manar has championed legislation to help ensure rural classrooms have access to internet access and resources for tech and digital learning, but says the ability to connect to the internet is now more important than ever, especially for young children in rural areas who may be experiencing social isolation.

    “Connectivity is vital for continued learning, and as a parent, I know that being able to interact with teachers and peers through digital video conferencing platforms can lift a student’s spirits as they navigate this period of social distancing,” Manar said.

    To find a hotspot near you, click here.

  • Manar urges governor to reopen Coffeen Lake Fish and Wildlife Area

    coffeenlake 050620BUNKER HILL – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is urging Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to rethink their decision to keep the Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area closed.

    Manar raised concerns in a letter to the governor after learning Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area wasn’t included in the latest list of state parks set to reopen. After releasing an initial list of 25 state parks and wildlife areas on April 23, IDNR announced on May 1 that they would open an additional 35 parks, including Beaver Dam State Park in Macoupin County.

    “With appropriate social distancing and other commonsense measures in place, I am of the opinion that Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area should open,” Manar said. “I urge the governor and IDNR to rethink this decision and allow Montgomery County and area families to enjoy local recreation that Coffeen Lake provides.”

    Manar says outdoor recreation is a necessity for all Illinoisans, but is particularly at risk for those who live downstate.  He notes that many smaller communities don’t have local parks, so state parks, historic sites, and recreation areas become more important. 

    “Access to fresh air and exercise is crucial for all Illinoisans, and in many rural communities, municipal and neighborhood parks are simply not an option, because they often do not exist,” Manar added. “I appreciate the governor adding Beaver Dam State Park to the original list of parks that would open. Now, I am asking him to do the same for Coffeen Lake.”

  • Downstate Senate Democrats push to double funding for local health departments

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  • Manar encourages mental wellness amid COVID-19 pandemic

    manar 031120BUNKER HILL - State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is emphasizing the importance of mental health wellness and encouraging Illinois residents to use resources and services available for those experiencing heightened levels of stress related to COVID-19.

    “This pandemic has cast a great deal of stress into our lives over a very short period of time,” Manar said. “If you are dealing with heightened levels of anxiety or depression as a result, please know that you are not alone. We are all in this together, and there are people and resources available to help you work through this.”

    The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division is operating Call4Calm, a free emotional support text line for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.

    Illinoisans who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0. Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support. Individuals can also text key words such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on pertinent resources and services.

    Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has published a COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide to answer frequently asked questions regarding the intersection between the novel coronavirus and people affected by mental illness, their caregivers and loved ones. The guide features FAQs on a variety of topics, from managing anxiety and social isolation to accessing health care and medications.

    “Stigma, misinformation, and lack of access to support are just a few factors that can intensify fear and anxiety caused by economic distress,” Manar said. “It’s more important than ever that we look out for friends and neighbors and ensure that we and our loved ones have healthy coping mechanisms for managing stress.”

  • Manar encourages donations to overcome shortage of protective gear for health workers

    gogglesBUNKER HILL - To contend with a potentially dire shortage of personal protective equipment, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is asking Central Illinois residents to donate unused gear to their local health departments, hospitals, and first responders, or consider making hand-sewn masks for non-clinicians.

    "In times of crisis, unity creates community resilience," Manar said. "Now is the time to unite behind our medical personnel and first responders who are on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. Their PPE supply is dwindling, and without adequate gear, they cannot fully protect themselves or their patients."

  • Manar backs legislation aimed at reversing decline of small-town journalism

    newspapers2 031320BUNKER HILL – The state would launch a new effort aimed at reversing the decline of local journalism in small and mid-sized towns in Illinois under legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

    Authored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), Senate Bill 3457 creates the Local Journalism Task Force, which would conduct a study on communities underserved by local journalism and provide insight on how to preserve and restore news coverage in those areas. The task force would be made up of 12 individuals representing print and broadcast media, journalism schools, and state and local government leaders.

    “Quality local news is an important element of any thriving community,” Manar said. “For generations, local newspapers have document the highs and lows of communities like mine, served as a watchful eye over local leaders, and amplified stories of rural families that would otherwise go unheard. It’s important that we recognize the value they bring and ensure their work continues.”

