Senator Fine working in a Senate CommitteeSPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans across the state would have more reliable access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment under legislation from State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), which advanced out of committee Wednesday.

“Mental health care is necessary health care, and there is no reason patients should have to drive hours or wait weeks for mental health treatment,” Senator Fine said. “There is already a stigma around mental health that we are fighting to eliminate, and the last thing we need is another roadblock for those seeking care.”

Under Senator Fine’s legislation, insurers would be required to provide timely and proximate access to treatment for mental, emotional, nervous or substance use disorders and conditions. Insurers would also have to make an exception to out-of-network copay requirements if there are not any in-network providers available nearby or timely enough.

In Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties, individuals seeking outpatient mental health treatment would not have to travel longer than 30 minutes or 30 miles for care under Senator Fine’s plan. The limit increases to 60 minutes or 60 miles in other Illinois counties. Additionally, Illinoisans would not have to wait more than 10 business days between requesting an initial appointment and being seen by a provider.

“Mental health emergencies can escalate just as quickly as other medical issues, and immediate access to treatment can be crucial,” Senator Fine said. “I’m excited to work with my fellow legislators to take another step toward eliminating barriers to mental health care.”

Senate Bill 471 passed the Insurance Committee and now goes to the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

Students in a classroomGLENVIEW – State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is announcing that school districts in the 9th District will receive $32,583,004 in additional funding to help address the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our children and students are suffering from unprecedented learning challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Senator Fine said. “This pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone, and it’s critical that we use federal relief funding to re-engage students during in-person learning and support their academic growth and social and emotional well-being.”

The funding comes as part of the most recent federal COVID-19 relief packages. Schools, students and parents have overcome challenges that no one could have imagined before the pandemic began, including remote and hybrid learning, digital connection issues, new processes for receiving state and federal aid that normally flow through schools, and more.

Local school districts are set to receive the following amounts:
• Northbrook School District 28 - $537,020
• Sunset Ridge School District 29 - $760,938
• Northbrook/Glenview School District 30 - $833,754
• Glenview School District 34 - $4,624,235
• Glencoe School District 35 - $833,733
• Winnetka School District 36 - $912,942
• Avoca School District 37 - $652,663
• Kenilworth School District 38 - $477,214
• Wilmette School District 39 - $1,019,618
• Evanston School District 65 - $9,794,595
• Skokie School District 68 - $4,837,362
• Evanston Township High School District 202 - $3,450,274
• New Trier Township High School District 203 - $1,145,644
• Northfield Township High School District 225 - $2,703,012

The majority of the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which gives local schools a great deal of flexibility in how they can use the money over the next 3 ½ years. At least 20% of the funding must be used to address learning loss, but beyond that, school districts can use the money to address many different issues and costs. For example, it can be used to better equip schools for safe learning, to prevent layoffs, to address students’ social and emotional needs, to fund summer programs, or to ensure all students have access to reliable Wi-Fi and technology.

The State Board of Education, in collaboration with other state agencies that address education, has produced a guide for local school districts to help them decide how to best use their resources. While the guide and other state-sponsored services are completely voluntary, the state aims to support local districts during this difficult time.

“I am confident that this state-produced guide will give our local school districts the tools needed to build back stronger, so our students and teachers can go back to their classrooms full time and parents can go to work.” Senator Fine said. “I encourage our local schools and teachers to take advantage of this guide to address the needs of students most set back by this pandemic and help our schools move forward.”

In total, Illinois received nearly $7 billion to support local school districts.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Fine on the Senate Floor

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) led a joint hearing of the Senate Behavioral and Mental Health Committee and the House Mental and Substance Abuse Committee on Friday to hear testimony on eliminating barriers to mental health and addiction care.

“The need for mental health and addiction care has never been more acute than it is right now, in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Senator Fine. “This is an emotional yet critical issue we must address as it affects us, our family members and our friends.”

Alice Feldman, a constituent from the district Senator Fine represents, shared her personal story of struggling with mental health as an adolescent and the dire need for coverage of mental health and addiction care. Feldman emphasized how early and necessary treatment can be key in saving lives by sharing stories of friends who changed their lives for the better after receiving treatment and others who died of addiction when they desperately needed help.

Many individuals with mental illness face roadblocks to treatment because insurers refuse to cover care they deem medically unnecessary. Panelists urged the passage of Senate Bill 697, a bill Senator Fine sponsored, which clarifies the definition of medical necessity to match modern standards of care, ensuring individuals with mental health or substance use disorders can depend on their insurance to cover life-saving treatment.

“Proper mental health care leads to more positive outcomes,” said Senator Fine. “We must fight for change until there is no mental health stigma in our society and people are able to get the help they need as soon as they need it.”

Committee proceedings are streamed live and can be viewed at ILGA.gov.

Category: Press Releases

Road ConstructionEVANSTON – State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) announced that Evanston is set to receive more than $800,000 in local transportation project funding over the next three years.

“Investing in our local infrastructure will create new jobs and foster economic development across the 9th District while ensuring our roads and bridges receive the essential improvements they need,” said Senator Fine. “I look forward to seeing the new projects our communities select to enhance our local infrastructure.”

This grant is part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program, which is investing $33.2 billion into Illinois’ aging transportation system to create jobs and promote economic growth. The funding will be distributed in six installments over three years in addition to the regular contributions Evanston receives from the state.

Evanston will work with the Illinois Department of Transportation to select priority projects, which may include road and bridge improvements, traffic signal upgrades, new storm sewers and bike paths, sidewalk replacements and other long-term maintenance needs.

“Local investments are crucial in moving our state forward,” said Senator Fine. “This state funding could not have come at a more important time to help cities strained by rising costs from the pandemic.”

Other local communities, including Skokie and Glenview, are also set to receive funding.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Information

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