Morrison

  • 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.

  • Morrison statement on the commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence

    Sen. Julie A. MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) released the following statement after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was commuted by President Donald Trump Tuesday:

    “The commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence by President Trump is yet another reason ethics reform must be passed at both the state and federal level. We must pass ethics reform during this legislative session to ensure we never have another case like Blagojevich’s. We must also hold elected officials to the highest standards and work to end political corruption.”

  • Senators call for answers on DCFS insurance switch

    morrison 020420State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) led a conversation Tuesday about the oversight of Medicaid managed care and the transition of DCFS children into the program.

    “The state is responsible for these children and must make sure they have access to health care,” Morrison said. “I wouldn’t want my own child to be enrolled in this poorly managed program.”

    The hearing comes just days after nearly 19,000 adopted children and former foster children transitioned to Medicaid managed care. Of those 19,000 people, at least 2,500 were affected by a glitch that has left them without insurance since Saturday.

    A representative from the Cook County Public Guardian’s office said during the committee hearing that the office was flooded with calls about the broken system over the weekend. Complaints ranged from a 14-year old girl who needed seizure medication and the pharmacy would not supply it, to children who were sick and couldn’t find a doctor who would take their insurance card.

    More than 17,000 current foster children are set to transition to the same program April 1, and advocates are worried it still won’t be running smoothly by then.

    “Why would anyone think this program was adequate for kids formerly in care but not kids currently in the system?” Morrison asked. “It’s a double standard, and we shouldn’t force this vulnerable population to enter this dysfunctional program.”

    Members of the Senate called on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to focus on fixing the program before the second round of roll outs. 

  • Morrison calls for comprehensive ethics package

    Senator MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – Following a wave of corruption and indictments among state officials, Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) is calling on lawmakers to pass a comprehensive ethics package, including restrictions on revolving door lobbying, updates to the statement of economic interest forms and new provisions regarding conflict of interest.

    “People should not be allowed to be a lawmaker one day and a lobbyist the next,” Morrison said. “Stopping lawmakers from auditioning for jobs with special interests while still in office will help end the glaring corruption taking place in Springfield.”

    Since joining the Illinois Senate in 2013, Morrison has introduced bills each session to block the lawmaker-to-lobbyist revolving door. Those measures would prohibit lawmakers who resign from their post from taking jobs as Illinois lobbyists for a certain amount of time after they retire. However, they never made it through the legislature.

    “I have tried to pass comprehensive revolving door policies for years, but it wasn’t seen as a high priority by all members of the General Assembly, despite the corruption happening around them,” Morrison said. “I am pleased Gov. JB Pritzker called on legislators to pass a revolving door provision during his State of the State address Wednesday.”

    Morrison is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2463, which prohibits statewide elective officials, members of the General Assembly and administrative heads of state agencies from lobbying within two years of termination of service.

    “A majority of states already have an anti-revolving door policy, and it’s time for Illinois to get with the times,” Morrison said. “There must be a fine line between who is a government official and who works for a special interest group.”

    Illinois is just one of 13 states that does not have a revolving door policy.

    During the legislative session, Morrison is lead sponsor of two other ethics-related bills – Senate Bill 2506 and Senate Bill 1827.

    Senate Bill 1827 would create changes to the statement of economic interest form that must be completed by a number of state employees, candidates running for office and public officials to ensure they do not have financial ties to subjects they are working on.

    Additionally, SB 2506 requires members of the General Assembly to disclose if they have conflicts of interest on measures they are taking official action on – which includes voting for a bill.

  • Senator Morrison files EpiPen for all bill

    EpiPenSPRINGFIELD – 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-Deerfield) 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 their age.

  • Senator Morrison commends Medline Industries

    morrison 012120SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) commends Medline Industries for taking steps to decrease ethylene oxide emissions from its Waukegan plant.

    “Ethylene oxide causes cancer,” Morrison said. “We took action last year to ensure the emission of this harmful substance is no longer the cause of numerous deaths across the north suburbs.”

    Medline Industries temporarily closed its Waukegan-based medical device sterilization operation to install nearly $10 million in upgrades to make the plant compliant with state laws regulating ethylene oxide, the company announced Tuesday.

    Two measures co-sponsored by Sen. Morrison, both which passed in 2019, prohibit the renewal of any permits for facilities that violate federal or state standards for ethylene oxide emissions. The other puts emission limits on non-sterilization facilities that emit ethylene oxide and requires them to obtain a permit from the IEPA. That permit must include a site-specific cap on the business’ ethylene oxide emissions.

    Medline said Tuesday that it has been working “around the clock” to finish the upgrade to install the emissions abatement equipment, but must close down for a few weeks to complete the final stages of testing. Late last year, Vantage Specialty Chemicals Facility in Gurnee also completed improvements necessary to bring the plant up to the state’s guidelines.

    “Facilities that use the cancer-causing chemicals should be held to the highest standards,” Morrison said. “They cannot put money over people. Medline has done the right thing by temporarily shutting down its plant in order to better protect the people of Illinois.”

    The improvements from both companies come a year after a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found higher levels of ethylene oxide in the blood of people who live near the plants. Ethylene oxide was placed on a national list of carcinogens in 1985. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment linking ethylene oxide to breast and blood cancer. The EPA, World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program all declared the gas cancer-causing.

  • Morrison responds to sexual assault cover-up

    morrison 032719SPRINGFIELD –In response to a disturbing report that a former lobbyist attempted to cover-up sexual assault to leverage a friend’s upcoming disciplinary hearing, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) released the following statement:

    “These actions by government officials are disheartening and cannot continue to happen. The facts of the WBEZ investigation once again prove the serious issue of sexual harassment and assault in Illinois politics. When public officials do wrong, they should not be shielded from authoritative action.”

    Senator Morrison’s statement comes after a WBEZ article showed officials within former-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration sent an email in 2012 referencing someone keeping “the rape in Champaign” quiet.

  • Morrison: Lawmakers should strive for transparency, disclosure and higher standards of conduct

    morrison 111219SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to provide more transparency among elected officials, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) filed a measure that would require lawmakers to state if they have a conflict of interest on a bill.

    “This is simply about honesty and transparency,” Senator Morrison said. “The people of Illinois deserve to know lawmakers are best serving voters and the community — not themselves.” 

    Senate Bill 2299, which will be read into the record Tuesday, would require a member of the General Assembly to disclose if they have a conflict of interest on a measure they are taking official action on – which includes voting for a bill. If the legislator does have a conflict of interest, they would be responsible for filing a written statement declaring the conflict or stating their conflict during floor debate.