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Bertino-Tarrant passes measure to protect privacy of genetic data

dnatestkit 052119SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents’ genetic testing results may be protected soon under a proposal advanced by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed House Bill 2189, which prohibits companies that provide direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing such as ancestry.com and 23andMe, from sharing any test results with health or life insurance companies without the consumer’s consent.

“In the last couple of years, genetic testing has become easily accessible and affordable for local residents,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Will County residents should be able to rest assured that their personal health information will remain private as they make informed decisions to manage their health care.”

The number of people who have had their DNA analyzed with direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy tests more than doubled during 2017 and exceeded to 12 million in 2018.  Last year, an estimated 1 in 25 American adults now have access to personal genetic data.

“We have the right and responsibility to ensure personal data is used responsibly,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “As technology evolves it is imperative that laws advance with the needs of the people of Illinois.”

House Bill 2189 passed the Senate with unanimous support and now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Education Committee Chair Bertino-Tarrant passes measures to address Illinois teacher shortage

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD – To help alleviate the teacher shortage in Illinois, the Senate’s Education Chair, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant passed a series of measures on Thursday.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed House Bill 423 with bipartisan support, which places a hold on requiring educators to take a controversial licensing exam.

“This costly test may be ineffective in determining whether an applicant is qualified to teach in our classrooms,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to take some time to evaluate this requirement to ensure we are not deterring qualified teachers from joining the profession.”

Bertino-Tarrant passes measure to declare Teacher Appreciation Week in Illinois

Teacher Week Facebook ImageSPRINGFIELD – Senate Education Chair Jennifer Bertino Tarrant lead the Senate in declaring May 6 to 10 as Teacher Appreciation Week in Illinois.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed Senate Joint Resolution 40 which emphasizes the General Assembly’s gratitude for teachers across Illinois.

“Our teachers are responsible for developing the minds of our future leaders,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Their days do not end when the last school bell rings. Educators across Illinois provide knowledge, support and skills that positively impact students. This week the Senate honors teachers across Illinois for their hard work and dedication to our children.”

In 1985 when the National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week as the first full week of May.

Senate Joint Resolution 40 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Assault allegations by teachers to be reported immediately under plan by Bertino-Tarrant

jbt 041118 2SPRINGFIELD – In response to alarming findings about sexual assault by faculty and staff in schools, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced House Bill 3687 on Tuesday, which requires the State’s Attorneys across the state to immediately notify school officials when a school employee is accused of harassment or assault.

“Our children should be safe at school,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This measure ensures school administrators have all of the facts in order to make decisions in the best interest of students. If an accused school employee or educator has direct contact with students, steps will need to be taken to change that.”

House Bill 3687 requires the State’s Attorney to provide school administrators with a copy of the complaint, indictment, or other information pertaining to the charges.

Last summer, as the Senate’s Education Chair, Bertino-Tarrant called a hearing to address the findings of a Chicago Tribune investigation which detailed improper reporting of sexual misconduct in Chicago schools. The investigation found 72 Chicago Public Schools employees were accused of misconduct over a 10-year period and not properly reported to authorities.

"It is unacceptable that sexual predators were not only near our children, but in positions of trust," Bertino-Tarrant said. "Everyone should be outraged that these abusers were able to prey on students because of insufficient oversight."

The Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance are in support of the measure.

House Bill 3687 passed the Senate’s Education Committee with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

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