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It’s just a bill

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* WGEM

The state House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday adding reproductive health decisions to the state’s anti-discrimination law.

It would ban people from discriminating against someone when it comes to employment, housing, public accommodations and financial credit.

Reproductive health decisions include prenatal and postnatal care, fertility treatments, including IVF, the use of contraception and whether someone gets an abortion.

“This bill enhances civil rights protections for Illinoisans at a time when we must affirmatively stand up to protect and ensure those rights,” said state Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, the bill’s sponsor.

* WAND

Illinois lawmakers passed a plan last year to require fentanyl education in every high school. Now, representatives hope to pass a bill to require this instruction in junior high.

Sponsors believe students in 6th through 8th grade should learn the differences between synthetic and non-synthetic opioids and illicit drugs as well as the variations of fentanyl.

Rep. Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville) said Tuesday that young students should also know the side effects and risk factors of using fentanyl. […]

The legislation passed out of the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policy Committee unanimously. House Bill 4219 now heads to the House floor for further consideration.

* Daily Herald

House Bill 4431, which would eliminate senior behind-the-wheel exams, was introduced by state Rep. Jeff Keicher and has 34 co-sponsors so far.

“I think it’s more appropriate, instead of being ageist and deciding at a certain birthday that you’re no longer able — that we put a dynamic in place that allows for triggers,” the Sycamore Republican said.

Those could include physical or mental health conditions as well as tickets or accidents. They would be introduced later in separate legislation, Keicher noted. […]

AARP Executive Council member Candace Trees of Springfield said that as a widow, she safely drives herself everywhere she needs to go, whether it’s the grocery store, a medical appointment or to visit friends and family. […]

St. Charles Republican state Sen. Don DeWitte indicated he’d support the bill if it moves out of the House.

* AARP

The right to drive should be based on ability and not age, state lawmakers, AARP Illinois and older adults said at a press conference Tuesday.

Senator Donald DeWitte (R-33), Representative Jeff Keicher (R-76), AARP Illinois Senior Director of Advocacy and Outreach Ryan Gruenenfelder and older adults urged support for a bill that would end a mandatory extra road test for drivers over 75 years of age. Illinois is the only state in the nation that has this requirement.

“AARP Illinois has heard for years from our members about how this law disproportionately affects older drivers and perpetuates false narratives about their driving abilities,” said AARP Illinois Senior Director of Advocacy and Outreach Ryan Gruenenfelder. “The research clearly shows that older drivers are the safest drivers on our roadways, and we believe that singling them out to take an extra test is a type of age discrimination and has to end.”

An Illinois Department of Transportation report released in 2022 showed virtually no change in crash rates for drivers 75 and older, with a crash rate of 24.39 per 1,000 drivers, which is lower than every age range of drivers between 16 and 69 years old.

HB 4431 calls for an amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code that would remove the extra road test requirement that applies only to drivers over 75. […]

HB 4431 heads to a vote on the House floor this week.

HB4431 is on Second Reading in the House.

* WGIL

Illinois legislators are pushing for measures to help social workers deal with overdoses and to attract more people to the field.

Now in the Illinois House, Senate Bill 3779 would allow a clinical social worker or social worker to possess and administer naloxone, an opioid antagonists.

In the past decade, state Sen. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, said opioid deaths have increased by 3,341% in Illinois. One reason why there could be an increase in overdoses is the pandemic lockdowns. […]

Villa’s bill adds the administering power for naloxone is not within the scope of a social worker’s practice. Kyle Hillman, National Association of Social Workers Illinois legislative chair, said crisis response teams are currently saying the liability risk with social workers administering naloxone is too high.

* Center Square

The Illinois Senate could consider a bill to address squatters. […]

[State Sen. Dave Syverson] said his Senate Bill 3658 would give police more authority to remove squatters. […]

Opponents of the bill included Sam Tuttle representing Legal Action Chicago. Tuttle said everyone needs housing and there is already an eviction law that can be used if necessary. […]

State Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, said the measure isn’t ready. Sims said there’s already criminal trespass statutes and Syverson’s bill may be too broad. […]

Despite those concerns, the measure advanced out of the Illinois Judiciary Committee unanimously Tuesday and awaits further action.

* Rep. Mary Gill…

State Rep. Mary Gill, D-Chicago, passed a plan out of the House Tuesday that would require health insurance plans for police and firefighters to include coverage for marriage and couple’s counseling.

“This idea was brought to me by a constituent who owns a private therapy practice and works with first responders and their partners,” Gill said. “It’s clear to me that there is a real need to expand access because it’s incredibly beneficial for our officers, firefighters and families. They experience incredible stresses in their line of work, and it’s important we provide the support network they deserve.”

Currently, insurance plans are not required to cover marriage or couple’s counseling as they are not considered a diagnosable mental health condition. While some insurance plans may offer coverage as an additional benefit, Gill’s House Bill 4460 would uniformly require the benefit. The measure would impact every level of police, including Illinois State Police, sheriff’s departments and municipal departments, as well as paramedics employed by a fire department. The proposal is not limited to married couples, it would also include partners who reside with the first responder.

