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Biss: Museum closings foolish, mean-spirited

save the museumSPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding the Illinois state museums being closed to the public after Wednesday.

“Let’s be clear: The museums aren’t really closing. Rather, Governor Rauner is locking out the public. The employees will still show up for work. The exhibits will remain in their places. The buildings will be heated and air conditioned. But, the governor is locking the doors and denying the public access to a tremendous asset and public resource.

It’s a foolish, mean-spirited move. Locking the doors and shooing away school groups from a fully staffed museum complex doesn’t save any money.

Governor Rauner’s short-sighted, uncaring decision won’t help the state economically, but will impede our cultural and educational growth.

I urge the governor to leave the museum doors open and fight his budget battles at the negotiating table.”

Biss: Protecting the DON score threshold protects the most vulnerable

biss locpensSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) released the following the statement as the House passed legislation protecting eligibility requirements for older adults and persons with disabilities:

“We cannot in good conscience change the eligibility standards for our citizens who rely on daily essential services. Keeping the eligibility score at 29 will allow Illinoisans to stay in their homes and receive minimal care instead of forcing people into costly nursing home facilities.

This bill protects 24,000 adults in the Community Care Program and 10,000 persons with disabilities in the Home Services Program by allowing them to keep their care. I applaud its passage and I look forward to its ultimate signing into law.”

Through the safeguards created by this prospective law, service recipients are protected should the eligibility tool change or a new tool be implemented to determine need, which will allow for a gradual transition and less disruption of services.

The legislation has passed both Houses and now moves to the governor’s desk.

MAP funding a necessity for student success

mapgrant moneySPRINGFIELD — Thousands of college students and their families are caught in a political power play that State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) hopes to at least partially resolve next week at the Capitol.

At issue is the state’s primary student aid program – the Monetary Award Program (MAP). More than 100,000 students rely on MAP grants to help pay for school, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the MAP grant budget. This left hanging both the students who rely on them and the schools they attend even as a new academic year begins.

Biss is among the Senate Democrats pushing to approve a MAP grant budget when the Illinois Senate convenes Wednesday. The Monetary Award Program is the state’s largest need-based grant program to help pay for college. As long as these grants aren’t funded, the economic futures of hundreds of thousands of middle-class and disadvantaged students are at risk.

“If we are unwilling to come together and sincerely seek to resolve our budget impasse in a fair and sustainable way, what kind of example are we setting for Illinois students?” Biss said. “Surely, we can all get behind a solution that simply seeks to help students realize their potential and support our state’s economic future.”

The funding proposal would mirror what Rauner recommended in his budget plan. He recommended spending $373.3 million on student financial aid through MAP. The MAP budget he vetoed contained an additional $24 million.

“Our state’s greatest asset is the talent and potential of so many students from all backgrounds. To squander this potential by not giving a hand up to students in need would be disgraceful,” Biss said.

The legislation is SB 2043.

Biss's Silver Search legislation to help Alzheimer's patients signed into law

Biss's Silver Search legislation to help Alzheimer's patients signed into law

SPRINGFIELD - When a loved one is missing, every moment can feel like an eternity. That wait can be especially terrifying if the missing person suffers from dementia, potentially leaving them without the cognitive abilities to stay safe until help arrives.

A bill sponsored by Illinois state Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) was signed into law today, providing law enforcement with extra tools to help locate older adults with Alzheimer's or related dementia when they go missing. The new law creates the Silver Search program, whose task force will develop a toolkit and statewide awareness program.

"There's great risk when people with dementia go missing that they might not be able to keep themselves safe," said Sen. Biss, "so it's imperative we use all the tools at our disposal to find them quickly. Silver Search and programs like it are used across the country to help law enforcement act swiftly and appropriately to help locate this specific population."

Senator Daniel Biss

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9th Senate District

Years served: 2011 - 2012 (House); 2013 - 2018 (Senate)

Committee assignments: Education; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Human Services; Labor (Chairperson); Revenue.

Biography: Full-time legislator; former University of Chicago math professor; doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Served one term in the House before his election to the Senate. Resides in Evanston with his wife, Karin, and their children, Elliot and Theodore. Co-chair of a bipartisan pensions working group in the House and chair of the Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee.