* Sen. Jason Barickman wants to recriminalize small amounts of cannabis possession for those under 21 with SB299…
Amends the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. Provides that a person under 21 years of age who possesses 30 grams or less of cannabis is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor (rather than a civil law violation). Provides that a person under 21 years of age who possesses more than 30 grams of cannabis is subject to the penalties provided in the Cannabis Control Act. Effective immediately.
* Meanwhile, similar telehealth legislation was proposed last May and didn’t survive…
The Coalition to Protect Telehealth has announced support for a legislative proposal to protect Illinoisans’ access to the innovative telehealth services they have relied on receiving from health care professionals and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Introduced by State Rep. Deb Conroy (46th House District), House Bill 3498 ensures quality, affordable and safe virtual healthcare that improves patient outcomes by reducing access barriers will continue to be provided after the COVID-19 pandemic. Critically, the legislation aligns telehealth coverage and payment with in-person care, making appropriate patient access to care the priority.
“Over the last year, we’ve seen significant, rapid development in telehealth technology. Initially spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, both state and federal government enacted policy changes to make telehealth services easier to access and, as a result, healthcare providers, professionals and patients have seen that virtual care preserves quality and safety, while also accommodating patients’ individual needs,” said Rep. Conroy. “Illinois should support this continued investment in telehealth and the important role it will play in modernizing healthcare delivery and empowering patients.”
Importantly, House Bill 3498 prohibits geographic or facility restrictions on telehealth services, and allows patients to be treated via telehealth in their home. The legislation establishes patients will not be required to use a separate panel of providers or professionals to receive telehealth services, nor would they be required to prove a hardship or access barrier in order to receive telehealth services. The legislation further protects patient preference by establishing a patient cannot be required to use telehealth services.
Additionally, House Bill 3498 gives healthcare providers and professionals the professional latitude to determine the appropriateness of specific sites and technology platforms for telehealth services, while upholding federal and state privacy laws.
Even as in-person visits have resumed, telehealth use has remained at a persistent and significant level, with strong indication from patients, healthcare providers and professionals that this flexibility to access care must be maintained permanently.
Telehealth use has been demonstrated to increase care plan adherence and improved chronic disease management, and in recent surveys, over 70% of Illinois hospital respondents and 78% of community-based behavioral healthcare respondents reported that telehealth has helped drive a reduction in the rates at which patients missed appointments. Surveys of Illinois physicians, community health centers, and specialized mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers have also revealed similar dramatic reductions in missed appointments.
* Newspapers ain’t happy… again…
Like clockwork, an Illinois lawmaker proposes a bill each legislative session to remove public notices from newspapers and instead post them only on government websites.
This session is no different. Rep. Jonathon Carroll (D-Northbrook) has introduced House Bill 811 with two co-sponsors — Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove) and Rep. Sam Yingling (D- Round Lake Beach). So far, the proposal has not been assigned to a committee.
But just as bills that have come and gone before it — Rep. Joseph Sosnowski introduced a similar proposal that was defeated in 2017 — HB 811 is a bad idea. And again, lawmakers should reject it.
Newspapers have played a vital role in providing transparency about government by publishing public notices. It has worked for more than 150 years. As the neutral third party, newspapers help protect government from denying the public information they have the right to know about such as meetings, hearings, court actions, contract bidding, unclaimed funds and more. Along with open meetings, freedom of information laws, public notices are an essential element to keeping government transparent.