Bertino-Tarrant strives to ban caffeine powder during Caffeine Awareness Month

caffeine-powderLast year, 18-year-old Logan Stiner of Ohio died from a caffeine powder overdose.

According to local reports, Stiner was found by his brother, collapsed on the floor of his home. The same day his brother found him, his mother discovered several bags of caffeine powder in their house.

The County Coroner’s report said that Stiner suffered cardia arrhythmia, irregular heartbeat and a seizure as a result of ingesting toxic amounts of caffeine.

Bertino-Tarrant fights for commuter tax credit

jbt-commutertaxSPRINGFIELD— Commuters in Illinois could get a tax break under a plan proposed by Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

The costs of traveling to and from work, whether by car, train or bus is significant. For instance, depending on the zone, 12 monthly Metra passes can cost over $3,500 a year. Likewise, daily tolls can easily add up to over $1,000 per year.

Bertino-Tarrant is trying to reduce the financial burden on commuters by making them eligible to receive a tax credit for travel expenses.

“The cost of traveling to work and back home can put a huge strain on individual and family budgets, and commuters deserve tax relief,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Additionally, it is important that similar incentives be offered to drivers and mass transit users.”

Bertino-Tarrant is also attempting to level the playing field between drivers and Metra users. The federal government currently gives larger tax credits to drivers over Metra riders, which discourages people from taking public transportation and increases congestion on the interstate.

Under Senate Bill 19 that Bertino-Tarrant is sponsoring, commuters would be able to apply for a credit of up to 25% of qualified commuting expenses incurred during a taxable year.

Senate Bill 19 has been assigned to the Revenue Committee.

Medical pros join Sen. Bertino-Tarrant in exposing dangers of pure caffeine powder

JBT caffeine020315In response to the death of an Ohio high school student who overdosed on caffeine powder, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D- Shorewood) has filed legislation to make the substance illegal for minors in Illinois.

In a story in The State Journal-Register, medical professionals are in agreement that consuming large amounts of caffeine is dangerous and they advise steering clear of the product. One teaspoon of caffeine powder can have the same dose as 25 cups of coffee. Symptoms of caffeine overdose include vomiting, uncontrollable muscle movements, irregular or fast heartbeat and trouble breathing.

Comptroller post to be decided by voters

JBT010815SPRINGFIELD— Today, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) voted to maintain the strength of democracy in Illinois by allowing voters to choose their representation, should an unexpected vacancy arise in a statewide office.

“We have enacted a number of government accountability and transparency measures since I came into office in an effort to change the stigma attached to state government and regain the trust of our citizens,” Bertino-Tarrant said.  “This vote reflects my commitment to working for my constituents.”

House Bill 4576, which passed the Senate today, creates a special election for state comptroller in 2016. With the recent passing of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka the legislation will allow voters to select a new comptroller at the next general election. The special election is a solution that allows voters to pick their statewide leaders as quickly as possible at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Bertino-Tarrant also supports legislation to combine the offices of treasurer and comptroller by constitutional amendment, which could save an estimated $12 million a year.

“Combining these two offices can save the state millions of dollars every year,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “As we continue to work to save money and reduce waste and redundancy, this measure should certainly be at the top of that list.”

Combining the two state offices would require a constitutional amendment, which means that voters would need to approve doing so through a ballot referendum in the 2016 general election.  Bertino-Tarrant believes it is important to give voters that opportunity.

“Today’s special session was called to ensure that the people of Illinois got the voice and vote they deserve,” she said. “I look forward to working toward giving them that same voice and vote on the government consolidation issue when we come back to Springfield for regular session.”

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education (Chairperson); Insurance; Labor; Licensed Activities (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR); Subcommittee on Special Issues (ED) (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.

Associated Representatives:
Mark Batinick
Natalie A. Manley