    The study would review all aspects of local journalism, including, but not limited to the adequacy of press coverage of communities, the ratio of residents to media outlets, the impact of social media on local news, and strategies to improve local news access.

    The task force would also be required to present public policy solutions to improve the sustainability of local press business models. The task force must submit the findings from the study to the governor and the General Assembly no later than one year after the law takes effect.

    Sam Fisher, the President and CEO of the Illinois Press Association, says newspapers large and small, throughout Illinois, face challenges brought on by the internet and the erosion of local businesses.

    “Any legislative effort to ensure the continued existence of local journalism, which is at the heart of our democracy, is something that we applaud and will support,” Fisher added. “Democracy dies in the dark, and without local newspapers the light of day becomes increasingly hard to find.”

    A study by the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Media at the University of North Carolina showed Illinois has lost 157 weekly newspapers since 2004, while the United States has lost more than 1,700 altogether.

  • Manar unveils measures to rein in drug monopolies and lower consumer costs

    manar 031120

  • Bennett, Manar introduce package of Rx legislation at Champaign town hall

    bennett manar 031020CHAMPAIGN - High prescription drug prices and accountability of the pharmaceutical industry topped concerns of Champaign residents during a town hall meeting Monday. 

    The meeting was hosted by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), and was cohosted by Protect Our Care Illinois, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, NAACP Champaign County, AARP Illinois and AFSCME. 

    Following an informational presentation from Protect Our Care representative Dan Rabbitt, Bennett and Manar opened the floor to Champaign County residents to raise their concerns, share their stories and ask questions about pending legislation in Springfield.

  • The Majority Report 03/02/20 - Opioid committee hearing, a new suicide prevention bill and how lawmakers are going to tackle high medication costs

    majority-report-header-2014

    Suicide prevention should be as easy as a 911 call

    Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton

    SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a 3-digit suicide hotline for Americans experiencing mental health crises.

    “Mental health crises are becoming more prevalent, specifically in young people, and we need national leadership on this issue,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Creating a dedicated emergency hotline for this will save lives.”

    Read more.

     

     


    Crowe holds opioid committee on ISP, DOI testimonies

    Sen. Rachelle CroweSPRINGFIELD — Hearing reports from agencies to update lawmakers on the implementation of the 2018 State Opioid Action Plan (SOAP), members of the Senate’s Special Committee on Opioid Crisis Abatement met Tuesday under the leadership of State Senator Rachelle Crowe.

    “Exploring opioid-related issues from every angle, from expanding mental health services to reporting and treating overdoses, is the only way we will see effective change in our communities,” Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) said. “By holding these hearings, we’re getting legislators and stakeholders in the same room for the opportunity to create solutions and increase access to opioid prevention, treatment and recovery programs.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Manar announces legislation to create Prescription Drug Affordability Board to set prescription price limits Sen. Andy Manar

    SPRINGFIELD — Over half of Illinois residents are burdened by the high cost of health care and prescription drugs, according to a new Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey (CHESS), commissioned in January 2020 by Protect Our Care Illinois and Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    The survey, announced last week by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) found that 54% of respondents are either “worried” or “very worried” about affording the cost of prescription drugs, and 28% of Illinois adults have rationed or gone without medication due to the skyrocketing cost of prescription medication.

    Read more.

     


    Illinois Senate welcomes students from Illinois Math and Science Academy Sens. Elgie R. Sims and Dave Koehler with IMSA Students

    SPRINGFIELD — Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy traveled to Springfield Tuesday as a part of the academy’s first annual State Capitol Day trip.

    Students shadowed their respective Senators throughout the day.

    “This is a remarkable opportunity for these students to see firsthand how their government functions,” State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. “It also gives my colleagues and me the chance to connect with some of the best and brightest students our state has to offer. The future is undeniably promising for each and every one of them, and I look forward to following their progress.”

    Read more.

     


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  • Manar files legislation to thwart census fraud by political organizations

    manar 022620SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) has introduced legislation that would make it a Class 4 felony for a person to knowingly and falsely represent himself or herself to be a census worker in person or by any means of communication.

