FINAL EOS Quote Fine GreenSPRINGFIELD –This year’s Illinois state budget makes mental health a priority. State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) was pleased to support the Fiscal Year 23 budget, which invests in mental health care across the state, including funding for the 9-8-8 suicide hotline.

“The pandemic has amplified a mental health crisis across every age group and demographic in Illinois,” Senator Fine said. “We need to ensure our friends and loved ones have access to the care they need.”

The budget will put $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. The fund will help ensure financial assistance is available to hire caseworkers, operators, and provide training to ensure the hotline is a high-quality resource for all Illinoisians.

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

“In the past two years, the number of people across the state with mental or behavioral health issues has risen exponentially,” Senator Fine said. “It is more important than ever that we make mental health care more accessible. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and I am glad our budget reflects that by increasing access to and investing in this necessary care.”

If signed by the governor, the FY 23 budget will take effect July 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

fine purpledressSPRINGFIELD –In an effort to keep unused prescription drugs out of the hands of our children and our drinking water, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), passed legislation through the Senate that will provide Illinois residents a convenient way to safely dispose of unused medications. Under this law, championed by Representative Jennifer Gong Gershowitz (D-Glenview) in the House, pharmaceutical companies will be required to establish a drug take-back program statewide.

“Studies show millions of Americans get their water from sources contaminated by improperly disposed of medications,” Senator Fine said. “In addition, many people become addicted to opioids found sitting in their or their family’s medicine cabinets. Establishing a drug take-back program gives us a way to prevent access to those addictive medications.”

While some counties in Illinois have already established similar programs there is no statewide system in place that safely collects and disposes of medications, leaving some counties without a safe and secure way to dispose of substances.

Because of this, many unused medicines are still frequently flushed down the toilet or in the sink, causing harmful chemicals to end up in lakes, rivers, and groundwater, which can harm the ecosystem.

“Without a drug take-back program, we risk more people abusing substances that have been discarded,” Senator Fine said. “This legislation will ensure medications are disposed of safely and securely, which will protect unused medications from negatively impacting people in our community and our environment.”

House Bill 1780 passed the Senate on Thursday. It now awaits one more vote in the House before going to the governor’s desk.

Category: Press Releases

fine navydressSPRINGFIELD – Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is working to ensure children suffering from cleft lip and palate abnormalities have access to the health care coverage they need to prevent complications as they grow.

“Children and their families should not have to face expensive out-of-pocket costs to get necessary treatment for a child’s cleft lip abnormality,” Senator Fine said. “I am glad we are advancing this bill so that this health care treatment will be more accessible for our children.”

House Bill 4349 would require state-regulated health insurance policies to cover all medically necessary care and treatment of cleft lip and palate abnormalities for children under the age of 19. Cleft lip and cleft palate abnormalities can have significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of children, such as interfering with their ability to breathe, speak or eat in a normal manner. However, treatments for these abnormalities are sometimes considered cosmetic and are denied coverage by many insurance companies. This leaves many children without access to the health care they need to fix these abnormalities.

“Cleft lip and palate abnormalities may seriously impact a child’s quality of life, and can lead to significant health issues later in life if left untreated,” Senator Fine said. “Prompt treatment is imperative, and this bill will ensure children and their families will not have to worry about delayed or denied procedures, but get this treatment under their insurance plan when their doctor recommends it.”

House Bill 4349 passed the Senate on Wednesday and heads to the governor’s desk before becoming law.

Category: Press Releases

fine higheredpresserSPRINGFIELD – The burdensome costs of textbooks and course materials for college students often deters them from making the purchase, which in turn can cause a learning barrier and hinder a student’s grades. Members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus outlined a plan during a press conference Wednesday to break down those barriers.

Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is leading a measure – Senate Bill 819 – to allow students who receive MAP Grants to use the funds for room and board, as well as coursework materials including books, software and website access. Currently, MAP Grants can only be used for tuition and necessary fee costs.

“While there are initiatives that ease the financial burden of higher education, there are many essentials to university success, such as textbooks, electronics, and nearby housing, that are often overlooked,” Senator Fine said. “We need to make these resources more accessible to students from all economic backgrounds so that they can be successful as they pursue their education.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that even as tuition has risen, no cost of college life has increased faster than textbooks. The bureau found that book prices rose 88% between 2006 and 2016, and the College Board — which administers the SAT exam — reported that students budget more than $1,200 each year for textbooks and other class supplies, including technology.

Under Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) Senate Bill 3856, public universities and community colleges would be required to provide all necessary coursework materials for rental free of charge for Illinois students.

Many public universities and community colleges, such as Southern Illinois University, already include free textbook rentals in their tuition and fee costs for all students. Recent studies have found that these more affordable course materials can deliver student cost savings of 29% to 35% annually.

“As chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, I know students face additional costs that can put financial strain on their families making it difficult for them to finish college,” Bennett said. “This textbook incentive will not only reduce that financial burden, but will ensure students are set up for success by having access to all of their course materials.”


While there are currently many initiatives to make higher education more affordable for children from low-income families, few provide relief for middle-class families who also come under large financial strain when sending their children to college.


To address this issue, Senator Laura Murphy’s measure – Senate Bill 1145 – would allow a taxpayer who either is a student or claims one or more students as dependents to earn a tax credit of up to $1,000 toward tuition and fees for Illinois public institutions of higher education.


“Paying for higher education can be a massive financial undertaking for working families,” Murphy said. “It is important that we provide relief to middle-class families working hard to send their children to Illinois schools.”

Mardell Davis, a Springfield High School senior, is in the process of deciding which college to commit to. The costs associated with each school could be a deciding factor for him.

“As a future college student, I am aware of the sometimes high costs attributed to earning a degree,” Mardell said. “I appreciate that the Senate is working on a bill that will make sure all necessary class materials are more affordable.”

For more information on the bills outlined at the press conference, people can visit https://www.illinoissenatedemocrats.com/HigherEd.

Category: Press Releases

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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