* Rep. Ramirez and Sen. CP-Z…
To inaugurate the newly-established Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor, state Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, are holding a press conference on Thursday, June 16 at 2 p.m. at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Ramirez will also be joined by Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, Sen. Robert F. Martwick and representatives of the Polish-American Chamber of Commerce.
Ramirez passed House Bill 5581 creating the new Heritage Corridor, and the bill was signed into law last week.
* Governor’s office…
Gov. JB Pritzker today signed into law legislation allowing for the implementation of design-build project delivery, an efficient, alternative method for completing the state’s infrastructure improvements.
Senate Bill 2981 creates the Innovations for Transportation Infrastructure Act, authorizing the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway Authority to adopt the use of the design-build delivery method on highway construction projects. IDOT currently utilizes the design-bid-build project delivery method in which the department designs a construction plan, then reviews bids from contractors. Design-build would create a more efficient process, allowing a single contractor to handle both design and construction of the project. Any projects that adopt this method would be capped at a combined total of $400 million.
“Illinoisans deserve modernized infrastructure on a timely basis,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “A design-build delivery method won’t just save taxpayers money—it will streamline our construction process and deliver the infrastructure improvements that our state requires. With this legislation, our Rebuild Illinois investment plan will be expedited in a time-efficient, cost-effective, and equity-based manner. I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill into law thanks to our legislative partners’ foresight and advocacy.”
“Streamlining the implementation of infrastructure projects will save taxpayer dollars and rebuild our roads, bridges and mass transit systems in a transparent and equitable manner,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “Finding alternative ways to deliver on the Rebuild Illinois capital plan remains a top priority for me as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.”
“Flexibility makes for more effective and responsive solutions,” said State Representative Marcus C. Evans, Jr. “This new law will allow bidders and contractors to be more agile and adaptable in response to public needs, and for transportation agencies to ensure that bureaucratic red tape doesn’t interfere with our pursuit of the best solutions on behalf of all Illinoisans.”
“This innovative approach to designing and building our state’s infrastructure will save time and money, and that’s a win-win for the taxpayers of Illinois,” said State Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles), Chief Co-Sponsor of the legislation and Minority Spokesperson of the Senate Transportation Committee. “We’re streamlining processes, maximizing efficiencies, and fostering a collaborative approach from start to finish. I am proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of this bipartisan legislation.”
“We thank Gov. Pritzker and the General Assembly for coming through to approve these new methods of project of delivery at IDOT, something that’s been long overdue in Illinois, the transportation hub of North America and a state rich with infrastructure,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “These give us more tools in the toolbox to make sure we are delivering the governor’s historic Rebuild Illinois capital program to the public as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
“This law will give Illinois a proven best practice that will help deliver transportation projects more quickly and efficiently, saving money and getting people and goods where they need to go sooner,” said Kelly Welsh, President, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. “I want to thank Governor Pritzker, Transportation Committee Chairman Ram Villivalam, the leadership of organized labor, and the construction and engineering industry for their hard work and partnership in bringing this innovation to our state transportation program.”
“Illinois is on its way to joining the many other states both nationwide and in the Midwest that have already authorized design-build to deliver infrastructure projects,” said Mary Tyler, AICP, Transportation Director, Illinois Economic Policy Institute. “Design-build has become the industry-standard, and research shows it delivers projects more quickly and promotes cost savings. Illinois will now be equipped with a more streamlined and efficient process to tackle large, complex infrastructure projects that are vital to the state’s transportation systems.”
“Equal access in the built industry for minority owned firms in a meaningful and sustained manner must be the highest priority today,” said Rev. Larry S. Bullock, MPA, President/CEO, USMCA. “Members of the US Minority Contractors Association [USMCA], headquartered here in Illinois, enthusiastically support this new and innovative design-build law and Governor Pritzker’s affirmative action taken today as he once again gives genuine support to diversity, equity and inclusion in the state of Illinois.”
“Providing IDOT and the Tollway the authority to utilize alternative delivery methods like design-build will responsibly expedite construction projects, with the goal of producing more jobs for Illinois workers and shorter construction times for Illinois commuters and businesses,” said Kevin Artl, President and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois. “ACEC-IL and its members are proud to have championed SB2891 and applaud the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker for their great work on this legislation.”
The Innovations for Transportation Infrastructure Act also authorizes IDOT and the Tollway to use the construction manager-general contractor delivery method on at most two projects per year. In adopting this method, the department would contract with a single contractor to serve as the construction manager for the design phase, then agree on a price to serve as general contractor for construction.
Additionally, the act requires IDOT and the Tollway to ensure full participation for minority and women-owned businesses by implementing separate goals for design and construction, bid-shopping protections, and requiring independent construction managers for projects costing over $30 million.
The adoption of the design-build method will serve as a method of streamlining the implementation of Governor Pritzker’s landmark, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois infrastructure investment plan. Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state’s aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth.
Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. The plan’s implementation has led to a complete revitalization of infrastructure in Illinois.
* Governor’s office…
Today, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation into law requiring insurance and managed health plans provide coverage for continuous glucose monitors, an essential tool for diabetes care. SB2969 expands safe and affordable treatment options for thousands of Illinoisans. Continuous glucose monitors are essential devices for patients with both Type I and Type II diabetes to maintain safe blood sugar levels and prevent the need for emergency medical care. The bill was signed at Lurie Children’s Hospital, a major endocrinology center that treats thousands of diabetic patients each year.