    The move is intended to avert any efforts to use the 2020 Census for political gain in Illinois, after media outlets across the country reported that the Republican National Committee has repeatedly sent out fundraising mailers disguised to look like official census documents.

    “Some things should simply be kept out of politics – the census count is one of them,” Manar said. “It is far too consequential to be diminished in any way by political gimmicks. We should be doing everything possible to ensure a full and accurate count, not sowing confusion and distrust by using the census to solicit political donations.”

    Manar filed Senate Bill 3738 after being contacted by a constituent who received one of the deceptive mailers, which solicit money from respondents to cover the cost of processing the “Census Document.” They have caused confusion in other states and threaten to hinder the census count.

    It’s currently against the law to impersonate a census worker in person. SB 3738 updates the law to include impersonation by all forms of communication.

  • Survey: 28% of Illinois residents have rationed or gone without medication due to high costs

    Manar 022520Manar announced new legislation to create the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to set prescription price limits

    SPRINGFIELD – Over half of Illinois residents are burdened by the high cost of health care and prescription drugs, according to a new Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey (CHESS), commissioned in January 2020 by Protect Our Care Illinois and Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    The survey found that 54% of respondents are either “worried” or “very worried” about affording the cost of prescription drugs, and 28% of Illinois adults have rationed or gone without medication due to the skyrocketing cost of prescription medication.

     

  • Manar welcomes Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Illinois ‘Youth of the Year’ to Illinois Capitol

    manar 022520 2SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) welcomed Springfield High School senior Micah Jackson to the Capitol on Tuesday as part of Manar’s Future Leaders program and to recognize him for being named Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Illinois Youth of the Year for 2019-2020.

    Accompanying Jackson was Tiffany Mathis, who was appointed Executive Director and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois in January.

    “The Boys & Girls Club is such a positive force in this community. Cultivating young leaders and preparing them to succeed is some of the most important work we can do,” Manar said. “The impact of Tiffany Mathis and professionals like her is evident to anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting students like Micah Jackson.”

    Jackson, 17, shadowed Manar for the day, joining him in committee meetings and on the Senate floor where he met other state lawmakers and observed them as they debated and voted on legislation.

    “Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Illinois is so grateful to Senator Manar for selecting our Youth of the Year Micah Jackson to spend the day as a Senate page,” Mathis said. “Senator Manar’s continued support of our organization and the youth we serve further highlights the important role that Boys & Girls Clubs play in students’ lives all across the state.”

    Manar presented Jackson with a Certificate of Recognition for his achievement and conducted a one-on-one interview – a tradition of Manar’s Future Leaders program. The two discussed Jackson’s rise into a leadership role among his peers and his plans for the future.

    “Visiting the Senate was a great opportunity for me to see how government works on a daily basis and how many different people are involved in the process,” said Jackson, who is interested video game design and will begin pursuing a degree in graphic design from Lincoln Land Community College next fall.

    The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Illinois, Inc. operates in 9 locations and serves roughly 900 children and teens, providing character building activities, academic assistance programs, and healthy activities. The organization’s programming is geared towards delivering measurable outcomes that help students become responsible citizens in our community, lead healthy lives, and reach their full potential.

  • Manar advances measure to cover cancer clinical trials for Medicaid beneficiaries

    Sen. Andy ManarSPRINGFIELD – Illinois Medicaid recipients considering clinical trials for cancer treatment would no longer face possible rejection of coverage for care under legislation advanced out of the Senate Human Services Committee by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) on Wednesday.

    “Access to the latest, most advanced cancer treatments can mean the difference between life and death for patients,” Manar said. “I take issue with the fact that some people are granted that access and others aren’t, simply depending on which insurance plan they have. This legislation solves that.”

    An initiative of the American Cancer Society, Senate Bill 2499 requires Medicaid to cover routine care costs incurred for an approved clinical trial involving the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer or any other life-threatening disease, as long as Medicaid would normally cover those same routine care costs for a non-clinical procedure.

  • Illinois becomes the second state in the nation to cap the monthly cost of insulin at $100 for diabetes patients

    insuling signing 012420 ftr