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It’s almost a law

Friday, May 17, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Sen. Mike Porfirio and Rep. Angie Guerrero-Cuellar…

Sen. Mike Porfirio and Rep. Angie Guerrero-Cuellar today passed legislation in the General Assembly to acquire a new police district facility representing their districts on the Southwest Side of Chicago. The bill passed both chambers with veto-proof margins. The legislation now heads to Gov. Pritzker’s desk for his signature.    
 
House Bill 478 would transfer the Midway Flight Facility located at 5400 W. 63rd St. to the City of Chicago for the express purpose of a police district for $1. The payment would be made to the Department of Military Affairs, which currently owns the property. 
 
“Our residents have spoken and want this facility to be used for public good,” Porfirio said. “We hope Governor Pritzker and Mayor Johnson will support our efforts to provide better police support on the Southwest Side.” 
 
The current 8th Chicago Police District is the busiest and largest by population, ranking first for all crimes committed across the city. Southwest Side residents voted overwhelmingly - at nearly 87% - for a new police district in the March 19 primary. A group of 15 elected officials representing the community sent Gov. Pritzker a letter in March requesting the state sell them a vacant building to be used as a new police district facility.
 
“I am honored to have carried and passed this important legislation for our residents who deserve safe neighborhoods like everyone else,” Guerrero-Cuellar said. “I’m hopeful Gov. Pritzker will sign our legislation and Mayor Johnson will see the value in developing an additional police district on the Southwest Side.” 
 
The 8th District has the worst data points in the city on key police staffing metrics, which has led to slow police response times and resident frustration. At its current size, which hasn’t changed since the late 1960s, the 8th District is the busiest and third-largest police district in the city (at 23 square miles) and serves the highest population with over 250,000 residents. That equates to 10 officers for every 10,000 residents, which is the lowest officer to resident ratio in the city. 
 
In January, a broad coalition of elected officials, community groups and local residents added their voices to the call to create an additional Chicago police district and new police beats on the city’s Southwest Side. The group urged Mayor Johnson, the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Department of Planning and Development to join the effort and help identify land for a new police district building in the community.

* Sen. Dave Koehler…

In an effort to expand access to medication for hereditary bleeding disorders, State Senator Dave Koehler advanced a measure to cut red-tape practices used by insurance companies.
 
“Prior authorization processes can delay vital medical care, putting patients’ lives at risk,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “We need to ensure Illinoisans can access the medications they need without delays.”
 
House Bill 4055 would prohibit prior authorization for FDA-approved medication for the treatment of hereditary bleeding disorders for up to six months. Prior authorization is a form of approval by insurance companies utilized before agreeing to cover medications and procedures. These checks can be for age, medical necessity, the availability of a medical alternative or drug interactions.
 
“This bill addresses the pre-authorization abuse that we see too often,” said State Representative Bill Hauter (R-Morton). “Those with bleeding disorders are oftentimes required to go to the emergency department, which delays care, is crowded or unable to handle their condition and then they have to be transferred to another ED for definitive care and factor. This can all be avoided if these patients can just simply go to their specialty physician and pharmacy. This bill removes the ED visit for pre-authorization and will help patients get the acute care they need in a timely fashion.”
 
According to the American Society of Hematology, mortality rates and hospitalization rates for bleeding complications from hemophilia — an inherited bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly — were 40% lower among people who received care in hemophilia treatment centers than those who did not receive this care. Koehler worked closely with the Bleeding and Clotting Disorders Institute and Representative Hauter to bring this legislation to the Senate. By eliminating prior authorization, Koehler’s bill aims to streamline the processes for patients to receive necessary treatment.
 
“Many patients do not have time to jump through unnecessary hurdles,” said Koehler. “This measure puts patients first, protecting those whose lives are at stake.”
 
House Bill 4055 passed the Senate Wednesday.

* Sen. Steve Stadelman…

To protect residents from losing access to their electric or gas services, State Senator Steve Stadelman led legislation through the Senate to prevent the disconnection of services for customers actively seeking energy payment assistance.

