The Governor has signed the state budget signaling the end of legislative session. We want to thank you for all your advocacy efforts during the past months – you are making an impact! Here is an update on the work we did together and a preview of what’s to come.
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HB2471: Healthy School Meals For All (Sponsors Representative Maurice West and Senator Laura Ellman) – Thank you for all your help getting this legislation passed. We now need to focus on adding the additional funding needed to cover all students. This is a big step toward making sure no child goes hungry in Illinois. In the meantime, Illinois schools and districts with at least 40% of their students from families with low-incomes can still opt-into the federal Community Eligibility Provision which provides a free breakfast and lunch to all their students, regardless of their ability to pay.
There were numerous amazing volunteers that assisted in the passage of this legislation. We want to especially thank Sheri Peacock, Associate Superintendent of Student Achievement, East Moline School District 37; and Alex King, student in East Moline, for their compelling testimony as to why we need healthy school meals for all.
HB1540: E-Cigarettes added to the Illinois Smoke Free Law (Representative Camille Lilly and Senator Julie Morrison) – We worked closely with our tobacco coalition to successfully add e-cigarettes to the Illinois Smoke Free Law. Illinois holds one of the strongest smoke free laws in the country and we were grateful for the passage of this bipartisan legislation on the 15th anniversary of the passage of the original law.
SB1715: Water Bottle Filling Stations (Sponsors Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton and Representative Jenn Ladisch Douglass) – Alongside the Illinois Environmental Council, we advocated successfully to require water bottle filling stations in all new construction school buildings. Next, we will work with the Illinois State Board of Education to amend their rules to allow students to carry water bottles throughout the school day.
HB2238-Thrombectomy Capable Centers (Representative Barbara Hernandez and Senator Laura Ellman) – It was just over a year ago when Representative Barbara Hernandez experienced a stroke on the House Floor at the age of 29. The day after that one-year anniversary, Representative Hernandez introduced legislation to add Thrombectomy Capable Centers to our stroke designations in the state of Illinois. This will make it easier and more transparent for EMS to know which hospitals and facilities are best able to treat stroke victims depending on the severity of the stroke.
To watch Representative Hernandez tell her story, click here.
Budget includes funding for Early Childhood Education Funding – We worked with other likeminded organizations to push for the expansion of Early Childhood Education Funding focusing on increased preschool availability while improving the quality of education. This funding is a necessary first step in working to eliminate “preschool deserts” for thousands of children throughout the state of Illinois.
Paid Family and Medical Leave: Expect more updates on this policy issue as we continue to work on this throughout the summer.
CPR Funding: While we were not successful in our funding request this session, we do plan on continuing to work on this issue with lawmakers during the next session.
Thank you for all your efforts to build a healthier Illinois. We will see you back in Springfield for the veto session in October!