House Bill 4460 passed the House with bipartisan support.

* WAND

The Illinois House passed a plan Tuesday to ensure school vendors and learning partners follow the state’s new comprehensive literacy plan. […]

The Illinois State Board of Education introduced framework for the literacy plan in January. However, House Bill 4902 could ensure schools would not be limited by their vendors. […]

Some House Republicans argue vendors will already follow the new literacy standards and a new law isn’t necessary.

The proposal passed out of the House on a 91-19 vote with one representative voting present. House Bill 4902 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

* Scott Holland

Consider Senate Bill 2751, which the Senate passed 59-0 Thursday and forbids counties, townships and municipalities from charging building permit fees to any veteran with a disability who needs to modify their home as an accommodation.

Proponents frame this as legislative thankfulness for those injured while serving our country. That’s a popular position, as indicated by a unanimous vote on legislation introduced by a Republican (state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods,) and bipartisan sponsorship.

But opponents could argue this plan represents another attempt by state government to chip away at local control, obligating small governments to continue delivering services while barring them from collecting payment, which forces either budget cuts or an increase of fees elsewhere in municipal planning departments. […]

But the political fact no one will say these things makes them no less true. This plan does represent the state dictating to local governments. It’s the same way lawmakers nearly unanimously imposed rules on nonprofit animal shelters last year through House Bill 2500, forcing them to waive pet adoption fees for veterans once every two years. The General Assembly didn’t offer to make up those fees, nor does there seem to be compensation for the loss of building permit revenue.

* WAND

Lawmakers are working on a plan in Springfield to improve the state’s Name Image and Likeness (NIL) law for college athletes.

Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) told the House Higher Education Committee Tuesday that the law has put Illinois universities at a significant disadvantage in terms of recruiting and retention of players. […]

Buckner explained his plan could allow athletes to earn NIL compensation directly from their universities as permitted by the NCAA. The proposal would also block press or the public from requesting how much athletes make from their private NIL deals. […]

Buckner’s legislation could also allow universities to create athletic department incentives for fans to support student athlete NIL activities. For example, fans could potentially get better parking or seats at an arena if they donate to NIL funds. […]

House Bill 307 now moves to the House floor for further consideration.

* WSIU

A constituent of State Representative Dave Severin, who has been teaching barber and cosmetology classes for 30+ years, was looking to get a cross-classification into a different specialty teaching.

But, she was told that in order to get that new specialty she would have to take the classes that she was teaching.

According to the Benton republican, 30 years of teaching a class was apparently not good enough to claim that she would pass her own class.

So the instructor reached out to Severin to see if there could be an end-around for teachers of courses to be exempted from having to take the courses they teach due to experience in the field.

HB4570, which helps make that change was given final approval in the Illinois House of Representatives Tuesday and now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

* Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez…

State Rep. Elizabeth ‘Lisa’ Hernandez, D-Cicero, championed the right to accurate, professional court transcripts, passing critical legislation to protect the use of qualified shorthand reporters in the courtroom.

“Judges, prosecutors and especially system-involved individuals depend on quality court transcripts to make decisions that will impact people’s lives, so when technology breaks down and entire swaths of a proceeding are missing, that is a serious problem for our justice system,” Hernandez said. “There is no replacement for the in-person human element, and this legislation makes sure qualified stenographers stay in the courtroom. Serious challenges to our judicial system remain, but my legislation will keep records fair, transparent and accurate.”

As technology and other circumstances lead more courts to consider electronic transcripts as an alternative to trained transcriptionists, Hernandez’s House Bill 4426 ensures that the practice of maintaining in-person shorthand reporters in the courtroom continues.

Shorthand reporters complete strict training and education requirements in order to serve as a stenographer, providing a level of certainty in their work which can be critical to the parties in court cases. Following pandemic-era restrictions and social distancing guidelines instituted in Illinois courtrooms, many courtrooms opted to use digital recording equipment in lieu of in-person stenographers. However, technology error, machine malfunctions and a lack of technical training means this digital recording practice was unreliably communicating court information. In many cases, faulty equipment or incorrectly transcribed transcripts threatened the validity of court records used to determine criminal and civil outcomes.

Hernandez’s bill ensures in-person transcription continues while state officials establish concrete language on guidelines, rules and procedures for the future of the shorthand reporter industry.

House Bill 4426 passed the House on Monday, April 15.

       

11 Comments
  1. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 9:58 am:

    “Squatters” is the latest front in the anti-immigrant war.

    Social media has been flooded with claims there is an epidemic of squatters, those stories have become popular click bait on local news outlet websites. Because they generate lots of clicks.

    In response, Ron DeSantis recently signed legislation criminalizing squatting.

    A more reasonable response might be to require an expedited hearing schedule for squatting disputes, say 15 days, and to make the loser liable for court costs and attorney fees.