“This is a significant step in ensuring that all Illinois residents have access to the energy they need, especially during difficult times,” said Stadelman (D-Rockford). “No family should have to choose between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table.”

The legislation would require utility companies with more than 500,000 customers to enact procedures to prevent the disconnection of services for customers who are actively seeking energy payment assistance. Customers who apply for assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or the Percentage of Income Payment Plan would be protected from disconnection for 30 days after the utility receives notice of the customer’s application. If assistance is received, the customer is protected for an additional 45 days.

“This measure is not just about preventing disconnections – it’s about maintaining the dignity and well-being of our residents,” said Stadelman. “Access to utilities is a fundamental need, and this bill ensures that need is met for everyone, regardless of their financial situation.”

House Bill 4118 passed the Senate on Thursday.
 

* Sen. Karina Villa…

A measure championed by State Senator Karina Villa that would secure reasonable accommodations during licensing exams for individuals whose primary language is not English passed the Senate on Thursday.

“More than ever, our communities are in need of behavioral health professionals who can communicate with clients in different languages,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Empowering more bilingual individuals to pursue these professions will help improve the quality of care provided across the state.”

House Bill 5457 would codify accommodations that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is required to provide under the Americans with Disabilities Act for individuals whose primary language is not English. The measure would apply to licensure exams for social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

According to the Behavioral Health and Economics Network, over 4.8 million Illinois residents live in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area with only 13.8 behavioral health care professionals per every 10,000 residents.

“The need for more behavioral health professionals is clear,” said Villa. “By removing language barriers for licensure, we are ensuring that more qualified individuals are able to provide services to individuals in need.”

House Bill 5457 passed the Senate on Thursday.

* Rep. Dagmara Avelar…

Working to help disabled veterans modify their homes to better accommodate their needs, state Rep. Dagmara “Dee” Avelar, D-Bolingbrook, voted to waive local building permit fees under a plan supported unanimously in the House Wednesday. 

“By waiving local permit fees for disabled veterans, we’re opening doors for those who fought for our country by recognizing their sacrifices and promoting their independence — most importantly, without the financial barriers that come with these beneficial renovations,” said Avelar. “This key piece of legislation serves such an important purpose, which is ensuring that these adults can adapt to their homes and improve their quality of life after serving our country.”

The Avelar-backed Senate Bill 2751 would provide a building permit fee waiver for veterans and their caregivers if the home improvements are required to accommodate a disability of the veteran. Qualified veterans or their caregivers would need proof of their veteran status, as well as the improvements needed due to the veteran’s disability. 

The bipartisan proposal has passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s action. 

* Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton…

In an effort to recruit more nurses to work at Illinois medical facilities, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton passed a measure to extend the time nurses can practice while waiting for the review of their license application.
 
“Nurses should not lose out on work due to application waiting periods,” said Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs). “This initiative helps address the state’s nursing shortage, provides our nurses more experience with patients and ensures application delays do not affect their ability to work.”
 
House Bill 5047 would allow advanced practice registered nurses with pending applications to practice under supervision for six months while waiting for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s review of their application. Under current law, this status is revoked after three months. These nurses would need to have completed at least 250 hours of continuing education in their area of certification and have at least 4,000 hours of clinical experience to be applicable for this opportunity.
 
According to The Illinois Update, over half of registered nurses in Illinois are over the age of 55, with the state being projected to see a nursing shortage of 15,000 by 2025. Glowiak Hilton’s initiative would help combat this shortage and bring more nurses to hospitals within the state.
 
“We cannot afford to turn away accredited health care professionals,” said Glowiak Hilton. “There needs to be proactive steps taken to ensure these highly skilled nurses can contribute to patient care and medical facilities are not left understaffed.”
 
House Bill 5047 passed the Senate Thursday.

