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It’s just a bill…

Thursday, Apr 30, 2015

* But it appears to be a good idea

A proposed law that would allow college students to sign off on their universities sharing mental health information with their parents cleared an Illinois Senate committee today, paving its way for a final vote in the General Assembly.

It was inspired by the Predmore family of Bartonville, who tragically lost their son Chris to suicide last year. Under current law, his college could not talk to his parents about his mental health struggles.

A number of recent studies indicate that psychological problems are a growing issue on college campuses. For example, a survey found that that 70 percent of college counseling center directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems has increased in recent years. Surveys of college students themselves have shown that depression and anxiety have skyrocketed over the past several decades – perhaps as many as a quarter or third of students meet criteria for anxiety or depression during college. […]

The legislation would give newly enrolled college students the opportunity to authorize the university to share mental health records with their parents or other trusted adults. The university would only share information when students are found to be a danger to themselves or others.

* Meanwhile, oof

In a rare open feud between two McHenry County state lawmakers, Rep. Jack Franks is asking Senate President John Cullerton to remove Sen. Pam Althoff as chief sponsor of his recently passed government consolidation bill.

The Illinois House on a 61-40 vote last Friday passed House Bill 229, a bill by Franks, D-Marengo, that would grant the McHenry and Lake county boards the same power to eliminate certain units of government that DuPage County was granted by state lawmakers. But Franks alleges that Althoff, R-McHenry, intends to either kill the bill or strip McHenry County from it.

An effort to talk Althoff into handing the bill over to Sen. Melinda Bush, a former Lake County Board member who supports it, failed late Tuesday, both Franks and Bush, D-Grayslake, confirmed. Franks said that Althoff asked for a number of concessions that he said were unreasonable because he does not want any exemptions or “sacred cows.” General Assembly rules allow the sponsor of a bill to request in writing to have a chief sponsor removed if he or she intends to kill it.

“She’s doing this purely for political reasons to protect entrenched interests and fiefdoms to keep our property taxes high. There’s no other reason. She’s supported this bill before,” Franks said, referring to the Senate’s vote years ago to grant DuPage County some ability to eliminate certain governments.

* Small, but vocal

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) riled local education activists last week for opposing a bill that would let students opt out of taking state administered tests.

HB 306 – introduced by state Rep. Will Guzzardi in January – is currently under consideration in the Illinois House. Last Monday, Currie cast one of three votes recommending against an amended version of the bill in the five-member House Elementary and Secondary Education: Licensing Oversight Committee.

More than 15 local activists led by Hyde Parker Joy Clendenning staged a protest last Tuesday in front of Currie’s Hyde Park office, 1303 E. 53rd St., after the bill lost the committee’s support.

“We feel that with 24 co-sponsors in the House – and we know a good number of legislators are ready to vote for this bill – that she is absolutely thwarting the democratic process here,” Clendenning said.

* And in other news

Caseyville Township trustees have warned citizens they’ll be forced to increase customers’ sewer service rates if two bills in the Illinois General Assembly that regulate tap-on fees are made law, but the bills’ sponsors — and local developer Darwin Miles — say Caseyville is a “rogue township” that’s been price-gouging for years.

Supporters of the new regulations say the township is using scare tactics to preserve a “cash cow.”

For example, Caseyville Township charges a tap-on fee of $2,000 per fixture to commercial businesses and non-profits, such as churches. That means a developer building a 128-room hotel in the Shiloh area served by the township would pay a tap-on fee of $260,000.

Caseyville Township trustees recently sent a letter to each of their 9,000-plus sewer customers warning that their sewer bills could as much as triple if House Bill 3309 and Senate Bill 1815 pass.

The House bill, sponsored by state Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, requires townships with their own sewer and water plants to limit the tap-on fees charged to people building new homes or businesses to 1/6 of the estimated yearly cost of sewer and water service.

Senate Bill 1815, sponsored by state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, sets standard sewer and water tap-on fee schedules for new homes, apartment buildings and businesses based on the size of water meter they’ll use. Because state law contains no standards, townships currently can come up with their own rates and fees. For years, new businesses, non-profits such as churches, and residents building homes have complained that Caseyville Township’s tap-on fees far exceed neighboring utilities.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments
  1. - low level - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    Why the brick on the opt out bill?


  2. - walker - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    Hold on. Isn’t it the professional mental health provider who won’t share information? The Colleges themselves are usually not privy to the information either.


  3. - Quiet Sage - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    Rep. Franks can only blame himself for not pre-filing with a Senate sponsor of his choice at the time he introduced the bill. This is a lesson many of us had to learn, often the hard way, with the onset of pre-filing several years ago. Still, mistakes are sometimes made even by experienced legislators and lobbyists. Franks, as a veteran legislator, simply slipped up.


  4. - plutocrat03 - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    Why a bill? The parents can be included on the HIPPA paperwork without legislation…..


  5. - Mama - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    ++State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) riled local education activists last week for opposing a bill that would let students opt out of taking state administered tests.++ If this bill passes, all IL public schools will lose federal funding! IL schools can not afford to lose any funding. Rep. Curry should know better!


  6. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    Just another reason to eliminate township governments. They operate in the dark without public scrutiny when compared with counties and municipalities.


  7. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 2:32 pm:

    walk, the first line of counsellors in colleges are University employees and I imagine the students’ information is with them. I didnt know this but my daughter attending UIUC just finished a research paper on this exact topic. The numbers are striking.


  8. - Lil Squeezy - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    Pre-file Franks, you have been around long enough to know that.


  9. - Buzzie - Thursday, Apr 30, 15 @ 2:56 pm:

    When will people realize that Illinois public education will not even approach improving to mediocrity until the legislature (both parties) leaves academic programming and operations to the professionally trained and experienced educators?


  10. - Apocalypse Now - Friday, May 1, 15 @ 8:58 am:

    Township government is outdated and should be eliminated. Examples like Caseyville Township are just the tip of the iceberg.


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