Morrison

  • Morrison’s epilepsy preparation law takes effect Wednesday

    morrison 020817DEERFIELD— Students with epilepsy will be better protected at school as teachers train for handling students with the disorder under a new law spearheaded by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

    “Students spend a large part of their day at school, so it is imperative for teachers and staff to be prepared to handle all medical needs,” Morrison said. “Educating schools on how to respond when a student is having a seizure could save lives.”

    Morrison’s new law – contained in House Bill 1475 – creates the Seizure Smart School Act, which requires the development of a plan for students with epilepsy that includes training for employees and care aides on how to handle students with the disorder.

    The plan requires a student’s parents or guardians to share the health care provider’s instructions on managing the student’s epilepsy and include a copy of any prescriptions and how and when to administer those medicines.

    “Nationwide, 470,000 children have epilepsy, but not all schools are equipped to help them,” Morrison said. “That will change under this new law, which will prepare schools for any epilepsy-related situation.”

    The measure passed the Senate in 2019 with no opposition and takes effect July 1. 

  • Morrison’s proposal to require testing for deadly infant disease takes effect Monday

    morrison 012120DEERFIELD — Starting Monday, Illinois newborns will now be tested for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a condition that leads to death if left untreated, thanks to a law passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

    “Medical advancements have made all the difference in treating this horrific disease that affects our youngest children,” Morrison said. “Including testing for SMA in regular newborn screenings will ensure treatment can begin immediately to prevent the disease from progressing and causing life-time harm or even death.”

    Public Act 100-0864, spearheaded by Morrison in 2017, requires all newborns to be screened for spinal muscular atrophy by July 1, 2020. The Illinois Department of Public Health met the target date, and testing will begin June 29.

    SMA is the most common genetic disorder linked to infant death worldwide and affects between 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 10,000 U.S. births. It is a terminal, degenerative disease that causes severe symptoms that eventually prevent a child from walking, standing, eating, swallowing and even breathing. Most children with the genetic disorder will not live past 18 months.

    Fortunately, advances in medical treatment led the FDA to approve the first treatment for SMA in December 2016. The drug is only effective, however, if given early before symptoms fully develop, making testing of paramount importance.

    “I am proud Illinois is taking a lead in ensuring all children are tested for a painful disease that can now be treated,” Morrison said.

     

  • Morrison: Vote-by-mail applications now open

    VBM 062420DEERFIELD — Thanks to efforts from State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest), people interested in voting from home this November are now able to apply for a ballot online.

    “Making it easier for people to vote from the comfort of their homes allows them to exercise their rights while keeping them safe from COVID-19,” Morrison said. “Many people look forward to voting, and they can now apply for vote-by-mail ballots as soon as they’d like.”

    As a part of Morrison’s vote-by-mail expansion measure — found in Senate Bill 1863, which was signed by the governor last week — people who are registered to vote and want to request a vote-by-mail ballot may now do so by visiting their individual election authority’s website.

    For Lake County, people should visitlakecountyil.gov/4321/Voting-by-Mail.

    For Cook County, people should visitmailvoting.cookcountyclerkil.gov/.

    Those who are not yet registered to vote may do so by visiting the Illinois State Board of Elections websitehere, and they will be able to request a vote-by-mail ballot while applying.

    While people are now able to apply for a ballot on their own, any person who has voted in the past two years —in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — will automatically receive an application for a vote-by-mail ballot in their mailbox for the 2020 General Election under Morrison’s measure.

    People who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election will also receive an application.

    Election authorities are expected to mail out applications no later than Aug. 1, so people can expect their applications in early August. They can also expect to receive periodic reminders from the secretary of state’s office to submit their application.

    “I encourage people to take advantage of the state’s comprehensive vote-by-mail program,” Morrison said. “This is a great way to be able to take time to fill out your ballot while keeping yourself and others safe and healthy.”

     

  • Vote by mail program expanded, thanks to Sen. Morrison

    Vote by mail

    DEERFIELD — Illinoisans across the state will receive an application in their mailbox to vote from the comfort and safety of their home, thanks to a measure spearheaded by State Senator Julie Morrison.

    “If you’re eligible to vote, you should be able to do so safely and securely. No one should have to worry about jeopardizing their health to practice their civic duty,” Morrison said. “It is vital that no eligible voter — regardless of age or health — end up disenfranchised by the current health crisis.”

    Morrison (D-Lake Forest) successfully passed an elections package which, among other things, expands the state’s vote by mail program for the November 2020 election, amid concerns COVID-19 could discourage people from visiting the polls.