* Sen. Mike Simmons…

In direct response to growing concerns surrounding climate change and its impact on extreme weather events, State Senator Mike Simmons is sponsoring legislation that mandates weather radio installations in manufactured homes to prevent insufficient severe-weather alerts in Illinois.

“Those who are most vulnerable to severe weather must have alert systems in place that give them the best chance at remaining safe during a tornado, storm, or any other severe situation,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “With climate change having more adverse effects on our planet, manufactured homes need to be equipped with weather radios and prompt regular maintenance of safety equipment.”

House Bill 5238 would require that every newly installed manufactured home in Illinois be equipped with a weather radio, provided by the installer. This measure aims to make certain that residents have access to vital information during severe weather events, facilitating prompt action and potentially saving lives.

Under Simmons’ legislation, the weather radio must meet stringent requirements, including a tone alarm for prompt alerts, specific messaging for accurate information and public alert standard certification for reliability. The measure also encourages operators of manufactured home communities to provide written reminders to tenants reminding them to replace batteries in weather radios and smoke detectors each year during National Fire Prevention Week. 

“This is a common-sense piece of legislation. When in the path of severe weather, every resident of Illinois should know they have alerts in place to give them enough time to seek safety and shelter,” said Simmons. “These proactive steps can enhance emergency preparedness, and in turn, save lives.”

House Bill 5238 passed the Senate on Thursday.

* Sen. Karina Villa…

A measure sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa, allowing a higher volume of native plant species to be grown, passed the Senate on Thursday.

“Illinois is home to hundreds of native plant species that are crucial to the health of our state’s biodiversity,” said Villa. “By cultivating more native plants, we are protecting wildlife and embracing the one-of-a-kind landscape our state has to offer.”

House Bill 5296 would allow residents living in a community with a homeowners’ association to grow native plant species in their yards as long as the area is maintained. Homeowners’ associations would be prohibited from imposing height restrictions or impairing proper maintenance of native landscapes.

About 30% of homes in Illinois belong to a homeowners’ association. This measure would allow native landscapes to be planted in an additional 1.5 million homes across the state.

“Native plants support pollinators, birds and soil which are critical to our state’s agriculture,” said Villa. “This initiative is essential to maintain the health of our communities.”

House Bill 5296 passed the Senate on Thursday. 

* Sen. Julie Morrison…

Finding out your vehicle is totaled can be a difficult situation and the last thing you want to do is research the cost of each part of your car. State Senator Julie Morrison passed a measure to require vehicle insurance companies to do that work for you.
 
“I am committed to increasing transparency between insurance companies and consumers,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “This measure will save people time and energy during an already trying experience.”
 
House Bill 5559 would require auto insurers to provide a description of how the total loss of vehicle determination was made, as well as include any available repair estimates, estimated vehicle salvage value, assessed market value of the pre-damaged vehicle and any other costs or calculations.
 
Even when a vehicle is determined to be totaled, there still may be repairs that could return the car to safe and street legal status. This initiative would ensure insurance companies offer these repair options when it’s feasible to do so.
 
“When finding out your car is totaled, it can be difficult to know what the next best step is,” said Morrison. “Having all the pertinent information will give people peace of mind about their decision.”
 
House Bill 5559 unanimously passed the Senate Thursday.

       

3 Comments
  1. - thechampaignlife - Friday, May 17, 24 @ 1:49 pm:

    Re: SB 2751

    It would be great if these sorts of waivers operated as a state-paid fee on behalf of the disabled veteran, rather than eliminating the fee entirely. Cities do have a very real cost to inspect construction projects, so they should not be left with providing fee-for-service to some residents and free-for-service for others. If the state feels this is important - which I agree with, they should pony up the funds for it rather than make it an unfunded mandate.


  2. - Dotnonymous x - Friday, May 17, 24 @ 2:22 pm:

    No family should have to…keep hearing lawmakers saying what families should not have to endure…over and over ad nauseaum.


  3. - Dotnonymous x - Friday, May 17, 24 @ 2:49 pm:

    ad nauseam…Urps.


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