Earlier this week, I attended a press conference with AARP speaking on the importance of passing Senate Bill 144, which will repeal the Social Security offset. Illinois is one of only two states that discriminate against seniors by deducting half of their Social Security income from unemployment insurance benefits. This is simply unfair, and I will continue to push for passage of this bill. Click here to read more about this bill. For bills from 2009, click here.
To see more bills that I proposed, view the General Assembly website by clicking here.
In May, the Illinois Senate sent a bill to the Governor’s desk that will overhaul nursing home regulations to ensure greater safety and quality of care in nursing homes and provide more opportunities for patients to receive care in community and home based settings. Hundreds of hours of tense negotiations led to this bill which includes the following changes:
- Expands the pre-admission screening process and adds a re-screening component for nursing home residents with serious mental illness to ensure individuals are provided with community options;
- Tightens criminal background checks and screenings of patients with serious mental illness;
- Requires facilities to obtain a new psychiatric rehabilitation certificate before serving residents with serious mental illness and a new behavioral management unit certificate before serving residents who pose a risk to others;
- Raises required staffing ratio to 3.8 hours of skilled care per resident per day (from 2.5 hours) and 2.5 hours of intermediate care (from 1.7) over 4 years;
- Strengthens penalties and fines to nursing homes for failing to meet standards and expands the Department of Public’s Health authority to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a facility’s license;
- Doubles license fees and mandates surveyor ratios to ensure the Department of Public Health has sufficient resources for needed oversight; and
- Creates a workgroup of advocates, providers, state agencies and the Governor’s office to submit a plan for a new provider assessment by November 1, 2010.
- The Care of Students with Diabetes Act. (HB6065) – The bill will enable children with diabetes to get the care they need in school, without their parents having to quit their jobs to manage their children’s health, as happens now too regularly. Children who are old enough and able can self-manage their diabetes at any school in the state. For those children who cannot self-administer and who are located in schools without a nurse, their parents or guardians can identify a volunteer at the school (teacher or staff) to become the child’s delegated care aid. This volunteer (no one can be compelled to volunteer) will receive professional training on how to help the child manage his or her diabetes according the child’s diabetes care plan. This bill passed both houses and was amendatorily vetoed by the Governor.
- Tobacco Cessation Insurance Coverage (SB 3480) – This bill mandates that health insurance policies for people age 15 and older include $500 annual coverage for tobacco cessation programs. This bill has not yet passed.
- HIV/Aids Care Funding (SB 3821) – This bill appropriates funding to the Department of Public Health to fund AIDS/HIV Education, Drugs, Services, Counseling, Testing, Referral and Partner Notification, and Patient and Worker Notification. This bill has not yet passed.
Government & Elections
- Government Electronic Records Act (SB 2630) – This bill promotes government transparency and environmental responsibility by greatly increasing state agency usage of electronic records. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
- Campaign Contributions (SB 2532) – This bill sets limits on contributions from political parties to candidates during a general election cycle. This bill has not yet passed.
- State ID Fraud (SB 3169) – This bill prohibits holding a state-issued ID card with a non-existent address on it. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
- Domestic Partnerships (SB 2822) – This bill would allow a public employee to designate a domestic partner who will qualify as a surviving spouse for purposes of receiving survivor pension benefits. This bill has not yet passed.
- Equal Marriage (SB2468) – This bill would give equal marriage rights to same sex couples. This bill has not yet passed.
- Teacher Residency (SB 3522) – This bill remove the requirement that Chicago Public School teachers must live within the City of Chicago to increase the available pool of teachers. This bill has passed the Senate but not the House.
- Suicide Prevention (HB4672) – This bill provides school personnel with training to prevent youth suicide. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
Environmental and Consumer Protection
- Mercury Thermostat Disposal (SB 3346 ) – This bills create a collection program for out-of-service mercury thermostats and mandates the environmentally responsible recycling of mercury. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
- Mercury and Lead Wheel Weights (SB 3347) – This bill prohibits the sale and use of dangerous mercury- or lead-based wheel weights used in balancing tires. This protects the environment and animal and human health. This bill has passed the senate and is now in the house. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
- Pedestrian Stop Bill (HB43) – This bill would require that drivers stop for pedestrians crossing unregulated crosswalks. Current law only requires a vehicle to yield. This standard is confusing and makes it difficult for law enforcement to penalize those that endanger pedestrians. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
- Bed Bug Task Force (HB6439) – This bill creates a statewide task force to address the spread of bed bugs in Illinois. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
- The Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Act (SB 3482) – This bill allows public-private partnerships in the development, financing, and operation of transportation facilities and projects. This generates additional financing for projects and allows risk to be spread between the public and private sectors while improving the state’s transportation system. This bill has not yet passed.
- Craft Distiller Liquor Licensing (SB 3348) – This bill revises Illinois liquor licensing rules to allow small production distillers such as Koval, a small business in Lincoln Square, to sell their spirits directly to the public in an on-site retail store. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.
- Non-Profit Unemployment Notice (HB5376) – Non-profits with fewer than four employees are not required to provide unemployment insurance benefits. This bill would require non-profits that choose to not provide this benefit to notify employees regarding their ineligibility for unemployment. This bill passed both houses and has been signed by the Governor.