* From the Illinois Family Institute, AKA masters of understatement…
Illinois’ lesbian lawmaker Kelly Cassidy, arch nemesis of the good, the true, and the beautiful and creator of the worst legislation (e.g., the barbaric Baby Snuff Law) to come out of the fetid swamp in Springfield, and her collaborator Robyn Gabel have just sponsored HB 4870, a bill to require all children to mandate the HPV vaccine before entering middle school. And by all, I mean ALL.
This invasive, imperial diktat would apply to children in public and private schools—which includes all private religious schools (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, and Muslim), and homeschools—no exceptions. Don’t be surprised, however, if an amendment is added to exempt homeschools, (maybe even religious private schools). There’s little that presumptuous, self-righteous Springfield swampsters with their super-majorities in both houses fear, but they do fear homeschool parents.
The release then unsurprisingly attempts to stir up anti-vaxer sentiment.
* Press release…
Standards for comprehensive sexual health education curriculum in grades 6 through 12 in public schools in Illinois will be updated and expanded under legislation introduced this week. The Healthy Youth Act (HB 5012 and SB 3788) builds upon the current requirement for sexual health education in Illinois so that it includes instruction that is also culturally and linguistically appropriate and adapted for students with disabilities and non-English speaking students. If sexual health education courses are taught in grades 5 and under, they must be age-appropriate, medically accurate, evidence-based or evidence-informed, and culturally, developmentally, and linguistically appropriate. The Act will also ensure that sexual health education in Illinois is inclusive and affirming of communities historically stigmatized or excluded including LGBTQIA and pregnant or parenting youth.
“As a former sexual health educator, I know it is critical that young people receive a full toolbox of knowledge and skills to reduce harm and support overall health and well-being now and for their entire lives. I look forward to passing the Healthy Youth Act to update and expand Illinois sexual health education standards,” said State Senator Celina Villanueva, who will sponsor the bill in the Illinois Senate.
The Healthy Youth Act removes outdated language and builds on the current standards for health and sexual health education courses by including: pregnancy and reproduction; gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation; puberty, growth, and adolescent development; anatomy and physiology; healthy relationships and friendships; healthy decision-making; and personal safety.
“As a legislator, assuring that young people have all the tools to make healthy decisions has been a priority for me,” added State Representative Camille Lilly who will sponsor the measure in the Illinois House. “Seven years ago, we updated this law. But as times and understanding of what young people need evolves, we must keep pace. The Healthy Youth Act builds on our efforts and will serve students across the State of Illinois.”
“The Healthy Youth Act will raise the standard for what youth across our state are taught, and will provide them with a full, modern toolbox of knowledge. It will educate students with the information that can combat myths and misinformation that often puts them at risk, and instead prepares them for a safe and healthy life. We are proud to be a part of this coalition to pass this legislation this year,” said Khadine Bennett, Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Director, ACLU of Illinois.
“The Healthy Youth Act embodies our primary goals at Comprehensive Sex Ed Now. We love that the bill would set the precedent for a future of high-quality comprehensive sex education that is accessible to all. Supporting this bill has been such an amazing opportunity and we look forward to working with them in the future,” said Taylor Holt of Comprehensive Sex Ed Now.
“Passing the Healthy Youth Act will allow youth across Illinois to grow and mature with the knowledge and tools to live their best lives. We are thrilled that this legislation addresses inclusion of heavily stigmatized communities, including young people living with or vulnerable to HIV. It’s been a pleasure to work with the coalition on this measure thus far and we look forward to this bill becoming law this year,” said Timothy Jackson, Director of Government Relations, AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
The supporting organizations for this legislation include: American Association of University Women, ACLU of Illinois, ACLU of Illinois – Champaign Chapter, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Affinity Community Services, Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Chicago Women’s Health Center, Comprehensive Sex Ed Now, EverThrive Illinois, Girls Inc. of Chicago, Howard Brown Health Center, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Illinois National Organization for Women, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (a program of the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago), Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Council of Jewish Women – North Shore, Peer Health Exchange, Pride Action Tank, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Health, Resilience (formerly Rape Victim Advocates), Teen Health Council, UIC – Urban Medicine Program, and YWCA Evanston/Northshore.
* And another press release…
Today State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) held a press conference at the McHenry County Government Center to announce that he has filed legislation which will create the McHenry County Children and Family Services Agency to assume the duties of the McHenry County office of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
“For the past 9 months I’ve been part of a bipartisan legislative working group established to examine the operations of DCFS,” Reick said. “During that time one thing has become abundantly clear: DCFS is an agency in need of systemic change.”
Reick continued, “The tragic death of A.J. Freund has shined a bright light on the problems which exist in the agency as a whole and the McHenry County office in particular. The goal of this legislation is to create a framework to make this new county agency a model for the rest of the state. Under the jurisdiction of local government, the purpose of this new agency is to provide more responsive, effective, and efficient child welfare services to the people of this community.”
The legislation, House Bill 4886, to be called “A.J.’s Law”, creates a 5-year pilot program in McHenry County to replace the operations of DCFS. The Agency will be given all powers and duties of the Department under the Children and Family Services Act as well as the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.
“I am supportive of changes to the DCFS structure,” said State Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry). “Greater local control/authority over DCFS offices will increase cooperation and collaboration between DCFS, States Attorney, law enforcement and service providers to meet the goal of protecting our children.”
The internal operations of the agency are also outlined in the legislation. The bill provides for the appointment of an executive director by the Chairman of the McHenry County Board, with approval by the full Board, and for the employment of investigators and staff as County employees. The Agency would be funded by State appropriations from the DCFS budget.
The bill was inspired by a letter sent to Reick by McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally in October, wherein he stated:
“[T]he primary responsibility for protecting children in a community should belong to the community, not the State. Moreover… the agents designated to protect children in a community should be primarily accountable to the community, not the State. As such, I would strongly urge you to consider legislation that would provide a significant measure of control over DCFS operations within a county to county government.”
“Months of bipartisan meetings with stakeholders from here in McHenry County and across Illinois have only confirmed what was so plainly stated in Patrick’s letter,” explained Reick. “An agency that serves two masters cannot provide the kind of protections that will prevent more tragedies like the one we experienced here in our own back yard.”