School and office accessories on wooden backgroundGLENVIEW – State Senator Laura Fine announced Wednesday that several local school districts will receive grants totaling $350,000 from the Illinois State Board of Education to improve their infrastructure.

“When schools have outdated heating and cooling systems, or areas that are inaccessible, it may create challenges for academic success,” said Senator Fine (D-Glenview). “This investment will ensure that students have the learning environment that they deserve so they can perform at their highest ability.”

A total of $30 million in 2022 School Maintenance Grants was distributed to districts across the state. To be eligible for the grants, applicants were required to match the state funds and commit to completing proposed projects within two years.

Projects made possible under these grants include updates to heating and cooling, improvements to ventilation, increased accessibility throughout buildings and more. High school districts 225 and 203, as well as school districts 28, 29, 30, 37, and 38 will receive funding.

“Improving the infrastructure of schools will be transformational in students’ learning experiences—both in our district and all throughout Illinois,” Fine said. “I look forward to seeing this investment at work in schools across the community and around the state.”

A full list of grantees and awards can be viewed on the ISBE website.

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SPRINGFIELD – Private insurance will now cover specialized care for children living with serious illnesses while allowing the child to seek additional treatments, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) that was recently signed into law.

“In Illinois, seriously ill children deserve consistency in high quality, child-centered care regardless of where they live and whether they have public or private health insurance,” Fine said. “This law will allow for more families to access this critical care without having to worry whether or not their insurance will cover the treatments.”

Under Fine’s law, patients with private insurance will now be covered for pediatric palliative care. Palliative care is a specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses focused on providing relief from symptoms and improving quality of life with the medical condition. Some forms of this care include expert management of physical and emotional symptoms, as well as patient and family counseling.

Many patients who have access to this type of treatment see less emergency room visits, shorter hospital stays, and experience an improved wellbeing for themselves and their families. Despite these benefits, only 1% of the 2,800 children in Illinois living with chronic illness currently have access to this treatment.

Sen. Fine is a longtime advocate of increasing accessibility of pediatric palliative care. In 2021, while working with advocates like the Greater Illinois Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition, she sponsored a measure requiring Medicaid to cover pediatric palliative care.

“For children living with serious illness, palliative care is vital in keeping children out of the hospital and decreasing family stress. This results in improved quality of life for the patient and his or her entire family,” Fine said. “This law is crucial to ensure seriously ill children in Illinois and their families have the care and support that they deserve.”

Senate Bill 3819 was signed into law May 13, 2022. It goes into effect January 1, 2023.

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fine standingSPRINGFIELD –With major investments appropriated to improve mental health care across the state, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) was pleased to support the Fiscal Year 23 budget, which was signed into law Tuesday morning.

“This budget will increase access to mental and behavioral health care for people struggling throughout the state,” Senator Fine said. “The pandemic has only amplified existing mental health conditions. Prioritizing mental health care in Illinois is long overdue, but I am hopeful this budget will successfully address these shortcomings and put mental health care front and center.”

The budget includes $5 million in funding for the 9-8-8 mental health hotline. The hotline will provide crucial support services to individuals in crisis. Senator Fine’s initiative created a fund to maintain the hotline in Illinois, which will be operational in July. To ensure the hotline is a high-quality resource for all Illinoisians, the fund will help ensure financial assistance is available to hire caseworkers, operators, and provide staff training.

The budget also invests $50 million in addiction treatment, supporting people recovering from behavioral and mental health issues across the state.

“As chair of the Senate Mental and Behavioral Health Committee, I often hear from Illinoisans that their mental health needs are not taken as seriously compared to conditions impacting their physical health,” Senator Fine said. “This should not be the case. I am grateful that this budget not only invests in mental and behavioral health care, but establishes this care as a priority, letting our communities know that we are supporting them while they bravely face mental and behavioral health challenges.”

The Fiscal Year 2023 budget will take effect July 1, 2022.

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fine powerfulSPRINGFIELD –State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is one step closer to ensuring human services professionals are provided student loan repayment assistance to encourage more people to enter this essential field through SB 3925.

“Employees in human services are required to have specialized college degrees to best serve vulnerable communities, and while this requirement is necessary, it comes with large financial sacrifices for workers,” Senator Fine said. “It is essential to break down barriers for qualified people to enter this field.”

Employees in the human services industry include welfare caseworkers, youth service providers, social workers, and many other positions specializing in working with marginalized communities. However, the industry is experiencing a shortage in employees due to a number of financial barriers. Many of these professions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. Because salaries in this field tend to be less generous than in the private sector, paying off student loans can be challenging and discourage people from entering the field.

Senator Fine’s legislation encourages students to enter this rewarding and essential workforce by providing student loan repayment plans for employees of community-based human services agencies. The legislation combats the critical worker shortage for the industry and provides assistance to many current human services workers, many of whom are women and people of color.

“Human services workers are heroes providing vital care for some of our most at-risk communities,” Senator Fine said. “Offering student loan repayment assistance is the least we can do to support these brave workers.”

Senate Bill 3925 passed the Senate Thursday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

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Springfield Office:
121C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

District Office:
1812 Waukegan Road
Suite A
Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 998-1717

laura@senatorfine.com