The General Assembly adjourned last week after approving the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, and passing important pieces of legislation relevant to residents of the 12th district.
Ultimately, we were able to protect the direct services that millions of people across Illinois rely on. The budget is far from ideal; but, without extending the income tax, we were able to prevent massive cuts to our state's most important priorities such as education, health care, and public safety. This budget ensures that the state lives within its means by spending no more that the state has. In addition, the budget:
- Pays down $1 billion in old bills
- Fully funds state pensions at more than $6 billion
- Increases funding General State Aid to education, ACT testing, special education, Veterans' Grants to community colleges, and the Illinois State Police
- Keeps funding flat for MAP Grants that allow students in need to attend college, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, and breast and cervical cancer screenings
- Prevents dangerous cuts to schools, public universities, veterans' health care services, and the Department of Corrections
As always, I welcome your thoughts on any issues taken up by the General Assembly in the future.
This summer, I will continue to remain open and accessible to my constituents. I hope to see you at block parties, street festivals, and other spots around the neighborhood. Please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of my staff if we can ever be of assistance to you. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to keep in touch and learn more about events in the area.
Very truly yours,
Medicaid - Dental and Podiatry Services (SB 741)
Senate Bill 741 rolls back several Medicaid program reductions that were cut in recent years. It restores funding for adult dental and podiatry services, lifts the four-prescription limit for people with severe mental illnesses, and allows more funding for children with extensive medical needs. This bill also helps to secure additional federal funding that will help us expand Medicaid services to those who need it most.
Telehealth (SB 647)
To help resolve healthcare access issues that people in underserved areas around Illinois face, I sponsored this measure that clarifies the specifics of how insurance companies cover the patients who receive telehealth services. If a patient receives help from his or her primary doctor via a videocall, they should be provided the same insurance coverage as they would from an in-person visit.
Health Information Exchange (HB 5925)
I sponsored this measure to help streamline the sharing of secure information between patients, physicians, and providers.
DCFS Scholarships (HB 4652)
I sponsored this measure to expand opportunities for teenagers under the care of the Dept. of Children and Family Services to attend and finish their post-secondary education.
Voluntary Placement (HB 5598)
In situations where parents cannot provide adequate psychiatric care for their child, they are sometimes forced to make the painful decision of relinquishing custody to the state. This bill creates a pathway for these families so that their children can receive necessary health care services without being separated from their parents.
Responsible Alcohol Service (HB 5926)
To help ensure responsible alcohol service in Cook County, I sponsored House Bill 5926, which requires all alcohol servers in Cook County to have basic training in responsible alcohol service and handling. Under HB 5926, the State Liquor Commission will develop training modules and certificate programs focused on all aspects of responsible alcohol service, including: spotting signs of intoxication, preventing DUIs, stopping underage sales and underage drinking, and creating safer communities where alcohol is served.
Pregnancy Discrimination (HB 8)
This bill requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. It also makes it a civil rights violation if employment opportunities are denied to women because of pregnancy.
Medicinal Cannabis for Epileptic Children (SB 2636)
Children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy suffer thousands of life-threatening seizures a day. I co-sponsored Senate Bill 2636, which gives these children access to cannabis oil, which has been proven to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
Fire Sprinkler Resolution
As members of the Lakefront Coalition for Responsible Fire Sprinkler Policy already know, Illinois Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis has recently publicly announced that he will not unilaterally pursue a statewide sprinkler mandate in the future. A link to the Fire Marshal's announcement can be found here.
This pledge from the Fire Marshal is the result of all of the impassioned letters, calls, emails, and petition signatures from people across Chicago who believe that a statewide fire sprinkler mandate is bad public policy.
Thank you to everyone who not only demonstrated your support for my bill, but spread the word and called others to join us in the fight against mandated fire sprinklers.
The Fire Marshal now recognizes the need for a collaborative approach to reaching a solution on fire sprinkler installation laws and other fire safety measures in Illinois. I look forward to working with Mr. Matkaitis, my fellow legislators, and all stakeholders to determine the most effective approaches to fire safety in our state.
Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
June 7-8, 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Located near the Belmont Red Line "El" stop, this street festival in the heart of Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood will again showcase the region's favorite tribute bands. For more information, visit www.chicagoevents.com.
Lincoln Park Village 5th Anniversary Celebration and Benefit
Monday, June 9, 5:00 p.m.
Francis W. Parker School, 330 W. Webster
Festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. with appetizers, drinks and a silent auction and raffle. For more information, visit www.lincolnparkvillage.org
Pride Month Self-Defense Workshop for the LGBT Community
Saturday, June 14, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Thousand Waves Martial Arts Center, 1220 W. Belmont
Join Thousand Waves for a free Self-Defense Workshop focused on practical verbal and physical skills for the LGBT Community. Open to everyone aged 13 and up. For more information, visit www.thousandwaves.org
Clark Street Neighborhood Night
Wednesday, June 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., El Nuevo Mexicano, 2914 N. Clark St
Tickets will get you a margarita and appetizer, along with music and prizes. Register now with the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
Chicago Pride Fest 2014
Hosted by the Northalsted Business Alliance, this huge annual celebration of community pride showcases an eclectic lineup of arts and crafts, food and other vendors. For more information on sponsorships, transit and vendors, visit www.chicagoevents.com or call 773-868-3010.
45th Annual Gay Pride Parade
Sunday, June 29th, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
We'll be marching in the 45th Annual Pride Parade, which will step off from the corner of Montrose & Broadway in Boystown. For more information, visit chicagopride.gopride.com
June 2, 2014
Marina City Online - State fire marshal agrees to collaborate on any sprinkler mandate
May 31, 2014
NBC 5 Chicago - Fire Marshal Concedes on High Rise Sprinkler Mandate
May 30, 2014
Inside Booster - Feigenholtz, Cullerton, Weiss Memorial Host Senior Fair
May 28, 2014
Marina City Online - 6000 Signatures on Feigenholtz sprinkler petition
May 25, 2014
Thresholds - Thresholds, Mental Health Advocates Laud Passage of The Custody Relinquishment Prevention Act
May 22, 2014
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin - Adoptees praise birth certificate statute for revealing family history
May 22, 2014
The State Journal-Register - Adopted adults to celebrate Illinois' 4 year old access law
May 20, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times - Adoptees praise Illinois law giving access to their birth records
May 19, 2014
Chicago Now - Illinois SB 648 tabled for now but keep your eyes on Springfield
May 16, 2014
Lakeview Patch - Feigenholtz, Williams, and Cullerton to Host Women's Health and Resource Fair
May 14, 2014