“No one—regardless of their socioeconomic status or insurance coverage—should go without the care they require,” said Governor Pritzker. “But for too long, diabetics have had to make the impossible choice between obtaining this necessary medical equipment or putting food on the table. That is an unacceptable burden to ask diabetics to bear, and this legislation will ensure insurance companies support these essential devices and those that use them”
More than 1.3 million Illinoisans suffer from diabetes. Continuous glucose monitors track blood sugar throughout the day, allowing up-to-the-minute data for patients to use when assessing diet or the need for insulin. Although diabetes is a manageable disease, the tools to monitor and control the disease are essential for that management to be successful. Failure to treat elevated or decreased blood sugar levels can result in serious illness for patients, often requiring expensive emergency care and hospitalization.
Diabetes disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities, further exacerbating the equity gap caused by high-cost monitoring devices. CDC data shows Black, Hispanic, and Native American Illinoisans are all at a higher risk of getting diabetes. This legislation ensures the most at-risk Illinoisans cannot be denied coverage that is desperately needed to stay healthy and prevent further medical complications.
Governor Pritzker has codified several other insurance expansions into law during his time in office to expand access to necessary healthcare that has been neglected or gone uncovered by insurance providers in the past. Legislation signed by the Governor has required insurance coverage for prostate cancer and breast cancer screenings, naloxone, prophylactic AIDS medicine, over-the-counter birth control, and more. Governor Pritzker also signed an executive order during the COVID-19 pandemic requiring telehealth be covered at the same rate as in-person care, codifying that protection into law in 2021.
“This is a development in science that should be available to help people better regulate their diabetes,” said State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “Glucose monitoring systems should be covered the same as other medical equipment. Today we are taking a positive toward making these devices more accessible.”
“No one should have to worry about how they will access quality healthcare or the medicine they need to be well,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “By signing this legislation, Illinois honors its promise of putting resources and policies in place that benefit the health and welfare of residents throughout the state.”
“No person with diabetes should have to worry about being able to afford monitoring their blood sugar,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “Diabetes patients should not be treated differently than anyone else. We need to be doing all that we can to ensure that we are providing affordable health care to all.”
“One of the first doors I knocked on when I first ran for this role was answered by a 20 year old with type 1 diabetes,” said State Rep. Suzanne Ness (D-Crystal Lake). “His number one priority was the cost of healthcare as this was going to affect him his whole life. While IL has capped the cost of insulin, it is only right that we include and make more affordable, life changing devices that improve a person’s quality of life. SB2969 does just that.”
“The signing of SB 2969 is another example of Illinois leading the fight for those in our communities who need it the most,” said State Rep. Kambium Buckner (D-Chicago). “Glucose monitors provide users with important information about their blood sugar levels and can literally be the difference between life and death. Removing barriers like this brings us closer to our goal of complete healthcare equity that serves all of the people of Illinois.”
“Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago commends Governor Pritzker, Senator Julie Morrison and Representative Suzanne Ness for passing and signing into law legislation that will improve access to Continuous Glucose Monitor devices for Illinois children and families afflicted with diabetes,” stated Dr. Naomi Fogel, Medical Director of the Diabetes Program at Lurie Children’s. “Children and families with access to Continuous Glucose Monitors have improved health outcomes, reducing their risk for Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations and future complications.”
“The American Diabetes Association applauds Senator Julie Morrison for sponsoring SB 2969 and Governor Pritzker for signing it into law today,” said Gary Dougherty, Director of State Government Affairs for the Association. “Advances in diabetes technology are changing lives. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) provides glucose readings every few minutes, allowing for improved monitoring and management of diabetes. By requiring state-regulated health plans to cover CGMs, even more people will have affordable access to this technology which can lower their risk for dangerous complications of diabetes.”
“On behalf of the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging, we thank Governor Pritzker for signing Senate Bill 2969. This legislation will help more older adults and their caregivers to access real-time glucose data monitoring to better manage their diabetes and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. We would also like to thank Senator Morrison and Representative Ness for their leadership on this issue that will improve the health of seniors and all Illinoisans,” said Marla Fronczak, President of the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging
“This important new law will help people suffering from diabetes stay healthy. We thank Governor Pritzker for signing this important law and Senator Julie Morrison and Representative Suzanne Ness for getting it through the General Assembly,” said Dr. Rodney Alford, President-Elect Illinois State Medical Society.
* Sen. Simmons…
To allow students in custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections the opportunity to continue to earn an education while serving their time, State Senator Mike Simmons passed a law to allow students to attend classes remotely.
“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Senate for supporting this legislation,” said Simmons (D-Chicago) This removes a systemic barrier for youth in custody who ought to be able to continue their education. We are giving them a better chance of finding employment and thriving when re-entering their communities”
Simmons’ law will create a pilot program to allow remote learning for students of Consuella B. York Alternative High School that are in the custody of the IDOC. If successful, the program could roll out in other alternative schools across Illinois. California currently has programs that allow inmates to work toward their Bachelor’s Degree. Research from the Cal Matters Organization show such programs have contributed to improving opportunities and lowering recidivism rates.
“This is a great step toward shoring up the gaps that exist in serving the needs of those who are incarcerated,” Simmons said. “Doing so will help buttress our overall efforts to lower recidivism rates and increase public safety.”
House Bill 5016 was signed into law and took immediate effect.