  • Morrison: Without safe and reliable child care, many families won’t be able to return to work

    childcare 061220DEERFIELD - In an effort to ensure families have a safe place for their kids to return to as parents return to work, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is urging child care providers to apply for the Child Care Restoration grant program, which she supported as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 state budget. 

    “Without safe and reliable child care, many families won’t be able to return to work at a time when they need steady income more than ever to get back on their feet,” Morrison said. “Child care programs want to be able to serve families, but they are strapped for cash due to lack of money coming in during the pandemic. These grants will allow these facilities to be able to keep their doors open.”

    The Child Care Restoration grant program will dedicate at least $270 million of the state’s Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund to support the economic health of child care providers as the state’s economy continues to reopen in the coming weeks and months. 

    The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, is charged with developing the grant program for licensed child care providers. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.

    The “Intent to Apply” survey launched Wednesday and is available online here. The information gathered will help grant writers create the grants, to be released in July. Eligible providers will receive their first installments later this summer. The opportunity to respond to the survey will close on June 19 at 5 p.m.

    More information will be added to www.ilgateways.com/financial-opportunities/restoration-grants. People are encouraged to continue to check back frequently for information and resources.

  • Morrison applauds additional DCFS funding in state budget

    morrison floor2 52220DEERFIELD — State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) released the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Fiscal Year 21 budget, which provides more funding for DCFS:

    “No state agency has gone through more turmoil over the past decade. While not every problem revolves around funding, many of the Department of Children and Family Services’ high-profile failures come from a lack of resources. 

    “This additional funding is necessary to boost the workforce, which would reduce caseloads for investigators and allow more attention to go toward services. More funding means the ability to hire more highly trained workers who have the determination and stability to take on one of the state’s toughest jobs. 

    "I will work diligently with DCFS to hold them accountable and make sure the additional funding is used appropriately for resources to best help our state's most vulnerable children. 

    “Children should not have to suffer — especially at a time when they are home more often in situations that could be dangerous. We must be there for them. More money for DCFS will protect our children — and that’s the best investment we can make.” 

  • Morrison supports grants for child care providers

    childrenDEERFIELD — After hearing concerns from child care providers about the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them, Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) supported funding to allow them to continue the vital services they provide for families.

    “Child care providers across the state have faced financial challenges after the public health crisis led them to shut their doors,” Morrison said. “Families rely on the care and education these facilities provide, so supplying them with funding was a priority of mine and a priority of the General Assembly.”

  • Morrison: Vote by mail is essential for voter safety

    morrison floor2 52220SPRINGFIELD —Thanks to efforts from State Senator Julie Morrison, Illinoisans will have a more accessible way to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, standing in line to vote isn’t safe for many, specifically older populations and those at higher health risks. 

    “COVID-19 has made congregating in small and enclosed spaces more dangerous,” Morrison said. “Long lines to get to the ballot box would require people to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

  • Morrison pushes for expansion of vote-by-mail program

    Vote by mailDEERFIELD — As members of the General Assembly have arrived back to Springfield, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is urging her colleagues to take up her bill, a package that would expand the state’s vote-by-mail program for the November election among other changes related to elections.

    “People should not have to worry about their health and safety when exercising their right to vote,” Morrison said. “If people don’t feel safe going to restaurants, they won’t feel safe standing in line to cast their vote.”

    Illinoisans would have more options to forego traditional polling places and cast their ballots from the safety of their homes during the November 2020 election under a measure sponsored by Morrison. She would like to see everyone who has voted in the last two years receive a ballot, which would then be returned to the county elections office and counted on Election Day.

  • Morrison works to preserve human services funding

    dcfs worker mask 052020DEERFIELD —As State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) and her colleagues returned to Springfield Wednesday, she has vowed to fight for human services funding in the Fiscal Year ’21 budget, especially for the Department of Children and Family Services.

    “Many agencies that are tasked with helping and protecting our state’s most vulnerable populations already struggle with too few resources,” Morrison said. “Illinois should be a leader in showing all people are valuable and deserve to be treated with human dignity.”

  • Morrison thanks foster parents during Foster Parent Appreciation Month

    fosterparents 050620DEERFIELD —During Foster Parent Appreciation Month, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is expressing gratitude toward the thousands of foster families across the state who have opened homes to children who previously lived in unsafe conditions. 

    “At a time where children are home every day without teachers or daycare staff being able to keep an eye on their safety, it is more important than ever they live in strong, loving households,” Morrison said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of families across the state have committed to keeping children safe for an unknown amount of time and have done so graciously.”