    But given that squatting does not appear to be happening much, if at all, in Illinois, I won’t get too worked up about Syveron’s effort to outlaw unicorn-riding.


  2. - JB13 - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 10:04 am:

    There is zero justification for forcing a homeowner to use the eviction law process to remove a squatter from your home, when they have zero proof they have any right to be there.

    Anyone who believes so, I certainly hope you never have to endure such a nightmare


  3. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 10:08 am:

    >> State Rep. Mary Gill, D-Chicago, passed a plan out of the House Tuesday that would require health insurance plans for police and firefighters to include coverage for marriage and couple’s counseling.

    The statistics have shown for years that the marriages of first responders are more fragile, likely due to the unique stresses of the job. So this is long overdue.


  4. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 10:08 am:

    Older drivers are statistically safe… until they’re not. I had enough anecdotal experience to say there are some that might be okay to drive to the grocery store but anything more ambitious is really inadvisable, and now we have ride sharing services everywhere, it’s better for everyone those marginal drivers hang it up before they hurt someone. Often family members don’t want to be the ones to tell gammy she can’t drive anymore, because they treasure that mobility. Makes Sec of state the bad guy. Someone has to be, however. Annual testing after 70 is not a hardship.


  5. - tea_and_honey - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 10:23 am:

    >>An Illinois Department of Transportation report released in 2022 showed virtually no change in crash rates for drivers 75 and older, with a crash rate of 24.39 per 1,000 drivers, which is lower than every age range of drivers between 16 and 69 years old.

    If the purpose of the yearly testing is to get unsafe older drivers off the road wouldn’t that contribute to that group having lower crash statistics?


  6. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 10:33 am:

    –The right to drive should be based on ability and not age–

    As the police often tell us - driving isn’t a right, It’s a privilege.

    I understand the motivation, but does this view hold for the other side of the age spectrum too.

    Or is ageism acceptable when it’s applied to young people.

    If a 9 year old can pass the driving test, would it be appropriate to give them a license. The logic being used here seems to suggest it would be. After all, 9yr olds currently have a accident rate of 0 per 1,000 drivers.

    Statistics can be deceptive.

    It’s not the accident rate per 1000 people which is important, it’s the accident rate per million miles driven. Older people drive less, so it makes sense the rate per 1000 will be lower. However when they do drive there is an increase in accidents per mile driven with the highest numbers in the oldest drivers. Interestingly, this statistic is not mentioned anywhere in the discussion. Its absence in this discussion is relevant.

    Licensing aside, insurance companies aren’t charging higher rates for elderly drivers just for fun.

    Source - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

    https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/older-people


  7. - Downstate - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 10:54 am:

    Whether this has been “ginned up” by the media is certainly relevant. But lots of snowbirds from our area are concerned about the potential for squatting in their Illinois homes. It’s been a real problem for landlords with dead-beat renters. One friend spent nearly a year trying to remove an individual.


  8. - H-W - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 11:37 am:

    The Scott Holland presentation on SB 2751 is interesting. I am a veteran.

    I am ambiguous regarding gifts to veterans. Most of us I suspect have moved on from our service and now live civilian lives. I never even bothered to have that “veteran” stamp included on my driver’s license until I was 60 (I am now 65). I have never bothered to solicit discounts by claiming veteran status until my wife (also a veteran) started doing so five years ago.

    I am in favor of helping veterans whose service led to accomodation needs. I am in favor of society providing veterans’ homes to those who need housing. I am in favor of helping veterans.

    But a lot of things are not important to me as a veteran. I do not need free building permits for example, simply because I served in the U.S. Army. I do not need a lot of things, including a “thank you” for having served.

    In that context, if my service in the U.S. Army inconveniences or costs my local community, I would prefer not to be thanked for my service, nor given benefits that cost the local community.

    While I do not have to apply should such benefits exist, making them available is a cost, and I wonder how many veterans actually need such assistance as free building permits.

    I would prefer to see a floor debate, with lay veteran input (not lobbyists seeking accomplishments). Simply giving to veterans is not necessarily just if it takes away from those we served.


  9. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 12:06 pm:

    Re Squatters - just saying that organizations like Legal Action Chicago make a ton of money off representing people through the years long eviction process in Chicago (which I might add is funded by taxpayers), so of course they’re going to say it is working just fine, and they’re not paying for the cost of having a squatter tenant for over a year.


  10. - Just a Citizen - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 1:33 pm:

    I am totally in favor of getting rid of the behind-the-wheel test for seniors. You can’t judge an entire age group by some anecdotal evidence. If that were the case, teenagers wouldn’t get a license.


  11. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 8:42 pm:

    H-W. I respect your opinion. I am a disabled veteran rated at 30%. I am fortunate my injuries do not require special accommodations for my home or vehicle. I have a personal belief that anyone who is disabled, veteran or not, should have building permits adjusted for their income level.

    The Bill to me feeels like election year pandering.


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