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Mulroe's 3D mammography insurance coverage measure passes Senate

mulroe-3d-passedSPRINGFIELD – Breast cancer incidences have been decreasing since the early 2000s thanks to new therapies, treatments and screening methods. One of the most effective early screening methods is now covered by some existing health insurance thanks to new legislation sponsored by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago).

“Cancer screenings like 3D mammograms can be compared to reading a book,” Mulroe said. “Would you rather read one page and hope you understand the whole meaning of the text or rather read every single page for a full understanding? That’s very much how 3D mammograms work.”

Previous technologies only took a single dimension view of breast tissue when screening for cancerous cells. Tomosynthesis, also known as a 3D mammogram, takes a multidimensional view of the breast during the screening. As a result, a 3D mammogram has a higher success rate of detecting cancerous cells that are often difficult to detect, due to either size or dense breast tissue.

Senate Bill 54 amends the insurance code by adding tomosynthesis to the list of definitions of low-dose mammograms. As a result, the insurance mandate will cover 3D mammograms as well as the traditional 2D mammograms.

“I strongly believe that this legislation will help save lives of at-risk women who may not have known about this technology or may not have been previously covered,” Mulroe said. “It is our duty to protect the health and well-being of people in this state, and if we can save them time, money and emotional hardship then that is a bonus.”

After the legislation’s success in the Senate, it now moves to the House.

Senator Mulroe files legislation, tightens vaccination exemption

measles-vaccineIn the face of a recent suburban measles outbreak, many Illinoisans have grown increasingly concerned with the loopholes and exemptions regarding vaccinations. Senator John Mulroe (D-CHICAGO) filed legislation today that will help close the gap on religious exemptions for vaccinations.

“In recent years there has been a groundswell of parents who see vaccines as a harbinger of other diseases despite evidence to the contrary,” Sen. Mulroe said. “What we don’t want is someone’s personal beliefs putting other people at risk, which is often the case with vaccination exemptions.”

This new measure would amend the state law in a couple of different ways. First, it would tighten up religious exemptions for vaccinations by requiring that any parent or legal guardian must present a valid Department of Public Health objection form. The form would detail the parent or guardian’s reason for exemption as well as providing a bona fide religious exemption statement from any religious official.

Additionally, the Department of Public Health would then work together with the Illinois State Board of Education to publish these certified exemptions from local school districts to ISBE’s website. All statements must be signed by the child’s regular doctor or medical practitioner before being presented to the local school districts.

“Every person has the right to good health and we as elected officials must make sure that by law, we are protecting that right for the public,” Sen. Mulroe said. “Vaccinations are a good and easy way to ensure that your child won’t be affected by this possibly life-threatening disease.”

The legislation was filed as Senate Bill 1410.

Firefighter safety proposal signed into law

mulroe-manning-signedOn Tuesday, the governor signed into law a proposal that clarifies a 2011 court decision regarding bargaining terms for firefighters.

The proposal preserves the right of firefighters to negotiate safe staffing levels as was originally intended when they gave up their right to strike in 1985.

Although the 2011 Appellate Court decision ruled in favor of negotiating for safe staffing in one case, it did not put to rest the issue with respect to other cases across the state.
 
Since that decision, safe staffing, and whether it should be considered mandatory or permissive, has been litigated at all different levels and has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees.
 
“There is no doubt that the legislative intent on this matter was for safe staffing to be included as a condition of bargaining for firefighters,” said State Senator John G. Mulroe, the Senate sponsor of the new law. “By settling this issue once and for all, we will reduce litigation costs and save taxpayers money.”

The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act deems that wages, hours and conditions of employment are mandatory subjects of bargaining. There is no more important working condition in the fire protection service than the staffing level necessary to address emergencies in our community.
 
In an effort to eliminate confusion over the issue, the new law clarifies the Illinois Labor Relations Act by stating that staffing will continue to be a mandatory subject of negotiations for firefighters. The legislation does not increase staffing levels or allow for levels to be inserted into contracts.
 
“This is an issue of safety, both for our firefighters and the residents who put their trust in these men and women every day,” Mulroe said. “Adequate staffing determines whether they go home at the end of their shift. Without proper levels of staffing they put themselves and citizens at risk.”

Senator Mulroe incentivizes jury duty participation

mulroe-jurydutySPRINGFIELD – State Senator John G. Mulroe passed a measure out the Senate yesterday that will incentivize jury duty participation in Illinois.

The legislation will decrease the number of jurors needed in civil jury cases and will increase the amount of money jurors receive for their participation in jury trials.

The proposal increases jury compensation amounts to $25 on the first day and $50 for each subsequent day. Currently, jury compensation ranges from $4 to $17 per day (in Chicago).

“People should not be financially penalized for performing their civic duty,” Senator Mulroe said. “Compensation of only $4 per day equates to about 50 cents an hour. People can’t afford to take time off from their job for 50 cents an hour.”

To offset the cost of the increased juror compensation, the proposal reduces the typical jury size from 12 to six people and removes the ability for either party to request a 12-person jury.

“Federal juries operate with 6 members and the jurors are paid $40 or more per day,” Mulroe said. “Thirty-eight other states allow for 6-member juries in civil cases. Illinois needs to encourage and motivate our citizens to participate in our judicial process, not dread it.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 3075, passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday. It now moves to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

Sen. John G. Mulroe

mulroe-2014-150

10th District
(Retired)

Years served: 2010 - 2019

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Criminal Law; Executive; Insurance (Vice-Chairperson); Judiciary (Chairperson); Public Health; Subcommittee on Const. Amendments.

Biography: Born July 21, 1959, in Chicago; BBA, accounting, Loyola University; J.D., Loyola University School of Law; member of Chicago and Illinois State Bar associations; full-time attorney; former assistant state's attorney and arbitrator for Cook County; certified public accountant; married (wife, Margaret), four children.

Associated Representative:
Robert Martwick
Michael P. McAuliffe