    About 4,000 children across the state each year are taken into temporary care through the Department of Children and Family Services when they live in an abusive or neglectful home. Foster families provide protection and love while the agency works with families to make positive changes in the home, in an effort to reunite parents with their children.

    “I have the utmost respect for people who have selflessly opened their arms to take care of the state’s most vulnerable children,” Morrison said.

    To become a licensed foster parent, people are encouraged to call 1-800-572-2390 or fill out the online interest form on the DCFS website found at www2.illinois.gov/dcfs

  • Morrison reminds people of Red Flag Law on anniversary of Waffle House shooting

    wafflehouse 042220DEERFIELD —Twenty-one years ago Monday, two students opened fire on Columbine High School, killing 13 and injuring 24. 

    Two years ago today, a man opened fire on a Tennessee Waffle House, killing four and injuring two.

    “These acts of senseless violence are just two examples of dozens of instances where innocent people lost their lives because of the selfish and reprehensible behaviors of others,” State Senator Julie Morrison said. “After these tragic events, we often hear family members or neighbors mention they were worried about the person’s threatening behavior but didn’t know where to turn.”

    Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is taking this time to remind people of the Firearms Restraining Order Act – also known as the “Red Flag” law.

    The measure allows family members and law enforcement officials who have concerns that someone is a threat to themselves or others to ask a judge to temporarily remove their guns.

    If a judge grants the restraining order, law enforcement may seize the at-risk person’s firearms for up to six months and prevent them from purchasing additional weapons during that time period to keep themselves and others safe.

    Due to the Stay at Home Order, however, some circuit courts are closed, leaving people worried they might not be able to take action. 

    If the circuit court in question is closed, a person will have to engage law enforcement in order to get a Firearms Restraining Order. The person must explain the situation, explicitly asking for a Firearms Restraining Order. Sheriffs’ offices may be able to provide more support and resources than municipal police departments.

    “During this trying time, tension is higher and depression is becoming more prevalent. It's important to keep an eye on each other,” Morrison said. “If you know someone whom you believe is at risk of harming themselves or others, I encourage you to call law enforcement. That phone call could save a life.”

  • Morrison: FOID renewal extension could lead to gun violence crack down

    morrison 021820DEERFIELD —The Illinois State Police announced Thursday new renewal requirements for Firearm Owner Identification cards, which State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) will allow for closer examination of people who have submitted renewal applications.

    “The state police now has more time to analyze each renewal application to make sure no one slips through the cracks,” Morrison said. “The order from ISP also empowers them to prioritize the work they know will be most important in preventing gun violence.”

    The emergency rule — which took effect upon announcement Thursday — extends the expiration date of FOID cards through the duration of the state’s disaster proclamation and for an additional 12 months following the termination of the disaster.

    However, the Illinois State Police will continue to enforce FOID prohibitions.

    Morrison has been a steadfast force behind gun control legislation since first joining the Illinois Senate. Most notably, she spearheaded and successfully passed the Red Flag Law, which allows a family member or law enforcement official to alert the court system when an individual with access to a firearm is displaying threatening or unsafe behavior that could lead to injury to themselves or to the general public.

    “I applaud ISP’s decision and am confident it will lead to less senseless gun violence down the road,” Morrison said. “There is no doubt that a closer look into who is obtaining these licenses and firearms will be better for all of us.”​

  • Morrison applauds expansion of domestic violence and sexual assault services

    morrison 022720SPRINGFIELD —While people are staying home to keep safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a population —survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence — who are living in more vulnerable situations. 

    State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) applauds Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services for expanding services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

    “Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are living in constant fear,” Morrison said. “Right now, they have nowhere to go and no one to watch out for them. I can’t imagine how scared some of these people are in an already worrisome time.”

  • Morrison: Vote-by-mail simplifies people’s right to vote

    Vote-by-mail applicationSPRINGFIELD — As Illinois’ date to choose the nominees for a new U.S. president at the ballot box was on the horizon, the worry of low voter turnout due to the coronavirus pandemic loomed in the background.

    “Illinoisans had to choose between keeping themselves healthy or casting their vote,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said.

    That worry turned into a reality Tuesday, after some counties throughout the state saw turnouts 20% lower than during previous presidential primaries. In Sangamon County, the turnout was 22.2% — before counting mail-in ballots — compared to the 43.4% turnout in 2016.

  • Morrison encourages people to donate to local food pantries

    Sen. Julie A. MorrisonDEERFIELD — During this trying time, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is encouraging people willing and able to donate to local food pantries.

