Heather A. Steans
Illinois State Senator
97th General Assembly Legislation
I passed 35 bills this session on topics ranging from the environment to health care and education. Excluding bills that relate to my new role as a Senate Appropriations Chair, legislation I moved includes the following bills.
- Tobacco Use Cessation (SB673). The bill requires insurance companies regulated by the State to offer optional coverage or reimbursement of up to $500 annually for effective tobacco use cessation programs. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is working with the Respiratory Health Association on a pilot to determine whether this program can reduce insurance costs as well. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Electric Vehicles (HB2903). Establishes a pilot program to assist car-sharing organizations in purchasing electric cars. The Governor signed this bill July 11, 2011.
- Medicaid Advisory Committee (SJR35). Creates a bipartisan, bicameral legislative committee to provide ongoing oversight of the State’s Medicaid program. Medicaid is the largest single budget item for Illinois, and with federal health care reform and our recent Medicaid Reform legislation that I sponsored, there are many changes coming.
- Nursing Home Reform Trailer Bill (SB145). Applies applicable provisions from the nursing home reform bill that passed last session to facilities that serve individuals with developmental disabilities. It also separates 5 nursing home facilities that are Institutes for Mental Disease and provide higher levels of care than other IMDs into a separate regulatory category. While no changes were made to how these facilities are regulated, this changes enables the provider assessment that was passed to receive federal approval. The Governor signed this bill July 14, 2011.
- Analysis of Services for Individuals with Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (SB1622). Requires the Department of Human Services to conduct a geographic analysis of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health illnesses. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Community Mental Health (SB1623). Requires the Department of Human Services to report annually on the efforts to move persons with mental illnesses from institutional settings to more community-based settings and to issue a rule governing community-based residential settings. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Overhaul of Teacher Certification (SB1799). The Illinois State Board of Education negotiated this bill with all interested parties over two years. It creates a new license for educators, replacing the many certificate programs to streamline and update professional requirements of teachers and administrators. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Public Health Standing Orders (SB123). Enables public health professionals to provide vaccines under standing orders from physicians, thus allowing children to more easily get their back-to-school vaccines. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Nursing Home Infection Control (HB1096). Provides that a skilled nursing facility shall designate a person as Infection Prevention and Control Professional to develop and implement policies governing control of infections and communicable diseases. The Governor signed this bill July 14, 2011.
- Oral Cancer Medication Parity (HB1825). Requires health insurance policies that provide coverage for intravenously administered or injected cancer medications to ensure that orally-administered cancer drugs are covered in similar fashion, both financially and in terms of treatment limitations. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Public Private Partnerships (HB1091). Enables the Illinois Department of Transportation and State Toll Highway Authority to enter public-private agreements to develop and operate new transportation projects. There is a significant public review process, including analysis and hearings by the independent, bipartisan Commission on Governmental Forecasting and Accountability required for any project to be considered. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature and will likely have an amendatory veto and/or require a trailer bill.
- Coverage for Individuals in Clinical Cancer Trials (SB1191). Ensures that individuals who are in qualified clinical cancer trials continue to receive coverage for routine patient care. Governor signed July 11, 2011.
- Social Security Offset for Seniors (SB144). Currently seniors in Illinois are discriminated in their unemployment compensation benefits because payments due are reduced by their social security benefits due to them solely because of their age. Illinois is one of only 2 states that has not repealed this unfair practice. I was not able to the legislation passed because of the state’s “negotiated bill process” for unemployment compensation changes. I am working to get this addressed in the fall.
- State Charter School Commission (SB79). Establishes a quasi-independent Charter School Commission consisting of 9 members appointed by the State Board of Education. The Commission will authorize high quality charter schools throughout the state and provide greater oversight and accountability to charter schools. Local control over these schools continues to be honored as well. This bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Ban on Perchloroethylene (“perc”) in Drycleaning (SB1617). With frequent detection of the toxin perc found in drinking water (one of the contaminants in the Hazel Crest well you may remember), this bill phases out the use of perc in drycleaning establishments by 2030. This long timeline was negotiated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the drycleaning industry to ensure these small businesses have to purchase clean technology while their old machines wear out. This bill passed the Senate and remains in the House.