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It’s just a bill

Thursday, Mar 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Legislation is moving through the General Assembly called the Too Young to Test Act. The Tribune has a good story outlining the issues involved. It’s pretty long and involved, and that makes it difficult to excerpt, but it’s definitely worth your time. Click here.

* Press release…

To protect communities across Illinois from the deadly impact of lead, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to strengthen lead mitigation procedures.

“Virtually every community across the state is affected by lead in our water supply,” said Simmons. “This bill provides a systemic response to a problem that is systemic in nature, is decades in the making, and often does the most injury to Black and Brown communities.”

House Bill 4369 would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to follow up on lead mitigation notices by carrying out inspections to ensure the work has been completed. The current law merely permits an inspection, while this legislation will require and enforce lead mitigation efforts.

Lead is a heavy metal and suspected carcinogen that was frequently used in paint, plumbing materials, and many other items before the 1980s. Today, it is mostly found in aging water pipes, contaminated soil, and peeling paint found on windows, baseboards, trim, and doors. No amount of lead exposure is considered safe for children or adults.

“Removing lead from all housing and facilities is long overdue and is critical towards overall health equity and racial equity across Illinois,” Simmons said. “I am hopeful we can continue to work together on this systemic solution that ensures the people of Illinois can have access to clean drinking water.”

House Bill 4369 passed the Senate and awaits further consideration.

* Sun-Times

A proposed state law to strengthen environmental protections for low-income communities appears to be dead for a second-straight legislative session as lawmakers fear the wrath of business groups in an election year.

Environmental groups say a law is needed to slow the addition of pollution sources in communities already overwhelmed with bad air and other hazards. The businesses say the proposal adds red tape and fees that will kill jobs.

The idea of an “environmental justice” law was supported by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last year but a bill was never debated in 2021. The same bill now lacks enough votes in the waning days of lawmakers’ current session in Springfield, advocates say. […]

Part of the proposal would add a $200,000 state construction permit fee — a recommendation from Pritzker’s administration — and additional government scrutiny to businesses defined as “major” pollution sources that want to operate in communities deemed already overburdened by environmental stresses. The industry groups believe the bill would dramatically expand the number of areas considered to be already overburdened. […]

The business groups say supporters of the proposal won’t negotiate but community activists dispute that, saying it’s the industry organizations — from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce to the Illinois Farm Bureau — who are not budging.

* Center Square

A new measure aims to streamline Illinois Department of Transportation projects.

The Illinois House has approved the Innovations for Transportation Infrastructure Act, which authorizes IDOT to use the design-build method to allow for a single entity to both design and start construction on a project.

Currently, IDOT uses the design-bid-build project delivery method where the department designs a plan in-house, then reviews bids from contractors. Sponsors said design-build would expedite the process by allowing a single entity to both design and start construction on the project. […]

The Innovations for Transportation Infrastructure Act also authorizes IDOT and the Illinois Tollway Authority to use the construction manager-general contractor delivery method on up to two projects per year. Using the method, the department would contract with a single entity to serve as the construction manager for the design phase, then agree on a price to serve as general contractor for construction.

* Capitol News Illinois

Graduates from Illinois colleges and universities may soon be able to access their transcripts even if they still owe money to the school they attended.

The Illinois House on Tuesday gave its approval to a bill that had already cleared the Senate prohibiting higher education institutions from refusing to provide copies of student transcripts either to the current or former student or that student’s current or prospective employer.

The proposed change in Illinois comes as the Biden administration is considering limited changes to federal guidelines that have long encouraged colleges and universities to withhold transcripts from anyone who is delinquent on repaying certain student loans.

Senate Bill 3032, dubbed the Student Debt Assistance Act, would go further than the Biden administration’s proposal by prohibiting the withholding of transcripts, or charging a higher fee for accessing those transcripts, on the grounds that the student owes the school any debt.

* Scott Holland column

Consider the quote from state Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, who spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times after opposing the appointment of Eleanor Kaye Wilson [to the Prisoner Review Board] due to her votes, as an acting board member awaiting full confirmation, to approve parole for Joseph Hurst and Johnny Veal, accused of killing Chicago police officers more than 50 years ago.

“No individual who commits such a heinous crime should be eligible for parole,” Wilson said. “The Prisoner Review Board should ensure that the most severe crimes are met with the most severe sanction under the law.”

If Cunningham sincerely believes his first sentence, his solution isn’t in the second, it’s in legislation to make a conviction for killing a law enforcement officer punishable by mandatory life in prison without possibility of parole under any circumstances.

On Jan. 21, state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, filed Senate Bill 3899, which would reinstate the death penalty in Illinois as a possible punishment for killing a police officer. It has two GOP cosponsors and sits in the Assignments Committee.


Employers may be required to provide more breaks for employees after a bill expanding workers rights passed both Houses.

The proposal sponsored by Rep. Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago), would require employers to provide a day of rest in seven days of consecutive work, as opposed to previous law that would only require a day of rest once a calendar week.

Additionally, employers must now provide an extra 20 minute break for every four and a half hours worked beyond an eight hour work day.

Collins said it updates outdated requirements for workers. However, the bill passed along partisan lines. Republicans expressed opposition due to an outstanding complaint from the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association that employers wouldn’t have enough time to accommodate the changes.