    “People throughout the state have lost work due to the coronavirus outbreak, either temporarily or permanently,” Morrison said. “Their feet were pulled out from underneath them, and now they don’t know how they’re going to feed their families.”

    Morrison is asking people who have the means to donate to local food pantries in the northern suburbs.

  • EpiPens for all one step closer to becoming reality

    morrison 030420SPRINGFIELD –The price of EpiPens has greatly increased over the years, causing people with certain allergies to forgo purchasing the life-saving medication. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) strives to offset the burdensome cost by requiring insurers to cover medically necessary epinephrine injectors.

    “With increases in food allergies and other serious allergic conditions, people are relying on EpiPens more than ever,” Morrison said. “Nobody with a serious allergy should go without an epinephrine injector simply because they cannot afford one.”

    Senate Bill 2457 – sponsored by Morrison – requires insurers to cover medically necessary EpiPens for all people – regardless of age.

  • Morrison: Illinois needs centralized behavioral health plan

    morrison030320SPRINGFIELD –Since the demand for behavioral health services has grown and the behavioral health workforce is still experiencing shortages, a task force was created to study the crisis. Findings from the study were shared with State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday.

    “This has been a major concern in Illinois for years, but as a demand for service grows and the workforce diminishes, it has gained an even greater sense of urgency,” Morrison said.

    Among the recommendations outlined by the task force was a plan for creating the Illinois Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center to lead a cross-agency, cross-sectorial strategy to improve access to a qualified, diverse workforce.

    The center would be structured as a hub-and-spoke model, linking academic institutions that serve rural and small urban areas and at least one academic institution serving the densely urban Chicago-area.

    A central location in an academic institution would be tasked with convening and coordinating role for workforce research and planning, including monitoring progress toward goals for the center.

    “I am happy to hear the group come forward with a comprehensive analysis of the issues facing the behavioral health workforce,” Morrison said. “I am hopeful stakeholders will continue to work diligently to fill the void.” 

  • Morrison honors victims of Milwaukee shooting

    morrison 022720SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) took a moment to rise on the Senate floor Thursday to honor and recognize the victims of Wednesday’s shooting at the Molson Coors plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Morrison asked the body to take a moment of silence to honor the victims of the tragedy.

    Below are the senator’s floor remarks:

    “Yesterday, five people tragically lost their lives in Milwaukee after a man opened fire on the Molson Coors plant before turning the gun on himself.

    “Such violence is senseless. Six families went to bed last night mourning the loss of a loved one. Those families, and all the families who have lost someone to gun violence, need us right now.

    “We can all recognize these tragic events are happening far too regularly. No one should have to fear for their safety when they go to school, the grocery store or even work. When will we have enough?

    “I ask that you please stand silently for a moment of reflection and respect. Words do not adequately express the tremendous grief I feel as I have to make this speech once again.”

  • Morrison measure expands dental care for people with developmental disabilities

    morrison 021820SPRINGFIELD –Dental hygiene is directly linked to a person’s overall health, but many Illinoisans aren’t receiving the proper care they need due to the high cost of treatment or because the lack of coverage for anesthesia. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) hopes to curb the price of dental care by requiring Medicaid to extend its coverage.

    Two bills attempting to address dental care services that are either not covered or under-reimbursed by Medicaid were part of a subject matter hearing in the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday.

    Senate Bill 2484 expands coverage of dental care and anesthesia for those with autism or a developmental disability to make those individuals more comfortable when visiting the dentist.

    “Going to the dentist can be uncomfortable for anyone, but the stress is amplified for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities,” Morrison said. “Some patients with developmental disabilities are unable to endure regular dental exams or cleanings without general anesthesia. This measure will help more people be able to afford the treatment they need.”

    According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, because it is difficult for them to get treatment, people with developmental disorders suffer “a high burden of dental disease.” More than 30% of the patients studied suffered from untreated cavities and 80% from serious gum infections.

    Additionally, the measure requires Medicaid to cover dental care, including anesthesia, that is provided in a hospital or surgical treatment center for any individual with a medical condition that requires hospitalization or general anesthesia.

    “Keeping a healthy set of teeth is more important than people think,” Morrison said. “Many diseases and conditions have a direct correlation to dental health. Making sure teeth get the attention they need is an important part of an individual’s overall well-being.”

    Morrison is also spearheading Senate Bill 2493, which specifies Medicaid reimbursement rates for anesthesia-related services. For example, under the measure, moderate sedation would be at a reimbursement rate of $181 and deep sedation would be at a rate of $214. This might incentivize more dentists to accept Medicaid.