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Legislative Updates

Jesiel, Schneider, and Mayfield Provide Legislative Updates

 


Wheeler, Jesiel Up the Ante in Fight against Human Trafficking

SPRINGFIELD – In January of 2016, an important new law to fight human trafficking took effect in Illinois, the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act. This law (Public Act 99-0099), which State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) carried through the Illinois General Assembly, utilizes the business community to ensure human trafficking victims have access to essential services.

“Human trafficking is a much more pervasive practice than many of us realize and it is essential that we increase awareness and engage the public to fight this form of modern day slavery,” said Wheeler. “The Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act makes information about a very important resource available to victims and witnesses, which has taken us another step closer to ending this horrific practice.”

The Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act provides that specified businesses and establishments conspicuously provide information concerning the availability of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The law not only helps victims of this heinous crime gain access to the resources they need to overcome the trauma they have experienced, but also acts an avenue for anyone who observes or suspects trafficking the ability to report it to the proper authorities.

To improve the scope and effectiveness of the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act, Wheeler engaged another advocate in the fight against human trafficking, State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor). Working across party lines, Wheeler and Jesiel were able engage additional advocates and unanimously pass House Bill 4340 through the Illinois House of Representatives.

“As Representative Wheeler referenced, human trafficking is a surprisingly prevalent crime, even in suburban communities, and so often goes undetected,” said Jesiel. “This is why we have been studying methods to more effectively curb its impact. House Bill 4340 is an important step to help us accomplish this goal.”

Under the original Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act, the following types of businesses must publicly information about the NHTRC:

* Adult entertainment facilities

* Liquor stores and bars

* Primary airports

* Intercity passenger or light train stations

* Bus stations

* Truck stops

* Emergency rooms

* Urgent care centers

* Farm labor contractors

* Privately-operated job recruitment centers

To further improve the effectiveness of the act, House Bill 4340 makes two primary enhancements; it adds additional at risk locations to the posting rule and empowers local law enforcement to ensure the act is being followed. Now, specified massage establishments, public and private schools, tattoo and piercing establishments, and large public events that require permitting will need to post information about the NHTRC. In addition, by shifting the monitoring of compliance to local law enforcement, it will close a gap which hindered the effectiveness of the current law.

“We are confident these improvements to the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act will further increase its effectiveness and we hope it receives the same unanimous support in the Senate,” said Wheeler.

Since the NHTRC began offering its services in December of 2007, more than 175,000 potential instances of human trafficking have been reported, leading to over 40,000 cases, saving thousands from the emotional and physical torment of this practice. The vast majority of the tips the NHTRC has received came not from victims, but by concerned members of the community, which is why making information about the NHTRC more readily available to the public is so important.

For more about HB 4340 and the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act, visit: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=4340&GAID=14&SessionID=91&LegID=108999.

Schneider, Brooks Introduce the ADAPT Act to Combat the Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) introduced a bipartisan bill that works to combat the opioid crisis that is sweeping through the country. H.R.5581, the Abuse Deterrent and Prescriber Training (ADAPT) Act of 2018 ensures opioid prescribers have the education necessary to safely prescribe opioid medications to patients.

“Across the country, in communities large and small, we are suffering the consequences of an epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction,” said Schneider. “Turning the tide will take a broad, multi-faceted effort, and equipping doctors with the most up-to-date information on how to prevent, detect, and treat opioid abuse is an important part of the solution. Throughout this Congress, I’ve focused on the benefits of continuing education to prevent over-prescribing, and I’m pleased to partner with Rep. Brooks to introduce the bipartisan ADAPT Act. I look forward to working with the Energy and Commerce Committee and other stakeholders to address this ongoing health crisis.”

“Opioids are powerful drugs and have the potential to become incredibly addictive,” said Brooks. “It is imperative for all of our nation’s prescribers to receive adequate training before sending a patient home with a bottle full of pills that could be abused. The ADAPT Act requires prescribers to complete Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses on the potential dangers and risks of prescribing opioids if their state does not already require them to do so. This epidemic is complex and in order to save more lives from being taken by substance abuse, we must combat this issue with an all-hands-on-deck approach. Prescribers are an integral part of the solution and I am proud to work with my colleague Rep. Schneider on this legislation.”

The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on communities across the United States. In 2016, over 64,000 people died from overdose – that is 175 people dying every single day. As a result, poisoning is now the number one cause of injury death, surpassing motor vehicle accidents.

In October 2017, the President declared the opioid epidemic a nationwide public health emergency, recognizing our country is experiencing a severe crisis which needs immediate action. The President also established a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which released their final report highlighting the need for continued focus on preventing drug abuse in our communities and improving treatment services for those who are struggling with addiction. Specifically, the report pressed for increased medical education for prescribers.

Everyone has a role to play in reversing the devastating effects of the opioid crisis and it is especially important that prescribers of opioids receive continued education on the risks associated with addictive medications.

H.R. 5581, the ADAPT Act, is supported by Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) and Indiana University. This bill: ensures practitioners who prescribe opioids receive continued medical education (CME) so they are adequately trained on topics such as:

1) safe prescribing guidelines,

2) risks associated with opioids,

3) alternative pain management practices,

4) early detection of drug abuse, and

5) treatment options for patients suffering from addiction.

6) provides states with the flexibility to approve their own training requirements, that can be based on best practices established by HHS.

7) directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report to Congress on the effect of CME on prescribing practices and the extent to which CME reduces opioid prescriptions, overdoses, and deaths associated with opioid abuse.

Rep. Mayfield Backing Legislation to Combat Illinois’ Shortage of Teachers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –As a shortage of teachers continues to plague communities in all areas of Illinois, state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, is supporting multiple legislative efforts to attract and keep educators in the state.

“Education in this state and the betterment of our children are amongst my top priorities in the legislature,” said Mayfield. “The steps we are taking in passing these important measures will reduce barriers to entry for young professionals who want to be leaders in our community.”

Mayfield voted to pass House Bill 5175, a landmark measure that ensures that teachers are paid a livable wage and aims to retain talented teachers within the state. She also has helped to move House Bills 4167, 5196 and 5627, measures that work to alleviate the pressure that teachers face by addressing Illinois’ shortage of teachers and breaking down burdensome barriers to entry. Under these proposals, teaching related fees are reduced, retired teachers are provided more flexibility to substitute teach and more experienced teachers in training would be eligible to apply for a substitute teaching license sooner. Additionally, teachers who receive their training outside of Illinois would be more easily able to transfer their qualifications to Illinois when looking for a job.

“When these proposals become reality, a lot of red tape and unnecessary hurdles will be reduced and we should see an influx of teachers to schools in our state,” said Mayfield. “Our state’s future depends on the ability to teach and retain the youth as a skilled workforce, and that isn’t possible without the hard work and dedication of good teachers.”

House Bills 4167, 5175, 5196 and 5627 passed the House Elementary and Secondary Education: Licensing, Administration and Oversight Committee and are awaiting action on the House floor.

Mayfield represents the 60th District, which includes the cities of Waukegan, North Chicago and neighboring communities. For more information, please contact her district office at 847-599-2800 or [email protected]

 

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