* Press release…

–State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) championed a measure that passed the Senate Wednesday that would further increase student safety by ensuring their local school board’s threat assessment procedures are filed with the local law enforcement agencies.

“We have seen school shootings on the rise across the country,” Belt said. “Ensuring our school’s threat assessment procedures are up to date is essential to protecting our students in an emergency situation.”

Currently, each public school district is required to implement a threat assessment procedure that includes the creation of a threat assessment team. The team must consist of an administrator, teacher, school counselor, psychologist, school social worker and at least one law enforcement official.

House Bill 4994 would require each local school board to file the threat assessment procedure and a list of the members on the school district’s threat assessment team or regional behavior threat assessment and intervention team with a local law enforcement agency and the regional office of education at the start of each school year. Chicago Public Schools would file the threat assessment procedure and list of members with the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Each school district has their own procedure in place,” Belt said. “We want to make sure all local school boards are on the same page so parents know that the school is prepared and has the resources to protect their children.”

House Bill 4994 passed the Senate and now heads to the governor’s desk.

* Press release…

When Bloomington resident Curt Richardson got his DNA test results back from, his life – and those of his parents – changed forever when they learned they had been victims of fertility fraud.

Richardson’s story is similar to hundreds of others across the state and nation who have lived most of their lives thinking the very people who raised them were their biological parents. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is working to bring awareness to fertility fraud and provide justice to the families who fall victim to the heinous act.

“Fertility fraud is an issue that we have been silent on for far too long,” Koehler said. “It is my goal to end the silence surrounding the issue and outlaw the practice once and for all.”

Fertility fraud occurs when a health care provider knowingly or intentionally uses their own human reproductive cells during an assisted reproductive treatment without the patient’s informed written consent.

When Richardson received his at-home DNA test results in June of 2021, he knew he couldn’t be silent. A former Peoria resident, he reached out to Koehler for help to ensure that if any other Illinoisans becomes victim of fertility fraud, they would be able to take legal action.

Senate Bill 4199 would create the Illinois Fertility Fraud Act, which would allow people to bring action against health care providers, embryologist or any other person who knowingly or intentionally use their own reproductive cells without the patient’s informed written consent.

Under the measure, if a person knowingly or intentionally provides assisted reproductive treatment to a patient by using their own reproductive cells without written consent, that person would be considered to have committed criminal sexual assault.

Illinois would join states like Texas, California and Indiana in outlining penalties for fertility fraud. The Illinois Fertility Fraud Act, the staunchest legislation of its kind currently being considered, is most similar to the legislation passed in Indiana, brought about in 2019 after a woman’s DNA test revealed she had at least 50 biological half siblings due to a fertility doctor using his own sperm to impregnate his patients throughout the 70s and 80s.

“Today Illinois has taken an important step to become the ninth state to prohibit the deplorable act of fertility fraud,” Richardson said. “This legislation will hold those accountable who have sexually assaulted their patients, violated the medical standard of care and sacred doctor-patient trust, and upended the lives of their patients, their spouses and children.”

Richardson joined Senator Koehler at a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss fertility fraud and how it will be brought to an end in Illinois through the Illinois Fertility Fraud Act. The legislation awaits further deliberation.

* Press release…

State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) spearheaded a measure through the Senate Wednesday that would add MRSA to the list of qualifying diseases that Chicago firefighters can receive a disability benefit for if they were to get the infection on duty.

“Firefighters are exposed to toxic substances on a daily basis when responding to emergencies,” Feigenholtz said. “This measure aligns Chicago firefighters with the rest of the state’s firefighters.”

House Bill 4435 would align Chicago firefighters with downstate firefighters by extending an occupational disease disability benefit to any active Chicago firefighter who has completed seven or more years of service and can’t perform their duties because of a contagious staph infection, including MRSA.

“If staph infections are not properly treated, the infection can spread throughout the body,” Feigenholtz said. “This measure would ensure all our first responders are protected when injured on the job.”

House Bill 4435 passed the Senate and heads to the governor’s desk.


  1. - Huh? - Thursday, Mar 31, 22 @ 10:36 am:

    “authorizes IDOT to use the design-build method”

    An idea that is long overdue. It is also fraught with danger if used indiscriminately or not well thought out.

  2. - CLR - Thursday, Mar 31, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    Scott Holland is wrong.

    The inmate before the board were sentenced under the old system before determinate sentencing. Stripping of them of parole eligibility now with a new law would violate the constitution’s ex post facto provisions. Only the PRB can decide whether they’re paroled, not the the legislature.

  3. - G'Kar - Thursday, Mar 31, 22 @ 11:38 am:

    Re: Fertility Fraud: Detectives Briscoe and Logan dealt with that back in the `90’s.

  4. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Mar 31, 22 @ 11:51 am:

    “Agree on a price.”

    Yeah, that’ll work.

  5. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Mar 31, 22 @ 11:59 am:


    You are correct.

    Moreover, The dept of corrections and the guards within the system oppose “life without parole.” Parole is the carrot that keeps folks in line. An inmate who is in prison without parole has no legal consequence to fear from any crime they commit inside, including killing a prison guard.

    Also, wasn’t the inmate in question around 70 years old?

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