* This bill has been getting a lot of play…
A measure introduced in the Illinois legislature would make students pay back certain tuition breaks from the state if they leave Illinois within five years of graduation.
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reported the legislation would affect the Monetary Award Program, which serves about 140,000 lower income students. It’s part of a package of legislation sponsored by state Sen. Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet.
Under the proposal, students receiving grants through the program would also have to graduate within four years and wouldn’t be able to get a grant the year after they flunk out.
“I hope that it’s not too drastic or draconian,” Rose said. “I hope it would serve as an incentive.”
I dunno. I guess I see the point here, but it seems a bit over the top. Your thoughts?
An Illinois State Senator is sponsoring a bill that would tighten the rules for parents who wish to exempt their children from vaccination requirements due to medical reasons or religious beliefs.
State Senator John Mulroe says the legislation is being pushed in response to a recent measles outbreak. Under the measure, parents seeking a medical exemption must file an objection form with the signature of the child’s medical provider.
For parents seeking exemption due to religious beliefs, they must submit an objection form with a religious official’s notarized “religious exemption statement.” Under the state’s current law, parents only need to submit a statement that details their religious objection.
If you’re gonna have a religious exemption, I’m not sure you can require such a statement, but I could be wrong.
* In other news, Sen. Daniel Biss is sponsoring some ACLU legislation. From a press release…
An effort to place modest regulations around the use of powerful automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) in Illinois began with the filing of Senate Bill 1753 by State Senator Daniel Biss. ALPR systems consist of cameras mounted on police cars or a pole, where the cameras scan and “read” the license plate number of every car that passes. The plate number is recorded and stored with the precise location. The plate number is then compared against police and other government databases.
ALPR systems allow police and other government agencies to create a record of where a particular car has been at a particular moment, over an extended period of time. Today, this power is completed unregulated in Illinois.
Currently, there are no regulations governing the use of or retention of data from ALPRs in Illinois. The devices were recently embroiled in controversy when it was revealed that the two federal agencies were working together to gather information about every person who attended (and drove their automobiles) to firearm shows in Arizona. The ACLU of Illinois reported two years ago that the technology was being used in a growing number of communities across Illinois – again, without any regulation.
“ALPRs can play an important role for law enforcement,” said Senator Biss in announcing the filing of the bill. “But like any tool, it must not be used in an unchecked fashion. This measure proposes modest guidelines that will ensure that this law enforcement tool does not evolve into a broad surveillance system.”
Senate Bill 1753 would regulate ALPRS to prevent abuse in the following ways:
• Limit the purposes for which ALPRs can be used to enforcing the collection of tolls, traffic violations and parking, controlling access to secure areas and conducting on-going criminal investigations;
• ALPRs also would be allowed for identifying vehicles that are reported stolen, unregistered or relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation, or identifying persons who are missing or the subject of a warrant.
• Data collected by ALPRs must be destroyed after 30 days unless there is a need to keep the information and it cannot be shared with other government agencies unless there is a court order;
• Regulates the use of private ALPR data by law enforcement; and,
• Requires police agencies with ALPR systems to adopt and post policies, notifying the public about how they are working to ensure privacy.
Recent reports indicate that several law enforcement agencies, including the DEA and the ATF, have begun to use ALPRs widely. In response, a number of states have enacted legislation to regulate the use of this technology.
llinois state senators are being asked to “put patients first,” protecting the health care needs of patients across the State. Senate Bill 1564, sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss, modifies a current Illinois law that permits doctors, nurses and other health care providers to deny information and health care based on the providers’ religious beliefs. A recent poll of Illinois voters reveals that a strong majority want the law to be changed.
“Patients facing an array of health care needs suffer when doctors or hospitals refuse to provide information or health care based on the providers’ religious beliefs,” said Lorie Chaiten with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois in announcing support for the legislation. “Unfortunately, current state law protects this practice, and it is time for that to change.”
The ACLU notes that the law in question is the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, a measure adopted in the 1970s. Three years ago, an Illinois appellate court ruled that under this law, the religious beliefs of a health care provider trumped the medical needs of patients. That decision came in the case of a handful of pharmacists who objected to dispensing certain contraceptives on religious grounds. But the law has other, real world consequences.
Religious restrictions that limit patient care are often applied to rape victims in need of emergency contraception, women facing difficult pregnancies and families facing end-of-life decisions. For example, the ACLU has heard from women in Illinois who have sought treatment at religiously-affiliated hospitals while miscarrying. These women are not only denied treatment because of religious restrictions, but are often deprived of the information they need to understand how best to protect their health and future fertility and where they can go to get the care the religious hospital is refusing to provide.
“When I treat my patients, my medical training and ethics require that I put my patients first — not my own views,” said Maura Quinlan, MD, an obstetrician gynecologist in the Chicago suburbs and Chair of the Illinois Section of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Denying information based on one’s own religious beliefs turns basic medical ethics on its head. This is very dangerous.” added Dr. Quinlan.
Under Senate Bill 1564, health care providers can assert religious objections to providing care and information, but must put in place protocols designed to ensure that the patient gets the information needed to make an informed medical decision. The protocols must address how the provider will ensure that the patient is informed about their treatment options and where to get the needed care, and that the patient’s health is not impaired as a result of the provider’s objection.
* And speaking of Biss…
State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) has introduced legislation (SB0037) that would give all state and local candidates in Illinois two hours of free campaign air time in the month before any election on public broadcast and educational channels. Biss told WCIA that “If everyone’s already on TV for a couple of hours, that becomes a baseline that reduces the value of all the other time that’s put in and all the other funds that are raised.”